Seven months ago, I made the big move from Toronto to Vancouver. After accepting my offer with Jive, I packed up all my belongings and former life in Toronto in just a mere 15 days. I resigned from my previous job, put the blinders on, ready and willing to take on an amazing opportunity in a new city. I love Vancouver, but before you think about making the leap to the West Coast, I’m sharing the top five things you should know before you move.
1. It rains… A LOT!
You’ve probably heard it before, so don’t say I didn’t warn you, the city’s been nicknamed ‘Raincouver’ for a reason! Besides the fact that it rained 28 out of 31 days in October, breaking rainfall records, the moody grey skies are something I had to get used to. If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say at least once that I would rather rain than snow (even though we got that too this winter…), but I’m starting to think I’m the bad weather jinx. Regardless, if I’m the bad onus that brought uncharacteristic weather-wreaking-havoc across the city, I can’t say that I miss the extreme temperatures of Southern Ontario – -30 degree winters and 41 degree summer days with smog alerts? No, thank you.
2. The laidback lifestyle
So far it sounds like everything you’ve probably heard about the West Coast is true. The pace of life in Vancouver is very relaxed. Generally, people move slower. Literally. I’m used to running just to keep up with the hustle and bustle of Toronto and the crazy rush out of Union Station just to get to work on time. In Vancouver, that frantic pace doesn’t really exist. Power-walkers are sparse and slow-walkers line the sidewalks in Vancouver. Even so, I must say that this has been a nice adjustment to my workday commute. I take my time during my morning walks to take in the scenery around me – I’m still not over those gorgeous mountain views that surround the city. If you feel like you need to take a step back and just slow life down a bit, Vancouver could be the place for you.
3. Finding a place
One of the more serious challenges of moving to Vancouver is finding a place to live. From the 1% vacancy rate in the real estate market to soaring rent prices, it’s a struggle to find somewhere that fits your criteria and budget. With so many neighbourhoods to choose from across the city, it’s also important to do your homework. Are you a beach-loving Kits kind-of gal? Or are you an artsy East Van guy who loves supporting local? Do you love trail running or hitting up craft breweries? Taking the time to get to know the different neighbourhoods in and around Vancouver can make your move and experience here all the different.
4. No Uber
There is no Uber. I repeat, there is no uber. As a transplant from Toronto, a city so notoriously reliant on Uber, it was a bit of an adjustment to say the least. Not to knock the hardworking cab drivers out there whom I’ve had great experiences with, but it’s just not the same. In Vancouver, I’ve had to wait up to an hour for a cab, waited on streets into the late hours of the weekend looking for a ride home. The reality is this city either needs more cab drives or Uber pronto!
5. Just do it!
If you’ve ever thought about moving to Vancouver, I say yes, take the plunge! I’ve never experienced a city quite like Vancouver before. Every morning I get to see the mountains on my way to work. The scenery alone is what will keep me here. There is an endless amount of restaurants, cafes, and neighbourhoods each with their own diverse personalities. There’s beaches, the Seawall, all types of hikes, and mountains views wherever you turn. I’m not sure there’s any other city in Canada I would rather be than here. Vancouver is truly unique in so many ways and I’m really glad to have taken a leap of faith hoping I would love the city as much as I imagined.
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