There’s nothing secret about how appealing Vancouver, BC is anymore, with it having come out on tops on several “most livable” cities lists. Still, it earns those honors for a reason, as the city is one of the most attractive in North America, and the infrastructure is well built out making it very easy to get around, even without a car.
Many people dream of one day moving to Vancouver, and many who can do the proper paperwork through the Canadian Embassy actually make the move. It’s a city of immigrants and newcomers, so it tends to be more welcoming than many similar large cities where breaking in can be complicated.
The vibe in Vancouver
The feeling in Vancouver combines some of the better elements of San Francisco along with the better elements of Seattle. Thanks to many hills and a gorgeous natural harbor, Vancouver offers stunning views even in some of the cheaper neighborhoods.
One thing that many people mention about Vancouver is its large and strong Asian community, and it’s very evident once you arrive. Interestingly, many, if not most, of the more recent Asian immigrants are rich business owners who came from Hong Kong or elsewhere in China, so there is plenty of high-end Asian food around, along with many fusion cuisines that experiment with Asian styles and ingredients.
Speaking of food, Vancouver is known as one of the world’s great restaurant cities. Reasonable rents along with an active urban dining community have meant that dozens of talented chefs have been able to set up smaller operations and charge affordable prices and still make a go of it.
Overall Vancouver has the feeling of a young and creative community, at least in the city itself. The suburbs go out nearly down to the US border, and those areas are more family-friendly and mostly quite a bit cheaper.
Cost of living in Vancouver
For many years Vancouver was a great bargain for those visiting from outside Canada, but now that the Canadian dollar and its American counterpart are more or less equal, Vancouver can be pricey in places. Real estate tends to be affordable compared to other west coast cities, even if it’s very expensive for Canada. Rents in the prime districts of the city start over $1,000 per month and go way up from there, but far cheaper places are available in districts nearby.
Generally, food and drink can be found in a wide range. Unlike most of Europe, you can find very cheap meals and drinks in Vancouver if you are willing to look around. And as mentioned above, even some of the best restaurants are reasonable, with meals starting over US$10.