There’s been so much negativity towards Vancouver lately.
This isn’t to argue that some points aren’t valid. But in among the spiralling real estate market, tanking sports teams, and seemingly never-ending rain, it can sometimes be easy to forget what makes this city so great.
So we thought we’d put together a little antidote to some of the gloom currently surrounding Vancouver by counting the ways we love this city, using a random playlist to take us along the journey.
Oh Vancouver, how do we love thee? We counted 23 ways.
1. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is always on some list of “top best parks in the world” and for good reason. Its 1,001 acres of green, lakes, trails, and water makes it one of the most serene places in the city. Bike, bus, or walk down to the accessible park, and fall in love with your Vancouver all over again. It’s literally our backyard.
2. The seawall
When I first moved here, I couldn’t get enough of our Seawall. Having lived right by it, it was used as my commute to work, my running route, and a recreational connection to friends who lived “just down the Seawall” from me. Run, walk, cycle – whatever you do, take advantage of this unique Vancouver structure.
3. The fireworks
Every summer, Vancouverites descend on English Bay for the Celebration Of Light. Although the show isn’t on until 10 p.m., this has become a community event with crowds of people taking in the spectacular displays. A beautiful summer sunset followed by an epic display of fireworks is not a bad way to end a night, or three.
Pro tip: make friends with people with boats, because watching fireworks from boats is another very Vancouver experience.
4. The beaches
Speaking of English Bay, how do we not marvel at our city’s beaches daily? Even in the rain, the empty Vancouver beaches are captivating – yes, wet, but captivating nonetheless. And come summer, we pretty much all live on the city’s beaches. From beach volleyball, to kayaking and paddle boarding, we are all at the beach at some point. Some days, we can even swim in the ocean right down the street. And happily walk home to our rental apartments.
5. The beer
Because nothing goes better with beaches than beer, especially our local brews.
6. The food trucks
Not only do we have our local brews, we have our local foods. Vancouver’s food truck scene began years ago, and has blossomed into a delicious variety of local flavours – and all at a reasonable price. And the best part is that our mild winters allow for food trucks year-round. Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck (at Howe and Robson), and Tacofino (at Burrard and Dunsmuir) should be a good place to start.
7. The arts
If you haven’t noticed yet, we have a thriving arts and culture scene in our city. There is always a theatrical play on, or new exhibits to check out at the Art Galleries. And if cost is a factor, the Vancouver Art Gallery has an awesome “By Donation” night every Tuesday.
Pro tip: Check out the Art Gallery on a Tuesday evening. Obviously.
8. The neighbours
Sometimes, city life can get us down. But when it does, we’re lucky to have some truly beautiful neighbours in the form of Whistler and Tofino to get us out of our regular routine. If cost is a factor here, try checking out one of the many hostels available – it keeps your budget low, and you never know who you are going to meet! Did anyone say road trip?
9. The shopping
Besides the Vancouver brands (think Kit and Ace or Oak + Fort), we have some great consignment shops. Whether you want to sell your clothes, or spend an afternoon shopping, check out some of our faves: Front & Company and Mine & Yours.
10. The lifestyle
Everyone I know in Vancouver works out. From cycling to the gym, via dance classes, sports teams and good old fashioned running, being active is just part of who we are. When I think of traffic in the city, I think of Sundays on the Seawall – which is a great thing. We value our health, and it shows. What a good-looking group of people we are in Vancouver (seriously, look around you). Oh also, in case you didn’t know, the yoga thing is kind of a big deal here too.
11. The startups
One thing I learned from my few Tinder dates is that a lot of guys in Vancouver work at startups. The startup world not only provides us with technology and services that will ease and better our futures, it provides secure local jobs. Startups are opportunities, and the amount coming out of Vancouver have put us on a global tech map. We are a hub, thanks to Launch Academy, Control, Spark CRM, Bench, and Koho – just to name a few.
12. The sports
So it was a rough year for hockey in Vancouver. But MLS is back and the CFL season is right around the corner. Go Whitecaps / Lions / Canadians!
13. Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds. That is all.
14. The movies (in the park)
Remember how it’s summer time? Remember how you could stroll/bike/bus down to the world’s most beautiful city, park and watch a movie under the stars for free? How amazing is that? Oh, Fresh Air Cinema, we love summer.
15. The music
Music is so much of my life, and how I met half the people I know in this city. Being at local shows, with Vancouver musicians, you are exposed to a loving, supportive community of artists that are usually very welcoming. We are lucky to get some of the big, awesome arena shows (minus Beyonce), but also a great mix of local musicians playing on a regular basis. On top of that, we have some incredible venues downtown (like the Commodore and The Orpheum). If you’re ever looking for a show, check out our monthly concert listing.
16. The festivals
Ok so we lost a festival this year, but we have so many amazing local festivals to check out. And I’m not just talking music. Car free days, comedy festivals, film festivals, music festivals, and cultural festivals take place in the city almost year around. Make a point to get to a new festival this year. Chances are you’ll meet a local vendor, drink some local beers, and eat a local pizza.
17. The nightlife
I know what you’re thinking, “what nightlife?” And I sometimes think the same. But there are really good bars all over the city, and going there with a few good people makes the real nightlife. Because instead of looking at one specific downtown strip, I’m looking at other surrounding downtown neighbourhoods that house these fun late night watering holes.
18. The sushi
When all else fails here, we still have the best sushi in the country.
The Pride festivities in Vancouver are massive, and it’s one of the standout events each summer. Particularly the Pride Festival at Sunset Beach (aka beer garden and glitter on the beach). Davie Street gets made up, and the entire community is glowing/hungover. Seriously, some of the best parties of the year.
20. The parks
According to the City of Vancouver, Vancouver has more than 230 parks. If you don’t know where to start, head to Queen Elizabeth Park where you’ll get some of the best views of our city. Also, lawn bowling and pitch & putt goes down hard there in the summer. And a quick reminder, Vancouver is home to Dude Chilling Park too.
21. The coffee
22. The rain
So it rains here, but at least it’s not snow. Have you seen winters on the East Coast? That’s right. We are extremely fortunate for our mild winters – whether you think so or not. Just be mindful of your umbrellas. Come on guys, we know better than poking each other with umbrellas.
23. The people
Last but not least. The people. The beautiful, healthy, smart, and ambitious people of Vancouver. We are surrounded by talent, creativity, and love. Like every major city, there are some rude people, but this is not about them. This is about the good in our city, and the people who make it hard to leave Vancouver. Because through all the rain, rent money spent, spiralling real estate prices, and depressing dating scene, Vancouver is home to our extraordinary friends and loved ones who are inspiring and remarkable.
Thank you, Vancouver and Vancouverites, for making our home so majestic.
Here’s a bonus track, just for you.