Living in Vancouver means days spent enjoying beaches and waterfront parks, nights out eating at the best restaurants in British Columbia, and weekend-long festivals that bring international visitors and locals together. Before you take off for the city, read our moving guide and get a sense of what it’s really like to live in Vancouver.
Cost of Living
Here are some facts and figures about the average cost of living to keep in mind before moving to Vancouver.
- Rent: the average cost to rent a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,000 and $3,200 for a 2-bedroom. These rates put Vancouver in the top 5 most expensive cities in Canada to rent.
- Transportation: British Columbia residents spend an average of 18.5% of their income on monthly transit passes. We’ll go into more detail on transportation options later.
- Food costs: residents in BC spend 14.1% of their household budget on food, just slightly under the national average of 14.3%.
- Taxes: sales tax in Vancouver is 12%.
Utilities: the average cost of utilities in Vancouver is $135.
Internet: internet services are around $60. Below are some of the largest providers in the Vancouver area.
Vancouver has fairly pleasant weather throughout the year. Its summers see average highs around 17 degrees Celsius and winter lows get down to 1 degrees Celsius. The city gets an average annual snowfall of just 45 centimeters, making it one of the Canadian cities with the least amount of snow per year.
Of course, living in certain neighborhoods can alter your cost of living, so here are a few popular ones.
- Yaletown: This is possibly the most hipster of the Vancouver neighborhoods, but it’s certainly well-liked by locals. Boasting hip restaurants and shops housed in old warehouses, this hood is bursting with places to go. David Lam Park, a waterfront hangout spot with space for almost any activity, is in this neighbourhood backyard, and ample public transit options make Yaletown one of the most accessible parts of the city.
- Kitsilano: Hugging the northwestern shores of the English Bay and Burrard Inlet, Kitsilano is a place for beach-lovers, history buffs, and foodies. Suffice to say, this hood has it all. Check out the Vancouver Maritime Museum, Museum of Vancouver, and the H.R. Macmillan Space Center, all located in Kitsilano. Head to AnnaLena for a cocktail and dinner at one of Vancouver’s best new restaurants
- Gastown: This is where it all happens. Gastown is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver, but don’t let its age fool you. This lively area is full of new pubs on cobblestone streets and trendy restaurants housed in decade-old-buildings. Its mix of new and old make this a premier spot for locals wanting to get out for a day or night on the town.
Arguably one of the most breathtaking spot in all of Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth Park sits 152 meters above sea level and takes up 52 hectares. The park grounds feature beautifully-landscaped gardens, an arboretum with 1,500 trees, a rose garden , public art, and blooming perennials and shrubs. The Vancouver International Film festival draw huge crowds every year who come to see the latest from the best filmmakers in the industry. Stanley Park, free to the public, is a massive, 400-hectare urban park with bike paths, scenic views along the seawall, and Canada’s largest aquarium.
The Translink operates Vancouver’s subways, ferries, commuter rails, and a bus system. The SkyTrain connects downtown Vancouver to the airport and nearby cities. The bus system is expansive, and covers just about every nook and cranny of Vancouver. The SeaBus is what you’ll want to take to cross over the Burrard Inlet into the North Shore, and you’ll commute into the city via the West Coast Express.
How to Get to Vancouver
To get to Vancouver by air, fly into Vancouver International Airport. Forget the cab, take the SkyTrain and you’ll be in downtown Vancouver in about 30 minutes. If you’re driving from within British Columbia, BC-1 will take you to the city.
Moving to Vancouver from Montreal
You might want to hop on a flight for this one. A road trip from Montreal to Vancouver will take you around 46 hours, and you’ll be driving through the northern U.S. A flight, though, will get you there in just 4.5 hours.
Moving to Vancouver from Seattle
You won’t have too much to stress over if moving from Seattle; Vancouver is just a little over 3 hours away by car. Bolt Buses also have direct routes between the two cities, as does Amtrak Cascades.
Tips for Moving to Vancouver
- Do: eat up at Vancouver’s best restaurants. A 17 -day festival, Dine Out Vancouver, celebrates some of the city’s top eateries and gives locals a chance to participate in workshops and classes, try tasting menus, and go on neighbourhood tasting tours.
- Don’t: miss out on the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Vancouver has more than 40,000 cherry trees lining its city streets, and they’ll all be blooming during this festival.
- Do: check out the event of the summer, the Celebration of Light. It’s the largest international fireworks competition in the world and takes place over three days in July.
- Don’t: expect to use Lyft or Uber here. Luckily, Vancouver operates a few different taxi systems that work just as well with the eCab app.
Does Vancouver sounds like the place for you? Make sure you find the perfect Vancouver apartment before you get out there and enjoy this waterfront city.