I'd like to propose a slightly different set of sub-regions for the Lower Mainland region article. I'm interested in gathering feedback for a while before I go head. Please give your comments below.
The proposed change has 5 parts:
Make Vancouver, the article about the city of Vancouver proper, a top-level entry in the Lower Mainland hierarchy.
Move the contents of the Metro Vancouver article to Lower Mainland or other articles as appropriate (there's not much there), and make Metro Vancouver and Greater Vancouver be redirects to Lower Mainland.
After this change, Lower Mainland will have a comfortable six sub-regions. The confusing entity "Greater Vancouver" will disappear from the geographic hierarchy. Vancouver, which is a two-level Huge City destination and the most important destination article in the Lower Mainland, will be higher up in the hierarchy. It will also shed it's bizarre dual identity as a region article. The North Shore will be treated as the region it is, instead of a district of the Vancouver destination. JimDeLaHunt 01:31, 24 July 2008 (EDT)
Modification: now seven sub-regions, not six. Still comfortable. JimDeLaHunt 18:09, 27 July 2008 (EDT)
Proposed regions of the Lower Mainland -- Orange is North Shore (British Columbia), Blue is Eastern suburbs and Green is Southern suburbs
The motivation for the change is that the Greater Vancouver article has taken on a greater scope than I think it merits, in order to fit it to the political entity named "Metro Vancouver"; and it is less useful to travellers as a result. It overlaps other region articles (see Talk:Metro Vancouver#Area covered by "Greater Vancouver" article). Discussion there led me to the conclusion that it's better to get rid of the Metro Vancouver concept entirely, and replace it by traveller-focssed regions. JimDeLaHunt 01:31, 24 July 2008 (EDT)
I agree with making Vancouver a top-level entry in the Lower Mainland. Still thinking about the North Shore and Vancouver suburb aspects. I'll be away this weekend so I'll post some comments next week when I'm back. One really quick thing -- Anmore and Belcarra aren't accessible from the North Shore (they can only be reached thru Port Moody), so I think they should reside in the same region as Port Moody rather than the North Shore. Actually, I think they should be amalgamated into a Port Moody article (or even a Tri-Cities article), but that's another discussion! Shaund 17:57, 25 July 2008 (EDT)
Actually, after rereading it and the modifications, the proposed structure pretty much matches what I had been thinking about. I'm just not sure what to do with Bowen Island. The most logical place would be to put it under the North Shore, however the North Shore article is currently a city article so it would look odd sticking one city article under another. Some things I've thought of are:
Treat the North Shore as a region with separate city articles for North Van, West Van and Bowen Island.
The first option is probably more consistent with the typical Wikitravel hierarchy, but I think it's not as useful to the user. North and West Van are pretty much the same city so I think the current combined article makes it easier for the visitor than having to go through two smaller articles. I don't really like the last option either because I think it would be awkward to include in a city article. Out of 2 and 3, I'd probably lean towards 2 -- we only have seven subregions, so another one shouldn't be a problem. Shaund 02:03, 31 July 2008 (EDT)
Shaund, I like #3, move it to Sunshine Coast or Sea to Sky. From a traveller's point of view Bowen is very different from the North Shore, because it's wild rather than paved, and it takes a bit of effort to get to. Like the Sunshine Coast, it takes a ferry ride to get to. Like the Sea to Sky, it's just beyond Horseshoe Point and most people drive right by it without thinking about it. I lean towards putting it in Sea to Sky. JimDeLaHunt 02:10, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
Sea to Sky seems reasonable to me. We'll see how it goes. Shaund 00:47, 2 August 2008 (EDT)
One other thought I had was should we consider amalgamating some of the city articles together where the various suburbs are indistinguishable? For instance, Belcarra and Anmore could easily be folded in to Port Moody. Same thing for Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. We could merge all five into a Tri-Cities article since it is a recognized name in the region. Surrey and White Rock are also good candidates. I know the standard policy is each city has its own article, but for a traveller in a metro region like Vancouver, do they really care about Coquitlam versus Port Coquitlam? One weird thing I noticed was White Rock and Crescent Beach. I always thought Crescent Beach is in White Rock, but technically it's in Surrey. Because of that, even though it's pretty close to the main boardwalk and that in White Rock, it would end up in a separate article. Just a thought anyway. Shaund 02:03, 31 July 2008 (EDT)
One way to resolve merger dilemmas is to merge, but create redirects from the individual municipality names to the actual destination articles. Thus North Vancouver and West Vancouver exist as redirects to Vancouver/North Shore. I must also say that I lean towards dividing destination articles, as long as both parts of the destination have something that could be added to the See, Do, Eat, Drink, and Sleep sections. JimDeLaHunt 02:10, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
Note - I added a map above with the existing Greater Vancouver articles and colour-coded by the new region. Shaund 10:42, 31 July 2008 (EDT)
Shaund, nice work with the map and with your thoughtful comments. JimDeLaHunt 02:10, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
I'm hearing consensus to go ahead. Any objections? JimDeLaHunt 02:10, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
The first suggestion is interesting but I think people might find it confusing that Delta is a Vancouver suburbs region while Coquitlam and Surrey are not. The second one is easy to implement, but I think I still prefer to see Pitt Meadows and company with the other Fraser Valley destinations (they don't quite have the same suburb character yet). I guess ultimately this is something we could probably slice up many different ways and never be perfect. I don't think 11-12 articles in the Fraser Valley is too bad, maybe we should just go with the original plan. Shaund 02:36, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
The North Shore of the Burrard Inlet is where dense urban meets dramatic tall mountains. Formally the separate municipalities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver, they are in practice one destination. The mountains provide attractions like Grouse Mountain ski resort. At the west of the North Shore is Horseshoe Bay, ferry terminal to the Sunshine Coast.
The Fraser Valley has lush fertile farmland, which contributes a large portion of the local produce. The Fraser is also the world's greatest salmon producing river, and a focus for the region's economy, transportation and culture. The towns of Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and Langley are transforming from agricultural to suburb. Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, and Hope remain closer to their agricultural roots, but are also transforming.
The Sea to Sky region stretches from Lions Bay (just north of Horseshoe Bay), up the east side of Howe Sound past getaway destination Bowen Island to Squamish, the gateway to BC's magnificent alpine country of forests, lakes, and year round world class outdoor activities. The Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99) clings to the mountainsides, letting you drive from Vancouver to Whistler, one of North America's top ski resorts, in two hours. Further in is Pemberton. The area is rich with archaeological sites and historical lore of the Salish Indians.
The Sunshine Coast, named for its 2,400 hours of annual sunshine, is north-west of Vancouver, a 40 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. It is a 180 km (110mi) stretch of rainforest, seashore and mountains. This is the secret destination of many individuals, where the island life is found on the mainland. Here is a slower pace of life, where those who appreciate the beauty of outstanding marine parks and marshland bird sanctuaries, old growth forest and alpine peaks will find this the perfect destination.
Any last comments? JimDeLaHunt 03:39, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
Looks good. I just fixed a few links and tweaked the wording a little bit. Shaund 14:25, 4 August 2008 (EDT)
OK, I'm implementing. See next section. JimDeLaHunt 01:54, 12 August 2008 (EDT)
There are a number of steps required to implement this Lower Mainland redistricting. This is a list of the steps. Feel free to bite off a few of these and do them. Then make a note at the end of the bullet point that you've done it. JimDeLaHunt 01:54, 12 August 2008 (EDT)
Metro Vancouver / Greater Vancouver: Move any destinations out to appropriate region article. Be sure that every city mentioned there is mentioned in the appropriate region article. Change page to #REDIRECT [[Lower Mainland]].
Done, except for Talk pages and Vancouver (disambiguation). I'm not sure what to do with the reference to Metro Vancouver on the disambiguation page -- should we let it be or delete it since anyone who enters the page will be automatically redirected to the Lower Mainland page? Shaund 01:14, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
Wow, Shaund, you never cease to amaze! Great work producing a map. And that template that wraps it — I had no idea it existed! Still, I think the map could benefit from some tweaks. The map looks to be the right size in the article, or maybe a tad small, but the text is hard to read. I think it could stand to be 2-3x as big. This means the region names will fill and perhaps overflow the region boundaries. Perhaps we need a call-out for the Vancouver & Suburbs regions, since they are so much smaller than the outlying regions. Could you upload or point to the source file, please? Image:Lower_Mainland.svg doesn't appear to exist. Maybe I could take a crack at it. Great work! Thank you! JimDeLaHunt 01:44, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
Thanks. The SVG file is in Wikitravel Shared (Category: British Columbia). To get to a link that works, open the image file and click on the file description page link. This brings up a nearly identical page that has a working link. Not sure why the link on the first page doesn't work, I think it defaults to wikitravel/en rather than WT Shared. Shaund 01:42, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
Ah, got it. It was a capitalisation problem: Image:Lower_Mainland.svg doesn't work, Image:Lower_mainland.svg (lowercase 'm') does. Location on Shared: isn't a factor, because each language version of Wikitravel looks on Shared as well as on the local wiki. JimDeLaHunt 03:37, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
Cool. I'll let you work on the Lower Mainland map and I'll finish the (high level) street map for Vancouver that I've been working on. Shaund 10:33, 26 August 2008 (EDT)