“So long Vancouver! Adieu! It’s been nice, but now I feel like a young naïve girl who’s been tricked into having sex with a pretty but vapid jock. How many smart, motivated young people must you scare out with your over-inflated prices and lack of joy before you realize that you are headed to an economic and human disaster?”

“So long Vancouver! Adieu! It’s been nice, but now I feel like a young naïve girl who’s been tricked into having sex with a pretty but vapid jock.”

Disappointing thing #1: The job market …
There are no jobs here, and when a good one pops up, the competition is so fierce that you have to send a singing telegram to get noticed.

Disappointing thing #2: The cost of living …
How many people must cram into a 1500$/month 2-bedroom apartment just to make ends meet? “Why aren’t they moving somewhere cheaper?” you ask. Well, there isn’t anything cheaper. Well, actually, there is, but the cheaper stuff is often illegal, unsafe and unhealthy.

Disappointing thing #3: The heart …
The city has, how can I explain it… no soul. It is as superficial and empty as the endless condo towers growing like weeds. There are good people in Vancouver who give this city some spark and light; but most times I felt no joie de vivre, no… happiness. Everyone is working so hard to maintain the appearance of being affluent that they lose their souls in the process. They lose their ability to enjoy life. And what good is a city surrounded by nature if you can’t find it in your heart to enjoy it to its fullest because you are worried about bills all the time?

Conclusion …
I used to love Vancouver as a tourist… but staying there made me hate it. How many smart, motivated young people must you scare out with your over-inflated prices and lack of joy before you realize that you are headed to an economic and human disaster, Vancouver?

– excerpts from “Don’t Move to Vancouver”: Why I Changed My Mind After 6 Months”, by Anabelle, at her blog ‘Anabelle’s Blog’, 18 Mar 2012 [Hat-tip Aldus Huxtable]

52 responses to ““So long Vancouver! Adieu! It’s been nice, but now I feel like a young naïve girl who’s been tricked into having sex with a pretty but vapid jock. How many smart, motivated young people must you scare out with your over-inflated prices and lack of joy before you realize that you are headed to an economic and human disaster?”

  1. A quote from a friend who just settled in Vancouver:
    Vancouver is home now and if life gives you lemons…make lemonade…spike it to numb the pain of mortgage payments if you have too!

  2. VREAA – check out today Vancouver Sun’s web page on ‘Vancouver’s real estate moguls’.

  3. althought I can’t disagree with a single word of her (full) post I remember not liking Vancouver very much the first year I moved here – and she’s only been here for the winter.
    Another observation. She’s caucasian, so are all people with sour follow-up comments. Where are all the asian Vancouverites who hate this city?

    • I’m pretty sure Mikiko is not caucasian.

    • Some folks find it difficult to give voice to negative feelings or observations, in the belief that doing so somehow makes things so; and many believe that it is better to simply try to ‘push through’ anything ‘negative’.
      As Oddball said in ‘Kelly’s Heroes’, “Don’t hit me with those negative waves”.

    • Through my teaching I met a number of Asian families who found Vancouver, troublesome for many reasons, including the real-estate situation. Some of my best students and their families departed (for the US, or went back to Taiwan and Shanghai for example).

      You constantly make untenable generalizations, including race-baiting ones. See Sandy Garossino’s recent letter to the Courier.

      • staple of the f1 mo – amp up the paranoia that foreign hordes are buying up your homeland

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      Missed this one.

      Former Vancouverite
      April 11, 2012

      I lived in Vancouver for nearly five years. I’m Chinese — and I’d heard all about how racially diverse it was there. Thing is, I’m originally from Toronto…where multiculturalism flourishes more than it does in any other part of the country, I’d argue. So for me, the LACK of mixing amongst different cultural groups was shocking to me. There are ghettos of South Asians and Chinese people…and not a lot of collaboration between them all. Also, right outside of Vancouver there is a lot of racism. I am still amazed at the three off-duty Vancouver-area cops that were arrested for beating up and robbing a South Asian city of Vancouver worker a few years ago. They were yelling racial epithets at him while doing so. This is the darker side of Vancouver that few people ever talk about. Despite all the mixed marriages in the city, I never really felt like everyone just got along like they do (with some exceptions) in T.O.

    • Not sure that people “hate” the city. They just find it pretty unlivable compared to other places.

      Having lived in Vancouver for almost a decade, along with three other western Canadian cities and one city in California (and one on Germany, way back in the day), I can tell you that Vancouver is a nice place… but can be difficult to make a decent life in comparison to elsewhere.

  4. Obviously she isn’t willing and mature enough to realize that to live in the best place on Earth, she needs to sacrifice, that there is no free lunch anywhere. As for jobs, she never said what industry she works in and really, outside of government jobs, do French really matters in BC??

    She needs to suck up and realize how luck she is to be able to move to Vancouver any time she feels like. There are billions bangs on the door just waiting for that chance to come in!

    Seriously though, she has some points i agree with, others I don’t. However, I seriously doubt her post will be perceived as little more than a whiny i want it all but no hard working rant by a lot of true Vancouverites…

    • I think the REAL reason she’s leaving is she was deemed too ugly by the “Jock” and got dumped. She’s now feeling very bitter…and is now in denial.

    • Hi there.

      No, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I was aware of that from the start. I love And yes, Vancouver is very beautiful, and God I wish I could have stayed. I fell in love with it after 5 minutes of visiting it the first time. But the fact that after 6 months I couldn’t find a decent job (in my field, communications, or not my field, as a receptionnist or whatever I could do in an office) with my level of education and experience was what made me choose to leave in the end.

      Sure, this was a bit of a rant, and I wasn’t expecting it to get to this kind of proportion. However, given the amount of people who have commented with similar experiences and frustrations, I don’t think I’m an isolated “whiny” case.

      I make no claims to truth. I told my story. But it’s only mine.

      • Hi, just to be clear, I don’t actually mean your post is whiny. I do agree a lot with what you are saying. Unfortunately, for those Vancouverites who can’t possibly even entertain the thought that Vancouver is not BPOE or perfect (which seems to be a good majority of population of here), your post will come across as whiny rant and the fault is all yours, and really there is something wrong with you. Sad but true…..Vancouver is extremely concerned about her appearance and can’t bear the thought of anyone saying/think anything negative about it.

      • I noticed that–that’s something I might write about, actually, maybe from a more balanced perspective. There seems to be a “Cult of Vancouver”, especially strong since the Olympics, and it’s sacrilegious to criticize the city or its economy.

    • Didn’t sound whiney to me. I think this lady is just telling it like it is. She got priced out of the market by circumstances beyond her control. There is an income squeeze at play. If you are in a very low income range you can afford Vancouver because you will qualify for all kinds of subsidies including housing. If you are wealthy. Also no problem. The trouble starts when you are an average income earner paying the usual prescribed taxes with no eleigibility for any special benefits. That group, like Annabelle, are being pushed out of the city in search of greener pastures yet they are the usually the same demographic that starts families, drives most consumption and keeps the city youthful and energetic. It really is a shame.

  5. also from the comments section…

    “So I told my wife, no worries, I will start aiming higher, I have my Master’s, I’m proficient in French, I’m fluent in Spanish, it will be easy to find a job to plug some of the holes. Maybe we can even talk to the bank see if they will let us renew early to take advantage of low interest rates (HA! that was naive!) ONE YEAR AND SEVERAL APPLICATIONS LATER – nothing, nada, zilch”.

    wrong languages for Vancouver. I bet if this poster spoke Mandarin or Cantonese he’s have had that job in a heartbeat. Question to anyone wanting to remain in Vancouver and enrolling your child in French emersion…why?

    • 4SlicesofCheese

      What professional occupation gives pref to Canto/Mando speakers?

      Plz dont say realtor.

      • Customer service/support, sales, health care, education, CSIS, law enforcement etc etc – knowing Mandarin will be very helpful. If I or my wife were proficient in Mandarin, we would enrol our children in a Mandarin immersion when available (not knowing Mandarin makes us hesitant as we cannot help with homework).

        French is dead as a dodo in terms of economic opportunities – the Federal government posts that require it are there but it is tough for BC folks to get in when most of the gigs are back east.

      • “What professional occupation gives pref to Canto/Mando speakers”?

        anything in Vancouver. Finance/banking, health care, etc.
        Chinese have the money and their numbers in this city continue to grow…doesn’t take too many brain cells to figure this one out.
        If you’re moving to Ontario or Quebec learn French. If you want your kids to work for the Fed keep force feeding them French – btw, I hear they’re doing the complete opposite of recruiting.

        “Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is setting the stage for a clampdown on federal government spending under the newly elected government, that would include cutting the public service by 80,000 — or one-third”.

        But then there’s always CBC to work for…oops, not hiring either.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        I don’t know if Caucasian based companies give pref to Chinese speakers. But for sure Chinese speaking professionals do well for themselves.

        The scam system that we call family doctors is proof of that. Try to find Canto or Mand speaking family doctor that is accepting new patients that is not located in a mall is near impossible.
        Banks I can see preferring Chinese speakers, for their customer service positions.
        I really do not see CSIS or law enforcement preferring Chinese speakers.

      • I started noticing that as early as 2000 when a hiring manager interviewed and employed an immigrant before she physically landed in Vancouver, and at a starting salary 15k-20k more than her peers in IT network in the organization, Her CV stated MS certification plus years of work experience. It wasn’t after her firing manager and she were let go within a year, that I found out her undergraduate degree was history & Chinese literature.

      • of course the VPD wants cantonese and Mandarin speaking officers. Do you think they’re looking for French speakers when they state “second language skills is an additional asset”.
        And the same goes for health care in Vancouver/Richmond/Burnaby. VCH and FHA are so desperate for Chinese speakers that they’ll hire fresh grads for jobs meant for skilled professionals.

    • Asians can easily find jobs because they’ll take positions caucasians will never apply for (i.e. bookkeeping/clerks jobs, …) you know…low paying goffer/peon jobs reporting to spineless managers 😀

      • well, whatever they do, at the end of the month, they are happy to collect your rent check.

    • “Question to anyone wanting to remain in Vancouver and enrolling your child in French emersion…why?”

      To learn how to spell properly in at least one language.

    • I think Montreal is actually closer to Paris than Vancouver. If not, it is a close tie.

  6. I pretty much agree with everything written in her post. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I too have struggled with an addiction to a life in Vancouver over the years. I’ve been back and forth from Ontario since ’94.

    The geographical beauty – mountains, ocean, forests – is certainly a big reason that people love to move there from eastern Canada. However, in my own experience, the mountains don’t pay the bills and afford the type of lifestyle that you can get in other cities in Canada – at least without big sacrifices…sigh.

    At the end of the day, for me at least, it just wasn’t enough anymore. The sacrifices for natural beauty are just too great unfortunately. Remove the mountainous landscape and surrounding nature, and Vancouver is just another hole in the wall of a big city. And, there are cities that have way more to offer, without having to rely on a scenic backdrop (although I flipping love the scenic backdrop of Van).

    Kudos to anyone who can tough it out living in Van. I wish we could find a way to make it work. Unfortunately, an inflated real estate market is the final straw that will continue to keep us away indefinitely. 😦

  7. They also say: “And IF you get one of these rare jobs, the salaries are in no way high enough to support basic living. Vancouver’s minimum living wage is 18$, and that was almost 2 years ago. 18$ an hour is somewhere around 37K, 38k a year, BEFORE any taxes and deductions are taken. And that’s just basic survival. No car, no luxuries, probably no savings either. So what’s wrong with this picture? 18$ an hour is a lot, you say? Let’s see what else.”

    Yet they’ve given no indication whatsoever of their qualifications/experience. If they’re chasing $18/hr (well below the average) I’d guess they can’t have much of either. I find it hard to imagine what their expectations must have been like.

    • Actually, I stand corrected – she has posted her resume on the same site.

      • My expectations were reasonable–40K and above, a professional job with possibilities of advancement. I wasn’t looking for anything fancier than that. But those jobs were rare, and I applied to everything, inside and outside my field, below, at and above my experience level.

        Now I found this job here in Victoria, happily, and for more than my minimum. However, I do live with my partner, and together we can afford to live decently. Alone in Vancouver, I couldn’t, not if most of my 2000-net a month is going towards rent (I would have had to move out of where I was and go somewhere much more expensive.)

        And the average salary in Vancouver? According to this site (http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Location=Vancouver-British-Columbia/Salary), in something equivalent to what I’m doing (Marketing coordinator) is about exactly that, 40K.

        40K is NOT ENOUGH to live decently in Vancouver, not to my standards anyway. Maybe it’s that standard that biases my opinion, but if so, well, there isn’t much I can do about it. It’s just my opinion.

      • Anabelle -> Thanks for posting your thoughts here, too.
        We’d agree that it’s hard to “live decently” in Vancouver on gross 40K income.

      • My post has caused such a big stir that I’m not quite sure what to do with it. My personal experience of frustration and disappointment has turned into a standard bearer of everyone who’s been through the same thing. Or evidence that I’m stupid/not mature/undesirable/ugly. Or something.

  8. Anabelle — Pay no attention to the boor who said something about ugliness. People who say things like that only embarrass themselves. I’m not sure why a comment like that was allowed on this site, as it’s completely irrelevant and awfully rude.

    • You may want to re-read and reconsider the “ugly” comment that you condemn:
      “I think the REAL reason she’s leaving is she was deemed too ugly by the “Jock” and got dumped. She’s now feeling very bitter…and is now in denial.”

      My interpretation of this comment is that it is very definitely intended as an extension of the very metaphor that Anabelle herself created, namely that of her ‘relationship’ with a ‘vacuous Jock’ (Vancouver) … the comment is not about Anabelle’s actual appearance, but about the nature of her relationship with Vancouver, and the commenter is asking who is rejecting who. Whatever your opinion, the point is legitimately made.

      • Anabelle herself in a subsequent comment seemed to feel it might be an ad feminam comment about her appearance; I do understand it could be an extension of her own metaphor.

      • Yeah, we think the comment was misunderstood.

      • I admit that it’s a valid extension of my own metaphor–however in this case it felt a bit personal. I jump a little fast at those and I apologize.

      • No need for apologies; we can understand your reaction.
        Thanks again for your story.

  9. Anabelle, Your observations about our lack of friendliness and culture is something I hear a lot.
    Six years ago, I persuaded my Easterner wife to move here. I’m from here, and wanted to return home after being away for most of my adult life.
    The first thing she noticed is how, right away, here interactions with locals were insincere. Like when we left a grocery store, and some guy came up to us saying his car broke down. I asked a couple questions and figured him out. My wife didn’t clue-in and spent way to long trying to help him (short of giving him what he wanted, cash for drugs). I practically had to physically drag her away.
    I hate to say this, but in Vancouver, if someone approaches you in public they either openly begging (fair enough) or trying to scam you in some way. This is why us locals get standoffish. Now my wife has learned to be standoffish too.
    We also don’t communicate much because of all the language barriers. Failed immigration policy.

    • One of the coldest unfriendly places I’ve ever lived with almost zero professional opportunities if you are not Chinese or a rich prick.

    • I wouldn’t say that “interactions with locals were insincere”. There are way more homeless people, drug addicts and unhoused mental patients than the authorities care to admit. They can find some distractions now that ESL is free for all citizens and PRs.
      Sure there are friendly groups who offer their help to change your slashed tires right after you have drawn cash from the ATM and then rob you.
      Last week I was at Richmond’s Lansdown Mall. At the entrance to the parking lots I had to turn left, but before I could do so, a car sped past me on my left eating into the oncoming traffic lane … TO TURN LEFT simultaneously, When I was leaving, I witnessed a most ugly shouting scene at the carpark. A couple with young kids were getting into their car. Another car driver arrived and signaled to them with a short honk that she was taking the spot next to them. Instead of acknowledging the communication protocol, the couple flared in to ugly verbal abuse at her.

  10. Whoops, Canis comment should have been registered as coming from Epte.

    There have been some irrelevant comments on the blog recently about the appearance of various females which have struck me as unfortunate and irrelevant.

    • When you see them, please call them out… where appropriate we’ll edit them away. Unnecessary offensive comments are irrelevant to the subject at hand.

      • Thanks, Host, you are a gent.

        And I myself should apologize for leaping to label the poster of the “ugly” comment a boor. I have to say, as a writer I felt it was an unfortunate extension of Anabelle’s metaphor, but I’m sorry if I only added to the rudeness factor.

  11. Nice comment vreaa…btw…Kellys Heroes one of MATF’s……anothetr quote, ‘Oddball…..the bridge is there’………boooooom…..Oddball, ‘No it ain’t’………..bit like the ‘Big V’…..trying to constantly belive a lie is the truth will ALWAYS ‘come out’. There are so few REAL truths out there in a society with so many Chinese in it..(I hate the word ‘Asian’)…ALL the real wisom on the planet comes from China……how come so many of you FO’s didn’t bring it with you……’a humble boiled egg’

  12. SHE IS 100% RIGHT and only told the lighter side of things….
    This city is shit I was born and raised here……unless you cheat, play the game , sell your soul, you will be left with nothing but a disability check…….
    There are NO JOBS here…..

  13. wow this is really defeating. I mean, I am in LOVE with the natural beauty here, but I can’t find work! it’s ridiculous! I live in surrey and the job market seems horrendous. I’ve applied for about five months straight, and nothing. nada. it’s like you’ve got to be super cut throat to find that you’ve competed with hundreds of other sorry applicants. forget having credentials. really? this is sad. I want to believe that it’s possible to find a way to stay here, but the more time goes on, the more sad, lonely, desperate and lost I feel in this city…which feels absolutely awful as I left Toronto feeling the same way. What the hell kind of life are we supposed to live where your next meal is being paid by the service industry job that you abhor and can’t wait until you find your next soul sucking job? where are the JOBS other than the oil loving alberta? what the hell is wrong with this country?

  14. Pingback: “I am in LOVE with the natural beauty here, but I can’t find work! The more time goes on, the more sad, lonely, desperate and lost I feel in this city.” | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

  15. What kind of work are you looking for?You might have to take whatever is available and then apply to better jobs.You have to show you are working somewhere even if its a crappy job,so you can have references.Craigslist has lots of these jobs.

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