Why We’ve Moved to Vancouver

Posted 22 January, 2009 by janette in Canada

Canada: America's hat We debated our next move for quite a while. Did we want gleaming high-rises or wide open spaces? The hustle and bustle of big city life or locals who have all the time in the world for a chat? The density to support a variety of shops and restaurants and good public transport, or a place where property is cheap enough that we can afford a cute little house to live in?

And if the doomsayers are right, that the bottom’s going to fall out of the economy, climate change with wreak havoc, the freshwater supplies will dry up, and civilization as we know it will break down as resources become scarce, where would be the best place to set up our Mad Max camp?

Up until a few centuries ago, Vancouver was one of the few places in the world where the environment was so productive that hunter gatherers didn’t have to migrate with the seasons.

Robson St, VancouverToday, Vancouver is a mix of shiny steel sky scrapers, little craftsman houses, and blocky low-rise apartment buildings, surrounded by 1500m high snow-peaked mountains and the Pacific Ocean. There are two snowboarding parks within the city limits, reachable by a $2.50 bus ride. Then there is the 1000 acre Stanley Park (New York’s Central Park is 843 acres), with wild woodlands at its heart and beaches on 3 sides.

The locals are almost universally NICE, which was a little disconcerting at first. Not in a peppy, cheerleader sort of way, but in a genuinely good-hearted way. You almost forget you’re in a big city.

BirdhouseProperty is apparently the most expensive in Canada, but after London and LA, rents seem very low. We’re currently staying in a vacation rental run by a whimsical Frenchman who is crocheting a hat for the baby. Our garden is full disco balls and decaying statues, and there is a gilt-framed portrait covering the thermostat. We’d happily stay here for a while, but the rent is so much cheaper elsewhere that we can’t really justify it.

The Economist twice named Vancouver the most livable city in the world, and numerous other indices name it the best city in the world overall.

The Canadian economy is expected to experience a recession for only 2 quarters in 2009, shrinking by 0.5%, according to last week’s report by the Conference Board.

So why doesn’t everyone move here? Well, from this Californian’s perspective, the weather is TERRIBLE! The city was built on a rainforest. The winter temperature hovers a bit above freezing, so you get all the cold without the fun of the snow. I was prepared for grey skies, but there has been dense fog since we’ve come here, so the grey is all-pervasive. I’m convinced it would seep into my bones were I not fighting it off with extra strong Mexican hot chocolate and my HappyLite.

YurtAnd just in case it all goes Pete Tong, Canada was named the best place to escape the consequences of climate change, and Vancouver has one of the largest freshwater supplies in the world. And I bet the Vancouverites would still be nice to each other after the fall of civilization, in their moose-skin yurts!

This post has (4) comments

4 comments to “Why We’ve Moved to Vancouver”

Blair, January 22nd, 2009 at 3:22 am:

  • You forgot about the great hockey!

Stacey Derbinshire, January 22nd, 2009 at 4:01 am:

  • Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

Emmanuelle Archer, January 23rd, 2009 at 6:20 am:

  • Welcome to Vancouver, Janette and Graham!

    I moved to Vancouver from France back in 2001 and I could not be happier with my choice of a new location.

    I hope you will love it here :)

Nancy Johnson, February 1st, 2009 at 2:50 am:

  • I thought you moved there because it is the “new hollywood”