What is it like living in Vancouver? Where is Vancouver? What does day-to-day Vancouver life look like? And how does cost of living in Vancouver compare with other cities?
This guide is here to help you answer some of the important questions about Vancouver, before you research your adopted city further.
Haven’t quite made up your mind on where to live? Hear what our experts have to say about Vancouver vs. Toronto vs. Montreal.
Where is Vancouver?
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada.
It is located on the West Coast of Canada, just 50 kilometres north of the US border. Seattle is 230km to the south, about a 3-4 hour drive.
The Strait of Georgia lies immediately to the west. Beyond that is Vancouver Island (known locally as ‘The Island’), and the Pacific Ocean.
Vancouver frequently ranks highly as one of the world’s most livable cities. It was recently ranked as the best city to live in North America.
Its scenic location near the ocean, tucked up against the North Shore mountains, makes living in Vancouver an ideal base for year-round exploration.
The city’s coastline offers amazing views and great beaches, while the mountains offer hiking trails and snow sports. Living in ‘Beautiful British Columbia‘, world-renowned for its natural beauty, is ideal if you have an appreciation for the outdoors.
If you don’t possess this appreciation right now, then we promise that you will develop a taste for this aspect of Vancouver life over time.
Vancouver life is special because of its setting, surrounded by the sea and the mountains. It has a diverse, metropolitan area, yet you’re always close to nature. Residents have the best of both worlds.
Living in Vancouver is a fantastic experience.
The Downtown core of Vancouver is located on a peninsula. Because it’s surrounded by water on three sides, the only way to expand is by building up. The space is very urban and condensed within a small area, characterized by residential high-rises and office blocks that contribute to a fantastic skyline.
The entire area is circled by the sea with access to the Vancouver Seawall and many beaches, which are only a short walk away.
The Downtown area includes the famous Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, offering more than 1,000 acres of park encircled by the sea wall.
The downtown area itself is very residential, with over 500,000 people living within a small area where everything is within walking distance.
Some 2.5 million people are living in Vancouver’s metropolitan area. This includes the City of Vancouver (600,000), along with neighbouring urban areas which are formal cities in their own right. The major ones are: Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, Langley, Delta, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, and West Vancouver.
Each city is regarded as its own municipality, independent of Vancouver. With rapid growth, and a population of around 500,000, the Surrey is expected to overtake the City of Vancouver as the highest-populated city in Western Canada in the next decade.