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Old 06-25-2011, 12:24 AM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 880,316 times
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Hi all,
I spent a week in Vancouver in March and I must say that I was not overly impressed. After all the hype and accolades that I've read/heard about Vancouver I guess I was expecting something much different. I found the weather to be horrendous (although I'd like to visit again in the summer to get a better look at the natural beauty of the area), the people to be snobby (lots of people who seemed to be very judgemental, uppity, and rude), and the overall vibe quite sterile. I sincerely do not mean to offend anyone but I'd like to know if any other visitors (or residents for that matter) have had similar experiences. If so, why do you think Vancouver is like this? I think that a lot of people from the U.S., like me, think of Vancouver as this amazing and exciting place, but honestly, the only time I was "excited" in Vancouver was when I accidentally ventured into the downtown eastside on my way from Gastown to Chinatown. What gives?
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Old 06-25-2011, 02:02 AM
 
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Having so many people live in downtown Vancouver has made for a boring, residential neighbourhood. All the NIMBY condo owners will oppose anything that disturbs their peace and quiet. So the core of our city kinda died and that might explain its sterility.

The snobbishness is a side-effect of a very materialistic, pseudo-spiritual culture. This city attracts that kind of person. For some reason they get very defensive when anyone dare critisize THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH. What I found even worse than the riot, was the over-reaction. They took it personally, and obsessed on how the rest of the world reacted to it, and that speaks to some sort of sick narcisism. To put it blunty, get over yourselves Vancouver.

Don't come here expecting to be warmly greeted or even treated with respect. Grab a bite of sushi, ignore the locals, and groove to the scenery. Just make sure you do it between June and September.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:06 AM
 
Location: B.C., Canada
13,339 posts, read 11,965,170 times
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What kind of excitement did you come looking for in March? It might be helpful if you can explain what you were hoping to find and what kind of reception and entertainment and sights you were looking for. Were you just on a tourist type visit or were you here on a business trip? How long did you stay?

Yes, the weather in March was terrible this year, just like the weather was terrible pretty much everywhere else on the entire continent this March. It's true Vancouver is not a particularly exciting place by some people's standards - maybe a bit too laid back, peaceful, quiet and perhaps a little too family oriented for people looking for social adventures and expecting to be entertained by the locals. Not what you could call a rowdy party hearty town if that's what you were looking for.

Especially not in March.

Try again sometime during the summer months when there are more organized outdoor social activities happening around the city. You'll either like it or you won't. If you don't like it then at least you'll know it's not the kind of place you want to visit again. It's certainly not for everyone.

.

Last edited by Zoisite; 06-25-2011 at 06:14 AM..
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:43 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
39,896 posts, read 71,462,322 times
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We drive up once or twice a year, in contrast we may go to Portland 3-4 times. Both are about the same difference, but we find that there's a lot more of interest to us in Portland than Vancouver, and then there's the time-consuming border crossing hassles. Our normal routine there is to wander around the Market at Granville island, have a nice lunch, go to Stanley Park, downtown or some other area for a long walk, then hit Tim Horton's and drive back. Always July-September. We'll do Portland any time of year, there are more indoor things to do there.
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:52 AM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 880,316 times
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Thanks for the feedback. I was only in Vancouver for a week in mid March. I am a sociologist and I was already in Seattle for a little under a week for a conference before I came to Vancouver. It was the first time that I had ever visited the Pacific Northwest so I figured I would take a train to Vancouver to see what it was like. I stayed in a hostel on Granville (right in the middle of the club/entertainment district), which may have been my first mistake. I didn't go to any of the clubs, but walking down Granville at night and navigating through the hordes of drunk, overdressed, douche-bags and dodging their projectile vomiting was unpleasant to say the least. The girls were all horribly underdressed for the weather (there were some SUPER attractive ladies out there but I felt bad for them because they were shivering and they had to put up with the crowds of subhuman douche-bag men).

I found the racial/ethnic makeup of the city to be pretty interesting as it was a mix that I am not used to (lots of east asians-chinese, japanese, korean, obviously, and lots of Indians and Pakistanis). I'm Cuban-American and I'm from Miami so I guess I'm more used to the minorities (or visible minorities as you say in Canada) being Hispanic or Black. It was strange not seeing any Hispanic or Black people. The couple of Black men that I saw seemed to be African (Somali, and Sudanese I think) which is cool, just not what I'm used to. I've never met bartenders that were as pricky as the ones in Vancouver. I had to stop myself from throttling a couple of skinny, snobby barkeeps on Granville.

I had some great food while I was in Vancouver so I can't complain about that. AMAZING seafood! Maybe it shows my ignorance but I came expecting to find more of a bohemian type of culture but most of the people seemed to be stoic yuppies who spend WAY too much money on their clothes. I was met with cold stares and even looks of fear by some of the people who I walked past. Again, this was mostly downtown and it was during a spell of nasty weather. Maybe in the summer the people are nicer. I'd love to visit again and check out some different neighborhoods to get a better feel for the city. It's a shame because I've been wanting to relocate to Canada for a while and I'm scouting out different cities/regions.
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
1,049 posts, read 6,274,598 times
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Did you only stay and explore downtown? That could have been one of the reasons why you feel the way you do. The lousy weather's another another reason, but by only staying and exploring the downtown you end up seeing a really superficial transient part of the city which isn't, in my opinion, representative of the whole picture.

Did you get out to Commercial Drive? Mount Pleasant? Kitsilano? Did you get out to Richmond? Steveston? North Van? Hastings/Sunrise? Just curious... there's a lot more of an eccentric/diverse community vibe that you don't get downtown (with exception to parts of the West End).

An aside - I find Gastown's completely overrated. Great for a cocktail and hanging with friends at bars, but as a tourist, it has no wow factor.

Another part of what makes Vancouver appealing as a city isn't the city infrastructure, but it's close proximity to the beaches, the forests, trails, etc. Hanging out at Wreck beach or Jericho Beach by evening vs. Granville Street, for example - it's night and day.
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Old 06-25-2011, 05:22 PM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 880,316 times
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Hi Robynator,
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to explore many of the surrounding neighborhoods. Like I said in my original post, I think I made a mistake by staying right on Granville. I just wanted to be in the thick of it so that I could walk most places and use public transit. I was just surprised by downtown. I was under the impression that because it was so densely populated and relatively devoid of the blight and abadonement that you see in many U.S. cities, downtown would be the best place to be. I thought that I would see lots of different types of people. In lots of U.S. cities the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs are not the main attractions and since Canadian cities have fared better at keeping the urban core vibrant, I thought staying there would expose me to the best that Vancouver had to offer. I would have loved to visit some of the areas you mentioned. Richmond especially (I hear Richmond has some of the best Chinese food in North America, yum). I only visited Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown?, Stanley Park, Downtown Eastside, Granville Island, etc. I rode the Skytrain all the way out east in a loop, mostly to experience some scenery out of the downtown core. I liked the Skytrain, it seems to be a useful, clean transit system, the zone based fare system is a nice change of pace. I went up in the observation deck downtown. I visited the public library too, which I liked a lot (cool architecture, and it's the only public library I've ever seen with a full food court on premises). Like I said before, I'd love to visit again in a different season and stay longer to get a better idea of what the city's all about. The sun came out for 20 minutes one of the days I was in Stanley Park and the scenery was breathtaking (especially for me as I'm from Florida which is flat as a flapjack). I guess I was thrown off by all the yuppies and cold, stoic people. Most people in the U.S. think of Vancouver as a haven for hippies, hipsters, and bohemians and that's not what I saw at all. People on the street seemed to be judging me and I tried smiling at people and received no smiles at all. Also, why are all the people at the clubs either white or of Indian/Pakistani descent? I saw no east Asians at the clubs at night. What's up with that?
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Old 06-26-2011, 12:37 AM
 
24,460 posts, read 19,375,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robynator View Post
Did you only stay and explore downtown? That could have been one of the reasons why you feel the way you do. The lousy weather's another another reason, but by only staying and exploring the downtown you end up seeing a really superficial transient part of the city which isn't, in my opinion, representative of the whole picture.

Did you get out to Commercial Drive? Mount Pleasant? Kitsilano? Did you get out to Richmond? Steveston? North Van? Hastings/Sunrise? Just curious... there's a lot more of an eccentric/diverse community vibe that you don't get downtown (with exception to parts of the West End).
Hello Robynator! I am glad to see that you are still posting on this forum!
You've been helpful before, so I need your advise please)))
I've been to Vancouver before and I remember I liked it, so I was hoping to visit it again, and while visiting to have my peace and quiet. But as the luck has it, I'll have to tag my sixteen-year old along.
What's there is to see for a teenager ( other than skate-parks?)
How safe should I feel letting him explore the city on his own?

PS. I'd appreciate anyone's advise, because I am not sure how to go about the whole trip, are there any particular places that are more appealing for the younger generation/teenagers in the city?
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:41 AM
 
Location: B.C., Canada
13,339 posts, read 11,965,170 times
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Hi JProg, thanks for the clarifications.

In a nutshell, try to think of this place as a patchwork quilt of neighbourhoods with each patch being different from its surrounding patches and you basically only saw a couple of small patches in the quilt - the downtown core of Vancouver. And yes, that Granville strip IS sleazy at nights.

But Vancouver is bigger than that and it isn't a melting pot like you might be more accustomed to where you live, it's multicultural with different cultural neighbourhoods and different attitudes. They are parts of the city that are culturally different from each other and they're all different from the downtown core where you visited, and then there's the surrounding towns like Robynator mentioned that are also different from Vancouver and each one of those towns has it's own different cultural areas too. But it all makes up the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the whole of it is one big patchwork quilt with many colors, tones and patterns to it. I hope I haven't confused you with that explanation.

That's one of the reasons why you noticed not many Asians at the downtown nightclubs - that downtown clubbing scene is not their scene so much and if they are partying they're doing it elsewhere in places that are more suited to their traditions, most often in their own homes and communities since they are very family and home community oriented people. That's not to say you won't find people of other cultures and races mingling in the Asian scenes, you will, .... it's just ... well, you didn't see enough of the whole quilt, that's all.

If and when you ever get up this way again you should make a point of visiting the other Vancouver neighbourhoods and the surrounding towns and their respective attractions and virtues. It would be helpful if you were to have a car to get you around to see more, and don't get a hotel in the downtown core. There is so much more to the Vancouver region than that.

.
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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I don't know why a tourist would go to the Vancouver suburbs unless they are looking for a few certain outdoor attractions. There is barely any interesting cultural experience to be had in any of them. North Van has the trails and suspension bridges.

Richmond has many Chinese restaurants, of varying quality. Look up a review website to make sure you are going to the best ones. Richmond, in general, is not that great. You go in, dine, and get out again. Don't go there and just wander into any little restaurant, because may find you can't communicate in English (yes, this is true). The food will be truely authentic, but you won't know what you're ordering. Steveston...meh...unless you are really into fishing boats or something.

East Van has some charm in spots, but you really need to know exactly where to go. I'm not sure why a tourist would go to Hastings-Sunrise other than for the PNE (a seasonal fair thats more for locals). Commercial Drive is probably the most bohemian part of Vancouver but its a shadow of its former self. The OP might have enjoyed The Drive 10 or 20 years ago. Mount Pleasant can be interesting in a seedy kind of way. Everyone tells me Mount Pleasant has changed, but I don't see it. As a whole, East Van is mostly just a dumpy inner suburb with pockets of yuppy gentrification.

Kits used be the bohemian part of Vancouver back in my parents day. It has long been too expensive to maintain a community of artists. You might find the occassional old hippy who'd tell you about the glory days of West 4th Ave. Other than that, Kits is mostly plastic yuppies and spoiled Westside kids. It has lots of overpriced little shops. Stay away, unless you are just going to the beach.

This city is just not an interesting cultural place for a tourist. You come here to enjoy some exotic dining, appreciate the natural scenery, and do outdoorsy activities. There is nothing else, honest.
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