TODAY   |  February 09, 2010

5 things to know about Vancouver

Did you know that this coastal city is home to the second-largest Chinatown in North America? Or that Stanley Park is larger than New York’s Central Park? TODAY’s Matt Lauer takes you on a tour.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> walmart.

>>> and welcome back to "today's countdown to vancouver ." just three days to go until this city of some 2 million people swells to a population of about 3 million. whether you're coming to the games or just watching on tv, there are five things about this city that may surprise you. vancouver , a city of glass , a skyline of windowed condos, so you see through to the spectacular view, which leads us to number one. vancouverites live for the outdoors. even the mayor bikes to work. stanley park , 1,000 acres of urban forest , is bigger than new york's central park . if it's altitude you seek, there are three different beautiful local ski resorts to choose from -- grouse, cyprus rry cypress, and further north, whistler. but not far from snow, you're not far from rowing, kayaking or scuba diving.

>> you can dive all year round, but in the wintertime it has more visibility and it's clearer, so a lot of people like to dive in the winter.

>> that's right, in the winter. mild temperatures year-round. from the water straight to the plate, the emphasis is on fresh seafood. executive chef robert clark of sea takes the concept of green one step further.

>> sustainability for vancouverites is very important. it just means that the fish is harvested in a manner that will ensure that the stocks will be there in the future with as little environmental damage as possible.

>> reporter: a symbol on menus lets you know you're choosing to be ocean wise. multicultural meets the culinary in this town with the second largest chinatown in north america . you can bet it influences the food. and if you want to do the cooking, shop for local organic fruits and vegetables at the granville island market. it's the third largest production center for movies after los angeles and new york city .

>> about $1 billion a year is spent in british columbia by motion picture companies.

>> "iron man," "twilight" and " percy jackson " are just some of the more than 200 movies shot here.

>> we have this beautiful city, we have mountains, oceans. we even have a desert. so, that's something that was very attractive to filmmakers. *

>> count gore-tex and fleece as vancouver 's official fabrics.

>> you never know if it's going to start raining at 2:00 in the afternoon. so you basically always have your umbrella and always have a change of shoes. i think the fashion is casual, comfortable but still interesting.

>> interesting and unique. designers take great pride in individuality and details. catch a hockey game. but the winner of vancouver 's nightlife is the resto lounge scene.

>> vancouver nightlife is laid back, it's relax, but it ends a little bit earlier, maybe, than most people would expect. there's so much in vancouver that people play hard during the day. and by the time they go out, they just sort of want to sit back with friends, enjoy a good cocktail. it's more about having a good time and about maybe remembering it the next day.