Opinion: 15 things you only know if you're Irish living in Vancouver

Jun 4 2017, 1:46 pm

With files from our office Irish ex-pat Catríona Hughes. 

Vancouver is an interesting place to be Irish.

It’s a postcard worthy city, and we love it. But there are a few minor details that you won’t find explained in any travel brochures.

Things that only Irish expats can truly understand.

So here is a run down of just some of the things that you will only know if you’re Irish and living in Vancouver.

You can’t get cold beer from a liquor store

Perfectly cold and ready for drinking (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

If you’re lucky, you might come across an off-license (sorry, liquor store) that has a ‘cold zone.’ A simple pleasure taken for granted in Ireland, refrigeration, is often a privilege in Vancouver. You might have to get used to warm beers.

Why is everyone sitting at the bar?


No seats? no problem, we’ll just stand near the bar… or not? (Friends/Shutterstock)

The bar isn’t a place to sit and enjoy a meal. It’s a place to stand and chat with fellow punters as you try and attract the attention of overworked bar staff. Socializing isn’t the same when you’re restricted to a table, or seat at the bar. It’s nice to have the option to dance if you want to, or even move to another area.

When it rains here, it RAINS

Woman with umbrella in the rain (oliveromg/Shutterstock)

Umbrella? Check. Raincoat? Check. rubber boots? Check (oliveromg/Shutterstock)

It’s basically a monsoon every time the clouds decide to open up on us. There’s no such thing as a light drizzle, so it’s no wonder so many Vancouverites have an umbrella in tow at all times — even when it’s snowing.

There’s so many vegans

vegan food

Then again, those burgers don’t look all too  bad (sarsmis/shutterstock)

Every menu you look at, it’s vegan this, vegan that. And that’s fine. But maybe it has something to do with how expensive meat is around here. Either that, or Vancouver’s vegetables are off the scale good. Well, some colossal yams definitely are.

Banking costs money!?

And this money is just so colourful (CarpathianPrince/Shutterstock)

Goodbye low cost banking, hello monthly fees.

It’s hard to get anything but pizza after 10 pm

Okay, screw it, we’ll get the pizza anyway (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

It’s late, you’ve had a few too many to drink and you’re desperately in search of some late night carbs to soak up all that excess alcohol. Let’s look at your options shall we? Kebabs? No. Burger joints? No. A late night curry? Definitely no. Pizza aside, the chances are you’re going to struggle to find anything to eat on your way home.

The transit can actually be trusted

A TransLink bus picks up passengers in Vancouver (TransLink)

They should be smiling at how reliably and promptly the bus managed to show up (TransLink)

Yes Vancouver, go on and complain about TransLink all you want. It is actually a fine system you’ve got here, and those little wifi signals telling you how far away the bus is? Genius.

People will get your accent wrong… very wrong

It’s always good to ask before assuming, people (Kues/Shutterstock)

No, I’m not from “down unda, mate” and I’m not a Newfie, either. Sure, Vancouver has a rich cultural tapestry, but clean out your ears and give a quick listen before jumping to conclusions.

There’s no Pancake Tuesday

Crepes, really think pancakes, it’s all the same—and all delicious (Jess Fleming / Daily Hive)

Okay Vancouver, if you’re going to be adopting Saint Patrick’s day, you may as well throw in Pancake Tuesday, too. Sure, beer brings people together, but pancakes come a close second.

The pints here are pitiful

Guinness beer (victoriasky1/Shutterstock)

Okay, sometimes they’ve got the right sized glass… (victoriasky1/Shutterstock)

I don’t know if the bartenders are under-pouring, or if it’s just that the glasses are smaller, but there’s no way that I’m getting a proper pint’s worth of beer. But your craft beer wins you brownie points, Vancouver.

Why do I need to tip for this coffee?

what is 15% of $3.50 anyway? 40 cents or so? (wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock)

Sure, tipping is commonplace in North America, but fair is fair. No, I would not like to tip for the two-minute transaction to purchase a coffee, when I buy a coffee every single day. Quit asking every time I pay with my card, thanks.

The chocolate is a little… off

I mean, I’m not going to NOT eat this chocolate, but there’s something there (Eventbrite)

Sorry, Purdy’s, your fare is good and all, but it’s got nothing on Butlers or Lily O’Briens. There’s a little something missing that I just can’t quite place.

Dogs aren’t allowed to enjoy the beach

Now THAT is a happy looking pupper right there (Facebook/Ande Edlund).

There’s barely anywhere to let your dog roam freely around here, and it seems that only one beach allows them off leash—though that’s at a designated ‘off-leash area’ at Spanish Banks. Poor pups.

You can turn on a red light

Keep an eye out for pedestrians, while you’re at it (Bennian/Shutterstock)

It’s so freeing being able to take that quick right turn, even when the stoplight’s shining red. Just don’t try doing the same when you’re turning left. And definitely don’t try it back home in Ireland.

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