Kinda offtoppic ... thinking about moving to BC / Vancouver- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Kinda offtoppic ... thinking about moving to BC / Vancouver

    Hello fellow mtbr-community!

    After years of passively reading mtbr I've just opened up this account here because for this thing I'm probably going to need help and contact to locals of BC or even Vancouver.

    We (thats me, my wiife and our two small kids) are thinking about going on a really big adventure by moving from Berlin / Germany to Vancouver - with kit and caboodle! Not to freeload of course - we are both well educated with lots of different trades to make a good living off of.
    This Idea is not going to roll before 2018/2019 - but: just to "check the water" we'll be visiting the greater Vancouver-area on an 5+ weeks vacation in july and august.

    The plan is to stay in vancouver for a good two weeks and then rent a camper to explore BCs beautiful nature.
    During the time in vancouver we want get a feeling how it is to live there. And if everything we'd wish for to keep up certain aspects of our way of living is available, and affordable. By that I mostly mean the available public infrastructure, like kindergartens, schools, playgrounds, sports facilities (e.g. indoor boulder-parks for winter time), healthcare, transportation, food, and last but not least of course housing (and the prices for that).

    "So what is it that dude's looking for here in the board?" you might ask.

    I'm looking for some friendly people from around vancouver to help us do the first steps this summer. Give us some insights into the city - where to stay, where to go, where to stay away from. What to look at, where to buy groceries (organic stuff would be rad!), where to eat, and so on.
    Maybe also contact to some migrants you might know, to learn there experiences and get tips.
    Also we're going to need to rent a room or a small flat for a litle more than two weeks somewhere in Van ... maybe you got one, or know someone who has?

    Then - I'd like to use the time in BC to ride the mountains at least a few times. And I guess without locals to show me around that won't be to easy :-).

    So far so good ... I could say much more about us, me, our plans and what not - but I'd rather answer your questions than wander off and bore you with anything that you're not interested in ;-).

    Thanks for your attention and help in advance!

    All the best from Berlin
    Jasper

  2. #2
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    Vacancy rates for rental places are very low in the Vancouver area, so you'll need to find someone who is renting their place or a suite for short term use. A two week stretch is likely going to be harder to find than a 1 month rental. AirBnB or something similar might be a place to check. If you're thinking of making that test run this July and August, you may already be too late to even start that search. You'll likely need to have hotel or BnB accommodation as a back up plan.

    Metro Vancouver as a region has the highest cost of real estate and cost of living in Canada and ranks right up there among New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong etc. The average house price in Vancouver is now $1,000,000 Canadian dollars, and for the most part that will be bulldozer bait (land value not house value). An amusing view of what Vancouver real estate looks like can be found here. This was from 2010, when the average house prices were around $900,000, so it is harder to tell the difference between the categories now.

    All the information about the quality of living and amenities might best be found spending an afternoon with a real estate agent, as you will find that opinions from the people that live here vary dramatically based on the area they live in. The various municipalities that make up Metro Vancouver have widely different tax bases and populations, and as a result, very different amenities. Even within the City of Vancouver, they have the poorest postal code and one of the richest postal codes in Canada (likely 100:1 ratio of annual income). So there can be a wide disparity in quality of life, depending where you are located. If you have a very active lifestyle, you might find smaller communities like Squamish, Cumberland, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm and Nelson might be more appealing.

    It should be easy to find people to give you riding information and hook you up with group rides, but even 3 weeks is a fairly brief period if you were going to travel around much of the province and spend any time in any location. In the summer a lot of travel time can be needed to get between cities and towns outside of the Metro Vancouver area. You'll likely want to check out this thread to fine tune riding location destinations.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/western-canad...da-792380.html
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  3. #3
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    I think Vancouver is a good place to visit but it's close to the last place I'd ever want to live. Check out some smaller centres like Victoria, Comox Valley, and places in the interior. I live in THE BEST town in Canada, but there is under 4000 living here, but we are 7km from Courtesy and Comox where there is much more. Very affordable for BC. The hard part is a job, because the area is much smaller than Vancouver and Victoria. Much more livable though.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by allrider View Post
    Hello fellow mtbr-community!

    After years of passively reading mtbr I've just opened up this account here because for this thing I'm probably going to need help and contact to locals of BC or even Vancouver.

    We (thats me, my wiife and our two small kids) are thinking about going on a really big adventure by moving from Berlin / Germany to Vancouver - with kit and caboodle! Not to freeload of course - we are both well educated with lots of different trades to make a good living off of.
    This Idea is not going to roll before 2018/2019 - but: just to "check the water" we'll be visiting the greater Vancouver-area on an 5+ weeks vacation in july and august.

    The plan is to stay in vancouver for a good two weeks and then rent a camper to explore BCs beautiful nature.
    During the time in vancouver we want get a feeling how it is to live there. And if everything we'd wish for to keep up certain aspects of our way of living is available, and affordable. By that I mostly mean the available public infrastructure, like kindergartens, schools, playgrounds, sports facilities (e.g. indoor boulder-parks for winter time), healthcare, transportation, food, and last but not least of course housing (and the prices for that).

    "So what is it that dude's looking for here in the board?" you might ask.

    I'm looking for some friendly people from around vancouver to help us do the first steps this summer. Give us some insights into the city - where to stay, where to go, where to stay away from. What to look at, where to buy groceries (organic stuff would be rad!), where to eat, and so on.
    Maybe also contact to some migrants you might know, to learn there experiences and get tips.
    Also we're going to need to rent a room or a small flat for a litle more than two weeks somewhere in Van ... maybe you got one, or know someone who has?

    Then - I'd like to use the time in BC to ride the mountains at least a few times. And I guess without locals to show me around that won't be to easy :-).

    So far so good ... I could say much more about us, me, our plans and what not - but I'd rather answer your questions than wander off and bore you with anything that you're not interested in ;-).

    Thanks for your attention and help in advance!

    All the best from Berlin
    Jasper
    Travis with all due respect you're looking at this like a retired dude. There isn't much work on Vancouver Island and its getting worse.

    Jasper we were just in Berlin staying in Mitte and had a great time but I understand that you might want something different

    For places to stay try airbnb. Look at places around Commercial or East Vancouver. It's very like Prenzlauer Berg. Up and coming but not super expensive. Easy to get around even without car. Lots of places to get food, wander around streets but still easy to get to mountains. Stay as far away from Kits or Point Grey or other places like that. They're yuppie neighbourhoods. Lots of shopping and useless arty crap which is great if you're into stuff like Kudamn.

    If you want to get into more cheaper neighbourhoods then you have to go to places like Surrey which is more like Treptow. You can still get around without car but its further from mountains and its a bit rougher around the edges.

    Vancouver is a pretty safe city. Vangroovy people over exaggerate the dangers as they tend to be very insular and lack perspective. Even the poor schools are good. Even the shitty neighbourhoods are pretty good. BUt make no mistake it's probably 2x more expensive here than in Berlin for housing, food etc so be warned. Like any city though it's possible to do OK as long as you don't have expensive habits (clothes, cars, eating out etc etc.).

    If you're in computers there's quite a bit of work. If you like outdoors the opportunities are good.

    If you go to smaller cities the costs will be lower but the work will be shit and you will have a hard time especially since you are new to the country. Not saying its impossible but its more difficult. I can rustle up some Euros and germans for you to talk to. they can tell you about the cultural difference

    If I'm around my wife and I will show you around some trails. She likes beer and her father was from Leipzig so she has a soft spot for germans
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  5. #5
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    Hey Guys, sorry for the long radio silence. I had a rough couple of days at work, and didn't want to go about reading and replying to this topic half-assed :-).

    @rockyuphill:
    Thanks for the heads-up regarding the situation on the housing market. I watched some reports about Vancouver in general, and they said the same about this topic. We'll simply have to deal with that situation *shrug*.
    The approach to go ahead and buy a house or a flat is really unusual for me, since here in berlin the people mostly rent apartments. The market in Berlin is currently changing, with rent rates going steep, and lots of rich southern Germans starting to buy everything that isn't nailed shut (and sometimes even that). But still over 80% of apartments in Berlin are not property, but rented.

    I checked what I'd get annually in my profession in the BC/Vancouver area (~60-70K cad), and it looks comparable to my current income in regard to the higher cost for living. But I don't see how It'd be possible to afford paying off a mortgage for real estate out of that.

    @Travis:
    I think its quite possible that we have different preferences we look for in places to live in :-). Coming from Berlin (~3.6 million / 892km²) to vancouver (600K / 115km²) it will allready be really different for us. But living in a small town, after having spent most of our lives in such a big city would not be the right thing. With all the love we've got for nature and mountains - we're still city dwellers. Used to all the convenient commodities and the privacy only found in big enough agglomerations

    Don't get me wrong - I dream about building a log cabin in the mountains to spent our later years in ... but right now (with young children) the crowded noisy city will be 'it' :-).

    Out of curiosity - what is it about Vancouver that puts it so close to the top of your 'never want to live there'-list?

    @LeeL:
    Thanks for all the great tips! Its perfect that you just visited berlin and can draw comparisons to its districts - really helpful! Especially the exclude-list ;-).

    East Vancouver sounds nice, I try to find a place for us to stay there for our vacation (on Airbnb).
    We live in north-Neukölln, close to Treptow, so that leaves me open to the suggestion to Surrey. We'll definitively have a look at it when we're there. [just looked it up on G-maps] ok ... 35km to Grouse Mountain is not immediately close, but doable. The closest "mountains" to Berlin are the "Harz" which is approximately 220km ;-).

    Regarding the work - yeah, I think that I might find something in my field of expertise. Especially since there are quite a number of MTB-companys in BC that might appreciate my mix of skills (Admin / engineer without degree / cycle-enthusiast / cycle-tech-nerd).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by allrider View Post
    We live in north-Neukölln, close to Treptow, so that leaves me open to the suggestion to Surrey. We'll definitively have a look at it when we're there. [just looked it up on G-maps] ok ... 35km to Grouse Mountain is not immediately close, but doable. The closest "mountains" to Berlin are the "Harz" which is approximately 220km ;-).

    Regarding the work - yeah, I think that I might find something in my field of expertise. Especially since there are quite a number of MTB-companys in BC that might appreciate my mix of skills (Admin / engineer without degree / cycle-enthusiast / cycle-tech-nerd).
    DON"T WORK FOR BIKE INDUSTRY. They pay less. They're mostly a joke as far as career advancement and the enginerds who work there are already deeply entrenched so you will start out very low.

    If you are civil structural or have skills in testing pipelines or metal welding etc then when you email me tell me as i have clients who are looking.

    NeuKolln was one of my favorite areas to wander around. The Turkish influence was super cool and it was so close to Tempelhof park. The closest analogy is maybe Burnaby, Coquitlam area. Very close to trails and parks but lots of ethnic influence. You cannot go too wrong there. It is close to parks like SFU, Eagle Mountain, Burke Mountain. Pay a look at a map. It's easier to afford a place in those neighbourhoods and you can be very close to outdoors.
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  7. #7
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    Metro Vancouver has a population of roughly 2.4 million, and a really mediocre public transit compared to most big European cities, and traffic is horrible because the road infrastructure sucks too. It seems all 2.4 million people are always on the road in front of you. The bridges are always choke points as they always have lots of merging traffic at entrances and exits. So it is always an exercise in frustration to get someplace during the day by car.

    And frankly most of the population seems to be quite poor at driving, the basic things like keeping a vehicle in a lane in straight lines and around corners seems to be a foreign concept. And signaling, making safe lane changes, merging, etc. are also not high on the skills list. I'd bet that all of that is high on Travis' list of reasons to avoid Vancouver as a place to live.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  8. #8
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    I suppose some people prefer a big city, but it's not for me. I have driven through, and visited Vancouver enough to turn me off. If you can bike to work or use public transportation it's a bit better, but you are going to have to fight traffic just to leave for recreation. I hate crowds, driving, and crowds. I'm a grumpy old man! It has jobs, but you going to have to make more money to have the same quality of life that a smaller centre has. How many stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, etc do you need? I'm not doing anything evil enough to require anonymity. If someone can find a job here we have it all, great riding, hiking, ocean, mountains, skiing. I am extremely fortunate that I have a decent pension that allows me to live in paradise. I can walk to the town centre in 10 minutes, and ride to the trails in 2 or 3. My buddies who live in Coutenay and Comox can drive to the trails in 20-25 min, have good jobs, or businesses, and a great lifestyle. If I lived in Vancouver I'd be living in an apartment, and eating whatever cat food is on sale.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  9. #9
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    North Vancouver is waaaaay nicer than Vancouver. Other than the #1 Highway that runs through the middle of it to snarl traffic everywhere. But on the plus side I'm a 15 minute ride from this...

    Kinda offtoppic ... thinking about moving to BC / Vancouver-dscf6536.jpg
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Metro Vancouver has a population of roughly 2.4 million, and a really mediocre public transit compared to most big European cities, and traffic is horrible because the road infrastructure sucks too. It seems all 2.4 million people are always on the road in front of you. The bridges are always choke points as they always have lots of merging traffic at entrances and exits. So it is always an exercise in frustration to get someplace during the day by car.

    And frankly most of the population seems to be quite poor at driving, the basic things like keeping a vehicle in a lane in straight lines and around corners seems to be a foreign concept. And signaling, making safe lane changes, merging, etc. are also not high on the skills list. I'd bet that all of that is high on Travis' list of reasons to avoid Vancouver as a place to live.
    B - i know you've traveled quite a bit but lets have some perspective. Lots of other cities have way way worse traffic and way worse road infrastructure. And if you're lucky like you, me or Travis who are semi retired or can drive at any time or just ride to trailheads then who really cares?
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  11. #11
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    There's definitely places with uglier traffic, but I wouldn't want to live there either I love riding to the trails, I hate driving to project meetings and site inspections. If I always had to drive to ride, it would drive me nuts.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    B - i know you've traveled quite a bit but lets have some perspective. Lots of other cities have way way worse traffic and way worse road infrastructure. And if you're lucky like you, me or Travis who are semi retired or can drive at any time or just ride to trailheads then who really cares?
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    DON"T WORK FOR BIKE INDUSTRY. They pay less. They're mostly a joke as far as career advancement and the enginerds who work there are already deeply entrenched so you will start out very low.

    If you are civil structural or have skills in testing pipelines or metal welding etc then when you email me tell me as i have clients who are looking.
    Oh. Hmm, allright, thanks for the heads-up. Still that's something I'd really like to try. And since I wouldn't be applying for an engineering position but rather as an IT-guy, I'd hope that the conditions are a little less entrenched.
    As for your offer - no, sorry. I've got no experience in construction or metal works. But thanks anyway :-).

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    NeuKölln was one of my favorite areas to wander around. The Turkish influence was super cool and it was so close to Tempelhof park. The closest analogy is maybe Burnaby, Coquitlam area. Very close to trails and parks but lots of ethnic influence. You cannot go too wrong there. It is close to parks like SFU, Eagle Mountain, Burke Mountain. Pay a look at a map. It's easier to afford a place in those neighbourhoods and you can be very close to outdoors.
    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Metro Vancouver has a population of roughly 2.4 million...
    This made me realize that the area that I allways understood as "Vancouver" (looking at the maps) was in fact an agglomeration of multiple towns. The number of inhabitants (lazily used by me as a measurement for size) therefore being much greater than I thought.

    @LeeL: What you're saying about Burnaby and Coquitlam sounds like we could feel at home there. I'll try to find an apartment for our holidays in that area. North Vancouver also appeals to me, but thats probably a higher price-range. I guess more than we'll be willing to pay in the first year(s).

    @Travis: I'm used to the traffic here in Berlin. It probably won't differ to much from the one in Vancouver. Since we don't have a car (and aren't planning on changing that) I'd always be zipping around on one of my bikes, so mad traffic wouldn't be to much of an issue .
    Beeing close to mountains and nature on the other hand is a big factor in the selection of the area we'd like to be living in.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Wowza! I'll definitively be needing a dropper post soon :-).

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    How many stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, etc do you need? I'm not doing anything evil enough to require anonymity.
    It's not the number that concerns me, but the variety. When you live in a big city you become picky .
    My experience with small towns was always that it's hard for foreigners to become accepted into a sworn-in community. Especially when you are a bit quirky. Thats what I like about big cities ... when you don't get along with someone you can just go away and leave them alone.

    [edit]
    Wanted again to say thanks to you all for taking part in this thread .

  13. #13
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    No car and living in Vancouver would ok, but it's going to be difficult getting to a variety of trails. Vancouver people can tell you where to live to ride to the trails, or maybe take the bus. Canada in general is very car oriented.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  14. #14
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    I always find it amusing to see a bunch of big travel bikes on the "commuter bike" rack on the front of transit buses in North Vancouver, as they make their way to the top of the populated part of Mountain Highway. Public transit DH shuttles.

    I'm not sure that North Vancouver is much different that Port Moody or Coquitlam in cost of accommodation, I must admit that I haven't kept an eye on that lately. Because of the Second Narrows bridge, the rush hour commute time isn't that much different than those communities.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

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    Hi Guys, wanted to give a little update - now that we're actually here :-). Its been allmost two weeks now that we stayed in the wider Vancouver area ... from our initial hotel at the stunningly beautiful location east Hasting at Dunlevy Av (near Gore Av), to our current BnB in the absolutely horrible Lynn Valley ;-). Heads-up for non-locals: the adjectives for the locations are swapped.

    In general we felt really good here. People were much more friendly and relaxed than in Berlin, and even the public transport is quite usable. OK, the buses adjust their schedules to the rising tide on Mars ... but still - affordable, friendly and clean! I get why some of you said that you'd never want to live there ... for most areas. We really liked China Town! Downtown is nice, but sterile and completely un-affordable. Maybe the UBC-Area could do as well. But the best place to be seems to be Lynn Valley.
    As for the contact to German migrants @leel - that took care of itself :-). We met a couple of families on the playground, and in the supermarket. And all of our questions were thoroughly answered.

    Tomorrow we'll move to Van-Island @Travis Bickle ... to Courtenay. We'll stay there for a week, and then for three days in Tofino. after that its going to be a week on a mountain-ranch near Dead-Man Valley, and last but not least 6 days in Whistler for the big finale ;-).

    If anyone woukd like to meet me/us in person when we're in the area - Send me a PM. I'm allways happy making new friends :-).

  16. #16
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    Yeah Lynn Valley sucks, people reading this, you don't want to come and buy up all these new condos just so you have easy access to the trail networks, and second growth forest, you won't like it, there are rats, and even more raccoons, and skunks. You won't like it, nothing to see here, these aren't the droids you're looking for, move along.

    Until this past winter Lynn Valley does have the nickname Little Siberia.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

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