Before making the move to a new country, we anticipate what that new location will be like. We converse with people who may have moved before us and carry out endless research online. But you won’t really know the ins and outs until you actually make the move. If you’re thinking of making the move to Vancouver, let me give you a quick rundown of 12 things you don’t know about Vancouver until you move here.
I was lucky to arrive in Vancouver at the end of Summer, so I saw the city in the stunning sunlight and really got to embrace the outdoor lifestyle that Canada is famed for. Naturally, I had also done my research before moving and came across lots of references to”Raincouver” but I was quick to shun those hints and oh boy, how silly I was!
Coming from an Irish girl, I can confirm it rains bucket loads, pretty much daily here in Vancouver. Here’s what you need to know; for 9 months of the year, you’re 90% guaranteed rain and for 3 months during the Summer, there’s perfect sunshine and it’s the most amazing place to be! Weigh it up for yourself, can you hack 9 months of rain, for 3 months of perfect summer time?
Now, this is one aspect of Vancouver that came as a surprise. Vancouver has built itself quite the Amsterdam equivalent title. Walking down the street, you will get wafts of marijuana and marijuana dispensers are dotted along the street as often as you will spot Tim Hortons( A Vancouver coffee franchise). While technically not legal here(only for medicinal purposes), let’s just say Vancouver is very marijuana-friendly. So if smoking the strong stuff happens to be your thing, I think you will find Vansterdam the perfect place for you.
If you plan on driving in Vancouver, there are certain things that appear different to other countries I’ve lived in and I don’t even drive, I just happy to be very observant. First, they don’t drive cars here, for the most part, they drive massive pick up trucks and SUV’s. The vehicles here are beasts!
Secondly, there seems to be a lack of roundabouts and no left turns allowed after certain times of the evening in the city. Thirdly, pedestrians run this city as do the cyclists. Drivers will literally slam on the brakes to let you cross the road. Oh and there’s no freeway access downtown. Lastly, their cars honk when they lock them. So sorry to inform you, not everyone is honking at you all the time as it may first appear.
4 Sushi Staple
No jokes, but you will become addicted to sushi in Vancouver. I’ve had some of the best sushi here which means Japan will have a lot to live up to when I get there, one day. Sushi restaurants are everywhere and as it turns out the California Roll was invented in Vancouver- fun fact of the day!
5 No Uber
Yep, you read the heading correctly. Currently there are no ride-hailing services in Vancouver, however, there are talks that Uber is in the works for Vancouver. So after a late night session in Vancouver, expect long delays for the minimum amounts of taxis the city has.
6 Tipping & Table Service
Much like America, tipping is pretty much compulsory here in Vancouver. Most places will have set tips from 15% upwards. Other places give you the option of tip percentage and you can get away with a sneaky 5% then(my personal go to, soz not soz).
Also, you have to wait to be seated, upon entering restaurants and you will rarely go to the bar to get your drinks as a waiter always serves you. This is a pet hate of mine as I feel this hinders socializing with others as you don’t really get the opportunity to mix and mingle.
OK, I am aware most large cities tend to have a homeless issue, but Vancouver is next level. A few blocks in the downtown eastside are full of homeless people and due to the vast amount concentrated in one area, it’s overwhelming at first sight. Just as an FYI, the streets are pretty safe and most people keep to themselves so don’t be afraid walking down here. However always best to be street smart.
Another one that caught me by surprise, is the fact they still use cheques as a payment method here in Vancouver. Hello, it’s 2018!! Most business will pay electronically, however, there are still some people getting cheques. What the actual f***?
9 Crazy people
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I do love me some crazy people!
Let me paint a picture for you. I once got on the 16 bus going downtown and a lady got on(in her late 50’s at a guess). She was topless(yes, both ladies out and about), wearing a rainbow hat and had a trolley decorated full of teddy bears. She was preaching about how “happy” she was, in all honestly, quite a liberating sight.
Another example, there is also a lady who strolls downtown with vibrant pink hair and a massive rat on her shoulder. As you do, no biggie!
10 liquor Laws
Much like the cheque payment system, Vancouver is slightly behind the times with its liquor laws. You cannot buy liquor from a grocery store here, I repeat..cannot! It’s disgraceful really, making people trek to a liquor store. This would never go down in Ireland, let me tell you that!
11 Open Relationships
So, yes open relationships are a common thing in Vancouver. On my second day here I got invited on a “hiking” trip with a man and his wife(and their two dogs) for some exercise. Here I was thinking, that Canadians are just ridiculously friendly, I’ll say no more!
12 You do you
Vancouver is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendliest places to live, which is refreshing in this day and age. Davie st is home to Vancouver’s gaybourhood with endless bars and restaurants and it’s a pretty fun spot to hang out.
Anything goes in Vancouver and that is what I love about this city, you really can be who ever you want to be.
So there you have 12 things you don’t know about Vancouver until you move here, oh wait…. I guess you know now! Anything on this list that surprised you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Also, not sure what to do with your first few days in Vancouver, see here