Moving to Vancouver
Consistently rated as one of the most liveable cities in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual survey, expats moving to Vancouver will discover Canada’s shining star.
First settled by Europeans in 1860, Vancouver has become one of the late 21st century’s fastest growing cities; largely because of its strategic ties to the growing economies of East Asia. Despite all the hustle that typically comes attached to commercial centres, however, the coastal metropolis, like the Canadian persona, is quiet and polite.
Locals often comment that it is the snow-capped mountains, lush forests and mild climate that make Vancouver so enjoyable. The city fills out a large peninsula, which is surrounded by water on three sides. The green beltways and urban parks provide Vancouver residents with plenty of outdoor space to take advantage of, and the epic views of the surrounding North Shore Mountain range are always breathtaking.
Expats moving to Vancouver will find a city bustling with a myriad of cultures. While English speakers account for the largest language group, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, German, Taiwanese and Punjabi are regularly heard. The impact of Chinese expats is clearly visible in the colourful Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat festival and Chinatown Night, all of which are well attended annual events.
Still, not everything is picture perfect in Vancouver. The city’s cost of living in on the increase, and is particularly inflated by the exorbitant cost of accommodation. Average rents are high and demand is increasingly overshadowing supply in the Metro area – making the house-hunting search more challenging than ever before.
That said, once expats find a home in the city, they can begin to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle that residents regularly prioritise; spend the summer boating, kayaking, swimming and surfing along the beaches and waterways of Broken Island, Vancouver Island and Burrard Inlet. Hiking and mountain biking are also popular activities in the countless city parks, forests and local mountains.
Furthermore, Vancouver is one of the world’s food capitals, boasting many high-quality dining experiences. With so many culinary traditions to draw upon, eating out in Vancouver is a varied and relatively inexpensive affair. The city is obsessed with its restaurants, and locals make a regular habit out of trying new venues to wine and dine. The Granville area is famous for its eateries, art galleries and markets. Take a walk down 10th Avenue or Broadway to find shopping options that match any world class destination. All this is within a stone's throw of the city's best beaches.
Vancouver has an efficient transport system with both the Sky Train and a widespread trolley bus system. The residents of the city take a relaxed attitude to living. Canadians often comment that Vancouver makes a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of Toronto life.
The crime rate in Vancouver is low by global standards. A possible downside is the decidedly low-key nightlife which party-goers might find a little dull. All in all though, most expats report that living in Vancouver is a treat, with many taking the plunge and resettling on a permanent basis.