Tag Archives: moving

I guess I’m officially Canadian now, eh?

2 Sep

I’ve been in Vancouver for a whole week and now feel sufficiently ready to give you some initial impressions of my new home:

  1. Super confusing address system
  2. Super convenient public transit system
  3. Made of lots of neighborhoods
  4. Expensive
  5. Green
  6. Filled with artists and foodies

1. Super confusing address system. When my mom and I first arrived in the city it was dark and late. We had been on the road for about 14 hours and we just wanted to find my house and get to sleep. However, the streets here are super deceptive. Many of them are numbered, but the addresses don’t correspond with the numbered cross streets. For example, the addresses for the houses between W 41st Ave and W 40th Ave on Balaclava St. are not 40__. They are something like 1304-1386. It makes no sense to me. Even with mapquest directions, it was a pain to find my house. It doesn’t help that all the houses have huge bushes in front of them so you can’t see the house numbers. We ended up parking and walking down the street to find it. We were only 3 blocks off haha.

I’m getting the hang of my neighborhood more and more, but it’s still rough when streets end suddenly and then pick back up a blockĀ  up from where they left off. Luckily, I don’t really have to go anywhere and when I do I can use mapquest.

2. Super convenient public transit system. I just started using the bus system here, but from what I can tell, it goes pretty much everywhere. I have a bus pass from school, so I’m trying to take the bus as much as I can to save on vehicle expenses. It helps that I live in a particularly convenient part of town. I’m a half a block from the bus stop and it only takes me 15 minutes to get to school and 25 minutes to get downtown.

3. Made of lots of neighborhoods. If you look at a map of Vancouver, you’ll see that it’s made up of a bunch of different areas. Now that I’m here I can say they really are like a bunch of tiny little towns. Some are only a few blocks across. Each one has it’s own identity and stereotypes and sort of people that live and shop there. It’s been interesting to hear about each of them from the locals (at orientation and from my roommates) and to explore a few on my own. It’s also fun because you don’t really feel like you’re in a huge city unless you go right into the heart of downtown. It’s more like a collection of small communities.

If you’re interested, I live right between Kerrisdale and Dunbar. About a kilometer and a half up the street in Kerrisdale there are a bunch of cute shops and restaurants. The weekend I arrived was Kerrisdale Days. Apparently Utah isn’t the only place that has a celebration for every town. Half a km the other direction is Dunbar. It’s less happening, but there are still a few shops and a grocery store. All in all, I think I chose a great place to live. The rent is reasonable, it’s in a good location (i.e. safe, residential but still close to stuff, not super ghetto) and as far as I can tell my roommates aren’t ax murderers.

4. Expensive. I was prepped for Vancouver to be more expensive than SLC, but I still was surprised at how much stuff costs here. They have a 12% Harmonized Sales Tax on all non-essential goods here (basically everything but groceries, rent and utilities) which makes shopping and going out quite a bit more expensive. It doesn’t help that the US dollar is still pretty week and everywhere charges you fees to change money. The upside of my neighborhood is that there are tons of cute little produce and specialty shops nearby. The downside is that they want to charge $4.99 for a dozen eggs.

5. Green. Vancouver is a land of cyclists, organic cotton wearers, fair trade coffee drinkers, public transportation riders, recyclers and composters. Even the taxis here are Prii. (As in plural for Toyota Prius–look up if you don’t believe me.) So far I haven’t found too many hipster eco-snobs for my taste, and I appreciate the green focus of the city.

Along with being earth-friendly, Vancouver is also quite literally a green city. There are tons of beautiful parks and green spaces within the city, and the UBC campus is filled with giant treets. Perfectly green and manicured lawns however, don’t seem to be as important here. I think I’m just used to the vanity with which people in Utah regard their lawns. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some amazingly landscaped yards here, but I would say it’s much more a rarity here than back home.

6. Filled with artists and foodies. This is one aspect of the city that I love. Everywhere you go there are art galleries, delicious restaurants and shops selling stuff from local artisans. I particularly like the focus on supporting local companies, farmers, artists, etc. It’s something I wish more people paid attention to.