Anyone who has ever been to Vancouver will say this, if you like the hiking and the nature, this place is for you. The air is fresh, the weather moist, and the skies are always amazing. But what of the city? We lived here for 2 years, after escaping the harsh winters of Montreal. We came to this peaceful coastal town not knowing what to expect. Montreal had been a bit of Europe. Vancouver, if anything, is a welcome back to the America I was used to.
It is the fourth most densely populated city in North America. But I grew up in New York, and lived in San Francisco, and it sure doesn't feel like it.
It's got all the makings of a city however. The neighborhoods are diverse.
To name the popular ones: Kitsilano with their vegan yoga pants and their hip young families. Yaletown with their chic and expensive dining choices, startup galleries, and new businesses. Gastown, the picturesque historic streets and brick buildings housing trendy boutiques.
The cold, shining rows of vertical glass that is Coal Harbour, where seaplanes land and take off, the very visage of a beautiful, proud, and modern port city.
Dazzling. But as every city is two-faced, Vancouver comes equipped with the urban standard of no-go zones, openly displayed by the mile long blast radius of East Hastings. As you might have guess, it's the premier Vancouver dumping ground for those unable to keep up with the changing metropolis. Over a decade was all it took for obscure houses within the city limits to gross over a million. One step closer to San Francisco's ideal: old residents suddenly finding themselves in possession of a million dollar house, and their children struggling to afford anything resembling one.
But if you join the city folks in the habitual pastime of closing your eyes and heaving a resigning sigh, you can whip past this right back into the prettiness. Cleanly and polished Vancouver has the cuts.
Vancouver is an amazing place. The wonderful people so polite yet distant, the public toilets oh so clean, the minimal wait times at the clinics and months long wait times for any specialists, the gastronomical real estate prices rising still, all of this embroiled in a unique city on it's path to change.
Who will have to leave this city, and who are the new residents of Vancouver? Only time will tell.