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Vancouver City Guide

Updated: November 8th, 2022

Whether you're a skilled foreign worker or student, the Canadian government has made it easy to live and work in Canada. With over 100 immigration visas and programs, you can benefit from abundant opportunities in the Great White North.

In this Vancouver city guide, we peel the myriad layers of Canada's major urban area of Western Canada, and explore what it offers and why it may be one of the best life-changing choices you could make.

In a bit, we will uncover the available immigration options and provide you with the necessary resources to assist you in your immigration journey.

Not targeting Vancouver specifically? No problem.

You may want to dive a bit deeper into the top benefits of living in Canada, or better, discover some fun facts about Canada before you move to Vancouver.

About Vancouver

Vancouver City Guide

Vancouver became a city in 1886 and is the largest cities in British Columbia, situated on the peninsula in the Southwest on the province's mainland. You can find Vancouver in the territory of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, Indigenous groups of the Coast Salish peoples in Vancouver.

At the time, the Coast Salish people relied on salmon, shellfish, other fish, sea and land animals, plants and berries. These foods allowed them to maintain a stable food supply where they lived in larger groups that contained social classes, which was common among the Indigenous peoples.

The Spanish explorer, José Maria Narváez, was the first to discover Vancouver in 1791, while English Captain George Vancouver and other explorers were also presently exploring the area. Upon exploring, the English and Spanish explorers also discovered the Indigenous peoples and made contact for a short time, whereby the groups traded in the maritime fur trade.

Where is Vancouver on the Map?

Where is Vancouver on the map?

You can find this gem of a city in western Canada's Lower Mainland of British Columbia. This city is located on the coastline of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, the city derived its name from British Captain George Vancouver, who explored it. Situated along the metropolitan area, Vancouver is the third-largest city in Canada, with one of the largest populations.

Climate and Weather in Vancouver

Those looking to live and work in Vancouver can expect an oceanic, cool and humid climate with majestic mountains surrounding the Pacific Ocean. Rainy weather can be common in November and December, calling for an average precipitation of 182 mm. Overall, the city has the least sunshine year in and year out, resulting in less sunny days. In Summer, you can expect short, partly cloudy days, while Winter calls for longer, cold, wet and cloudy days.

Work and Jobs in Vancouver

Vancouver's economy is thriving since it relies on:

  • Tourism
  • Agriculture
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Forestry, manufacturing
  • High tech
  • Education
  • Mining, construction and many more!

The varied industries enable a wealth of job opportunities for foreign nationals looking to settle in Vancouver, Canada.

Cost of Living in Vancouver

Furthermore, Vancouver ranks high as one of the most liveable cities and remains one of the top tourist destinations in North America. Vancouver caters to various socioeconomic backgrounds, and the data below, which is derived from Numbeo, represents a summary of the cost of living in Vancouver:

Category Average Monthly Costs
Family of four estimated monthly costs(excluding rent) $4,755.22
Estimated monthly costs for a single person (excluding rent) $1,289.27
Daily amount of money required for Western foods (2400 calories) per person $15.41
Monthly amount of money required for Western foods per person (assuming 31 days per month)               $477.85
Daily amount of money required for Asian foods (2400 calories) per person $11.83
Monthly amount of money required for Asian foods per person (assuming 31 days per month) $366.87
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre) $2,310.02

Source: Numbeo

Quality of Life in Vancouver, Canada

As per the data on Numbeo, the data below represents Vancouver's quality of life:

Category Index Value Rating
Purchasing Power Index                                                           90.53       High
Safety Index 61.39       High
Health Care Index 74.34       High
Climate Index 91.15       Very High
Cost of Living Index 74.46       High
Property Price to Income Ratio 12.59       High
Traffic Commute Time Index 36.63       Moderate
Pollution Index 25.44       Low
Quality of Life Index: 171.72       Very High

Source: Numbeo

As you can see in the above table, various factors are considered before we can determine the quality of life in Vancouver - which is ranked as "very high." Remember, cities will only score well on some factors as the social, economic and environmental aspects constantly evolve and fluctuate. This phenomenon implies that the data is continuously changing as well.

We, therefore, urge foreign nationals before settling in Canada to conduct the necessary research and seek out the help of an experienced Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) before making any permanent moves. Ease your plight today and get in touch with an RCIC now.

Neighborhoods in Vancouver

If you're looking to settle in Canada, consider good Vancouver neighborhoods that will make settling easy on the bank and general well-being. Below, we have listed some good neighborhoods in Vancouver with the necessary specs:

West End

  • Type of housing: An amalgamation of townhomes, duplexes, heritage homes, studio apartments and high-rise units.
  • Location: Bordered by Downtown, Stanley Park.
  • Estimate rent per month: One-bedroom apartments could rent for around $1,400 to $2,000 per month, while two to three-bedroom apartments can cost around $2,000 per month or more.

Yaletown

  • Type of housing: Because this neighborhood is one of the most up-market areas, housing can be expensive. You can find condos (high-rise units).
  • Location: South-East Downtown area.
  • Estimate rent per month: A typical two-bedroom condo will typically cost around $2,500 per month.

Gastown

  • Type of housing: Because this neighborhood is one of the most up-market areas, housing can be expensive.
  • Location: Close to East Hastings Street area (poverty-stricken). Though, the area is currently being revived.
  • Estimate rent per month: Cheap apartments can range from $1,800 per month, depending on housing type.

Coal Harbour

  • Type of housing: Mostly aimed at older professionals and retirees with high-rise condo units.
  • Location: Northern section of the Downtown area.
  • Estimate rent per month: Rent can start from $2,500 or more for a two-bedroom condo (depending on certain factors such as a view).

Kitsilano (“Kits”)

  • Type of housing: Known for its exceptional views and mountains, with family homes available.
  • Location: West Side of the city
  • Estimate rent per month: A room in a two- or three-bedroom house might set you back $800 to $1,000 per month.

University of British Columbia (UBC)

  • Type of housing: Student accommodation within almost 1,000 acres houses almost 35,000 students.
  • Location: At the Western point of Vancouver

If you are an international student on a temporary permit in Canada, find out more about the University of British Columbia here.

South Granville

  • Type of housing: Elegant housing and apartments close to amenities such as bars and restaurants while taking a 15-minute walk away from Granville Island.
  • Location: South of Downtown opposite the Granville Street bridge.
  • Estimate rent per month: As of August last (2021), the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment could range from $1,795. There may have been an increase in 2022, depending on market value or what you're looking for.

Transportation in Vancouver

You'd be delighted to know that Vancouver makes it fairly easy to get around. With Metro Vancouver's public efficient transport systems, you can enjoy various public transit services such as:

SkyTrain

This form of transportation is a rapid system that entails various lines, such as the Millennium SkyTrain, the Expo and the Canada Line, which will transport you to Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Port Moody and Coquitlam. The Canada Line, however, is used by those coming from downtown Vancouver to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the city of Richmond.

HandyDART

If you're suffering from physical or cognitive disabilities, HandyDART would be your ideal transport service as it offers assistance and accommodates people under these circumstances.

Bus

The city's bus network, such as rapudBuses, trolleys and shuttles, allows for easy commuting while enabling residents to get off at their stop within 400 metres of where their home is situated.

SeaBus

This is a passenger-only ferry service where people are loaded by boat and transported across the Burrard Inlet to downtown Vancouver with the North Shore.

West Coast Express

This service operates during the week, Monday to Friday morning and evening periods between downtown Vancouver and Mission.

Things to do in Vancouver

Things to do in Vancouver

Rated as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you can explore its mountain backdrop, urban beaches, and extensive parks. Still think you know everything about Vancouver? Well, we are about to give you some of Vancouver's popular destination stops. Discover these hotspots below!

Stanley Park

Every year, over 8 million people choose to visit the 405-hectare outdoor recreational space, namely Stanley Park. Visitors can stroll through the forest and cycle along the Sea Wall, constructed around the park. No matter the season, visiting the park has become an integral part of the city's landscape over the years. Be sure to explore the Second Beach and the secluded Third Beach, offering spectacular views overlooking the bay.

The Vancouver Seawall

Journey along the 9-kilometer Vancouver Seawall that runs along the entire park, an uninterrupted seaside pathway that begins at Vancouver Convention Centre and runs to Spanish Banks Park. The pathway is for walkers, runners and cyclists, providing a scenic and peaceful experience. Visitors can also enjoy the views over the bay while dining at the many restaurants along the pathway. Imagine yourself enjoying a cocktail in the early evening while taking in the beauty of Vancouver.

Grouse Mountain

Ideal for the summer days, take a spontaneous 15 minutes to drive downtown Vancouver to find Grouse Mountain and enjoy hikes and zip lining through the forest. The lush vegetation allows the lucky few to catch sightings of Canadian wildlife, such as bears and moose. Guests can take the Skyride to the top of the mountain for one of the best views of the area while visitors enjoy the slopes of Grouse Mountain. In Winter, you can expect a heavy dose of snowfall, making skiing and snowboarding top your list of activities.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

This swaying bridge was first introduced in the late 1880s and spans a 70-meter-deep river canyon leading to an activity park filled with forest trails and a treetop walk through old-growth giants. As you cross the 137m bridge, explore all that nature offers, such as lush fir- and fern-carpeted forests and towering trees. Visitors can hail a free shuttle ride to and from the bridge park, and the ticket also covers the transparent platform known as the Cliffwalk and many other exciting attractions in the park.

Vancouver Lookout

Have you ever wanted to see the world from high up? Located at the top of Vancouver's iconic attractions, Harbour Centre, you can oversee from an ascended glass tower elevator for approximately 40 seconds, leading to the panoramic observation deck at 553 feet high, allowing you to immerse yourself into the stunning city at a 360 view where you would be able to see the North Shore Mountains and Vancouver Island.

Chinatown

Located in Vancouver beyond the majestic Millennium Gate, Chinatown is known for its traditional Asian cuisines. It is a neighbourhood deeply rooted in Asian tradition, transporting you back into the classical 15th century - with the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens featuring small Victorian shops and restaurants marked in Chinese characters. The gardens were originally modelled as a traditional garden from the Ming Dynasty, which hosted a spectacular parade every Chinese New Year.

Vancouver’s Restaurants

Whether you enjoy fine dining, seafood, steak houses or pub food, Vancouver is a city that has you covered. Let's take a look at the city's food sector…
Are you a seafood fanatic? Make your way to Yaletown, where Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar is said to be one of the best seafood restaurants in the city. The venue has won many awards for its spectacular cuisine, ranked as the best seafood, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards from 2008 to 2015. The upmarket restaurant offers a varied selection of seafood - from the raw menu to the fresh tank seafood, including Alaskan King Crab and Atlantic Lobster.

Hawksworth Restaurant

Voted "Vancouver's Restaurant of the Year," Hawksworth Restaurant is a culinary triumph. Chef David Hawksworth remains true to his unique art of cooking, with ingredient-led and contemporary meals that demonstrate a highly skilled technique. You can find this elegant restaurant on West Georgia Street, in the heart of the vibrant city. Offering private dining areas and an upmarket clientele, this restaurant is a treat for the senses.

Dining with a View

If you want to dine good food while absorbing the city's natural beauty, then you'll be happy to take the sky car up Grouse Mountain and settle in at the Observatory Restaurant. This upmarket venue offers a selection of locally-sourced meals that are perfectly selected to enhance your unique experience. Perched on top of the mountain, you will be able to see over the city and onwards to the distant mountains.

Culinary Tours

Truly experience the heart and soul of Vancouver with a unique culinary tour. You will be able to experience the unique flavors of local foods at some of the city's best-loved food trucks, or you can stroll down the street, sampling meals from various restaurants. The famous China Town is one of the biggest in the world and worth a visit.

Arts and Culture

Vancouver is at the heart of Canada's arts and culture offerings. The rich culture of the vibrant city has created many platforms for locals to exhibit their talents. South Granville Street, sometimes referred to as "Gallery road." It encompasses some of the top art galleries, including the well-known Douglas Reynolds Gallery and the unique Ian Tan Gallery.

If you are a movie buff or interested in the film industry, you will be able to enjoy some of the finest work at the annual Vancouver International Film Festival, which showcases one of the best cinemas. And if you want to take it a step further, you can rub shoulders with some film fans and industry professionals with a collection of films from various countries worldwide.

Education in Vancouver

As per the information provided by the Government of British Columbia, the following factors will be implemented in BC's kindergarten to Grade 12 education system:

  • The government plans to invest $8.2 billion to provide students with the necessary support structures, leaving us with $7.4 billion to invest in the kindergarten to Grade 12 education system this year.
  • The 2022 Budget provides $250 million for the kindergarten to Grade 12 public schools with an additional $ 105 million increase aimed at improving childcare funding.
  • The government will also implement funding to support Indigenous students, which is expected to increase to $98.7 million the next school year.
  • Additionally, the government will focus on rural school districts where these schools will receive $340 million to implement improvements for the next school year.
  • School districts can expect to receive approximately $55 million through the Learning Includes Nutrition and Knowledge (CommunityLINK) and $24 million via the Equity of Opportunity Supplement. These monies will go towards funding programs that support children and youth in need.

As you can see, the above data serves as proof that the government strives to make education easily accessible to students of various socioeconomic backgrounds by implementing several factors that will improve the education system in Vancouver in, British Columbia (BC).

Canada’s Immigration Programs

We could never truly have enough time to break down every immigration pathway Canada offers since convenient options are abundant. However, we will outline some of the most commonly used and preferred immigration options below:

Express Entry System

The Express Entry system is an online points-driven system which aims to manage immigration applications. The system is well-renowned for yielding quick immigration results and comprises three immigration programs. These are as follows:

1. Canadian Experience Class
2. Federal Skilled Worker Program
3. Federal Skilled Trades Program

Foreign nationals explore the above programs based on their needs and circumstances. For more information on the Express Entry system, find our resource here.

Apply through the British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program (BC PNP)

This program allows foreign workers to gain permanent residence in Canada with the in-demand skill set needed in a province. The province will nominate the candidate and their family to settle in Canada. You must be a skilled worker able to contribute to the Canadian economy or an international entrepreneur - this will be subject to different criteria and requirements, depending on the province's standards and processes. Skilled workers can use the following programs when looking for work in Vancouver in, British Columbia:

  • Express Entry BC
  • Express Entry BC - Skilled Worker codes
  • British Columbia Tech Pilot

For a more in-depth overview of the programs mentioned above, learn more about top in-demand jobs in British Columbia and the programs here.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

This immigration option is a province-driven program for skilled workers through which you can apply as skilled workers or international students who want to live and work in Canada. The idea is to ensure that you target a province that falls short of your skills. Skilled workers may have to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)from the Canadian employee. A positive LMIA would show that your employee can hire a skilled foreign worker.
For your convenience, find out more about the Provincial Nominee Program here. Alternatively, see how you can go from temporary resident (TR) to permanent resident (PR) sooner than you think.

Are you wanting to immigrate with your family? Discover why Canada is the best place to move to with your family.

Move to Vancouver, Canada - The Application Process

All immigration programs will require you to follow these steps if you are applying for permanent residence in Canada:

  • Step 1: Check if you meet the program criteria (and the job requirements) - you can do this with our eligibility assessment.
  • Step 2: Check your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Score - under the Express Entry system or other points-driven programs
  • Step 3: Gather your documents beforehand and have them ready
  • Step 4: Create your online Express Entry profile
  • Step 5: Apply to the most suitable program, pay the application fees and submit your application

You may be interested in learning more about the top three ways you can apply for permanent residency here. While you wait for your application to be evaluated, find out more about the IRCC processing times and what to expect after you've submitted your application.

Furthermore, we highly advise applicants to exercise honesty when providing information on their Express Entry profile or application. Applicants should provide the required documents that validate the information on their application. Failure to fill out the forms incorrectly or the incorrect supporting documents will cause a delay in processing times. Should the immigration officer suspect you have been dishonest in the information you've provided, your application will be rejected immediately.

Immigrating needn't be hard with the right guidance and experts on your side. If you're still uncertain about the way forward, feel free to get in touch with one of our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) for the necessary support for your immigration journey today.

Pros and Cons in Vancouver

Pros

  • Well-paying salaries with many job opportunities.
  • Many transportation options to choose from while Skytrain offers passengers stunning views while traveling in and around the city.
  • There’s an abundance of food options to choose from since the city caters to every pallet.
Cons
  • Can be relatively expensive compared to the rest of Canada.
  • Vancouver traffic can make commuting difficult.
  • Cost of travel and transport could be exorbitant.

FAQs

What is the Easiest Program to Migrate to Canada?

Express Entry would be the most commonly preferred option since it comprises three highly versatile immigration programs: Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program. Additionally, the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) is ideal for skilled workers looking to immigrate to a Canadian province with a skill shortage.

Is Vancouver a good place to immigrate to?

Yes. Vancouver is a beautiful city with an abundance of opportunities. Those interested in settling in Canada should research the province/territory/region before officially deciding to live and work in Canada. There are unique challenges like any other city or place, so individuals are encouraged to contact our immigration expert for professional advice and guidance.

What are the disadvantages of living in Vancouver?

Every city has challenges, and no city is perfect. Many factors are considered before one can declare a city good or bad. But currently, Vancouver ranks high in many relevant aspects.

What food is Vancouver known for?

Vancouver is known for a variety of tantalizing cuisines. While fairly diverse in food, the city is popular for its seafood dishes such as oysters, salmon and sushi. This spectacular city also boasts a wealth of restaurants and views you can enjoy while dining at some of the finest upmarket restaurants.

What is the most beautiful part of Vancouver?

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or foodie, Vancouver has an abundance of upmarket restaurants and scenic routes such as, just to name a few, Stanley Park, the Vancouver Seawall, Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Lookout and Chinatown.

What is the best month to visit Vancouver?

Vancouver offers fun-filled activities tailored to all seasons. However, if you're not a Winter person, you can avoid the harsh Winter by visiting the city from March to May and from September to November for milder weather.

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