This is Vancity’s second instalment in its two-part series investigating the financial hardships of living in Vancouver. You can check out the first article by clicking here.
Nature, diversity, food, activities, and a plethora of different cultural experiences. Given this city’s abundance of benefits, it’s no surprise that people all over the world want to live here, or at the very least visit.
Yet any millennial sticking it out in Vancouver will most likely attest to the struggle of feeling overeducated and underemployed. Coping with high debt, high rent, and sometimes low wages is enough to make anyone consider leaving.
Curious to see what young locals think about this city’s financial implications? Check out these three real-life Vancouverites share their stories.
Kim, 27, web marketing specialist
“I love the diversity of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods. Each area has its own distinct characteristics and even a unique persona. You can live in one neighbourhood and easily ‘travel’ to another for the day and have a completely different feeling and experience. Every neighbourhood is proud of the businesses and events that bring life and character to their streets and wherever you choose to live, you’re proud of what your neighbourhood has to offer.
I’ve lived in a few Canadian cities and none have been as committed to community as Vancouver. Vancouverites are freaking proud of this city! We have the reputation of being cold and no fun but Vancouverites love to get out and take in what their city has to offer. Festivals, live shows, running clubs, block parties, parades, fireworks- anything that allows people to come together and enjoy are always a huge deal in Vancouver for all ages and demographics. Sure, this city is tough to live in financially but if you love what it stands for then I think you find a way to make it work.”
Zameer, 30, news reporter
“Vancouver’s a great city, a city that’s been my home for most of my life, and where I’d be happy to make my home for the future. As a big outdoor sports enthusiast, where else can you ski and golf on the same day in March, less than 40 minutes away from home?
But is it really worth staying here? As a 30-year-old young professional working in the city and currently living in the suburbs, will someone like me ever be able to afford to buy a house, with over a million dollars plus price tag on average? How will someone like me, making a modest income, ever be able to save a down payment, afford to raise a family, and support myself, never mind others in this city? How do I give my future children the same opportunities my parents gave me?
I continue to struggle in my search for affordable housing options in this city. As much as I’d love to live close enough to work to just to have a shorter commute or be able to walk everyday, but with rents as high as they are, that’s unlikely right now.
There would have to be a really great incentive for me to leave Vancouver because this is where my support network and job is. But in the meantime, I’m going to fight for my city, work to see things become better and more equitable for the hardworking young people who can never seem to get ahead in this place.”
Nick, 28, animator
“My reason for being here in the first place is pretty simple, this is where the work is. I’m an animator and the industry is exploding in Vancouver, so having Canadian citizenship, this is the obvious default. Beyond that, however, it’s a pretty wonderful city by many standards. It’s gorgeous, safe, beautiful, and temperate. The night life leaves much to be desired, but I think it’s more than made up for by the options between nights, at least if you like the outdoors.
The cost of doing business out here is, of course, pretty high, but I think a part of that is that it attracts the jobs and the people that can/want that. Hollywood North is a term I haven’t heard in a while, but it’s true. Films, television, games, people who drive Lambos and dress like their life is a permanent photoshoot are all major parts of Vancouver life, more so than anywhere else in Canada. So I think we pay a premium to do cool things and live in a cool place. And I think we like it that way.”
What’s your take on living in Vancouver? Vancity wants to help young people solve their problems by gauging their responses with a 30 second video. No need to make fancy edits or create anything that’s high quality – all that’s needed is an honest and real answer.
Everyone who submits a video will be entered into a weekly draw to win a $1,000 Vancity Visa Gift Card. Videos can be shared on social media using #DontGiveUp and @Vancity or visit www.vancity.com/dontgiveup
Vancity will watch all submitted videos and feature some of the video clips in their new advertising campaign, to be launched later this year. The campaign will show and share what it’s really like for people faced with the challenges of living in the Lower Mainland day in and day out, and what solutions people may have found.