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Photo ©Alan Albert

Van­cou­ver, on Cana­da’s west coast, is fre­quent­ly named one of the best places in the world to live. If you’re lucky enough to spend some time here, you’ll see why.

It starts with a gor­geous phy­si­cal set­ting, with the down­town high-rises per­ched bet­ween the water and the snow­cap­ped moun­tains. Beaches ring the city, and you can be on the ski slopes in under an hour. The tem­pe­rate cli­mate, simi­lar to Seat­tle’s or Port­land’s, means that you can enjoy the out­doors vir­tual­ly year-round.

Van­cou­ver is a vibrant, inter­na­tio­nal city. As Cana­da’s gate­way to the Paci­fic Rim, Van­cou­ver has a large Asian com­mu­ni­ty with food, fes­ti­vals, and other cultu­ral acti­vi­ties that all resi­dents can enjoy. The­re’s an active res­tau­rant scene, and the laid-back locals line the side­walk cafes whe­ne­ver the sun shines.

So what’s the down­side ? All this beau­ty doesn’t come cheap. The major draw­back to living in Van­cou­ver is the cost. It’s Cana­da’s most expen­sive hou­sing mar­ket, and while it may seem rea­so­nable com­pa­red to New York or San Fran­cis­co, you’ll spend a lot more to live here than you would in Toron­to or Montreal.

Even though Van­cou­ver has one of the mil­dest cli­mates in Cana­da, the wea­ther can still be a nega­tive. Sum­mer is gor­geous, spring and fall are mild, but win­ter is unques­tio­na­bly wet. Free­zing tem­pe­ra­tures and snow are rare, but if you’re hea­ded to Van­cou­ver, you may want to invest in some Gore-Tex.

Van­cou­ver relo­ca­tion resources :

– Excerp­ted (in part) from the book, Living Abroad in Cana­da. To read more, buy the book.

Van­cou­ver’s Kit­si­la­no pool and beach pho­to ©Alan Albert