Moving to Vancouver, Advice?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by br.avery, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. br.avery macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #1
    I might be living in British Columbia, Vancouver next summer. Has anyone ever lived there? or is living there that could give me some advice and suggestions? I'm in Dallas, TX right now.
     
  2. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #2
    Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Don't leave anything in your car.
     
  3. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #3
    I'm from Toronto, but I've heard Vancouver is the most expensive city to live in compared to the average salary. I'm on my phone right now, Can't find the link, but have seen what $1 million will get you for a house. Let's just say it's not very nice.

    Why Vancouver?
     
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #4
    Don't wear cotton socks in the winter.... :D ..... seriously.

    Vancouver will likely be slightly, um.... damper... than you are used to in the winter. Your shoes are going to get wet, your socks are going to get wet. If you feet get wet and cold, you will be miserable for the rest of the day. Cotton absorbs and holds moisture, so once your cotton socks get wet they will stay wet until you get home and take them off. Synthetic is the way to go. Trust me on this one.

    Do you know where you might be working/living yet?

    I moved to Vancouver in 1986, and while we moved out of the city about 5 years ago we are still close by. Disc Golfer is right about the leaving things in cars. Don't. Theft from auto is among the highest in North America. However, you will feel personally safer, I believe. Crimes against persons in Canada is lower than in the US. Don't bring your gun (making a generalization about Texans ;) ). Bringing guns across the border is a pain, and guns are heavily regulated.

    Greater Vancouver is made up of 22 municipalities... so go to the Metro Vancouver website to see what the other cities are that make up Metro Vancouver. The City of Vancouver is the downtown core. The other cities make up the areas and suburbs around it.

    Vancouver has some of the best Asian food in the western world, and there are some who say that some of the restaurants outdo restaurants in Asia.

    City of Vancouver housing can be small. Stereotyping again - some condos in the downtown core are probably smaller than some Texan closets, certainly smaller than many garages. Vancouverites cope by spending their time outdoors. Skiing, golfing, sailing can all be played year round. They also run, row, jog, bike, skate, long-board, etc etc, Then there is the surfing, camping and the hiking, all very close by. There are 3 "city" ski hills that are next to the city, and then there is Blackcomb/Whistler 90 minutes away.

    The northern border of Metro Vancouver ends in wilderness. You can take a city bus to a regional park, go hiking, get lost - and die. People do it every year. There are wild animals there, cliffs, ravines, canyons, mountains, etc etc That wilderness goes north all the way up to the arctic with only the occasional road or settlement. IIRC about 60 or 50 years ago a airliner disappeared on approach to Vancouver. They sent out search parties, they looked for it from the air. The plane and the passengers had totally disappeared. (This was the time before electronic search technology...) About 15 years ago a hiker stumbled on the wreak. Used his cell phone to call it in, and could practically see the city from the site. That is how dense the wilderness is. It's great for people who are prepared though....

    Cost of living in Vancouver will probably floor you....

    Just some random thoughts... if you had some specific questions ? ?

    UPDATE heehee wrote: I'm from Toronto, but I've heard Vancouver is the most expensive city to live in compared to the average salary. ... but have seen what $1 million will get you for a house. Let's just say it's not very nice. ...

    OP: The other thing you should know is that the rest of Canada is jealous of Vancouver, especially those from the "centre of the universe", which is why so many of them move to Vancouver. Toronto had their first Air Quality Warning this year in - what was it, May?
     
  5. spblat macrumors 6502a

    spblat

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #5
    Wow, it'll be a big change. But I agree that Vancouver is really lovely. I've only spent a couple of days there but I am eager to go back.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that it's way way north. Yes, obvious. But the seasons and the lengths of days could blow you away. I live in Portland OR, where on December 22 the sun sets at about 4:26 PM. But we have light all the way out to 10 PM in the summer. I would expect this effect to be more pronounced in Vancouver. Not good or bad, but something to take into account.

    If you're the kind of person who can handle change, you'll have an opportunity for a great experience.
     
  6. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #6
    I love Vancouver

    but the cost of living is going to floor you, especially when compared to the wages.

    the food is awesome
    the outdoor activities are awesome - beach. ocean. mountains.
    there is not much decent nightlife

    Public transport is VERY good - most people who are near the major lines just use those to get to work

    Most necessary stores are walking distance from houses

    The bad:
    Avoid Surrey.
    Theft from cars is almost guaranteed in some areas - will break your window for 25 cents
    theft OFF cars is also high for certain models
    the DTES and eastward till Boundary are NOT good areas to live if you like to keep your property.
    the housing vacancy rate is something like 0.3% and we have ridiculous rules about what can and cannot do.
    the cost to buy a place - well a decent house is 1.2Mill a decent apt is 350K
     
  7. br.avery thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #7
    Thanks to everyone for your replies. The reason I am moving there is to be closer to my boyfriend. He is going to University of British Columbia and will possibly be there for 3 years. In one year, I will be halfway through with college and be able to maybe pursue the rest of my education over there. (He will be leaving for UBC in August.) If I decide to move over there, I wouldn't have to pay for housing as he would take care of that. I guess I'm most concerned about getting a job with my associates and the cost of education, It doesn't have to be at UBC but any other decent college would be good. Living in Dallas, we drive everywhere and the weather is unpredicatable but I'm sure Vancouver is very different. I visited NYC last summer so I'm assuming transportation would be similar. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.
     
  8. NXTMIKE macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    .....but don't get us wrong. Vancouver IS beautiful.
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #9
    Have you started researching the visa requirements? You will need student and/or work visa in order to go to school or to work in Canada. Some student visas will allow you to work in your field as well as go to school.

    Though there is an overlap, colleges and universities are entirely two different entities in Canada. Colleges tend to be technical trades based, 1 or 2 year programs, and you get a certificate or diploma in that field. For example, an aeronautical maintenance diploma. Universities are tend to be more academic based, grant degrees - like Bachelors or a Masters - and tend to be 3 or more years. There is great deal of overlap of course, but I know Americans and Canadians use the term "college" in different ways.

    Is your boyfriend Canadian, or are they attending UBC on a student visa?
     
  10. br.avery thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #10
    He is attending UBC on a student visa. I wasn't aware of the whole visa thing. Thanks for bringing that up! I'll look into it.
     
  11. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #11
    As someone who has made the transition from Dallas to a couple hours south of Vancouver (similar weather patterns to the big V), and witnessed a dozen friends do the same in the intervening years, my best advice to you is get a pair of carhartts with the flannel lining (or get good at putting your pants on over your pj's). Most Texans seem to be cold from anywhere from the first six to twelve months, despite a much milder winter here. It's the dampness. You can tell you've become acclimated once you start thinking 80 is hot even without the flannel.
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #12
    I don't know your boyfriend has found place to stay yet, but tell him the further south he is - the dryer it will be. Seriously. Even a couple of kilometres (~ a mile) will be noticeable. White Rock (furthest south) is probably gets less than half the rain than North Vancouver - which sits at the bottom of the mountains. The official weather station is Vancouver Airport, which is south of UBC and downtown.

    See this link for a cool webcam. The camera is on the south side of the downtown core, looking a little south of due west. In the background, on the left, at the far end of that finger of land that disappears at the horizon is UBC. The big body of water that the camera is looking at is English Bay, and the inlet that heads for the bottom left of the screen - under the bridge - False Creek. The bridge is the Burrard St Bridge, and connects the downtown core (on the right) to Kitsilano (on the left - also known as just Kits) - one of many neighbourhoods. Vancouver is sometimes known as the City of Neighbourhoods. Also Terminal City (if you are reading a science fiction book, and it talks about Terminal City there is a good chance it's Vancouver). And the "Big Smoke", but that is term reserved for several cities - depending on where you are.

    Here is a Flickr page I found with some photos of Kits Beach.

    The rain sweeps in from the south west, low over UBC. As it approaches the mountains behind the downtown core the rain clouds start to pile up, and will drop even more rain as they get pushed up and over the peaks. That's why its drier the further south you go.

    Canadians will start talking about the weather within 30 seconds of meeting you. Unless there is a hockey playoff on. Then it will be hockey first, moving on to weather. That 30 second thing is an actual statistic, I didn't make it up.... :) though the source is long out of my memory.
     
  13. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #13
  14. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #14
    Is it really that bad? :confused: I'm planning on moving to Vancouver in a few years (currently in Melbourne), and plan on maybe purchasing a house or something. How far away from the "city of vancouver" do you need to be to get semi-affordable (around $400 to $600k houses of decent size. It doesn't need to be bigger than 2500 sq ft or so?? Heck, I'd settle for an apartment.

    In Toronto, such a house would be totally do-able if you're willing to move 30-40 minutes north into the suburbs (or around an hour during rush hour). In fact, you're likely to get a 2500-3000 sq ft house for over $500k, unless the housing market has changed a lot over the last year.

    I guess I'm asking where the equivalent areas are in Vancouver?
     
  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #15
    I had forgotten about that.... but of course had heard about it (and gone back to watch it) at the time. The fireworks, for those who are curious, are part of annual event called Celebration of Light (formerly Symphony of Light). It is a competition between 3 countries (changes annually) plus a wrapup and "announce the winner" evening - so 4 nights of the best that each nation can do (set to music). This year it starts July 21st, and finishes the 31st. This event is one of the largest annual events in North America. Each of the 4 nights will see - literally - hundreds of thousands of people stream into the city for the fireworks. When we lived in Vancouver we were a 3 minute walk from the prime beach for watching. Talk about spoiled. See the Celebration of Light website here.


    See here for real estate listings. I'd be happy to help, as I'm sure others would, once you have narrowed down your search a bit more. A lot depends on where your job or school is.
     
  16. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Maine
    #16
    Eat at the "Naam" restoraunt. Order the microbiotic bowl and a dark beer on the side. Have fun!
     
  17. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #17
    yes it really is that bad
    avg Vancouverite spends 55-65% of their salary on housing.
    2500 will only be in a house.
    the avg newish 1br is about 550sqfeet 2br 850sq feet
    a normal house is 1200-1500 anything more and the taxes will hit you hard.
    these are the City prices, if you go out to the suburbs their get bigger but price is about same.
    Port Moody you can get VERY nice condos for good price and once they put in the new Skytrain line will be very fast transport time to downtown.
    Aldergrove is good for housing prices. both are at least 40 min from downtown Vancouver.
     
  18. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #18
    sure white rock is drier but it is also a hour long commute to get there.

    best area in terms of what you pay to what you get in convenience and walking distance to everything is the Broadway/Main st area (aka SoMa)
    Commercial used to be nice student area but is now very yuppified.
    Avoid Kitsilano and UBC endowment lands , rent is 30-40% higher than other student areas
    UBC residences are best to be avoided. loud , old and overpriced. also you may NOT be able to live there with you BF unless are common law.
     
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #19
    White Rock was more of an example. But living closer to the Fraser rather than English Bay can make a big difference.

    I hadn't realized that Broadway/Main had it's own name now.... SoMa... cool. We have friends who are there and love the neighbourhood. I worked for a few years at Broadway and Fraser in the early '90s and always thought that the neighbourhood had a lot of potential. I tried talking someone out of selling a house (used for a business) on Broadway.... told him to hang onto the lot and it would be his pension fund.
     
  20. VictoriaStudent macrumors regular

    VictoriaStudent

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    #20
    just went through applying for student visa process

    Hey!

    I'm a U.S. student going to a professional school in Victoria.

    I've been to Vancouver and people are definitely right about the cost of living. Even typical things like getting food at the store can cost much more than in the U.S. But, as long as you shop around a bit, and don't eat out...it's not that horrible. Probably, you will need to live with roommates unless you are wealthy. Rent, when living with others, isn't so far off the base of what you'd pay in the States.

    The theft from cars, and petty theft, etc. is very very true. Just take a look at what's going on at West Hastings to get an idea. I think, if I remember, that there is more prostitution & I.V. drug use per capita there than -anywhere- in North America! However, it's a city that I sure feel really safe in despite that.

    As far as the student visa process goes...here is the only site you will need to visit:

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/index.asp

    this is the link you will need to "download your application packet (at bottom of the page)"

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-how.asp


    It can seem overwhelming. But it's fairly straightforward.

    a) you need a couple of photos that aren't standard passport size. Good luck with that, I actually ended up having to trim passport photos to size.
    b) you need a passport which expires ---after--- your term of study will expire
    c) you need a letter of acceptance from your school
    d) you need proof of funds. At least $10,000 --more-- than your cost of education per year. This is done through bank accounts, a letter from the school stating you have been granted student aid, credit cards, or proof of income from your parents...bank accounts, etc.
    e) you need to fill out the application form carefully, it's only 2 pages but there is a bit to it
    f) You only need a --student visa-- which is $125. I recommend sending it to the Seattle CIC office (link on the website I gave you a link to) because they process student visa applications faster than the other locations.

    and, of course, you need to apply in plenty of time before you want to go to Vancouver. It can take around 30 days to get your application back in the mail. Heaven forfend there isn't a problem with it, because that can cause even more delay.

    Also, be aware that when you get to the border, this is where you have to apply AGAIN for entry into the country! The Border agents will need to check your paperwork, etc. and they are the ones who will actually approve you moving there.

    by the way, I strongly suggest that you bring whatever expensive goods you want with you into the country. The cost of consumer goods is way higher in Canada than the U.S. and shipping to Canada is quite a bit. Oh yeah, of course, if you have things mailed up...have them sent by your parents & marked as gifts with a low value to avoid import duty at the customs.

    Even simple things like mattresses (unless you are going on craig's list) cost so much more. So, an option might be a one way u-haul..however, even from a bordering state that can be something like $500 one way + mileage. Car rentals tend to be about $220/day with tax & insurance per day but have the advantage of unlimited miles.

    Good luck with your move!
     
  21. James L macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #21
    Don't let the real estate thing freak you out. Yes, the housing prices near the downtown core in the city are high, but once you get out to the 'burbs it isn't bad at all.

    I live 45-60 minutes from the downtown core (depending on traffic). My house was 15 years old when I bought it. It's 3 bedrooms plus a den, 3 bathrooms, a 2 car garage, and a nice yard. I paid just under $425,000 when I bought it about 5 years ago. It is worth about $500,000 now.

    I'm sure the same house and property would approach a million if you wanted it downtown... but any major city is like that.
     
  22. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #22
    Not Chicago (but you may be talking strictly Canada). You can get a nice house in the city for less than that. A friend of mine just got a 3 bedroom house just west of us for $200,000.

    Half a mil for a place in the 'burbs? Wow.
     
  23. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #23
    I don't think you can get a house for less than half a million in the suburbs of Toronto, unless it's really far (over an hour with no traffic, 2 hours in rush hour) or in a really bad area. I can't even find a 650 sq ft condo for less than $200,000.
     
  24. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #24
    Wages must be a lot higher here than Chicago. $200,000? That's hella cheap. I'm only 20 and I could probably afford that mortgage. Chicago is a pretty good city too
     
  25. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #25
    Guess I'll be staying in Chicago. :)
     

Share This Page