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Vancouver City Guide

Updated: November 24th, 2023

Vancouver has a long and storied history of international immigration. This is reflected in its multicultural demographics, in which 42.50% of Vancouver residents are foreign-born according to the World Population Review. This makes Vancouver the fourth most diverse city in the world and a hotspot of interactivity between global cultures.

Gain a better understanding of what to expect from living in Vancouver by going through the city guide of Canada’s third-largest city!

About Vancouver

about vancouver

The beginnings of modern Vancouver began in the late 1850s with the consistent settlement of New Westminster near Fort Vancouver. Today New Westminster is a contemporary suburb of Vancouver.

The second wave of migration that contributed to the development of the city came during the 1860s, when thousands of miners, mostly from California, flooded into the Cariboo Mountains northeast of the city, attracted by the gold rush.

In the 1870s, Vancouver consolidated into a small sawmilling settlement called Granville. In April 1886, Granville was incorporated as a city and renamed Vancouver in honor of the English navigator George Vancouver.

The southern suburbs of Point Grey and South Vancouver were amalgamated into Vancouver in 1929, creating the third most populous metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver became Canada’s major Pacific coast port by the 1930s. Post World War 2, the city developed into Canada’s main business hub for trade with Pacific Rim nations and Asia.

Prominent immigrant neighborhoods in the city include Canada’s largest Chinatown, along with, among others:

  • Little Italy,
  • Japantown,
  • Stratchcona (Jewish community), and
  • Greektown.

There are many other distinct cultural neighborhoods in the city, an aspect that ensures you can find your own community of belonging to ease your transition in settling in Vancouver. Curious to know what else to expect from living in Vancouver?

Where is Vancouver on the Map?

Vancouver is located on the west coast of Canada in the southern region of the province of British Columbia. The city is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountains. Its strategic location makes it a gateway to exploring the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest.

Where is Vancouver on the map?

Climate in Vancouver

As a Vancouver resident, you can expect an oceanic, cool, humid climate. Rainy weather can be common in November and December, with a total precipitation of 684.4 mm according to the most recent statistics from Vancouver Weather. Average temperatures in Vancouver generally range from 1.6 C to 22.7 C (35°F to 73°F) according to statistics from Weather Spark.

Overall, Vancouver has the least sunshine year in and year out in Canada, resulting in fewer sunny days. In Summer, you can expect short, partly cloudy days, while Winter consists of long, cold, wet, and cloudy days. Spring and Autumn exhibit a mostly temperate climate.

The mild, temperate climate makes Vancouver an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, as it allows for year-round activities such as hiking, skiing, and biking.

Work and Jobs in Vancouver

Vancouver's job market is thriving, offering a wide range of opportunities across various industries. The city has a strong economy, with key sectors including:

There are currently 78,720 job vacancies available in Metropolitan Vancouver according to Statistics Canada. The percentage rate of unemployment in Vancouver is 4.8% according to the British Columbian government's official labor market analysis site. This is one of Canada's lowest city unemployment rates, ensuring that your chances of securing a permanent job in Vancouver remain consistently high.

Top 10 Similar Paying Jobs in Vancouver

The table below outlines some of the best similar-paying jobs in Vancouver, with National Occupational Classification (NOC) system codes. Annual average annual salary figures obtained from Canada’s Jobbank.

Job in Vancouver Average Annual Salary (CAD) NOC code
Aluminium Welder 69,382.70 72106
Warehouse Clerk 65,597.41 14401
Invoice Clerk 61,374.53 14200
General Clerk (Office) 59,027.37 14100
General Worker/Laborer (Construction) 56,035.16 75110
Customer Service Representative 51,314.07 64400
Delivery Driver 46,190.33 75201
Sales Representative 40,562.19 64100
Restaurant Waiter/Waitress 40,560.27 65200
Barista 38,956.92 65201

Cost of Living in Vancouver

cost of living in vancouver

Vancouver's cost of living is reflected in its excellent quality of life. While accommodating costs can be comparatively high, you can offset these costs by finding accommodation in the greater Vancouver area than inside the city center. This is reflected below, with figures from

Apartment Location and Type Cost in Vancouver (CAD)
1 bedroom Apartment in the City Center 2,830.22
1 bedroom Apartment Outside the City Center 2,220.73
3 bedroom Apartment in the City Center 5,058.96
3 bedroom Apartment Outside the City Center 3,930.58

Furthermore, Vancouver’s average monthly net salary after tax is higher than Montreal’s, a city of comparable population size to Vancouver and the second largest overall in Canada. This is outlined in the table below with figures from

Canadian Cities Average Monthly Net Salary After Tax (CAD)
Vancouver 4,428.24
Montreal 3,716.90

Vancouver’s high average income after tax helps residents to offset a significant amount of the estimated monthly costs of 5,656.4 CAD for a family of four and 1,549.8 CAD for a single person according to

Neighborhoods in Vancouver

If you want to settle in Canada, consider Vancouver neighborhoods that will be easy on your finances and contribute positively to your general well-being. Below, are some of the neighborhoods in Vancouver that meet this criteria.

West End

Located in the downtown core, the West End is a gateway to Stanley Park and offers a taste of real Vancouver life. The neighborhood is home to the city's gay community, heritage homes, and around 40,000 people living in high-rise apartments. The West End is known for its diverse dining options, pubs, and clubs. Main attractions include Stanley Park, English Bay, and the Inukshuk statue.


A heritage area of the city, Yaletown was formerly home to the city's warehouses and has been revitalized with commercial and residential developments. Yaletown is located close to the city's central business district and offers a mix of old and new, with some streets still featuring cobblestone.


Vancouver's oldest neighborhood, Gastown was named for a voluble saloonkeeper named "Gassy" Jack Deighton. The area offers a mix of low and middle-class residents living in apartments, condos, and lofts. Gastown is known for its historic charm, cobblestoned streets, and tourist shops near the Gastown Steam Clock.

Coal Harbour

The city's former port area, Coal Harbour has been redeveloped for residences and some business. The neighborhood is home to high-income residents and features high-rise condo units with close access to the sea wall and marina.

Kitsilano ("Kits")

Located on the West Side of the city, Kitsilano is home to many young families and students. The neighborhood is popular among those searching for a place to live in Vancouver due to its proximity to two famous beaches, Kits Beach and Jericho Beach, and its views of Downtown and the North Shore mountains.

South Granville

This neighborhood is known for its diverse and affordable area for groceries, restaurants, and cafes. South Granville is home to one-of-a-kind fashion, art, and design boutiques, making it a popular destination for local artists and designers.

Transportation in Vancouver

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:


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.


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


The city's bus network, such as rapudBuses, trolleys, and shuttles, allows for easy commuting to and from work or school while enabling you to get off generally within 400 meters from your home.


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.

Additionally, Vancouver is a walkable and bike-friendly city, with dedicated cycling lanes and scenic pedestrian paths. If you’re going to travel around Vancouver using your own private car or other form of vehicle transportation, ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the 1.98 CAD gasoline per liter cost according to

Things to Do in Vancouver

Here are some of Vancouver's popular destination stops outlined below.

Have a Leisurely Stroll or Picnic in Stanley Park

Every year, over 8 million people visit the 405-hectare outdoor recreational space, namely Stanley Park. Visitors can stroll through the forest or take a picnic in the park. Be sure to explore the Second Beach and the secluded Third Beach, offering spectacular views overlooking the bay.

Run or Cycle Across 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.

Go Hiking Up Grouse Mountain

Ideal for summer days, you can drive downtown Vancouver to find Grouse Mountain and enjoy hikes and zip lining through the forest. Guests can take the Skyride to the top of the mountain for one of the area's best views while visitors enjoy the slopes of Grouse Mountain.

Cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge spans a 70-meter-deep river canyon leading to an activity park filled with forest trails and a treetop walk through old-growth giants. Crossing the 137m bridge, you can explore all that the surrounding nature offers, such as lush fir- and fern-carpeted forests and towering trees.

Get a Birdseye View From Vancouver Lookout

Have you ever wanted to see the world from high up? Located at the top of Vancouver's iconic attractions, Vancouver Lookout, with its’ 553 feet high panoramic observation deck, allows you a 360 view of the North Shore Mountains and Vancouver Island.

Education in Vancouver

education in vancouver

Basic education in Vancouver, as it is in the rest of British Columbia (BC), is governed by the Ministry of Education and Child Care, which oversees primary and secondary education. Post-secondary education in the city is governed by the BC Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.

In Vancouver, children must attend school between the ages of 5 and 16 (kindergarten to Grade 10). Parents can choose to educate their children in either English or French. Elementary or primary school in Vancouver includes Grades 1 to 7 and high school or secondary school includes Grades 8 to 12.

After graduating high or secondary school, students receive a diploma which enables them to apply for post-secondary education. Students in Vancouver are required to write 5 provincial examinations during Grades 10, 11, and 12. Some of the top universities and colleges in Vancouver include the:

From elementary schools to post-secondary institutions, Vancouver provides a nurturing environment for students to thrive academically and personally.

Immigrate to Vancouver

Express Entry System

The Express Entry System is an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) program designed to attract skilled workers to Canada. It offers an expedited immigration pathway to Canadian permanent residency, with application processing times as fast as six months. The Express Entry system consists of three main streams which include the:

Learn more about Canada’s Express Entry system.

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is a provincial immigration program that allows the province to nominate individuals who have the skills and experience needed in the local labor market.

Find out more about British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program.

Business Immigration to Vancouver

If you’re looking to get Canada PR by starting your own business in Vancouver or investing in an existing business, Canada offers various business immigration programs.

Canada’s Self-Employed Program

The Self-employed program is for individuals who have relevant experience in cultural or athletic activities and can make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.

Find out more about Canada’s Self-employed Visa program.

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program

The Start-up Visa program, on the other hand, is for entrepreneurs who have the potential to build innovative businesses in Canada and contribute to the country’s overall employment and economic development.

Learn more about Canada’s Start-up Visa program.


What Food is Vancouver Known for?

Vancouver is renowned for its diverse culinary scene, offering a wide range of delicious options to satisfy every palate. One dish that Vancouver is particularly known for is "Pacific Northwest cuisine," which focuses on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Additionally, Vancouver boasts a thriving Asian food scene, with incredible sushi, dim sum, and Korean barbecue options available throughout the city.

What Are Some Resources for Planning a Trip to Vancouver?

The official tourism website for Vancouver, Tourism Vancouver, provides a wealth of information on attractions, accommodations, dining options, and upcoming events. Another valuable resource is HelloBC, which offers comprehensive travel guides for the entire province of British Columbia, including Vancouver.

Is it Necessary to Know French in Vancouver?

While Canada is a bilingual country, with English and French as its official languages, knowing French is not a requirement for living or visiting Vancouver. The primary language spoken in Vancouver is English, and the majority of the population is fluent in English. However, being bilingual can certainly be advantageous, as it opens up more employment opportunities and allows for a deeper connection with the local culture.

You can improve your English or French by taking the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test d’Évaluation de Francais (TEF Canada).

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