Vancouver 101: The Top 10 Things to Know

Vancouver 101: the top 10 things to know. By Bob Rogers

 

As I am a born & bred Vancouverite (yes, that’s what we are called, and yes, we actually exist!), but have lived over 15 years of my life abroad, I thought I could offer a unique perspective on Vancouver and what makes it one of a kind. So, here goes my top 10 things to know:

 

10. It rains: the clichés are pretty accurate. Although August and September (sometimes October) can be pretty nice, the rest of the year there are a pretty high number of days with liquid sun. So, what can you do? The best thing to do is go local: equip yourself properly and ignore it. There are lots of stores in Vancouver that specialize in rainy weather attire. Invest a bit in your clothes, because being cold AND wet seriously sucks.

9. It’s spaced out: and it’s not just because of the large number 420 friendlies! Vancouver covers quite a large geographical area, and many parts of the city and environs are pretty hard to access without a car. So, plan an itinerary, get some friends together and rent a car with good windshield wipers for an excursion around town. Cover North Van, West Van, Surrey, Delta, East Van, Richmond, Delta, White Rock, and whatever else looks interesting.

8. Serious island action: Besides the one that is bigger than most countries in Europe (Vancouver Island), there are loads of others that are worth exploring for their uniqueness and quintessential West-Coastness. Bowen Island is the closest, but the Gulf Islands are also pretty easy to get to (assuming you have a car). Or get adventurous and rent a boat. You don’t need a license, but it’s a good idea to have some clue of the rules. And don’t show up already drunk with a twofer (a Canadian 24 pack of beer) under your arm. They won’t rent to you.

7. Did I mention the rain?

6. It’s multi-culti: The greatest upside of this is the food, especially asian. Seriously tasty sushi, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai and also Italian, Greek, French, fusion, and places that do stuff with fish. And this isn’t watered down stuff, this is the real deal. Be careful when you ask for ‘hot’, cuz it will be.

5. It’s not exactly job-o-rama: Vancouver has always been pretty well THE place to live in Canada (go to Toronto to find out why). Combine this with relatively little major industry or corporate headquarters, and you have a pretty tight market for decent jobs. Sure, if you want to serve coffee with your masters degree, you’re all set, but make sure you start networking early on if you want a real job.

4. It ain’t cheap: Especially rent. And especially difficult given the above fact about the job market. There is a bit of a bubble here in Vancouver, and some surprisingly nasty places in less than desirable areas are kinda pricey. Be prepared to spend some time searching and getting rejected.

3. It’s somewhat small-townish: In spite of its big city posturing, Vancouver can still feel a bit small sometimes, especially after 9 pm on pretty well any night of the week. Probably one of the more interesting things to do is wander around Granville St. downtown on a Friday or Saturday night in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Just don’t get punched by some drunk 20 something.

2. It’s friendly but ‘busy’: This is probably the biggest change Vancouver has gone through in the last 20 years. It used to be pretty laid back, slow-paced kind of place, and sometimes when you are at the beach in the summer, or driving in traffic, you still have that feeling. But most people have pretty hectic days full of exercise, work, and buying gourmet pre-prepared food. Most people don’t do much going out on the weeknights.

1. It’s active: in fact, I think it’s probably one of the most active and outdoorsy cities on earth. The only thing more plentiful than yoga studios are coffee shops. So grab a java, make your pilgrimage to Lululemon, and strike some poses.

 

Bob can be found hanging at the cafes in his Lululemon or riding his bike in the rain when he is not getting his startup DealAngel off the ground.