Welcome to Vancouver!
Oh, life is good. I have survived my first few days in Vancouver and I’m already in love with this city. If you were ever worried about cliches being true, half true or entirely false, Canadians have earned their international reputation. Every person I’ve encountered so far has been nice and helpful beyond my imagination.
Personally, I like to take the first day, two days, to just explore an area that I’m traveling to. My B&B was near Robson Street and only a ten minute walk to English Bay, which has quickly turned into my favourite spot in Vancouver. Whenever it’s sunny these days, my first stop is there.
Pumped with all the excitement of having started a new adventure and having seen some of the sights already, my first week was all about settling in.
Moving2Canada has a great guide about the first seven steps for the first seven days.
The most important one, obviously, is to find a place to live. I’ve researched beforehand which areas I like the best and how good the public transportation is in those neighbourhoods. About a week before my departure I started contacting people about appointments to look at rooms. Like many other newcomers, I had the best luck finding listings on Craigslist and Kijiji. Apartments and rooms here tend to be snapped up pretty quickly, so it doesn’t make much sense to start writing people weeks or months in advance.
I had five appointments lined up and spread out over two days. My mom (who accompanied me to help with the settling in process) and I decided to rent a car for the week that she was here, which made going from one appointment to the other a lot easier.
If you can’t rent a car, the SkyTrain is an excellent way of getting around and it’s fairly easy and fast to get a Compass Card, which works with a simple tap in and out system (similar to London with the Oyster Card).
I decided on a room in New Westminster that is in walking distance of a SkyTrain station and allows me to be downtown in half an hour. I’ve noticed that traveling 30 minutes or longer everyday seems like a big thing here, but in Europe it’s more common. I used to have to travel a little over one hour every morning to get to work. So anyone that doesn’t mind having 30 minutes every morning to read a little or scroll through Instagram I would recommend looking into rooms a bit further out, the rent difference is unbelievable!
My landlord had a two-page document typed out, a simple rent agreement that was easily understandable and just covered the basic things.
Personally, I really like having a written and signed agreement.