Emigrating to Vancouver

Old Jan 8th, 2013, 05:19 AM
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Emigrating to Vancouver

My partner and I are moving to Vancouver from England in March.

We have no idea where to live in Vancouver.

Can anyone recommend a safe place to live that is for young (30) professionals and has access to cafes, bars, shops, and close to walks/hiking trails for our puppy?

Really appreciate any help.

Thanks
BritishBigBear is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2013, 03:57 PM
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Were it me, I would know with some confidence that I would avoid the area east of central Vancouver, especially within a few blocks of East Hastings street.

Beyond that, while pockets of ethnic neighborhoods might impact my preferences, I don't know of areas that I would avoid like the plague.

Perhaps a wise move would be to consider areas served fairly well by the Sky Train system, and then find an outlying suburb that strikes your fancy.

Note: (by North American standards) Downtown Vancouver is relatively compact, so the challenges each work morning relate more to getting from remote areas, across the waterways and into downtown, than to getting from one end of downtown to the other. (and no, you wouldn't want to walk end-to-end downtown, but you could if you had to)

Like so many, you will probably let the market decide where you can live.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2013, 10:04 PM
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There's the city of Vancouver which is geographically rather small, but the Lower Mainland/Greater Vancouver Area is very large and encompasses many cities including Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminister, West Vancouver (not to be confused with the west end of Vancouver), North Vancouver, Langley etc.

Some municipalities are not separated at all and just crossing the street you leave one and enter another. Others are separated by rivers, straits or green areas.

Depending on where you'll be working (assuming you are, your post doesn't say) may influence where you live. Also, will you be driving or taking public transit?
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 02:20 AM
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It is really confusing knowing where to live having never visited the city.

My worst fear would be finding a rental property only to discover the neighbourhood is unsafe for my partner to walk around in.

I like the idea of living by the beach. Kitsilano looks like a nice area. Is is relatively safe?

Thank you for the replies
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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Yes, Kitsilano is very safe.

Based on your original post, I would suggest Yaletown or the West End (a neighbourhood downtown, not the west side of Vancouver nor West Van).

I totally understand the confusion of where to live when moving somewhere never visited. You would probably receive much more helpful answers if you could post what your plans are while in Vancouver. Are you moving for jobs, to study, to hone your mountain biking skills for the next summer Olympics? There are many distinct neighbourhoods and some PP even mentioned outlying areas. Since most people prefer to avoid long commutes, it would really narrow it down for posters to help you. Pls understand this comment is made to be helpful - imagine someone posting "I'm moving to London and have no idea to where to live"...what info would help you in crafting a response?

Enjoy-la!
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 01:37 PM
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There are a lot of great neighbourhoods that fit the bill. Vancouver is not a dangerous place, even the down and out area around Hastings and Main streets may look dodgy but it is still safe. You are not likely to be mugged or murdered. Vancouver has only about 20 murders a year, in 2012 there were only 8 up until November 1st. Homeless folks are what you see, like a lot of places.
Since it's your first time here I would suggest that Kits ( Kitsilano ) is a good choice. The shopping and therefore busier streets are 4th ave and Broadway which is 9th ave. Google streetview is a great tool for getting to see an area. If you head towards Kits pool near the water you are looking north towards downtown and the mountains. A seawall promenade encircles, at first going east encircles all of False Creek around English Bay, Stanley Park and ending at Canada Place. All without traffic lights. It is a popular walking, biking and roller blading kind of seawall.
If you choose to live downtown, the West End, Coal Harbour and Yaletown are great options. All have access to parks and the seawall. The West End is an older neighbourhood, Coal Harbour newer having been developed in the last 15 years or so. Same with Yaletown except Yaletown has old warehouses that have been converted to shops and living space mixed with new highrise buildings. Yaletown is the more trendy part of downtown.
Downtown is walkable, perhaps 30 minutes walk or less from one end to the other. Vancouver's downtown does not empty out at night like a lot of North American cities. Thousands live downtown and that keeps it vibrant.
Again I suggest using Google Streetview to get an idea. Look at Barclay street in the West End for a typical West End Street. Robson and Davie are the shopping streets with may smaller ones in Yaletown.
Once you have some possibilities of accommodation, post the locations here and we can give you better advice.
NatNasci is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2013, 01:45 PM
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Kitsilano is dangerous in the sense that someone might spill their ethically traded, organic chai soy latte on your Lululemon yoga pants. Or more seriously, you may get run down by someone driving their SUV while checking their make-up using the front-facing camera on the their Retina-display iPad.

Very few places (perhaps none?) in the Greater Vancouver area could be objectively considered unsafe. And even in very "nice" upscale areas, there have been the rare gang hit.

It'll help if you're more specific. Do you and/or your partner know where you'll be working yet? This area was recently rated as having the 2nd worst traffic congestion in North America:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...ongestion.html
So, if you're commuting to work, you'll want to factor that into your decision. Also, price range can make a big difference. And different areas can have very different feels to them. E.g., Kitsilano and Deep Cove both fit your description (cafes, restaurants, walkable, beach, dog friendly, etc.), but have VERY different atmospheres.

If you don't know where you'll be working, and can afford a decent place in Kits, that's probably a great initial choice. Then, after you've settled in for a while, you'll know where you really want to be.
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 07:06 PM
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Hey, BritishBigBear, you said something in your 2nd post that helped me to give you better clarity:


It should be mentioned that Vancouver, Canada is among the safest cities of its size in North America.

Also, Vancouver has 'normal (decent)' people walking around all night long like in few other spots in North America. (*** not the same, decent people walking all night, but various, decent people)

By and large, it may well be safer where you live now, than in Vancouver, but when compared to the stories you've read (about U.S. cities, no doubt), Vancouver will be plenty safe for you.

The "Downtown East Side" has within it the reputed poorest postal code in Canada, and I wouldn't hesitate to walk through that neighborhood in the middle of the night if it made my life easier on some occasion.

I just can't think of any other area of the Vancouver, BC that I know that would even have me thinking twice about walking at night. (FYI - the intersection of East Hastings and Main streets is about the roughest Vancouver gets. While I wouldn't make friends there, I think that to walk through it on occasion wouldn't be problematic)
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Old Jan 9th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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This is the place you want-and chances are the prices here in Kitsilano will scare you all the way back to Old Blighty-I see it all the time.

http://britishexpats.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=56
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2013, 03:39 AM
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Again thanks for all the replies.

A bit more detail about us:

My partner and I haven't found jobs yet (we are in contact with companies etc based all over the Vancouver area at the moment).

It seemed the sensible option is to get a short term lease on an apartment roughly central in Vancouver and then once jobs have been secured, if needs be, move to a different area.
We have also always wanted to live by the beach, so Kitsilano seemed to tick several boxes.

We can both drive, but initially will be reliant on public transport until a suitable vehicle can be bought. Therefore it is important we are not far from shops, restaurants etc.

We are quiet friendly people and really enjoy doing things like reading, visiting cafes, restaurants, going to the cinema etc.

We also love hiking and camping. Having a young puppy it is also important to be able to walk him twice a day minimum, so we would like to live close to parks, trails etc

The rental prices do seem shockingly high BUT I am hoping the quality of life will balance that out. I am happy to take a hit on the rental initially just so we have a "base" for a few months to help us get on our feet.

We are both well travelled and have spent time living in other countries, so hopefully we won't be scared back to the UK to easily ; )

Thanks
BBB
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Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 11:08 AM
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I'm also moving to Vancouver in the spring to early summer & I was refered to this posting...very informative but if I may let me ask...what are some suburban cities in close proximity tothe sky train that's also within reasonable commute to the city and which has hospitals or large medical facilities. I'm a registered nurse and will be looking to work close to home or at least a train ride away. But I would love to find a neighborhood thats nice but affordable or not super expenisve; ie. great value for money. Please give me some ideas. ..thanks!!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 07:56 PM
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"neighborhood thats nice but affordable or not super expenisve; ie. great value for money."

There are no neighbourhoods like that-everything here is sky high that's why so few people actually stick here they find it's all grossly overpriced and they're right.

Unless you have a strong connection to the outdoors-something few Brits have-then you'll wonder what the fuss is all about-Yes the scenery is nice but the rest.... :'(

See http://britishexpats.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=56 for more info
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 06:35 AM
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Uh-oh! Well we chose vancouver because of the weather & seems like u pay a premium for that. But where do people move to? Maybe I should just go there...lol
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Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 01:55 PM
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Real estate is indeed expensive. I don't have a sense for the UK as a whole, but when I was in central London, browsing real estate ads, the prices seemed in-line with Vancouver. Maybe a bit higher for some areas ,lower in others, etc. Similarly, I recall finding central Edinburgh prices to be similar, perhaps a bit lower. You can browse the multiple listing service here:
http://www.realtylink.org/

As for suburbs, I'm no expert, but I've heard that bus service to the suburbs isn't very good (infrequent, slow), but many people commute quite happily on skytrain, so that's a good idea you have. Currently, there's the line running from downtown Vancouver into Richmond and the airport, and then the lines running from downtown Vancouver through Burnaby to New Westminster and then to Surrey. If Skytrain is important to you, you'll want to check maps carefully, as each of these cities is quite large, and only some areas are convenient to skytrain. An extension is going to be built into Coquitlam. If you work normal commute hours, there's also the West Coast Express, which runs between downtown Vancouver and several cities to the east (Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt meadows, etc.) All of this info is available from the Translink website (this is the organization that runs public transit throughout the region):
http://www.translink.ca/

Whenever I've been to Richmond, Burnaby, New West, or Surrey, I've always found them to be perfectly fine places. But locals may have better information. Surrey gets a bad reputation sometimes, but it's also the fastest growing city, and second largest city (iirc) in the region, so it'll have plenty of everything, both good and bad.

As for major medical facilities, I'm not in that profession, but there seem to be big hospitals all over. I think the biggest concentration of medical facilities, though, is still in Vancouver (especially near Vancouver General Hospital).
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Old Jan 25th, 2013, 02:48 AM
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Thanks a lot! I've read somewhere that Richmond is below sea level & may wash away, but Burnaby I am leaning towards because I saw a nice apartment there. I was curious to know if it is close to the sky train, so glad you mentioned that. Is Burnaby within a close proximity to Vancouver the city since most of the big hospitals are there?
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Old Jan 25th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Hi Joyful. I don't mean this sarcastically, but remember that Google Maps is your friend! You can zoom in on the Vancouver area, and you can see the skytrain routes by seeing where the little station icons are. You can see exactly how Burnaby is situated in relation to Vancouver. You can see which neighborhoods are closer to which skytrain stations. If you type in something like "hospital", you'll see the major hospitals (along with a bunch of other medical sites, and unfortunately a lot of other clutter). You can even use streetview to see what a neighborhood looks like. Whenever I travel to a new place, I like to use Google Maps to see what to expect. (And definitely do check out streetview if you're renting an apartment before you arrive. The different parts of any city have very different feels to them.)

In the absence of other information, Burnaby is a fine choice. After you move here, you'll figure out if you want to stay there, or if you like a different part of the area more (or see where your job takes you). You're also located between Vancouver and also Royal Columbian Hosptial in New Westminster, which I believe (I'm not an expert) is also a major hospital.
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 02:43 AM
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Thank you SPT! Actually, I never thought of google maps, so I'll go ahead & try that out sometime soon. The hospital tip is also greatly appreciated... I'll check it out ASAP.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 08:46 PM
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Actually Burnaby is very close to Sky Train. Many landed immigrants start out in Burnaby as rents are reasonable ($700 for a one bedroom apartment), as opposed to other more expensive areas, such as Yaletown or Kitsilano.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 10:12 AM
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"$700 for a one bedroom apartment"?

In a grotty basement somewhere maybe.
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