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:
- WelcomeBC: Everything you need to know about immigrating to British Columbia
- British Columbia Newcomers’ Guide
- Newcomer’s Guide to Vancouver
- Vancouver neighborhood profiles
- City of Richmond Newcomer’s Guide: A guide to the suburb of Richmond, an easy commute to downtown Vancouver on the Canada Line
- Realty Link: Homes for sale in Vancouver and surrounding communities
- Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver: Real estate market news
- WorkBC: Overview of the job search process and links to job-hunting resources in Vancouver and elsewhere in British Columbia. For more job search resources, see Finding a Job.
- Invest British Columbia: Resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners
- Health Insurance BC: How to apply for health insurance in British Columbia
- Vancouver schools: Vancouver School Board, Federation of Independent Schools (B.C.)
- Vancouver colleges & universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, Douglas College, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the Art Institute of Vancouver, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Kwantlen University College, Langara College
- Getting around Vancouver: Translink
- Vancouver media: Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, Georgia Strait, Vancouver Courier, Westender, Vancouver Magazine
- Lonely Planet Vancouver (City Travel Guide)
– 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