It was time for a change. Canada would be my next stop and Vancouver its base camp.
I planned my Canadian adventure long time ago when I decided to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. In case you are interested, there are several blogs and generic websites where you can find information about the requirements and steps you need to follow.Said that, this is the offical website where you should be able to find the answer to most of your questions. Once your application is confirmed they give you one year gap to move to Canada. I didn’t move until the very end so the whole process took me almost two years.
Where to live in Canada?
Which is the best city in Canada? the most sunny cities in Canada? which are the cheapest cities? which is the best city to find a job? My search engine was busy those days trying to find a correct answer for me. At the end I took the decision based on the two more important points for me: nature & weather. Once I filter out cities by those keywords, the answer came up right away: Vancouver was the best choice for me.
Vancouver is surrounded by nature and is much warmer that the others big cities such as Toronto or Montreal. After five months living in this city (if you follow me on instagram you must have realized I have some delay updating the blog) I wanna give you some insights about Vancouver so you can have an idea of what it looks like to live here.
Working Holiday Visa in Canada (WHV)
I will write down here a few advices based on my experience for future holders of this visa. My mistake the first months was to ask companies to sponsor me in the very first interviews. Then I realized that the different Canadian provinces have their own immigration programs. If you are alegible the company doesn’t really need to worry much about it. I was elegible to apply for them so I changed my strategy. Companies are much more happy to hear that you can take care of all the bureaucratic paperwork and they just have to take care about how well you fit for the job. If you holds a WHV and you want to stay longer in British Columbia you definitely should take a deep look to the BC Provincial Nominee Progran (BC PNP). If you are Spanish speaker, you may want to join to this facebook group. Every couple of weeks there is a lawyer which offer itself to answer immigration questions which can be very useful at some point.
There are many blogs around there explaining every single steps and giving much better advices than me. I better focus on what I consider the must see of Vancouver.
Only this park would be a good reason to choice Vancouver. Stanley Park always appears in the best parks of the world listings all around the Internet. I am not really into these top 10 subjective articles as most of the times are exactly that: subjective clickbait articles. However I do love the objective lists such as the largest buildings in the world. In any case, I had to say that Stanley Park is the best city park I had the chance to visit. I was lucky enough to find a room next to it for a pretty affordable price: 600 CAD (yes, Vancouver is not cheap).
Many people uses this park to do exercise as surrounded it takes around a couple of hors by walk. It is prepared with a bicycle road as well and even at night you can see people running around with torches on their heads. But let be honest, I didn’t do any of those things. I was always with camera on hand looking for photography opportunities. Yes, Stanley Park is my favourite place in Vancouver. It’s like a playground for photographers.
Special mention to the Lions Gate Bridge which is the featured image of this post. I did love to walk on the farthest point of the park at sunset. Such a good and relaxing place.
English Bay Beach
It doesn’t matter if Canada is a cold country. Even if you are not going to swim there, is always nice to have a beach on a walk distance from home. There are several beaches around Vancouver, English Bay Beach in the West end is probably the most popular one. There is always people around, taking sun baths or just taking a drink on the comfy sand. Next to the beach, the A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture doesn’t go unnoticed.
Vancouver follows the usual pattern of the cities I used to see in Australia: more or less high buildings in the city center surrounded by short building neighbourhood or detached houses. Downtown Vancouver has the highest buildings in the city which usually means offices and expensive flats.
From Lonsdale Quay you can take a good view of the skyline. At the corner of Cambie and Water streets you can see one of the symbols of Vancouver: The Gastown Steam Clock.
Grandville is a small peninsula between downtown Vancouver, Kitsilano and Mt Pleasant neighbourhoods. It has restaurants, shops and artist centers which makes it a good spot for a lazy weekend that we don’t get out from the city. The Granville Island Public Market is pretty popular between the locals to obtain fresh products.
The Village Dock
If you have read my previous posts you may know I am starting to take more and more night photography. The Village Dock is a pretty good spot as you can take pictures of the BC Place and the Science World. Besides that, you can play with the reflection of the water.
Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf
At the south of Richmond you can find the Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf. Richmond is famous for the Chinese community which reaches more than 50% of the total population. That was actually one of the things I liked the most of Vancouver. It is a really cosmopolitan city with so many people from all around the globe. My very first days in Vancouver I booked an Airbnb here as it’s a cheaper location. The Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf became famous this year due to the viral video where a sea lion drags a girl into the water. You definitely should take a Fish and Chips in one of the wharf’s restaurants.
The Vancouverites’ favourite mountain: The Grouse Mountain. Some of them go even after work on winter to do some winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing…).There are some hikes that open in spring/summer once the snow is melted. You can go up by cable car or walking up on your own if the conditions allow it.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Another popular attraction of Vancouver is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It’s inside a private facility so you need to pay a fee in order to get in to the park. It includes a Cliff Walk and some walks built at the top of some trees. There is some other public parks around Vancouver with similar bridges (though a bit smaller) like the one in the Lynn Canyon Park.
Hikes around Vancouver
As I mentioned before, the nature that surrounds Vancouver was the main reason why I chose this city. There are many hikes and easy walks you can do once the snow starts to be melted. I used a couple of websites (1 & 2) very useful to know the possible hikes we can do depending on the season, area or difficulty.
I was lucky to be there on the 150th anniversary of Canada. They did concerts and exhibitions mostly in the so called Canada Place in Downtown. Finally the finished the celebration with several fireworks around the city.
And this post resumes the 5 months or so I lived in Vancouver. My original idea was to settle down there for some years but I have become an expert of changing plans on the way. When I finally got a job there something from inside start thinking on far lands again… so that very same week we decided to left the room and start a road trip around Canada. Stay tunned for next posts, I will just say that Canadian landscapes are stunning. See you soon Vancouver!
All pics here