- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Vancouver Guide (PDF)
Local Vancouverites often comment that it is the snow-capped mountains, lush forests and mild climate that make Vancouver so enjoyable. The city fills out a large peninsula that is surrounded by water on three sides. The green beltways and urban parks provide Vancouver residents with plenty of outdoor space while the epic views of the surrounding North Shore Mountain Range are sure to take expats' breath away.
Founded in 1860, Vancouver has since become one of the world's fastest-growing cities. This is largely owing to its strategic ties to the booming economies of East Asia. More and more expats are drawn to the city for its commercial opportunities and the local economy is robust and thriving, offering plenty of job opportunities. But despite all the hustle that typically accompanies big commercial centres, the coastal metropolis, like the stereotypical Canadian persona, is quiet and polite.
Expats moving to Vancouver will find a city bustling with myriad cultures. While English speakers account for the largest language group, there are also French, Chinese, Vietnamese, German, Taiwanese and Punjabi speakers. The impact of Chinese expats is clearly visible in the colourful Chinese New Year celebrations, the Dragon Boat festival and Chinatown Night, all of which are well attended annual events.
Still, not everything is picture-perfect in Vancouver. The city’s cost of living is incredibly high and is particularly inflated by the exorbitant cost of accommodation. Average rental costs remain expensive and demand is increasingly overshadowing supply in the Metro Vancouver area. This all makes the house-hunting search more challenging than ever before.
That said, once expats find a home in Vancouver, they can begin to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle that residents regularly prioritise. They are able to spend the summer boating, kayaking, swimming and surfing along the beaches and waterways of Vancouver Island and Burrard Inlet. Hiking and mountain biking are also popular activities in the countless city parks, forests and local mountains.
Vancouver is one of the world’s food capitals, boasting many high-quality dining experiences. With so many culinary traditions to draw upon, eating out in Vancouver is a varied affair. The city is obsessed with its restaurants and locals make a habit out of trying new venues to wine and dine at. The Granville area is famous for its eateries, art galleries and markets. Burn off the calories by taking a walk down 10th Avenue or Broadway to find shopping options that match any world-class destination. All this is also within a stone's throw of the city's best beaches.
Vancouver has an efficient transport system consisting of buses, ferries and the SkyTrain. Vancouverites take a relaxed attitude to life and Canadians often comment that the city makes a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of Toronto life.
The crime rate in Vancouver is low by global standards. A possible downside is the decidedly low-key nightlife, which party-goers might find a little dull. All in all, most expats report that living in Vancouver is a treat, with many taking the plunge and settling on a permanent basis.
►Read the Banking, Money and Taxes in Canada page to get an overview of expat money matters
►Learn more about the different Areas and Suburbs of Vancouver
"Vancouver is one of the top 10 cities to live in the world! Things might be a little expensive, and the pace of life a little slower than your home country, but people in this part of the world live longer and are generally happier because of all the great quality of life offered here. Go explore the mountains, make new friends, and enjoy life in beautiful British Columbia!"
Read more about American expat Cyrus's experiences in Vancouver
Are you an expat living in Vancouver?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Vancouver. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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