9 weird things Torontonians notice when they move to Vancouver

Nov 3 2023, 3:30 pm

Are you an ex-Torontonian living in Vancouver? You’re not alone.

Many people move to the West Coast for the mountains, the ocean, and the better quality of life being in close proximity to nature brings.

But some of the things found in Vancouver are downright weird.

Flashing green traffic lights

flashing green traffic light

EJ Nickerson/Shutterstock

Why do some of the lights flash green? It’s super confusing for newcomers, especially since flashing greens means an advanced left turn in Ontario.

The flashing green intersections in Vancouver are controlled by pedestrians and cyclists, and will only turn red if the button is pushed. That means the light will stay green otherwise — and cars trying to get through crossways can go anytime the coast is clear.

L and N stickers

Another BC-specific feature on the roads is the coloured stickers on the back of some cars. What do they mean? L stands for learner and N stands for novice — or noob, if you’re asking the internet.

BC has a graduated licensing system equivalent to Ontario’s G1 and G2, but drivers here need to display their status on their cars.

No bagged milk

bagged milk

Richard Frazier/Shutterstock

Turns out this quintessential Canadian thing is found in Eastern provinces only?

8°C actually feels like -5°C

rainfall warning


Remember the days before you moved when you’d look at the weather in Vancouver and think “Wow, I can’t wait to have warmer winters.”

Funny joke now, eh! Turns out the damp, bone-chilling 8°C here in Vancouver feels nowhere near 8°C back home.

There’s a new city every 20 minutes in Metro Vancouver

lions gate


Turns out Vancouver never amalgamated its suburbs like Toronto did. So you can’t get too far without crossing into another city. Going over the Lions Gate Bridge? Welcome to West Vancouver! Going to Metrotown? You’re in Burnaby.

Metro Vancouver is composed of 21 municipalities and each of them has its own mayor, council, and slightly different rules. That’s why you’ll find cannabis dispensaries in Vancouver but not Richmond.

Weak nightlife

extending bar hours 3 am

Aitor Lamadrid Lopez/Shutterstock

Hope you got your bar-hopping days out of the way already because there’s a lot less energy for late nights here. Yes, there is fun to be had — but it’s hard to find a party every night like you can in some other cities.

Oh, and when you do go out some clubs scan your ID. That’s called BarWatch, and if you get kicked out of one Granville Street club you’re barred from all of them.

It’s hilly!

stanley park drive bike lane

Concrete barriers for the bike lane on Stanley Park Drive, Summer 2021. (Vancouver Park Board)

Vancouver is a super bike-friendly place but be prepared for a quad workout. With such close proximity to the mountains maybe that’s expected — but we’re certainly not in downtown Toronto anymore.

The Canada Line SkyTrains are really short

skytrain canada line

Volodymyr Kyrylyuk/Shutterstock

Why are the trains only two cars long? It’s like a toy version of the subway.

Gorgeous waterfront

bystanders vancouver police attack


The seawall is generally considered one of Vancouver’s crown jewels, and it’s certainly a change from the Gardiner Expressway. Come on Toronto, you really goofed on this one.

Did we miss anything? Email us what weirded you out when you first moved. [email protected]


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Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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