I arrived in Vancouver not really knowing what to expect. We were in Seattle for a little over a week and Lloyd figured it would make sense to take a train up the coast to Vancouver. I’d never been to Canada prior so it seemed like such a great idea – especially the train ride (where I got to see a wild American Bald Eagle – those things are huge and magnificent) and in a lot of ways, expected Vancouver, and indeed Canada to be like the US but it is quite different! I would love to go in depth about this but ask any American or Canadian and they’ll tell you about how even the accent, the laws, the cities, cultures and the people are different and unique to their own parts of North America.
In any case, here’s why I fell in love with Vancouver pretty much straight away!
1.) The train ride up was pretty fantastic and sets you in a good mood.
2.) It’s a pretty city and quite vibrant. It’s the kind of city where you can live at a slower pace of life but still get all the benefits you would expect from living in any major global city (great nightlife, diverse and exciting restaurants, a huge variety of shopping options…etc). Quite simply, it’s a city that has it’s work-life balance juuuuuust right!
3.) Then there’s the stunning backdrops available! Those huge snowcapped mountains make for amazing views from your home in Vancouver.
4.) The city’s pretty and very shiny! 🙂
5.) Chinatown here is amazing! So many cool little shops to pop into here and an amazing array of Chinese restaurants are on offer here. Definitely worth popping into when you’re in Vancouver.
6.) Then there’s the food here. There’s so much choice to be had in the city and I don’t remember being disappointed with any meals here!
7.) The walk around the city is also quite picturesque and impressive! I love how integrated the symbols of city life are (huge buildings…etc) are with nature (nice seaside harbours filled with boats of varying sizes…)
8.) Then there’s the beach! It’s not the most impressive beach in the world but it’s a lovely beach and coming from London – especially with the temperatures going up high around summer time, I know how much we would love to have a beach in London so the fact that Vancouver has one – and a good at that, makes me love it even more.
9.) The city is also great for hikers and for getting lost in nature. Don’t get too lost though – this is BC for a reason, officially it’s British Columbia (the general region) but it’s unofficially also Bear Country and there are lots of bears in Canada so have your wits about you and don’t go wandering off too far into the woods.
10.) The city lights up at night and it is glorious! 🙂
11.) Taxis are so affordable here. I know that’s not a big thing for everyone but it was for us. Uber wasn’t that big at this point and so we were predominantly comparing this to black cab prices in London so Vancouver won that little battle by a mile! 🙂
12.) Did I mention how much the city is surrounded by amazing natural landscapes? I did? Well, this is truly appreciated from a high vantage viewing point.
13.) Speaking of vantage viewing points, Grouse mountain is another huge reason I fell in love with Vancouver. It’s all nice and sunny downtown and up here, s hort taxi ride away, it’s snowing up in the mountains. Like snowing enough that you can go skiing and sunbathing on the beach in one day! (I hadn’t learnt to ski at this point so I didn’t ski but now, I totally would). The view from up here was pretty great too!
14.) I also loved the fact that this was the most snow I’d ever seen…. like ever!!! It made it feel like we’d been transported to a winter wonderland of some sort!
…all that snow of course means that you have the fireplace indoors to look forward to later on. Preferably with a mug of hot chocolate (which I can’t stand – I used to like it but I always feel nauseous after hot chocolate so I go for tea instead – Lloyd on the other hand loves the stuff and can drink it by the bucketload!)
15.) Then there’s the ferry you can take across to the other parts of Vancouver. It’s particularly great as it’s fairly cheap and a great way to get a good view of the city.
Not sure why there were mince pies around at this time of the year but I never question pie-availability. Especially when it looks as good as this!
All in all, Vancouver for me is best summed up in that whole perfect work-life balance ethos. It’s the kind of place where I feel like you could happily live, raise a family and yet not feel like you’re missing out on the whole ‘big city’ experience. The people are very friendly (Canadians generally are) and they’re very welcoming. It’s also incredibly diverse and has pretty much everything and anything you’d need.
I only found out after visiting (via Wikipedia and my friend Darren) that Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for liveability and quality of life. I’ve gotta admit after staying there for just under a week, I totally get why. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Vancouver is definitely one of the cities in the world I would happily move to – even if just for a few months! 🙂