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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