Moving from another city or migrating from another country, relocating to Vancouver can be a precarious prospect, mostly from an economic perspective. As a consistent occupant in the list of most liveable cities in the world, it pays to be a resident of Vancouver.
Although the high cost of living is surely an intimidating aspect of moving to Vancouver, there are other certainly cheaper options not far from this West Coast city.
Whether you seek rental property in close proximity to your workplace, or are looking to live in a neighborhood where there is a strong sense of community, Vancouver has these residential neighborhoods that tick such checkboxes.
Ideal for couples with different workplaces — say one downtown and another somewhere south, Fairview has easy access to downtown by car, bus or bike. Meanwhile, a few roads lead to south are part of the neighborhood. Moreover, two Canada Line subway stations — Olympic Village and Broadway – City Hall — are also part of the neighborhood, providing easy access to Vancouver airport and other points of interest in the city.
A number of tourist attractions draw daily attention towards the neighborhood, which also hosts several restaurants, cafes and small businesses.
Fairview is also home to one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, Granville Island. Once an industrial area, today’s Granville Island attracts 10 million visitors a year. Packed with shops, restaurants, and gorgeous views, the island is home to the iconic Stanley Industial Alliance Stage, music festivals, cultural events and Canada Day celebrations.
West End, Downtown
Living in Vancouver downtown can easily get costly especially if you have limited source of income. But affordable apartment housing a bit further from core Vancouver downtown can still be found. Accessibility makes it a sought after location and therefore an expensive option. From here, you are only a few minutes away from the main shopping district of Robson Street and Pacific Centre Mall, the office business district, as well as Granville Street’s entertainment district.
The West End, in the downtown area is the most diverse of the downtown Vancouver neighborhoods. It’s where a mix of Canadians, immigrants, and short-term visitors make this area create a more community feel. Housing is also a combination of townhouses, high-rise residential units, duplexes and vintage heritage homes.
The vicinity contains the popular Stanley Park and is in close proximity to the ocean. In addition to the quick downtown commute, these features make it a sought-after spot for start ups, entrepreneurs and other business-minded individuals. If you seek Vancouver neighborhoods situated close to the office while staying within the energy of the people, this place might suit you best.
Kitsilano, also popularly known as Kits, is located conveniently close to Kits Beach — named one of the best beaches in the world — and scores high marks for being an engaged community.
In contrast to other Vancouver neighborhoods, Kistilano has a mix of outdoor recreation opportunities as well as a focus on organic foods and healthy living. It is one of the city’s organic-food hubs, and has extensive restaurants and retail along West 4th Avenue and West Broadway.
Locations closer to the beach are more expensive. But the further away and the closer to the University of British Columbia you go, prices become more affordable.
A neighborhood converted from a 19th century rail yard into a trendy location with upscale restaurants, boutique shops and access to False Creek marina. The vicinity boasts with high-end restaurants and stores, as well as has access to the marina for those who own boats.
This could be Vancouver’s best place to live in terms of accessibility and location, it’s also one of the more expensive and already occupied neighborhoods. That’s because of its desirable access to downtown business establishments and the busy culture in downtown.
There are not too many vacancies available, and this explains the expensive location for newcomers to settle in.
If you are looking for a place with slower pace of life, Kerrisdale residential neighborhood might be a place you’ll like. It’s population mainly consists of long-time residents and the neighborhood streets are lined with sweeping, grand old trees.
Kerrisdale features a mix of newer houses and older bungalows as well as various low and mid-rise rental and condo apartment buildings in its northern section. The neighbourhood is an ethnic mix of Caucasian and Asian Canadians — many of whom are affluent immigrants who have fled from Hong Kong in the mid-1980s in anticipation of China’s take over from British rule.
Its residents are mix of professionals, wealthy Chinese, and students renting basement suites, or more inexpensive apartment blocks to attend nearby schools. The area is also home to elderly residents.
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia neighborhood has become one of the more popular Vancouver neighborhoods, lending the educational institution to attract students and professors. More than just mid-term housing for students in the area, the UBC neighborhood’s location on the west of Vancouver saw an increase in residential buildings, service providers and shops.
The university grounds cover an area of almost 1,000 acres, and accommodate almost 35,000 students. It offers great access to public transport and many local beaches (Wreck, Spanish Banks). This area is extremely popular with students on short-term work permits searching where to live in Vancouver. The nearby endowment lands of the University offers attractive nature and walking trails.
The area is rapidly expanding, becoming more valuable especially as the UBC subway extension is completed, giving residents in the neighborhood easy access to central Vancouver. This means the UBC neighborhood becomes even more attractive to residents who won’t mind taking the subway to central Vancouver while retaining the affordability and character of the vicinity.
Being connected by three bridges and a light rapid transit line across the Fraser River makes Marpole neighborhood a gateway to Vancouver from the south. Boosted with its proximity to Richmond airport, it’s a high traffic area. However, it also features residential districts that are more family friendly — wider yards and less of nightlife activities accustomed to its busier neighborhoods.
The area has a mix of residential housing, including low-rise apartments, and several major commercial streets, including shopping along Granville Street.
About 37% of Marpole residents’ mother tongue was one of the two forms of Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese) and 42% of the area’s populace identified as Chinese as of 2006.
Located in the south-central of Vancouver, Oakridge is a relatively young community, constantly evolving and growing in terms of its features and makeup. Oakridge is a bustling area—a mix of residential neighbourhoods, a busy shopping mall, and large college institution.
This area is also a hub for the city’s Jewish community. A significant landmark is the Oakridge Centre mall – Vancouver’s first shopping centre – is perhaps the largest draw bringing people into the neighborhood. For almost a century, Langara Golf Course has drawn golfers to the area. Oakridge is in south-central Vancouver, south of the gorgeous VanDusen Botanical Gardens.
Langara College, which delivers a number of educational services to more than 23,000 students, is also located in Oakridge on West 49th east of Cambie.
The city is conducting a “master planning” process for the Oakridge Centre area, potentially increasing retail, residential, commercial, office and community uses on the site.
We hope you have found an area that fits your preference, character, economic background and lifestyle. But, despite the listings above, it’s not unusual if you still haven’t figured out which neighborhood to live.
If you are unsure it’s always best to speak with people living in each area, friends or family members who have settled in, or at online forums before you decide where to live in Vancouver.