Don’t Take Living in Vancouver for Granted

Vancouver’s gorgeous skyline combines the serenity of nature with an otherwise metropolitan setting. (Flickr/ Harshil Shah)

We’ve all heard it before: living in the Lower Mainland is expensive, it’s busy, traffic sucks, and it rains. Oh, how it rains. But if everything about this area is so worth complaining about, what’s keeping us around?

I’m brand new to the Lower Mainland, and this is my first semester at KPU. I’m currently renting in North Vancouver and commuting to school so, believe me, I know how burdensome the traffic and the expenses of the city are firsthand. I understand the struggle of making ends meet. But let me tell you, I wouldn’t trade living here for the world.

I come from Vancouver Island where people tend to feel superior to the mainlanders supposedly wasting their lives away in lines of traffic within concrete city walls, but Metro Vancouver is so much more than that.

This city allows us to be part of a vibrant culture. It gives us access to an abundance of live music and art while also surrounding us with natural beauty. By day, you can go hiking on mountain trails that make you feel as if you’re the only person in the forest, and by night you can check out an awesome new indie band downtown.

Areas like Vancouver Island undoubtedly have their own natural splendours, but this city has endless opportunities and cultural diversity that we simply can’t experience anywhere else.

People often talk about Montreal or Toronto as the places they want to be. “That’s where I’ll end up—where there are all the benefits of the city without the obscene rent and a transit system that won’t shut down after three centimeters of snow,” they say.

Okay people, I hear you! I had the opportunity to visit Montreal over the reading break. Yes, it’s rich with history. It’s fun and as hipster-y as a city can be. But to me, it’s just not home. There’s little access to nature, and their version of water is a long, murky river winding around the city limits.

Vancouverites can stand at the ocean’s edge whenever we please and feel the fresh, salty air tousle our hair and ease our stress. That is priceless. 

This city is not perfect, but let’s consider all it has to offer and remind ourselves of what keeps us here or what called us here in the first place. After all, we live in one of the most esteemed cities in the world. Don’t forget to take a minute to open your eyes and see how unfathomably lucky we are. I know I sure won’t.