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Old 06-05-2012, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Houston
391 posts, read 857,173 times
Reputation: 468

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I would like to know what it is like living in Vancouver, BC. I currently live in Houston, TX USA and have always wanted to live a few years in Canada. I can identify with Vancouver and Toronto the most, but I would like to get some perspective on how it is to live particularly in Vancouver.

I have a ton of questions and any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I would also love to hear from anyone that moved to Vancouver from the USA.

What's the weather like? I can imagine very similar to Seattle, WA weather, but correct me if I am wrong.

What is the cost of living like? All I have read is that it is higher than the USA, but would like more details from residents.

What is the average cost of rent near the city centre?

Is public transportation abundant in Vancouver? I know they have the sky train, but do you still need a car to get around in Vancouver?

Are there many gyms to choose from in Vancouver?

Are there many cell phone providers in the Vancouver area? Which is most reliable? I have seen Rogers and Bell, but not sure who is the best.

What is the state of the economy in Vancouver?

What are taxes like in Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada? In Texas, taxes are generally low, no state income tax, but taxed federally.

Does British Columbia have an income tax like most states in the USA? Or is it just a Canadian income tax? How high or low?

Does Vancouver have much earthquake activity?

How diverse is Vancouver?


Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
72 posts, read 250,746 times
Reputation: 50
Quote:
What's the weather like? I can imagine very similar to Seattle, WA weather, but correct me if I am wrong.
You got it right - weather is very similar to Seattle and Portland.

Quote:
What is the cost of living like? All I have read is that it is higher than the USA, but would like more details from residents.
Cost of living is quite high. Gas, for example, is 1.45CAD/litre (Canadian dollars per litre) today. In US Dollars, that works out to 5.30USD/gallon. Generally, everything in Vancouver is more expensive than the US - that's why cross-border shopping is such a huge local pastime.

Quote:
What is the average cost of rent near the city centre?
In Downtown Vancouver, rent is probably going to be around $1500/mo for a 500 square foot 1 bedroom condo. Utilities like electricity and tv/internet are probably extras you'll have to pay for. Outside the core, rents may be cheaper, but I wouldn't expect it to be significantly cheaper unless you go outside Vancouver or decide to rent a basement suite in a residential neighbourhood.

Quote:
Is public transportation abundant in Vancouver? I know they have the sky train, but do you still need a car to get around in Vancouver?
Public transportation is fairly abundant within Vancouver - not so much in the suburbs. In and around the downtown core, I have rarely had to wait 5 minutes for a bus and I can usually get to surrounding suburbs like Richmond or Burnaby in 30 minutes by bus and skytrain. You don't need a car, but if you need one, zipcars and car2go are great options.

Quote:
Are there many gyms to choose from in Vancouver?
Yes. Steve Nash Fitness world is a big chain. Then again, I use the gym in my condo building since I'm paying for it already.

Quote:
Are there many cell phone providers in the Vancouver area? Which is most reliable? I have seen Rogers and Bell, but not sure who is the best.
Other cell phone carriers: Telus, Fido (another Rogers' brand), Solo (another Bell brand), Koodo (another Telus brand), Wind, and Mobilicity. Wind and Mobilicity are new players in the cell phone industry in Canada and their cellphone service area is not as large as the big 3 (Telus, Rogers, Bell). Can't speak on reliability - they're all pretty close.

Quote:
What is the state of the economy in Vancouver?
Perhaps someone else can comment on this. Vancouver's economy is fairly strong - resource sector is good although tourism (the other big industry) has not been as hot as the past. As for jobs, I'd say it's pretty dismal when it comes to professional careers since there are few high paying professional careers but many people qualified to do them. Perhaps someone else can comment.


Quote:
What are taxes like in Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada? In Texas, taxes are generally low, no state income tax, but taxed federally.
Taxes in Vancouver: Income tax (federal), PST-provincial sales tax (state/provincial), GST-goods and services tax (federal) NOTE: PST & GST are currently combined as the HST right now (12% tax) but will be repealed next year.


Quote:
Does Vancouver have much earthquake activity?
Not that I know of, but we're always told to expect the BIG one.

Quote:
How diverse is Vancouver?
Very diverse, but can be concentrated in specific neighbourhoods and suburbs. I live Downtown and I see a great mix, but suburbs like Richmond, for example, have a large Asian community.


Hope this helps
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Houston
391 posts, read 857,173 times
Reputation: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by AskKent View Post
You got it right - weather is very similar to Seattle and Portland.



Cost of living is quite high. Gas, for example, is 1.45CAD/litre (Canadian dollars per litre) today. In US Dollars, that works out to 5.30USD/gallon. Generally, everything in Vancouver is more expensive than the US - that's why cross-border shopping is such a huge local pastime.



In Downtown Vancouver, rent is probably going to be around $1500/mo for a 500 square foot 1 bedroom condo. Utilities like electricity and tv/internet are probably extras you'll have to pay for. Outside the core, rents may be cheaper, but I wouldn't expect it to be significantly cheaper unless you go outside Vancouver or decide to rent a basement suite in a residential neighbourhood.



Public transportation is fairly abundant within Vancouver - not so much in the suburbs. In and around the downtown core, I have rarely had to wait 5 minutes for a bus and I can usually get to surrounding suburbs like Richmond or Burnaby in 30 minutes by bus and skytrain. You don't need a car, but if you need one, zipcars and car2go are great options.



Yes. Steve Nash Fitness world is a big chain. Then again, I use the gym in my condo building since I'm paying for it already.



Other cell phone carriers: Telus, Fido (another Rogers' brand), Solo (another Bell brand), Koodo (another Telus brand), Wind, and Mobilicity. Wind and Mobilicity are new players in the cell phone industry in Canada and their cellphone service area is not as large as the big 3 (Telus, Rogers, Bell). Can't speak on reliability - they're all pretty close.



Perhaps someone else can comment on this. Vancouver's economy is fairly strong - resource sector is good although tourism (the other big industry) has not been as hot as the past. As for jobs, I'd say it's pretty dismal when it comes to professional careers since there are few high paying professional careers but many people qualified to do them. Perhaps someone else can comment.




Taxes in Vancouver: Income tax (federal), PST-provincial sales tax (state/provincial), GST-goods and services tax (federal) NOTE: PST & GST are currently combined as the HST right now (12% tax) but will be repealed next year.




Not that I know of, but we're always told to expect the BIG one.



Very diverse, but can be concentrated in specific neighbourhoods and suburbs. I live Downtown and I see a great mix, but suburbs like Richmond, for example, have a large Asian community.


Hope this helps
Very helpful! Thanks!!
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:36 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 12,349,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskKent View Post

Very diverse, but can be concentrated in specific neighbourhoods and suburbs. I live Downtown and I see a great mix, but suburbs like Richmond, for example, have a large Asian community.


Vancouver is not very diverse in the sense that most people are either white or east Asian. Richmond is even less diverse as it is predominantly Chinese.

Diversity means people from everywhere. It doesn't mean the percentage of non-white people.

I hope white Canadians can stop thinking that diversity means the percentage of non-white people. There is nothing special about being white, and diversity is never a matter of white vs others. but rather white/black/latino/east Asian/south Asian/Arabian. all of them are just part of the diversity factor.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:28 PM
 
1,906 posts, read 1,743,688 times
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Vancouver is the most expensive city in North America. If you wouldn't consider New York or Chicago in your budget than Vancouver won't be either.

Weather is indeed similar to Seattle.

Public transportation is excellent. The skytrain does extend to Surrey, but you will probably want a car if you are doing something outside the city.

Taxes are very high and so is the cost of utilities and auto fuel. Gas in Vancouver at the current moment is approx. $5.75 a gallon.

Personal taxes are as follows:

For Provincial income tax you pay for taxable income 0 - $37,013 5.06%, $37,013 - $74.028 7.70%, $74,028 - $84,993 10.50%, $84,993 -$103,205 12.29%, over $103,205 14.70%

For Federal income tax you pay for taxable income 0 - $42,707 15%, $42,707 - $85,414 22%, $85,414 - $132,406 26%, over $132,406 29%

There are also consumption taxes on things you purchase.

The average price of a single family home is approximately one million dollars.

It is also considered one of the most livable, beautiful cities in the world. I love Vancouver. There are some big differences from Houston! The cost of living probably being the biggest followed by...pretty much everything else you can think of
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:03 AM
 
78 posts, read 243,592 times
Reputation: 61
I moved here from California.
Vancouver is so pretty.
Everything is so much more expensive, it's true. I'm paying 1750 for a small basement suite. Really miss Trader Joe's and its great prices. Even sunblock, a small tube, is like $20.
Transit is much more efficient than what I'm used to in LA. Bus drivers are nice. But, a one-way fare is $2.50; really damn expensive. Buses are often very full and you have to stand up. In my area, East Hastings, I encounter a lot of drug-riddled folks and even prostitutes. A lot of smelly people and some who spit on the ground.
Everyone has to pay $64 a month for health insurance, so no, it's not free as I thought. And that's limited, it doesn't cover prescriptions or dental care.
Big condos are popping up all over.
I wouldn't say Vancouver is that diverse. As another person said, it's basically either Asian or white. Mostly Chinese, some Indian and other East Asian. Some First Nations ppls as well...much more diverse than Texas though.
Canada government isn't as great as I thought it was. The Harper government doesn't seem to care about climate change. Alberta's oil sands are filthy and huge contributors to CO2 emissions.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:19 PM
 
Location: NYC
19 posts, read 115,920 times
Reputation: 32
My first reaction to Vancouver:
"This city feels like a giant movie set!"

I'm from New York/California. I have lived in Vancouver for almost 5 years now. I can vouch for the previous comments. It is going to be more expensive than where you are coming from. Your rent/food costs will go up for sure and gas is murder. If you can get away with not driving it would save you a bundle.

Rent is high, but my previous residence was San Francisco so it wasn't much a of a difference for me. I wouldn't even dream of buying a home here, prices are through the roof, which is the reason for the high rents.

Weather here is very much like Seattle but I would think it doesn't rain as badly as Seattle/Portland. Summer in Vancouver is incredible because it's so green and there aren't too many insects like you would find in the South or Eastern US. Unfortunately the rest of the year will consist of grey skies and anything from drizzle to downpour so take full advantage of the Summer weather.

As was mentioned, the "diversity" is limited to Asian nationals as far as visible minorities go. Although I did notice a large Eastern European contingent. You will also find that many of the people here are from elsewhere. I know very few true locals here. Could just be me though. Toronto wins in the diversity category for sure.

I wouldn't worry about earthquakes here, I have yet to experience even tremor. I don't think there is a city near a fault-line anywhere that isn't expecting "the big one".

Your biggest concern would be the cost of living I would say. It's hard to enjoy living anywhere if your always scraping by, something to consider. If your going to be here temporarily I think you would love it. I have a family now, so we are seriously considering moving out, it takes too much to live here comfortably imo.

In a nutshell Vancouver is pretty, outdoorsy but high maintenance, Toronto is more cultured, urbanized and a little lighter on your wallet.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:51 PM
 
1 posts, read 66,607 times
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I agree with the comments of others so far.
It is a relatively safe city to live in with mountains, sea, skiing nearby, beach, sailing etc. Pity there is little time to enjoy them.

Don't come if you don't have a job or are happy to be paid very low wages. It is very difficult to get a decent job if you are not Canadian or have friends who work for the company you are applying to.

Weather varies so much but isn't hot for long. Cost of living is really high and wages are really low. Work is very stressful, demanding and little time off. Many people find part of the problem is the inability to organize work properly. Hiring process is long winded - loads of interviews before you finally get offered a deal lower than many other countries. Strangely, many companies can't find people with the right skills!!!

Food is twice the price of Trader Joes.

Public transport is good and there is a great range of car cooperatives. Most condos have gyms, pool etc in the downtown area. Chatr offers the best prices for a fixed monthly rate for cell phones.

Over 55% of the people who live in Vancouver were born in other countries. There is a large Asian influence.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:05 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 12,349,070 times
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Since you are from Houston, just keep in mind you will most likely face a 30% pay cut with less than half of the jobs Houston has, and a 50% jump in cost of living in general. My friend who moved to Van from New York found Vancouver "expensive".

Houses of course are probably 4 times more expensive than Houston, at par with San Fran/South Bay.

Whether it is worth it in exchange for the beaches, mountains? It is your call. If I were American and want to live in Vancouver, I would simply move to Seattle. Unless of course, you have to leave the US.

By the way, winter is cold and there is no real summer in Vancouver (temp seldom rises above 75F).
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:09 AM
 
Location: Seattle area
7,765 posts, read 9,988,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esoteryk View Post
Weather here is very much like Seattle but I would think it doesn't rain as badly as Seattle/Portland.
Actually it rains more than Seattle/Portland. Vancouver gets around 44 inches of rain per year, while Seattle and Portland get 37 inches each.
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