The former Dundee United and Hibs playmaker has signed a deal with the MLS side until 2024 as one of their Designated Players.
Vancouver have “long-coveted” Gauld, signing him from Portuguese side Farense with reports that the contract is worth north of £1million-a-year.
The 25-year-old was regarded as one of the best players in the Portuguese top-flight last season.
He finished in the top ten for both goals and assists – one of only three to achieve such a feat – while he led in key passes per game, expected assists, shot opportunities created and placed in the top five for shots.
“I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to play for Vancouver Whitecaps FC,” Gauld said. “From day one they have made me feel very wanted and that means a lot. I’m looking forward to meeting my teammates, getting on the training pitch, and coming to play at BC Place in front of the passionate supporters.”
Gauld, who won the player of the year in Portugal’s second tier in 2019/20, will begin training with his new side next week.
Vancouver currently sit 12th in the 13-team Western Conference.
"We are very pleased to welcome Ryan to our club,” Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director and chief executive officer, said.
“We identified Ryan at the attacking midfield position early in the off-season and began our formal pursuit at the start of January. It was a complicated process due to several factors but as he was our top target, we never gave up.
"He is a difference maker, brings experience, as well as an exceptional work rate, all qualities we identified as being key characteristics that we need in this position. Ryan and his representatives have been a pleasure to work with and we are thrilled that he is committed for the next three plus years to not only this club but the city and people of Vancouver.”
Gauld left Dundee United in 2014 for Sporting Club after impressing hugely as a playmaker.
He had loan spells with Vitoria Setubal, Desportivo Aves, Farense and Hibs.