Feb. 24, 2021
Known for the friendly people, the stunning views, and the trendy neighbourhoods, Vancouver is consistently rated as one of the most livable cities in the entire world. The city is located between the Rocky Mountains and the pacific coast, making for absolutely picturesque landscapes and limitless opportunity for outdoor adventures.
Vancouver can be found along the Burrard Peninsula in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia and is the most densely populated city in the province. The city’s population is approximately 645,000 and the Greater Vancouver Area included adds up to over two million people. The combination of the beautiful scenery, incredible amenities, and fabulous urban living makes Vancouver’s real estate market highly desirable as well as highly competitive. Forbes has named Vancouver as one of Canada’s most expensive cities to live in as well as the tenth cleanest city in the world. Vancouver is a city full of potential and suits people of all walks of life.
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What is the history of Vancouver?
Before the earliest European settlers arrived on scene, Vancouver was home to the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples of the Coast Salish group. There were several villages set up along the present-day Vancouver including Stanley Park, False Creek, Kitsilano, Point Grey, and the opening of Fraser River.
European settlers came to the area with Jose Maria Narvaez of Spain and explored the coast of what is now known as Point Grey as well as parts of Burrard Inlet. They arrived in 1791 to explore the area. In 1808, more settlers arrived and ventured out further into the province.
In 1858, the Fraser Gold Rush brought a multitude of men, over 25,000, from California mostly, to the Fraser River. What is now known as Vancouver wasn’t actually settled until 1862 and is among the youngest cities of British Columbia. McCleery’s Farm was established along Fraser River and the following year, a sawmill was constructed which began the city’s prosperous logging industry. Several other mills quickly followed suit and jumped on the logging train.
The City of Vancouver was officially incorporated in April of 1886. That very year, the first transcontinental train arrived in Port Moody. In June of that year, The Great Vancouver Fire devastated the city. Though there was a lot of damage, the city was able to quickly rebuild and get back on track. At this point, the population had grown from 1,000 people to over 20,000 in 1881. By the early 1900s, the city would consist of 100,000 people.
In 1898, the Klondike Gold Rush was in full swing and many merchants set up shop in Vancouver, as many people would pass through the city on their way to search for gold. The very first Woodward’s opened up at this time by Charles Woodward as did Spencer’s and Hudson’s Bay department stores. The opening of these retailers made up the core of the city’s retail district, which would hold strong for many years to come.
The turn of the century brought a slew of challenges and trials to Vancouver. In 1903, the first of many major strikes began, starting with the railway employees against the CPR. Following that long and arduous process, was the strike at the Cumberland coal mines and protests of relief camp conditions. Social movements included first-wave feminist, moral reform, and temperance movements. Vancouver made it through each of these trying endeavours and has come out all the stronger.
What is Real Estate like in Vancouver?
Due to Vancouver’s population density, the city is made up primarily of high-rise residential buildings rather than free-standing homes. Potential residents can find a wonderful selection of condos, multi-family rowhomes, and townhomes. There are a few detached, single-family homes, but they are mostly found on the outskirts of the city, away from the action and excitement of the downtown core.
Some of the most expensive real estate in Canada can be found on the streets of Vancouver. Basic condos start around $268,000 and the most grand Vancouver estates can cost as much as $35,800,000. The high-rise buildings throughout the city provide exemplary views of the Rocky Mountains, the English Bay, and the surrounding Downtown core of the city.
The City of Vancouver is filled with incredible, vibrant neighbourhoods. There are twenty-three official neighbourhoods that make up the city, all filled with a great selection of restaurants, walking and biking trails, ample green space, and fantastic shopping opportunities. The following are examples of some of the top neighbourhoods in Vancouver:
The West End is a trendy neighbourhood consisting of a thriving LGBTQ community, chic fashion shops, and every type of food you could think of. On top of that, the West End is the gateway to Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park, known for the beautiful forested trails and the Sewall waterfront path. The average cost of real estate in the West End is $635,738.
Yaletown is an upscale neighbourhood situated along tree-lined cobblestone sidewalks. This area of Vancouver is filled with fabulous spas, fitness centers, and more self-care businesses. The upscale grocery stores in the area serve only the best fresh produce. The average cost of real estate in Yaletown is $1,095,068.
South Granville is directly across from Downtown Vancouver and is known for the unique boutiques, art galleries, and incredible home decor stores. Granville Island is an artistic hub offering a fresh food market, diverse restaurants, quaint retail shops, and plenty of galleries to peruse local artwork. The average cost of real estate in South Granville is $804,606.
Kitsilano, or Kits as it’s often referred to as, is a beautiful beach neighbourhood that attracts people from all over. Fitness centers, yoga studios, and other gym facilities little the streets of Kitsilano and happens to be the home of the very first Lululemon store. Kits is also home to plenty of fantastic restaurants and patios to enjoy and eclectic, healthy snack stops. The average cost of real estate in Kitsilano is $1,277,759.
What is there to do in Vancouver?
There are so many incredible attractions and amenities in Vancouver. There are endless events, a variety of venues, and awesome activities to be found in and around the city. People of all ages can enjoy the many attractions from the Downtown region to the coastline to the very outskirts of the city.
For the music enthusiasts looking to reside in Vancouver, the city is home to a variety of excellent live music venues. The Commodore Ballroom, Orpheum Theatre, and the Vogue Theatre are located within the Granville Street entertainment district and provide the perfect place for laid back concerts, beautiful symphonies, and big name musicians. Hundreds of fantastic performers have graced these stages and just about every genre of music is welcome. The Biltmore Cabaret is another fantastic facility that showcases new and exciting local talent. The Fox Cabaret is a trendy adults-only venue that features pop, rock, and house music.
An incredible outing fit for the whole family is the Vancouver Aquarium. Here, visitors can explore the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean while remaining perfectly warm and dry. The Aquarium also features creatures home to the Brazilian Amazon. One of the largest aquariums in North America, the Vancouver Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in the city and provides hours of fascinating speculation of some of the coolest creatures in the waters.
Enjoy The Outdoors
The ideal location of Vancouver combined with the mild climate makes the city the perfect destination for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. There are over 3,210 acres of beautiful parks including the famous Stanley Park, which makes up over 1,000 acres. The parks of Vancouver are made up of tranquil walking paths, bike trails, picnic shelters, athletic fields, and fantastic play equipment.
Dominating the cityscape is the majestic North Shore Mountains. About twenty to thirty minutes from Downtown Vancouver, these mountains consist of three ski resorts; Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding are the popular hobbies. In the spring, summer, and fall, mountain bikers race through the trails of the mountains. Another exciting outdoor adventure is whitewater rafting. Along North Shore is the Capilano River, Lynn Creek, and Seymour River, all of which are flush with rapids during the spring melt and provide ample opportunity for thrill-seeking rafting enthusiasts.
Several spacious beach areas sit along the coastline of Vancouver, extending from Stanley Park, around False Creek, and to the south side of the English Bay. More beaches sit along the Kitsilano neighbourhood and stretch to the University Endowment Lands. With over eighteen kilometers of beaches, Vancouver residents can enjoy the sun and the sand from the banks of the oceanside beaches as well as enjoy plenty of water sports such as boating, kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, and wakeboarding.
A Focus On Education
Residents of Vancouver are provided top-quality education through the Vancouver School Board. As the second-largest school district in the province, VSB educates over 110,000 students at 119 elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools. There are seventy-six elementary schools, seventeen elementary annexes, eighteen secondary schools, and seven adult education centres. VSB also houses two Learning Network schools, including eighteen French Immersion schools, a Mandarin bilingual school, and fine arts school, a gifted school, and several Montessori schools.
Vancouver is home to five public universities throughout the Greater Vancouver area. The largest of these institutions is the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. UBC actually ranks among the forty top universities in the world. The smaller universities include Capilano University, located in North Vancouver, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and the Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Alternatively, there are six private universities within Vancouver. With all these fantastic educational facilities, residents of Vancouver have ample selection when it comes to post-secondary schooling.
A Look At The Arts
Vancouver’s art scene is one of great envy to other cities. There is a wide variety of artistic expression to explore, from live theatre and dance to various art galleries and sidewalk art.
There are several excellent theatre companies located within Vancouver. This includes the Arts Club Theatre Touchstone Theatre, Studio 58, The Clutch, United Players, and Pacific and Metro Theatres. All of these establishments offer year-round productions of all genres. The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is put on every January and the Vancouver Fringe Festival happens in September.
The Scotiabank Dance Centre is located on the corner of Davie and Granville. This converted bank building is home to some of the best dancers and choreographers in Vancouver and hosts semi-annual dance festivals, offers lessons, and generally encourages the city’s love of the performing arts.
The Vancouver International Film Festival runs for two weeks every year in September. The festival showcases over 350 films, making it one of the largest film festivals in all of North America. The Vancity Theatre is the host of this film festival and also runs independent films throughout the year, displaying the works of local filmmakers and university student films.
Restaurants And Shopping
As one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, Vancouver is home to an excellent variety of restaurants, bars, and breweries filling the city. From locally-owned eateries, fine dining options, and casual cafes to familiar franchises and fast food options, the locals have endless options and could eat at a different restaurant every night, never getting bored of the menu items.
In the summer months, the Richmond Market takes over as one of the most popular attractions in the city. Endless stalls of treasures and unique, boutique retailers fill the market, giving those who browse the market a diverse selection of interesting collections. The food vendors that set up at the Richmond Market offer everything from authentic Chinese to delectable sushi to new creations found at the various food trucks.
Many of the Vancouver neighbourhoods consist of a popular shopping district. Downtown has Robson Street, Granville Island has plenty of retail-lined streets, and Chinatown is packed with interesting stalls, markets, and boutiques featuring a multitude of excellent items. Metropolis at Metrotown is the biggest shopping mall in British Columbia. With over 450 stores, dozens of incredible restaurants, plus movie theatres, the mall offers something for everyone who browses the stores and is just thirty minutes from Downtown Vancouver.
Anyone looking for an urban lifestyle surrounded by some of nature’s most magnificent scenery, will take great joy in the atmosphere provided by Vancouver, British Columbia. As one of the top places to live in Canada, anyone considering making the move to this fabulous city needs to act quick; the excellent real estate found within the city is highly coveted and moves incredibly fast. So don’t hesitate, jump on in and scoop up that dream home in one of the world’s greatest cities!