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The city is listed ninth in the world with its total of 663 highrises
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Vancouver in recent years has risen to the top tier of the world’s cities with the largest number of skyscrapers.

According to, Vancouver is listed ninth in the world with a total of 663 highrises. That number becomes more intriguing, however, when you compare the populations of the cities on the list, which include the likes of New York City (No. 1 with 5,894 highrises and a population of 8.17 million), and Toronto (No. 2 with 2,005 highrises and a population of 2.61 million).

A highrise is considered to be a multi-floored building of at least 12 stories, or 35 metres (115 feet) in height.

Our city is an outlier on the list as Vancouver’s population is listed at 616,537, making it the only one in the top 10 with fewer than 1.6 million residents. (Shanghai, Tokyo, Chicago, Kiev, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Montreal rounded out the list).

Dominating Vancouver’s skyline is the Shangri-La on West Georgia Street. The hotel and private residence stands 201 metres with 62 floors, making it the tallest building in the city. 

Working in Vancouver’s tallest building carries with it certain bragging rights, but Mathieu Rapp, Shangri-La Hotel’s director of rooms, says exercising those rights is rather unbecoming in their business.

“Yes, of course, we are proud, but [being the largest] is not essential,” Rapp said. “What we try to provide is way more important, in terms of service,” he said, highlighting the Shangri-La’s environmentally-friendly design and operations as what makes him most proud.

“Obviously, as professionals, Shangri-La is very much oriented to core values, which are very important to us, like … being humble and respectful.”

The Shangri-La Hotel, which comprises 119 rooms from the ground level to the 15th floor, opened in January 2009. The building features the Xi-Shi Lounge, as well as Market by Jean-Georges and other amenities such as a spa, fitness centre and an outdoor pool.

The residential component climbs from the 16th floor to the 62nd and includes 234 “Live Work” units, as well as larger, far more expensive “Estate Units” on the top levels.

Rapp said the ride from the lobby to the top floor is very swift.

“We have the fastest elevators in the city,” he said, recalling a recent conversation with an elevator maintenance worker. “The worker explained to me just how fast they are, and you can tell,” he said, estimating that the ride takes about 20 seconds.

He said that while there are a few more skyscrapers coming online,people shouldn’t expect to see many buildings, if any, climb higher than the Shangri-La.

“There won’t be that many [higher buildings], and the only thing that might change that is if the city decides to reopen the whole issue of having higher buildings in the downtown,” he said, referring to the city’s policy of managing building heights and protecting view corridors.

“But if I was putting money on this, I wouldn’t bet that guideline is going to change any time soon,” he said.

Maintaining the view corridors is “the right approach because it is going to set us apart from other cities around the world that really don’t have that natural beauty that you can capitalize on,” he said.

View the full article online at the Vancouver Sun.