Living in Vancouver, B.C.

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The City of Vancouver is one of the top destinations for newcomers to Canada, particularly from the Asia-Pacific Region. That’s not surprising as it’s considered one of the most beautiful, liveable cities in Canada and the world , thanks to its mild climate, diversity, and awesome natural setting, all in a growing metropolitan city.

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Society

The City of Vancouver is one of the top destinations for newcomers to Canada, particularly from the Asia-Pacific Region. That’s not surprising as it’s considered one of the most beautiful, liveable cities in Canada and the world, thanks to its mild climate, diversity, and awesome natural setting, all in a growing metropolitan city.
While the job market isn’t as robust as in Toronto, Vancouver is home to many large corporations, a strong mining industry, as well as technology, film and health care industries. Small businesses are considered the engine of the provincial economy. More provincial government jobs will be found in the province’s capital city, Victoria, on Vancouver Island, near B.C.’s Parliament Buildings, than in Vancouver.
The City of Vancouver, which has a population of 578,000, is at the heart of the larger region known as Metro Vancouver, which has 2,313,328 people.
Thirteen of the province’s 30 most populous municipalities are located in Metro Vancouver, from West Vancouver to as far east as Langley and Maple Ridge.
The cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack and the district of Mission, located past Langley and Maple Ridge, although often linked to Vancouver and included in the broad term the Lower Mainland, are part of the separate Fraser Valley Regional District.
Metro Vancouver also has a large ethnic minority population, with the largest visible minority group being Chinese, followed by South Asians. Other prominent groups include Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, Southeast Asian, West Asian and Latin Americans.

Economy

Vancouver has a dynamic, highly diversified urban economy with growing knowledge-based sectors and strong global linkages.The city is one of Canada’s largest industrial centres thanks to its location on the Pacific Rim and at the western terminus of Canada’s transcontinental highway and rail routes. Vancouver also has the largest and most diversified port in Canada.Forestry and mining companies have their headquarters in Vancouver. As well, in recent years, the city has become an increasingly important centre for software development, biotechnology, aerospace, video game development, animation studios and a vibrant film industry.In addition to these sectors, Vancouver’s scenic location makes it a major tourist destination.The Winter Olympics which Vancouver hosted in 2010 was a major influence on the city’s economic development. Immigrant Business BC offers business start up help and information for newcomers to Vancouver.

Finding A Home

Finding a home in the Vancouver area can be challenging, especially the closer you get to the Vancouver proper. Housing affordability is a huge concern in the region, with many people choosing to live in homes in suburban cities like Coquitlam, Surrey and Richmond, and commuting to Vancouver for work if necessary. But, over the last decade, people have been moving even further east as housing prices have continued to rise, or are choosing smaller, multi-family dwellings instead of single-detached homes.
While many newcomers want to live downtown for convenience and lifestyle, it will also feature much higher home purchase and rental prices. The further east you go, the lower the prices. Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Metro Vancouver is $ 1,015 per month; average home sale prices are $735,315. But, again, the further you travel east, the more affordable homes will be. In the suburb of Maple Ridge, for example, a new three-bedroom home can be bought for the $500,000-600,000 mark. And condos and townhomes in various parts of the region start much lower.
To find a rental apartment, you can check your local newspaper classifieds or online sites like Craigslist.  
To purchase a home, contact a realtor in the area, who will guide you through the home-buying process.

Medical

British Columbia has a government-funded health insurance plan called the Medical Services Plan (MSP). It is only for British Columbia residents who are Canadian citizens, landed immigrants or government-assisted refugees. Post-secondary international students with study permits and people with work permits for six months or longer can also get MSP.
MSP pays for most health costs—for example, doctors, most medical tests, and treatments. However, some health costs, such as dentists and physiotherapists, are not covered by MSP.
For a list of hospitals and medical centers in Vancouver, click here.

Education

Home to the world-class University of British Columbia, nationally-renowned Simon Fraser University and a wide range of top-notch professional colleges, Metro Vancouver is one of the best places in Canada to pursue higher education.
UBC consistently ranks among the 40 best universities in the world, and is among the 20 best public universities, and SFU ranked as the best comprehensive university in Canada by Maclean’s University Rankings in 2009 and among the 200 best universities in the world. The other public universities are Capilano University in North Vancouver, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design on Granville Island in Vancouver, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University with four campuses all outside the city proper. Five private institutions also operate in the region: Trinity Western University in Langley, and University Canada West, NYIT Canada, and Fairleigh Dickinson University and Columbia College all in Vancouver.
Vancouver Community College and Langara College are publicly funded college-level institutions in Vancouver. They are augmented by private institutions and other colleges in the surrounding areas of Metro Vancouver that provide career, trade, and university-transfer programs.
Vancouver has also many elementary and high schools to choose from for your child’s education. The Vancouver School Board administers about 74 elementary schools, 17 elementary annexes, 18 secondary schools, 7 adult education centres, 2 Vancouver Learn Network schools.
Click here to find information on Vancouver’s most prominent primary, secondary, and post secondary schools.

Recreation

Metro Vancouver is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, thanks to its mild climate and close proximity to ocean, mountains, rivers and lakes. The region boasts world-class parks, from the 404 hectares of prime downtown land that forms Stanley Park, to the many smaller parks that host recreational facilities, community centres, and specialty amenities such as off-leash dog areas and skate parks. Vancouver has close to 300 City-run parks, beaches, and gardens.
This system includes the delivery of sports and recreational programs, social and cultural activities, educational programming and special events, through the many community and cultural centres, pools, rinks, golf courses, and specialty parks.
Within a 20-to-30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver are the North Shore Mountains, with three ski areas: Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour. Mountain bikers have created world-renowned trails across the North Shore. The Capilano River, Lynn Creek and Seymour River, also on the North Shore, provide opportunities to whitewater enthusiasts during periods of rain and spring melt, though the canyons of those rivers are more utilized for hiking and swimming than whitewater.
For more information on recreational activities in Vancouver, click here.