What I Love and Hate About Living in Greater Vancouver

pitt meadows dykes

Over the long weekend, I had a flashback: last Easter was my final weekend of couch-surfing with various friends, while looking for my first apartment in New Westminster. On the Tuesday after, I finally found a place to call home. As you know, I’ve lived in a few places since then, but still – I have lived in Greater Vancouver for a year now. Seriously, where has the time gone!?

By no means do I consider myself a “Vancouverite” yet… I’m still an island girl, through and through. But a year seems like a good amount of time to get a feel for a place. I don’t need my GPS anymore (unless I’m going somewhere totally new). I’ve figured out most of the highways (key word: most). And I have made new friends. These are all wins in my eyes.

But that doesn’t mean I love everything about living over here. To commemorate my first year of living in Greater Vancouver, I decided to write down everything I love and hate about it. Since I’m a fan of starting with the negatives first and moving onto the positives, we’ll start with the thing I hate the most…

HATE: The traffic. I live in Port Moody and commute to New Westminster at least three days each week. If I am stupid enough to leave during morning or afternoon rush hour (I try not to do this), it takes 45 minutes to drive a whopping 13.5 km (8.4 miles). And let’s not talk about how much I hate driving into the city…

LOVE: How walkable it is. That sounds like an oxymoron, right? But it’s true. If I didn’t work in New Westminster, I’d probably never leave Port Moody. (And I felt the same when I lived in New Westminster.) Grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, the library and great trails are all within walking distance.

HATE: The price of gas. When I was 18-20, I used to love bringing my car over here for weekend getaways, because it meant I could fill up with cheap gas before going home to Victoria. Now, it’s the exact opposite. The last thing I do during every trip home is fill up before catching the ferry back to Vancouver.

LOVE: How many incredibly walking and hiking trails are all around me. Sure, I need to drive to some of them, but I could probably check out a new trail/area every weekend for a year and still have more to cross off the list. My latest discovery was the Pitt Meadows Dykes (seen above). Next, I want to check out Pitt Lake!

HATE: That I’ll probably never be a homeowner here – at least not until I’m part of a two-income household. According to REW.ca, the benchmark price for a condo in Port Moody is now $329,300. I’d be comfortable buying in the $265,000-$275,000 range. So, that’s not happening.

LOVE: The condo I’m currently renting. The unit itself, the gym, pool, hot tub… the village. I love it all.

HATE: Downtown Vancouver. I love some of the nearby neighbourhoods that surround the city, but just being downtown fills me with anxiety. The sidewalks are always packed, the traffic patterns make no sense, and the vibe can be super pretentious. Oh, and it is not cheap to park anywhere near downtown.

LOVE: New Westminster. Some people call it “the Brooklyn of Vancouver” and I can see why. It’s growing (mostly upwards), and seems to be constantly changing. But the city is full of small businesses and the passionate entrepreneurs who run them. The people in New West are what make it so awesome.

HATE: That I still haven’t found a good pho place. Actually, that’s not true – I had a favourite pho place in New West, but it burned down last fall. I’ve tried a bunch of different restaurants, since then, but so far there are none I would make a second trip to. (Got any reco’s?)

LOVE: All of the amazing brunch spots. I’ve been out for brunch at least once/month since I’ve lived over here and none of the restaurants or meals have disappointed. My favourites so far include: Café Deux Soleils, Medina Café and Craft Beer Market.

HATE: That none of my family or friends from Victoria live over here.

LOVE: That I get to meet new people every week, and spend more time with friends I used to only see once/year. If I hadn’t moved here, I wouldn’t be such good friends with Daisy, Jess (who left me), Wendy and Ashly. And I wouldn’t have met/become friends with anyone I now know in New West and Port Moody.

Oh, and my friend Kasey is moving here from Toronto this summer, which will make it even better!

Tell me something you love and hate about the city you live in!