Living in Vancouver is a dream come true for many working holiday makers. The city and the surrounding areas have lots to offer for residents and tourists alike. Ryan Davis, from the UK, shares why he loved living in Vancouver and calling the city home.
Oh, the mountains.
Whether you like skiing, boarding, hiking, or just looking at really awesome scenery, it’s hard to deny that the mountains surrounding Vancouver add an impressive dimension that is rivaled in very few cities.
2. Stanley Park
Head west from Downtown Vancouver, past the restaurants and bars on Davie (or the shops and restaurants on Robson, depending on which route you prefer) and you’ll reach the best park in the world – as voted by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards.
The park is a great representation of Vancouver’s personality: a perfect marriage of urban and natural. And with the Lost Lagoon, several beaches, the Vancouver Aquarium and an excellent miniature railway, the park offers Vancouverites and visitors plenty of activities.
I’m not sure how many people have actually done that, but in theory, it can be done.
The beaches in Vancouver, whilst they aren’t as good as more exotic locations, are pretty awesome, especially when you consider how easy they are to get to. In the summer, they are home to the multitude of active Vancouverites: playing beach volleyball, barbecuing, or just hanging out, and add yet another impressive dimension to Vancouver.
4. Granville Island
If we overlook the fact that Granville Island is a massive lie (it isn’t actually an island), what you’ll find is a treasure trove.
With a fresh food market offering some of the best seafood you’ll ever experience (amongst other awesome food), impressive crafts people selling truly unique products, and Granville Island Brewery, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
Despite its small size, you can easily spend hours wandering round, discovering everything Granville Island has to offer. Even getting there is fun, which brings me to on to…
5. The city ferries
Whether you’re here on holiday, have been there a year, or have lived in Vancouver there all your life, there’s something fun about catching the little ferry boat either to or from Granville Island.
Being a foot above the water really is a funky, fun way to get around and it’s certainly more interesting than getting the bus!
6. BC Place
I should point out that I am not the biggest fan of new stadiums. Being a supporter of lower league football in England, I love the atmosphere and character of small, old fashioned stadiums.
That said, BC Place is incredible and really offers a great experience. The cleverly designed retractable canvass splitting the two tiers means capacity can be reduced to 21,000 for Whitecaps games (meaning you don’t have 20,000 fans spread out in a 60,000 seater vacuum).
The atmosphere generated by the resident Southsiders and Rain City Brigade supporter groups is fantastic (considering Ice Hockey is the dominant sport in Canada) and it really is an infectious experience.
7. Vancouver Canucks
Love them or hate them – and it seems most hockey fans outside of BC hate them – it’s impossible to deny that the Canucks are an exciting team to follow.
The Canucks are a team that offer much more on paper than they have recently been able to bring to the ice. Stanley Cup losses in 1994 and 2011 had terrible knock-on effects for the rest of the city (note: don’t mention the riots) and despite starting each season with positive expectations, it just hasn’t quite worked for the team in the past few years.
Ask any Canucks fan, though, and they’ll tell you, unwavering, that “this year will be our year!”
8. East Vancouver
There are several sub-neighbourhoods, each with its own quirky and original style. Whether you like indie stores, funky bars, cool little restaurants, or a pub that offers more varieties of beer than you could possibly drink, East Van has it.
A complete contrast from the yuppie culture of Yaletown, yet quintessentially Vancouver all the same. The contrast between East Van and Yaletown is part of the reason why living in Vancouver is so cool.
9. Yoga pants
Yes, I said it. I’m sorry, but it had to be done. The active lifestyle that comes with living in Vancouver needs its own style of active-friendly pants, right?
To learn more about living in Vancouver, visit our Vancouver City Guide.
Interested in moving to Vancouver? Download our free Getting Started Guide.