Now, before you nice liberal ethical vegans dismiss me based on my "nom-de-plume", hear me out. My qualifications:
1) born in Vancouver and lived in the surrounding towns (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Anmore (really sorta out in the sticks near Port Moody) and a few other spots. Thrice educated at UBC and SFU, both suitably liberal.
2) Then moved to southern Cal, though we did live in the southern fringes of v. Conservative Orange County.
3) Then moved to South Bend, IN, very similar to Chicago, but with attendant Lake Effect snows. Yukko! Quadruple Yukko!
The folks there in the mid-west, though v. nice and country-mid-west friendly, were pretty much all innactive "porkers" who seemed to like eating regularly at such dietary fineries as Denny's or The Country Buffet complete with massive quantities of bisquits and that heart-molesting stuff they call "gravy". (How can anything made from lard and white flour with not a hint of brown color be called Gravy. I mean, REALLY...).
We also lived, briefly, in Novato, CA, Portland, OR and now in central WA St.
My comments: first, we far prefer a more country lifestyle, but I'll table that one for now. Regarding Vancouver: Pros and Cons:
1) Absolutely, hands-down, some of the best and most affordable Asian restaurants IN THE WORLD. Why? Because there's so many Asians that have moved there (however, see *1 below...). For quite a while I worked in the Japanese auto industry and when we visited YVR (Vancouver...) our Japanese guests also applauded the food. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai and on and on.
And also Indian food. And French. And on and on.
2) Absolutely some of the finest recreational opportunities (if you remember to bring along your Gor-Tex underwear). Hiking, camping, skiing (any style), Whistler Village, the B.C. Interior, the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Ocean kayaking, fishing, etc.
3) Cosmopolitan politically liberal city. You'll feel right at home.
4) Nice LRT transporation system. Live near to that system if it also goes near your workplaces. Nifty, (though see *2 below under CONS)
1.) [*1] Asian DRIVERS. Apparently when they aren't eating, sleeping or procreating, they're out driving. VERY BADLY. TERRIFYINGLY BADLY. DANGEROUSLY BADLY. MADDENINGLY, STAGGERINGLY, BLITHELY, MIND-ON-SOMETHING-ELSE...BADLY. Look out!
2) [*2] The violent crime rate is rising rapidly, esp. in downtown YVR. Waaay higher than in a lot of US cities, even Seattle, which is definitely not a nice city at night. But of course at least I can carry my sidearm. Crime in the streets, as you wait for a bus, home invasions, on the LRT, etc.
Why in YVR? You may have guessed it again: Asians and East Indians. In the form of gangs, drug dealers, pimps, mobsters. Expect to hear about fully auto machine gunnings in the street between duelling Beemers, Maseratis, etc. I AM a staunch US Constitutionalist and 2nd Amendment-er, for many good and logical reasons. In Canada they continue to ramp up ever more restrictive legislation against ANY sort of device or tool one might possibly use in defence of oneself. Airguns? Knives with blades over 4"? Even pepper spray. It is, after all, "a compassionate culture" up there. Why would anyone ever need to defend themselves? Against what, after all? Everyone's SO nice! Which sort of leads to my next CON;
3) Provincial and Federal Politics. Ho-boy! Small-town excessively lefty-twisted ego-driven inexperienced tricksters playing at being big-timers. The NDP, which is about as left as you can lean without falling into the Communist Party of Canada, is in the pocket of the big unions.
4) I nearly forgot about unions in Vancouver and Canada in general. You'll learn to live with strikes by Postal workers, Teachers, Garbage Collectors, Transport Workers, BC Hydro Workers, Ferry Workers, AOAOAI (And On And On Ad Infinitum...).
5) Canucks very uniformly want
to pick on Americans and America. If you have any pride in any
aspect of America your homeland, you'll have to develop a pretty thick impenatrable hide. A common knee-jerk statement is "Well at least we're NOT Americans!", spoken with a true sneer in their "provincial voices". You know, as if the entire world's problems were the result of George W. Bush and NEVER anything the Dems / Clintons have EVER done...... Riggghhhttt...
and finally, 5) Uber-taxation rates on your income. Free health care? Yah gotta be kidding, right? And the technical quality of their medical system? Well, don't be comparing it to, say, the Mayo, or the hospitals or clinics is Seattle, like Virginia-Mason or Children's Hospital. The continuing political suppression of free-market forces has eliminated a lot of tech options or equipment availability to Vancouverites. It took my mother 6 mo. to get a needed MRI in YVR 5 years ago. Other medical horror stories abound. Canadians think it's great just because they survived! They have nothing good to compare to.
So. My ideal Vancouver recreational weekend (or YVR investigational "explore" if you're checking it all out before moving there) would be a Saturday morning wandering the Granville Island Market for about 2h, esp. the store that sells French pastries and baguettes, followed by a driving tour around the first half of Stanley Park, munching on said baguette. where you then take the cute little forest on-ramp onto the Lion's Gate Bridge north, then west along the Upper Levels highway out to Horseshoe Bay. Then sightseeing up the highway that leads to Whistler Village. (Watch out for rich Asian kids blistering up that highway in the wrong lane in their hyper-turbo-Porsches...)
But if you like Japanese Food, don't snack too much or stop for dinner up there (control yourself!!!), 'cause on your driving return you'll be passing by one of the world's best sushi bars
, right there in West Vancouver.
When you come back through Horseshoe Bay, find your way down to Marine Drive soon after you pass by Horseshoe Bay. I'm sure another poster can tell us, as well as that exit name or number to wend your way down the steep swtichback hill to Marine Drive...). When you are curving into the inlet on Marine Drive eastbound, you'll see a private yacht club (I forget which one it is right now. West Van YC I'll bet...). Opposite that yacht club is Takumi Sushi
. The owner and his lovely wife, once the owners of several primo sushi bas in the city, have moved their location to this fantastic sea-side restaurant, which is "post and beam" style, an ex-French restaurant place. Very cozy and with lots of ambiance! Ask for Tadashi-san
. His wife Kathy
is the usual receptionist-hostess. The other older sushi chef is also fabulous! Tell Tadashi or Kathy that Joe's friend Don (that'd be me...) highly recommended the place, and to make you up a "special". Any "special", really...!
House prices? Sorta high but if you can leverage yourself into a nice downtown condo well before the upcoming Winter Olympics and then sell about 6 - 8 mo before them, or live in a motel for 6 mo while you rent your home/condo out for $2500/mo, you'll come out very well. Then after the bloom is off the rose so to speak, you can buy a v. nice place with an ocean view.
But those local politics.... well, what can I say? I am actually quite liberal and Constitutional, and an educated enviro-type as well, but I also, in retirement, build custom rifles. Not such a politically correct pastime up in Canada I'm sure you'll understand! And, sorry, but "We Know Best"
libs can really get on my nerves, frankly.
Have a good time!