“What’s REALLY Good About Vancouver?”

Vancouver is a fine city, let’s embrace it for its own considerable strengths. Here follows an account of things and qualities that many of us find really good about our city. It emphasizes features that have guts and soul and spirit, and those that are arguably of lasting value.
Suggestions for additions/alterations warmly welcomed, and given due consideration. The quotes in italics are from commenters.
This kind of endeavour, like the city itself, is invariably imperfect.
– vreaa

What’s REALLY Good About Vancouver?

1. The Rain
Large quantities of good, honest water that falls on our heads more days than not; bearing juicy air and verdant lushness. 
We live in a rainforest. Celebrate it; accept it.
“Nothing better than being in a cedar forest on the north shore during a rain storm.”

Did we mention the rain?

2. The Mild Weather
By Canadian standards. Seems contrary to (1) but, not so.
“Not actually needing to use a engine block heater is pretty nice. Not needing to breath through your nose in -30 degrees is also very good.”
“This was yesterday in Alberta. For many people that matters.”:

Not Vancouver

3. The Air
Clean! See (1).
“Scent of pine, fir, cedar with hint of salt air”

4. The Vistas; The Mountains
Clear day, from many vantage points around the city, mountains with or without snow, city below; stunning. Sometimes good with cloud, too.
View from Grouse Mountain (whether you choose to ride or grind).
Sunsets over the Burrard inlet, from various vantage points.
You don’t have to leave the city to leave the city.
“The splendour and diversity of the natural environment, and the way it interpenetrates the city.”
“It’s a dramatic panorama that I haven’t become tired of looking at.”

5. The Seawall; The Ocean
Kitsilano to Coal Harbour, especially the bit near the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
“I love walking around the seawall talking with a friend on misty nights in mid-winter when all the tourists are gone.”

6. Stanley Park; The Endowment Lands; The Trees
Wonderful trees, quiet paths, remarkably low traffic.
“I like that this big, public, tourist park has hidden seasons and palettes that feel like a spectacular secret, and that in such a busy city you can find quiet and solitude in there.”
“The intensity of the vegetation, the size and lushness of the trees.”

7. Easy Access to Outdoor Activities and Wilderness
Sit, Walk, Hike, Run, Bike, Blade, Climb, Paddle, Sail, Ski, Board (Snow & Skate)
“The ability to step from the urban environment into true wilderness.”

8. Beaches
English Bay; Kits Beach; Jericho; Spanish Banks; Wreck Beach
For hanging out when the sun shines, more than for swimming.

9. Kits Pool

137m of saltwater, in the rain

10. “Walkability/Rideability”; The Traffic
It’s actually easy and pleasant to get around.
The Canada Line: a great start
‘Traffic’ may seem a controversial item, but you can indeed travel in or on a vehicle, across town and back, during business hours, most days, with ease.
The Seabus to Lonsdale Quay

11. City Parks; Street Trees
200 parks; 130,000 street trees

12. Buildings
Marine Building; Hotel Europe; Dominion Building; Sylvia Hotel
Gastown facades
Museum of Anthropology
The Grace
The ‘tree-on-top’ building near English Bay

The Marine Building

13. Art
Art in public places
Vancouver Art Gallery
Art walks; Culture crawl; Commercial galleries; “Hidden galleries”
The Western Front
Emily Carr school annual shows

‘229.5 ARC X5’ by the French artist Bernar Venet, at Vanier Park

14. The Museum of Anthropology

15. Delicious Food; Good Restaurants
[Too many to mention. Imagine your own three favourite restaurant names here]
“The variety and deliciousness of much of the Asian food, the excellence of some of the high-end restaurants.”
“Fulfilling an almost depraved affinity to HK-style diners”

16. Different Neighbourhoods; Cafe Culture; Easy Urban Living
Parts of Davie, Commercial, Main, Gastown, Kits, East Van, other.
Hanging out.
“I love the chaos of Davie Street at night, and the weird festival grinning-atmosphere that it gets when it’s NOT fireworks or Canucks or soccer.”

17. “Relative Tolerance”
“For the most part, we get along.”

18. Music; Music venues
The Railway Club
The Orpheum; The Commodore; The Vogue
The Vancouver East Cultural Centre
The Chan Centre; Vancouver Recital Society; VSO
The Vancouver Folk Festival

19. Movie houses
Cinematheque; The Rio; The York (will reopen); The Ridge (will die?); The Dunbar; Many comfortable new vanilla theatres

20. VIFF
The Film Festival
“It’s not a red carpet affair and all the directors, actors, writers and producers who come here seem to be genuinely interested in talking to the audience.”

21. Comedy; Improv; Poetry slams
Dozens of venues

22. The Vancouver Aquarium
Belugas; Dolphins; Jellyfish
“That one seal that seems to recognize us every time we visit”

23. Granville Island
Especially on Canada Day, with ‘The Carnival Band
The Aquabus around False Creek

24. Cherry blossoms; Rhododendrons; Gardens; Gardening

25. Wildlife
The Crows; Bald Eagles; Coyotes; Bear

“I love watching our crows commute at sunset from all over the region, a ribbon that floats east for the night and confounds researchers because they don’t know why Vancouver crows should be so sociable.”

26. Some really good stuff has been made here…
William Gibson (writer), Jeff Wall (photographer), Douglas Coupland (writer), Arthur Erickson (architect), Jack Shadbolt (painter), Emily Carr (painter), Fred Herzog (photographer), Eric Metcalfe (painter), Jerry Pethick (artist), Joe Average (artist), Attila Richard Lukacs (painter), Veda Hille (musician), The New Pornographers (band), Dan Mangan (musician), David Newberry (musician), Etienne Zack (painter), The Carnival Band (marching band), others

Photo by Fred Herzog, 1958.

27. Character; Grit
“The tawdriness of the PNE, Hastings Racecourse, and the Pacific Coliseum.”
“The rough-and-tumble nature of the old port city/resource town.”

28. Nostalgia/Eccentricity/Quirkiness
“An interesting subculture; a renewed hope that the eccentricity of Vancouver continues.”
“I miss the older couple that used to have a Museum of the World on Main St. Anyone remember them? They didn’t have kids, the said, but spent the money on traveling; and when they were older hung pictures of all their adventures and invited the world to come visit them. You’d go in and get tea and a cookie and just walk around looking at their collection.”
“The quirkiness of a significant number of the residents.”
“Anybody remember the lady who used to walk her dressed up goose in a baby-carriage around Granville?”

Time Top, by Jerry Pethick

29. The Potential
“The still-evolving nature of the city. Its lack of establishment.”

Thanks thus far to the following commenters, whose suggestions were incorporated, disguised, and/or ignored: Nemesis, terminalcitygirl, Renters Revenge, pretzels, jesse, BLM, rp1, Absinthe, RE Lurker, chubster, Aldus Huxtable, Paul Streppel, Froogle Scott, epte.


83 responses to ““What’s REALLY Good About Vancouver?”

  1. those crows knows … have a spectacular day 🙂

  2. Situationroom

    Proximity to Whistler

    Best in World Mtn biking

  3. 1. A fine summary. But, with a handful of exceptions, this list applies to any one of dozens of coastal B.C. communities (where RE prices are not absurdly overpriced). Yes, Vancouver has a more-diverse culinary scene. It also has more traffic and crime. We can debate the finer details; the point is that the bulk of the attributes here are not unique to Vancouver.

    2. This list could have been written in 1950 and it would have been pretty much as accurate as it is today. The show hasn’t changed. What HAS changed is the price of admission, thanks to cheap credit and massive speculation.

    Vancouver is nice, and always has been. The question is, is it 11x times income nice?

    P.S. Crows? Really?

    • Fair comments, but, remember, the point is to ask, regardless of ‘price of admission’, what is indeed good about vancouver.

      • Vreaa, respectfully, to what end? Sure, Vancouver is nice in some ways. So was Phoenix in 2006. There are lots of nice things in the world, doesn’t mean you’re going to go out and buy them.

        Price is all-important. Without it, one cannot determine value. Without value, the discussion is hollow.

        Could this be some sort of cleansing of the conscience? I hope not. The negative sentiment that is expressed on this blog is entirely justified: Vancouver is NOT the BPOE, and the city’s virtues do NOT support current RE prices.

      • El Ninja – > Fair comments and questions:
        No, this exercise is most definitely not a “cleansing of the conscience”; I see absolutely no need for any acts of contrition, and stand by everything previously written here. Nothing has changed regarding our position on the speculative mania.
        Vancouver is terribly overpriced, and the city has been deleteriously affected by the crippling housing bubble (and will now have to go through the consequences of price implosion, with it’s broad effects on the economy and the community). It is definitely NOT the BPOE, as we have repeatedly written; and, we agree completely, its “virtues do NOT support current RE prices.”
        BUT, given all that, what exactly IS Vancouver?
        What is intrinsically good about it?
        We don’t think it’s “hollow” to try to answer that question.
        In fact, doing so may help to clarify ones thinking about the whole picture.

      • In respect to the main issue here, being about what qualities truly determine what is “good” about a city, and how to determine the “value” of what is good- I think the both of you, El Ninja and vreaa, are missing eachother’s points. I should mention that my own idealism gravitates towards vreaa, and that is because there is a fundamental difference between “cost” and “value”. El Ninja, what you seem to be implying is that “cost” is a direct symbol for the “value”, when really, that is not what dictates the “value” of something.

        Value takes many different factors into consideration, so while price may be important, as it is with all of us because we simply cannot afford to throw money to the wind, one may still cherish something no matter the price; if one were to receive a gift from a friend that only cost but a few dollars, or if you were to be given something for free- the sentiment in itself may give that “something” value beyond the price, thus people often cherish objects as though they were priceless when they might easily be found in any old gift shop.

        The question that is presented in this article asks us to observe Vancouver in a peculiar light- seeing not the cost of any of its attributes, nor the average qualities of any other city, but those things that make it truly unique, and could be seen as “priceless” in value. What is truly a shame is that you think price to dictate value, when price is chosen by the seller and value is chosen by the buyer. I think that it is hollow to hold on to such a thought, that you cannot cherish anything without first seeing the cost, and that you cannot find any value in things unless they are expensive, which is what this thought implies.

        There are things in life that are beyond a price-tag, and many of these things can be had for free, whether it is memories and experiences, or the truly important sentimental value. As a whole, I think Vancouver truly does have certain majesty to it, and such qualities that are beyond a price-tag, so you would do well to see it in such a light as we do.

  4. Good stuff

    Kits pool? Oh well… 😦

    • Kits pool, certainly.
      Dawn; Muskets; 20 paces.

      • I love Kits pool, was more sad that Vancouver’s outdoor pools are going dodo, in part due to shrinkage… of the school-age population.

      • As you can tell, I misunderstood your comment. Ooops.
        Kits pool, of course, used to be a giant tidal pool. It’s still filled with seawater early in the season, then topped up with fresh through the summer.
        Thus, if you swim there regularly, you gradually sink deeper underwater through the season.
        And yes, shrinkage of school age population is cause for 😦

      • Re saltwater dilution. I did not know that.

        Some fun pictures in the City of Vancouver archives of Kits pool from previous generations.

  5. Excellent photos and list here.

    I’d like to add a few things that come to mind:

    1). Pristine, uncommercialized, accessible harbour — well done!
    2). No highway through the middle of town — remember, Vancouver, you CAN “fight the powers that be” to preserve your city!
    3). Gardens like I’ve never seen in any other city.
    4). Beautifully planted roundabouts maintained by local citizens.
    5). Relative safety and low crime.
    6). Jericho Beach on a sunny, windy day.
    7). UBC library holdings.
    8). The Chan Centre.
    9). BC Ballet (it’s back).
    10). The Vancouver Recital Society.
    11). Permanent Vancouver exhibits at the Vancouver Museum.
    12). Proximity to Gulf Islands.
    13). Denman Island Chocolates, Gone Crackers crackers, Rocky Mountain Flatbread pizza, Phnom Penh Restaurant Cambodian salad rolls.
    14). The Goh Ballet “Nutcracker.”
    15). Sun Yat-Sen Gardens.
    16). Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
    17). McLeod’s Used and Rare Books.
    18). The Vancouver Public Library.
    19). Vancouver Folk Festival.
    20). Vancouver Early Music Festival.
    21). Pacific Baroque Orchestra.
    22). Bald eagles visible around town.
    23). Paucity of mosquitos.
    24). Green College, UBC.

  6. Honestly after you talk about nature you quickly run thin…

    Quebec city has all that, plus (for real) fine cuisine, art culture, all kind of festivals end events, not to mention much more character and very low unemployment.

    All that for a fraction of the price…

  7. Beautiful imagery and words, would love to see a flip side post on “what’s really bad about vancouver”. Drugs and homelessness would be up there for me.

  8. 4SlicesofCheese

    Almost everyone gets to live in million dollar houses?

  9. 30. Conclusion, BPOE

    • Definitely not! (was your comment intentionally playful?)
      Note that, apart from Mild Weather (“by Canadian standards”), the list attempts to avoid any comparisons with other places, rather focusing on that which is intrinsically good about Vancouver.

  10. thanks for the Monday morning pick up vreaa. Can’t argue with your list. When you get past the high housing costs and the rain Vancouver really is the best place on earth. And for those that already have their housing costs licked and want to remain in Canada without any winter season…there isn’t any other place to be.

    • “Without any winter season”. That one takes the cake!

    • formula1 -> “…Vancouver really is the best place on earth.”


    • f1 = sometimes useful pedagogic tool … every city has good-to-bad ratio … and vancouver HAD a pretty good one (though forest for trees, took me a while to see) … the high housing cost/price (your words) messes that up … the city pays for its ‘house wealthiness’ in many ways beyond the simple monetary … this is the seed of most bear rants … prices going back to something ‘more normal’ rather than ‘new normal’ will do much to restore … people are a hyper adaptive technology

      • chubster,

        This is what I’m getting at. If you have your housing already Vancouver really is a wonderful place to live. Because I own my home Vancouver HAS an excellent good to bad ratio

      • @f1 … some can have their housing – being longtimers, i’d count many i know among them – but the community on balance does not … so it isn’t going to work … the only way you can have those house prices and have it work is … if there really is enough really great … work 😮

    • “when you get past the…”

      I couldn’t have typed it better myself. Thanks for everything.

  11. Love this list! It’s really easy to just focus on the things that you don’t like, presumably the RE bubble being one of them. But if you live here, why not focus on some of the great things, that make your day to day life enjoyable?
    I’ll put my hand up for the crows as well. Like most natural wonders, they are more amazing the more attention you give to them.

  12. Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

    Respectfully, although I agree that these are all good qualities of Vancouver, I don’t think this needs any more attention. My opinion is that the corporate media and the real estate industry have done more than enough to identify the positive aspects of Vancouver. I grew up in Vancouver and I know that it has some excellent qualities. But these have been oversold by the property developers. I like to come to RE bear blogs for some counterbalance to all the BPOE propaganda I get bombarded with on a daily basis. So if this were my blog, I wouldn’t have headlined this anecdote celebrating the positive aspects of Vancouver. I can get that in the mainstream media and then some.

    In fact, I think this blog should headline an anecdote about all the things that suck about Vancouver, besides the high housing costs:

    -shallow, real estate-obsessed populace
    -almost endless rain
    -lack of real snow in the winter (I actually like snow–and a climate with seasons, including a real winter and a real summer–not mild and bland weather all year long)
    -if you don’t like Asian food, the low-end to mid-priced restaurants are terrible here (eating out options are way better in Edmonton, Toronto–in my opinion)
    -balkanized urban governments: 21 separate municipalities make up Metro Vancouver (very difficult for land use planning, governance, policing, unfair taxation results–City of Vancouver taxpayers subsidize the suburanites who come downtown to party and go to parks in Vancouver but don’t pay for the clean up and maintenance)
    -concentration of media ownership larger than other cities, as one media company controls the TV news and newspapers, blatant propaganda passes for news (this is true everywhere, but it’s off the charts here)
    -transit system that is poorly planned and doesn’t make sense (expo line should have gone along Kingsway instead of a few blocks south of it; Millenium Line should have gone along Hastings instead of Lougheed–in TO the subways all follow major thoroughfares with population density and shops nearby–our lines go through vast areas of green space and industry, and when you do get into the populated city the skytrain is far more limited–nothing west of Cambie)
    -virtually no public washrooms (what world class city doesn’t have public washrooms in its major subway stations!?!)
    -there are two major universities: one is located in a wealthy enclave on the tip of a peninsula and the other is on top of a mountain; both universities have accessibility challenges given their locations; no universities downtown (shocking for such a major city)
    -earthquake risk (it’s only a matter of time before we get a 9.0 subduction zone mega earthquake–these are the most destructive earthquakes and the shaking goes on for several minutes–expect major death and destruction)
    -potential target for a North Korean nuclear attack (I risk losing my credibility with this one, but think about it: North Korea is developing nuclear missiles; North Korea hates the USA; as North Korean nuclear missile technology develops further they may reach a point when they are capable of launching such a missile to the west coast of North America–Vancouver is closer to North Korea than any of the American west coast cities like Seattle, Portland, SF, LA–it would be easier for them to hit us than the American cities because we are closer)

    • NK nuke probably couldn’t pop corn … ic-bm/cm?… geez, bring it on … however, the nuke xerox option – per v-ed., ‘now that’s a knife!’ … more signals, from other big dog this time …
      Noda Says Japan May Intervene Alone
      — Japanese Prime Minister Noda doesn’t rule out Tokyo taking unilateral action to stem yen’s rise
      — Noda stops short of saying whether currency now over-valued
      — Noda calls on BOJ to fight not just deflation, but also strong yen
      — Says European debt crisis biggest risk factor for Japan economy

      … meanwhie … http://tinyurl.com/45tkuum

  13. I saw the duck lady with baby carriage still working recently – I think last summer. I was happy to see her – when I was working as a barista on Robson St. in the 90s, she was part of the colourful neighbours. You’d pay a few bucks and her duck would “pick a fortune” for you, and if you were lucky, the fortune would have $20- rolled into it. I think she was told off for running gambling a few times, but kept at it for years was making a decent living. I think, eventually, the $20- giveaway was what got her in trouble.

    All the visitors I had come stay had to have a fortune with the duck lady, (all pretty silly), and a good friend has a beautiful professional picture of her getting a duck’s fortune by a local photographer.

    ( For street theatre there’s also, of course, the “Hey howya doin’?” harmonica guy. And back in the 90s when I was on Robson all the time, there was also the Street Jesus who wore long robes and carried a grail; the guy who couldn’t juggle but would ‘pretend’ to; and the guy we called “Dirty Elvis” – he’d walk around with a boombox playing Elvis tunes in a shiny satin bomber jacket and sing along substituting the word “sex” into random lyrics. “Same sex number… same sex zone…” )

    • Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

      I used to work on Robson Street in the 90s. I remember the duck lady, and the Jesus guy (you are a TRUE Vancouverite…haven’t talked to one in a long time!!!), and the harmonica guy (I can’t believe he’s still going!!!)

      The harmonica guy’s name is James.

      • James! Right!
        I was working at the Blenz at Bute/Robson then. Not 100% Vancouverite –
        I was born in Ontario but my father moved this way when my parents split – so I was here off and on. Did one year of elementary. I loved how funky/crazy Vancouver was. I remember going back to Ontario and explaining the weird politics, the coffeehouses … the lack of pretension. Hah! IN those days, to my eye, Toronto was the money- and- prestige town; and Ottawa was a lovely family place: Vancouver was frizzy and moldy and goofy and passionate.

    • Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs

      There’s actually a Jesus guy in Surrey now. He rides down King George Highway in a scooter. Given the crazy drivers and the thick traffic, I’m amazed he doesn’t get hit by cars. More evidence that Surrey is the new Vancouver.

    • Every city has its characters, Vancouver certainly has its share but to be honest it’s not the reason I would choose to stay in Vancouver; IMO most of the city’s character is borne by those who don’t stand out.

      It is an interesting observation, is Vancouver just somewhere to go to feel better about ourselves, or to feel inspired and do something.

      • Ah, Vancouver’s characters are why I loved this city so much for so long.That there are are fewer of them per capita is what depresses me. To me, that’s the signal: the people washing up and down the main drag with Holt bags draped over their forearms are the noise.

        I find inspiration in any person doing their thing – whether Harmonica Guy or Duck Lady or the Museum of the World couple or more well known artists like Joe Average or Ivan Coyote or local entrepreneurs, organizations, and activists. So I hope your idea of “feel better about ourselves” doesn’t refer to those folks in a disparaging way! They’re the city I fell in love with – I was coming from colder climes, and characters of the city were less present in the streetscape.

      • ” I hope your idea of “feel better about ourselves” doesn’t refer to those folks in a disparaging way”

        No, Absinte of course it wasn’t but it’s like any other city, we get people on the streets, observing but rarely interacting in meaningful ways. Paris is renowned for this but has, to its credit, produced some decent legacies of thought and creation.

        If the scape inspires greatness then fine, otherwise what’s the point? It’s a general question, but one against which Vancouver will be continually tested.

  14. Since I used to live in Seattle, let me make a few comparisons:

    (1)-(4): same
    (5): I agree the seawall is great. Seattle’s downtown harborfront is not as nice. But Seattle has ocean too. And Alki Beach is pretty nice.
    (6)-(8): pretty much same
    (9): no comment.
    (10): I agree that traffic here is not too bad, and the Canada line / Skytrain are pretty good. But, other than the I actually wouldn’t mind having larger freeways running through town. Except for the times of high congestion, the Seattle freeways are very useful.
    (12)-(13): seems pretty much same to me (I’m not an expert on these things)
    (14): no comment.
    (15): Restaurants. Here’s where I definitely agree. Vancouver’s restaurants clearly outshine many cities of comparable size, especially for asian cuisine.
    (16)-(17): same
    (18)-(21): no comment.
    (23): Granville Island is nice, but it’s annoying to get to. Pike Place is pretty comparable.
    (24)-(25): pretty much same.
    (26): no comment.
    (27)-(29): pretty much same.

    It’s interesting to ponder why one would choose to come to Vancouver over Seattle…

    • Seattle is indeed different from Vancouver, not necessarily better or worse, but definitely different.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Yes Jeff, I was aware of the previous years numbers as well as the decrease for 2011. Nice omission from F1.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        oops meant to be commenting on thread below.

    • “It’s interesting to ponder why one would choose to come to Vancouver over Seattle…”

      that’s an easy one Jeff. If you’re immigrating you can’t live in Seattle permanently – only temporary residency to a total of 5 yrs (up from 6 mos). If you choose Canada we’ll give you landed immigrant status in exchange for your cash.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        I am pretty sure the majority of immigrants are not using the investor immigrant pipeline.

      • “I am pretty sure the majority of immigrants are not using the investor immigrant pipeline”.

        just the ones with money – isn’t that the problem? We just want our immigrants to be poorer than us 😉

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        “just the ones with money – isn’t that the problem?”‘

        The ones with money are a drop in the buyer pool bucket. Local buyers matter.

        “We just want our immigrants to be poorer than us ;)”

        Um no, stop putting words in my mouth.

      • you think that the 4000 investor immigrants from Quebec, the 5500 BC immigrant Investors and the share of Federal investors that come to Vancouver has little effect on the detached market?
        I’m not talking about the sheer number of immigrants 4slices – I’m talking about the wealth of the large number of investor immigrants and their effect on the housing market.


      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Where do you get 5000 for bc from?

        The 4000 that leave Quebec go to Vancouver OR Toronto.

        You assume they all come to Vancouver.
        You also assume they all buy SFH. I would not deny they are coming. But they are not the main reason for the price appreciation.

      • “But they are not the main reason for the price appreciation.”

        partly correct. Investor immigrants are not the reason for price appreciation in the condo and attached segment. They are most definitely the main reason for the rise in detached values.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        So where did you get the number 5000 for BC from?
        They capped the federal program to 700 so how significant is that moving forward.

      • F1 is right about the 5000 to BC. Check out Table 3a:

        Click to access PopulationHighlights2011Q4.pdf

        >5k in 2008, 2009, 2010. Decreased to 3800 in 2011.

        The restriction to 700 is only Federal Investor Immigrants. AFAIK, it does not affect Provincial Nominees.

      • The Quebec provincial nominee program is in the federal government’s crosshairs. I don’t think it will last long in its current state without some modifications.

      • 4SlicesofCheese

        Yes Jeff, I was aware of the previous years numbers as well as the decrease for 2011. Nice omission from F1.

  15. Forgot to add on the “What’s Good” list — the BC Cancer Agency! Now they’re world-class. Host, will you consider incorporating this? If it weren’t for them, I (and many others in the city) wouldn’t be here.

    • I mean we’d be dead, not in Moose Jaw or something.

    • epte -> Great to hear (that you’re ‘here’, in all senses of the word).
      Yes, the BC Cancer Agency is a very good service, but, with all respect to your suggestion, we wouldn’t consider including aspects of our health care on the list. It’s good, with some very good patches, but that’s what we’d pretty much expect.

      We’ll leave jokes about the difference between being dead and being in Moose Jaw to others.

      • MooseJaw is still working on the ‘Art’ thang… but they’re making progress.


      • Ok, Host. (The BCCA truly is “world class.”)

        Nem — LOL at the megamoose! Many thanks.

      • epte -> Like you, individuals close to me have also benefited from our medical care, and I respect it as being good, but it’s not one of the things i’d particularly list about Vancouver as being good.
        Please don’t take my decision as dismissive!

      • epte, also glad to have you here.

        BC Healthcare seems pretty good, better than what I’ve experienced in some other parts of Canada. But I’ve also had superb healthcare in Seattle.

        Healthcare might make me pick Vancouver over Moose Jaw, but it would not be a distinguishing factor when comparing to a mid-sized US city.

      • No, Host, I didn’t take what you said as dismissive at all, no worries!

        Thanks Jeff and Chubster, good to be in your company too.

    • ++ good to ‘here’

    • Have to say the medical care in BC, despite its warts, has its moments. +1 for all your doctorbs and other HCP/HCWs who I know are reading this.

  16. Ironic that pretty much any where else in BC Vancouver is considered shit tier. Victoria is much nicer, but who needs the city anyway?

  17. Thanks for this post VREAA…was getting more than a little tired of all the Vancouver bashing, especially the “I hate Vancouver but I want to buy a house here” nonsense. But still some people have to argue the good stuff. Grow a set and MOVE already! I love living here, I love renting here, and maybe someday I will love buying a nice little SFH here. And yes, I have lived in many other parts of the world and have a decent IQ. Was out on my new cruiser today by the beach and couldn’t stop grinning. LOVE Vancouver!

  18. Froogle Scott

    In a comment last July I ventured that “Vancouver is a good-enough city in a world-class natural setting”. I could expand on that by saying Vancouver, pre-Expo 86, was an interesting and largely unselfconscious regional city, unique in some really appealing ways, in a stunning natural setting, with some pretty good deals to be had in the housing market. A quarter century later, the stunning natural setting is still with us, although we continue to chip away at it, but the city has become more homogenous and self-conscious, and we all know about the real estate. Is Vancouver worth the current valuations? Of course not — we’re in a massive bubble.

    Today I was wondering, does money tend to smooth out difference? Does a certain level of affluence in the core city suppress, or banish, the quirkiness and slightly unprofessional look of a blue-color resource town? Which I suppose is a way of asking, is money boring?

    -> pbrasseur “Honestly after you talk about nature you quickly run thin…”

    I don’t completely agree, but I’d concede you have a point. However, the nature here is pretty thick. For many, it’s all they need to feel fulfilled. It interests them more than nightlife, or galleries, or Fortune 500 companies. It nourishes them more. Much depends on who a person is, and what they value.

    • If you first come to Vancouver as an adult, with experience of other places, you realize fairly quickly that this is a place where peoples’ attentions are largely drawn away from the city… to the mountains, the ocean, the islands.
      And, because the natural surrounds are beautiful, and because this ‘focus away’ is the prevailing ethos, the city seems to attract an ‘enriched sample’ of individuals with a similar approach.
      This would be a ‘challenge’ if one wanted the city to be anything other than what it is.

      And, yes, we agree that ready money tends to homogenate the populous; their thoughts, their habits, their habitats, their appearances.

    • money/wealth is just people … so there are all kinds … depends on the kind you got

  19. Just got to this. If there are few opportunities for career advancement, everything else is rendered moot. I will retire in Vancouver happily, but I could never work in the city nor raise my family there due to this fact.

  20. If you have tons of cash, Vancouver is likely a great place to hang out. If you’re just struggling to get by, having moved here from somewhere else and at the mercy of Translink, then you might end up not enjoying the experience. The unfortunate thing about Vancouver is that it IS a very clic-ish city, and outsiders are not let into established social groups. This means that if you were born and raised here, you will have your group of friends from childhood; you probably won’t seek more friends. People just don’t connect in this place, and the 10-month dreariness doesn’t help. No sunshine for almost 10 months, raining, dark and cold…is “rain-forest” a euphemism for “dung-hole?” They’re both wet and dark, except that dung is at least warm 😐

  21. Moved from Montreal to Vancouver, stayed six years, (and as requested by many commenters: got-the-hell-out-cause- I-didn’t-like-it), moved out to Ottawa. In each city I had a job waiting at 90K range.

    Mere mortals could not afford housing in Vancouver even back in 2004. House was fully paid off in Montreal, even with that equity we realized we were going to have the largest mortgage ever. With wife and three kids. living in a condo was not considered, so we moved a litlle east of the city- Pitt Meadows, commuted into Vancouver for work. Wife gradually found self employmen accounting- in small businesses locally. Loved the views, hiking with kids in the mountains, crossing to Victoria by ferry.

    Shocked by real estate prices. Stunned by the cost of everything else. Couldn’t believe that salaries in general here were Lower than Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Where in Vancouver would someone bring up a couple of kids on 60k? Where did the 35k salaries live? Was not impressed by the theatre and music scene. Good Chinese food, and Indian food, but otherwise, Vancouver does not hold a candle to Toronto/Montreal/Ottawa. Only place that made real bagels seemed to be Granville Island. Drove down Hastings st one day. Remarkably like NYC of the seventies, down and dangerous.

    Was slightly depressed by weeks and weeks of cloudy days. Missed the changing of the seasons . I love a sunny cold winter day, so bright with the sun reflecting snow. Came to realize that there were no advancement opportunities in my industry. (Like most other Vancouver industries, only a branch office in town.) A survey of some neighbours’ professions: Two teachers, one small business owner, four retired.
    Realized that there would be nothing for my kids to do once they hit teenage years in Pitt Meadows. Take a 1.5 hour bus ride to see a band downtown? If would be a pain for them to go to either UBC or SFU.
    And where would they live as adults? Love my kids, but after a degree, you’re out. Didn’t see a future for them here .

    Moved to Ottawa. Housing is aprox 1/3 the Vancouver cost. We live 20 minutes drive from downtown and Parliament buildings – in traffic. Oldest attends Carleton U, also about 20 minutes away, by bus. High school is 4 minute walk for other two. We lucked out at Canterbury high.
    Unknown to us when we moved here, it’s the city’s premier arts school. Incredibly motivated kids apply toattend Canterbury from all of eastern Ontario. We happened to move into it’s catchment area.
    Ottawa has Carleton U and Ottawa U. Montreal (1.5 hour drive.) has Mcgill and Concordia U, if the kids want to adventure out to another city and/or immerse themselves in french language.
    Ottawa has virtually no reports of grow-up busts, unlike west coast.
    Ottawa has NAC, and host of other theatres. many museums, byward market. Rideau canal has pleasure boating in summer, and becomes world’s longest skating rink in winter. Hiking and cycling, cross country sking in Gatineau park is great. Montreal is 1.5 hours drive with major Jazz/music fest. Manyof those acts come to Ottawa the week before or after.

    Kids still facebook old buddies from the Pitt. Several bored buddies are serious dopers, dropped out, etc. We’ll go back to Vancouver to visit, but never to live.

  22. I hate vancouver

    Vancouver, what a piece of shit city. Flush twice

  23. I have to do a project on neg/pos points on Vancouver. Any negatives you can share?

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