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Moving to Vancouver
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Moving to Vancouver
My husband and I are in the process of moving to Vancouver, Canada this year
our boys. We have two children 6 and 10 years. We visited various
last year and loved the Commercial Drive area. West Van. which seems to have
good schools seemed really expensive. Does anybody know anything about schools
in Commercial Drive? I have heard conflicting messages. I would also love some
input about what neighbourhoods in Vancouver would be a good fit in terms of a
neighbourhood and good schools for the children. Thanks heaps for your input
From a tourists point of view, we just came back from a trip to
Vancouver and other parts of BC.
I LOVED Vancouver...seems like a great place to live.
We stayed at a hotel in North Vancouver at the bottom of
Lonsdale, on the water.
In exploring that area I was really impressed...it was clean,
attractive, people were friendly, saw lots of kids.
Today I found out that one of my clients used to live in
Vancouver at the top of Lonsdale (it goes WAY up the hill) and
she loved it. She went to Jr. High there.
I know this isn't much to go on, but an outsiders view. Can't
wait to go back. Good luck on your move
I have just joined so I didn't get to read your original posting.
Checked in the advice columns about moving to Vancouver, and felt
that couple of responses there were pretty succint and useful. I
have lived in Vancouver for a year, and although we didn't have
kids then, I know of people who did, and they were pretty happy
on the whole. Its a wonderful place really - except the rain, but
you get used to it
My husband and I are feeling discouraged about the high cost of living
in the Bay Area and the low quality of life you get in return, i.e. at best,
mediocre schools (at least in Oakland). We work hard and long hours
and have been able to save so little that should either of us lose our jobs
(my husband works in the tech industry so that is an ever present
possibility), we have only one month's cushion to pay our mortgage and
other bills. The current political climate has discouraged us even
further. With much of our tax dollars going elsewhere, and not towards
the improvement of our schools, health care system, infrastructure, etc,
we are seriously considering applying for permanent resident status in
Canada. We want our 13 month old son to grow up in a place that
values education (and funds it!), where tax money goes towards
improving the quality of life of the taxpayers and not towards war or the
destruction of civil liberties. We believe strongly in these values and
want him to grow up in an environment that values them also. Are we
being rash? Disloyal? Are other people feeling as hopeless and
overwhlemed about the direction this country and state are going in?
Are other people seriously considering this? We are both native
Californians and have deep roots here- my family has lived here for 5
generations. Leaving would be extremely drastic...
We also decided to move to the Vancouver area with our two kids,
for the same reasons you stated. Political, educational,
economical. In fact, we've already processed the papers going to
the Buffalo immigration center. I recently made a trip out there
to check it out and was pleasantly surprised with what the area
had to offer: wonderful people, incredible scenery (I thought
the Bay area was beautiful), great political scene (liberal,
green, etc.), culture. It'll be very hard to leave this area
after 30 years but when I see the educational and political
system here, local and national, I feel like leaving ASAP.
Be aware, it takes forever to get a visa, probably from 1 to 2
years.. I strongly advice you to go through an immigration
lawyer to cut a lot of red tape that you might encounter. It's
tons of money but worth it!
anon, of course
We are a Berkeley family spending the academic year in
Vancouver; our daughter is in grade 7 and son in grade 9. A few
things to be aware of: while we love the city and surrounding
area, people, etc. it is not perfect. One big downside is the
weather. It started raining around Aug 20 and we have probably
had no more than 10-15 days of sun in the past 5 months. On
those few days, there is no greater place to live. But winter
short days and rain not for those prone to depression. Housing
prices in the more desirable parts of the city (such as the
westside, near UBC and between downtown and the airport) are
comparable to Berkeley, not cheap. Schools: our daughter goes
to a local public school for grades K-7, about 350 total. She's
doing great; the only caucasian girl in her grade but the girls
are friendly. She's also a joiner, and the local community
centers have lots of classes. The school also has team sports
and a daily running club after school, with about 80% student
participation. Very involved parent group. Our son is at a
large high school of 1700, again, one of the few non-Asian
students. The boys there aren't nearly as outgoing and he's had
a very lonely year. Many are recent immigrants (very affluent,
from Hong Kong) and speak Chinese outside of class. Large
classes, teachers overwhelmed, few clubs to join. Younger kids
would probably adjust easier. Many of our neighbors send their
kids to local private schools, with about same demographics.
Their main reasoning is that the Asian kids in private schools
have to pass English proficiency tests, and so the language
arts classes are more advanced. On balance, still a great place
to live. Am glad to talk to people serious about moving here.
We are considering a move to Vancouver, BC and I'd be
interested to hear from anyone who has lived there. We have
two children under the age of 2. I'm interested in
recommendations for good areas to live in, things to do, and
any likes or dislikes you have about living in Vancouver.
Vancouver is a beautiful, family oriented city. There are many
great parks and beaches (Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth park) and
it is only a 20 minute drive to pure wilderness. The rain can be
tiresome but if you equip yourself properly you can have fun
outside in the rain. If you have the money, Kitsilano is a great
area to live but can be a bit snooty. North Vancouver is a
little more affordable but not as much of a community and a
little farther from the city. East Vancouver used to be the
artsy fartsy low income area but has become a real family
community over the years, it is a lot like Berkeley. You can
still afford a house in this area and there are many alternatives
for children. You should visit Commercial drive to get the feel
of the area, there are many interesting shops and people from all
Regardless of where you live, you will love Vancouver!
We are starting to toss around the idea of a move, and Vancouver
has come up. We know it is beautiful, but not much nore about
it. Any thoughts from those of you who know it better about
the many factors that go into making a place livable? Housing?
Schools? Cultural life? And any recommendations on especially
nice areas to live? How about how easy/difficult it is for an
American family to move to Canada? Thanks!
I lived in Vancouver for 9 years, before moving to the Bay Area 8
years ago - and my husband grew up in a Vancouver suburb. By
Canadian standards, housing prices are expensive. But they are
reasonable compared to the Bay Area. In general, there are a lot
of parallels between Vancouver and here. It is fairly laid-back
and liberal, with an ethnically-diverse population. Public
schools are generally good, especially on the west side of the
city. However, with the recent provincial government budget cuts
there, that may change. There is good public transportation, a
good arts and cultural scene, good opportunities for recreation.
The weather can be grey and dull in winter, with lots of rain.
But it rarely snows, and the summers are usually beautiful.
I'm not sure how easy it is for an American to work in Canada,
though. I know the universities give priority to Canadians for
academic jobs, unless they can prove that there are no Canadians
who can be hired. It might be different if you are sponsered by
an employer. I am working in the US on a NAFTA visa, and there
might be an equivalent visa for working in Canada.
We are twice-yearly visitors to Vancouver, Canada, and are
seriously considering retirement there, one day.
The city is gorgeous (the way the mountains meet the water), the
American currency is somewhere between 30 and 40% stronger there
than the Canadian, the eating is world class, and the people are
We've some dear friends who live there and know that the houseing
prices are as expensive, if not more, than the Bay area. (hard
to believe, I know.) Our friends paid 760K American for a what
is, really, a glorified townhouse (1700 sq ft on three levels)
with a postage stamp yard, and this was 6 years ago. As well,
our friends use private school for their three children; the
private school choice may be because they are Jewish and want
their kids in a Jewish school, however.
I find Vancouver proper much like a very clean, European capital.
Very cosmopolitan--the shopping is wonderful, as well. Did I
mention that Grouse Mountain and Whistler are very nearby for
skiing, as well. Stanley Park, in the city proper, is a gorgeous
park with an aquarium, bike-riding paths, train, public beach,
teahouse, public swimming pool, sailing, rollerblading, you name
Finally, if you should need ideal medical care (which you can
find in Vancouver for a price), it is just a short jaunt over the
border to Seattle with its world-class med center at Univ. of
LOVES, Loves, loves VANCOUVER
this page was last updated: Sep 13, 2008
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