(Reuters) - The 2010 Winter Olympic Games start on February 12 in Canada. Here are some facts about the host city of Vancouver on Canada’s Pacific coast:
- Vancouver and surrounding suburbs will have the venues for the opening and closing ceremonies, ice hockey, speed skating, curling, figure skating, freestyle and snowboard competitions.
- Vancouver and surrounding suburbs have a population of some 2.1 million, making it the third largest metropolitan area in Canada.
- Archaeological evidence shows that the aboriginal Coast Salish people had settled in the Vancouver area by 500 BC.
- Vancouver was incorporated as a city in 1886 and is named after British Navy captain George Vancouver who explored the region in 1792.
- Located between the Coastal Mountains and the Pacific ocean, Vancouver has some of the mildest winters in Canada. The average daily temperature in February is 4.8 degrees Celsius.
- The likelihood of rain is a reason that this will be the first Winter Olympics to have its opening and closing ceremonies indoors, at BC Place in the downtown area.
- The environmental group Greenpeace was founded in Vancouver in 1971 by local activists protesting about U.S. nuclear weapons-testing near Alaska.
- Heat for the Olympic athletes’ village in Vancouver will come from a recycling component of its sewage system. The curling and speed skating venue will recycle rainwater.
Compiled by Allan Dowd, Editing by Clare Fallon