Both residents and visitors can agree: there are MANY reasons to love Vancouver. Although no one on Team TC hails from BC’s most populous city—and, three winters in, I still don’t feel resident enough to employ the nickname “Raincouver” in group settings—all of us now proudly call the city “home”. Our willingness, even eagerness, to claim Vancouver as our own is the result of a mixed bag of features; as you’ll learn below, the city really does have something for everyone. Although locals remain fairly divided on the Canucks (same story in our office) one thing is certain: Vancouver seems to have an almost gravitational pull that convinces otherwise small-town folk to embrace The Big Smoke. Keep reading for Team TC’s favourite things about Vancouver and what makes it feel like home.
1) How long have you lived here? Do you consider Vancouver "home”?
Darryl: I definitely consider Vancouver my home now. It’s amazing how time flies, but I’ve been here for almost 8 years. I’ll always consider Prince George to be the place I grew up, but Vancouver’s my home.
Graham: Absolutely! I moved to Vancouver for university in September 2010—almost 8 years!
Jess: I do consider Vancouver [and the Great Vancouver Area] home; I grew up in the burbs and have never lived too far away. I’ve been in the city for 2.5 years.
Lauren: I’m surprised to admit that Vancouver does feel like home, even though I haven’t lived here all that long—3.5 years.
2) How is Vancouver different from where you grew up?
D: Size is an obvious one...there’s usually a pretty drastic difference between a big city and a small town and I think a lot of those difference are the same in any country. Small towns typically have a much slower pace of life, friendly people, simpler living. A bigger city like Vancouver has a lot of things I didn’t have growing up: amazing restaurants, bars, breweries, shopping, professional sports, a major airport, public transit, diverse cultures, opportunity. With all the pluses, though, there are definitely drawbacks; the cost of living is a pretty major one. I loved growing up in Prince George, but am absolutely happy to be in the bigger city now as an adult.
G: There are definitely more differences than similarities! Vancouver is much more populated, diverse, and international than my hometown. I love that it still holds on to some core Canadian values like hockey but I’ve been exposed to new foods and cultures that I never would’ve been had I not decided to move across the country! My favourite difference? The mountains!
J: Vancouver is VERY different from Maple Ridge…there’s always more happening in the city, so you can never be bored! Plus, having the ocean in our backyard is pretty awesome.
L: Other than size, Vancouver is really diverse compared to where I grew up. It’s refreshing to be exposed to things/people/ideas that you aren’t used to and that challenge you in different ways. Oh, and the traffic.
3) What do you love about living here?
D: I think anyone who visits Vancouver, even for a long weekend, can understand the city’s appeal. There are the obvious things like having the ocean and mountains so close. It’s no doubt a cliché, but you go 20 minutes out of the city and you’re surrounded by nature; that’s tough to beat. The mild weather certainly helps (mild for Canada at least) and you definitely get used to the rain. Being only a ferry ride away from Vancouver Island is nice; I love to spend time in Tofino and it’s only a few hours away. I love all the food and drink in Vancouver, too. I’ll never get tired of all the options.
G: For me, it’s the perfect mix between big city and the outdoors! You can go from work downtown to the top of a mountain in 30 minutes or less. There’s also an ample amount of activities to keep you busy outdoors! Three weeks ago, I played golf in the morning then went snowboarding in the afternoon—how cool is that? We’re also blessed with some of the world’s best beer…and I’m very okay with that.
J: Running on the Seawall! Being so close to it makes it so easy to enjoy regularly. I also love how I can literally walk from one end of downtown to the other in less than 30 minutes! The food scene is pretty important to me, too…there are definitely more options here than out in the burbs!
L: Even though Vancouver is a big city, each neighbourhood has its own unique amenities and distinct community feel. I live in Mount Pleasant and my hairdresser, gym, favourite bookstore, and go-to coffee shop are all within a five-minute walk. That is so not something I was expecting when I moved here.
4) Since none of us are actually from here, what makes Vancouver feel like "home"?
D: I moved around so much in my late teens and 20s that I felt like I really didn’t have a home base during those years. I spent semesters in Victoria when I was at uni, but always left to travel or work during my time off. Just thinking about it now, Vancouver’s the longest I’ve lived in the same place my entire life. Even as a kid we moved a decent amount, so maybe that’s why Vancouver feels so much like home. Other than that, I feel it’s the first place I really put roots down…met and married my wife, bought a house, and will grow a family :).
G: It’s a different sense of home, for sure! Since so many people have adopted Vancouver as their home I feel like there's a relatability factor among many of us—we’re all here to take advantage of everything this beautiful city has to offer!
J: Having family members and close friends from my hometown living here definitely helps. As a child, some of my fondest memories took place in Vancouver…so even though I’m always finding new corners of the city to explore, it’s nice to have those familiar spots, too!
L: Tons of people use Vancouver as a launch pad for travel or as a weekend destination so there’s never a shortage of familiar faces visiting for the night or weekend (thank goodness for that second bedroom!). Also, to Graham’s point, so many people in Vancouver are from somewhere else. It creates a sense of relatability—“we’re all in this together”—that seems unique to this city.
5) What is one piece of advice you’d offer a newcomer to Vancouver?
D: People always harp on how hard it is to make friends in Vancouver, but I don’t really feel like that’s the case. You just have to put yourself out there. Whether it’s through coworkers or rec sports, there are always ways to get to know all the good people in Vancouver.
G: Get your hands on a bicycle and explore the city—the Seawall is a great starting point!
J: Explore the different neighbourhoods. Each corner of the city is so unique, from Chinatown, to Main Street, to Kits…don’t get stuck in a bubble!
L: Take advantage of everything the city has to offer. Living here can be expensive and overwhelming because there are ALWAYS fun things to do, but you’ll never look back and say “I wish I didn’t go to that concert in Deer Lake Park or that beer fest at the PNE.” Plus, there’s a ton of cheap or free entertainment, too!