So you’ve decided to pack up your life, sell your house, and move to Vancouver. Well, good for you! This city is the best place to live in Canada right now. But moving is never an easy task—you have to find a new place to live, sell your old home, and pack everything into boxes before settling into a new one.
Moving can be stressful no matter what, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you follow these tips and tricks, packing up and leaving won’t be so painful. Read on for our ultimate guide on how to move to Vancouver, so you can become a local in no time!
Vancouver Quick Facts
Official Language: English
GDP per capita: $55,879
Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Vancouver’s Best Attractions
A Morning Stroll Through Granville Island
The first stop on any Vancouver itinerary should be a stroll around Granville Island. This former industrial site has been transformed over the past 40 years into a world-famous tourist destination. There are now over 200 shops and restaurants to choose from, including a thriving arts and crafts scene and a public market selling fresh seafood.
Granville Island is also very walkable, making it perfect for first-time visitors who want to taste the local vibe. And if you’re visiting in the summer, you simply can’t miss the Sunday Farmers Market. This is the one event that truly epitomizes Vancouver’s laid-back lifestyle. Prepare to wake up before sunrise and enjoy a quintessential Vancouver experience.
The Best Vancouver Views From Mountaintops
Vancouver is known for its stunning views, but the best ones require a little effort. The most popular mountain-top attractions in the city are the gondola rides at Grouse Mountain and the climbing wall at North Grouse Mountain.
If you’re visiting in the summer, Grouse is the better option as it’s open until 10 pm. And if you’re visiting in the winter, Grouse is also the best option, as it’s open all year round. North Grouse Mountain, on the other hand, closes for the season in October. Both attractions offer stunning 360-degree views of Vancouver, but Grouse offers the added bonus of a Wildlife Discovery Centre where you can learn about the animals in the surrounding area.
The Gastronomical Goodness of Vancouver’s Food Trucks
Forget fancy restaurants with stuffy servers: The best way to taste Vancouver’s culinary scene is to visit one of the city’s numerous food trucks. These are scattered all over the city and are often found at events such as Granville Island’s weekly Friday night market.
One of the most popular food trucks is Gogi Wagon, which offers Korean-style tacos that are out of this world. Other top picks include The Phat Buddha, The Lambs on Hastings, and Pizzeria Mia. Dining from a food truck might sound unhygienic, but regulations are much stricter than you might think. Trucks must obtain permits and must be properly cleaned and inspected on a regular basis.
A Day at the Aquarium
For younger travelers, a day at the Vancouver Aquarium is a must. There are lots of aquariums in the city, but the Vancouver Aquarium is regarded as one of the best in the world and is definitely the most popular. It’s also incredibly family-friendly, with plenty of interactive and hands-on displays to keep kids entertained.
The aquarium is home to over 50,000 creatures, including beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals, and fish of all shapes and sizes. But it doesn’t stop there: The aquarium also hosts an IMAX theater and a planetarium, so you can learn some more about the stars above Vancouver while you’re at it.
A Sunset Cruise on the Harbour
Vancouver is famous for its beautiful harbor and stunning sunset views. Unfortunately, due to Vancouver’s distinct geography, you can only really enjoy these views from the water. While you could rent a paddle board and go paddle boarding in Vancouver’s beautiful waters, the best option for a sunset cruise is to take a boat cruise.
Vancouver has a lot of different boat cruise companies and cruise boats of all sizes. To get a truly Vancouver experience, you want to pick one that sails along the city’s coast and passes near the Vancouver Harbour Bridge: You’ll get the best views of the city’s skyline. My top pick is the Vancouver Spirit Cruise, which includes a tasty buffet dinner and a free souvenir photo for only $24.95 per person during the off-season.
Hiking Trails in Vancouver’s Mountains
You don’t have to go far to enjoy some of Vancouver’s best views. The city’s famous mountains are just a short drive away and make for great hiking trails. A few years ago, a North Shore hiking trail called the Grouse Grind was closed to the public, but it’s now open to a limited number of hikers every day.
If you want to avoid the crowds, our personal pick is the nearby Cypress Mountain. Cypress Mountain has three hiking trails that lead to the top of the mountain, each varying in difficulty and length. If you want to experience Vancouver’s mountains in all their glory, my top pick is the 2-hour long trail that leads to the summit. Once you reach the top, you can enjoy sweeping views of Vancouver and its surrounding islands, including nearby Bowen Island, Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands.
Reasons to Move to Vancouver
Vancouver Is a Vibrant City
Vancouver is one of Canada’s most vibrant cities. It’s a popular destination for tourists and immigrants alike, and it’s easy to see why. Vancouver has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for an urban or outdoor lifestyle. The city is home to a diverse range of cultures and communities, and there’s always something new to explore.
Vancouver Has a Great Quality of Life
Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities. This is due in part to its low crime rates, great infrastructure, and beautiful natural surroundings. Vancouverites also enjoy excellent health care and education facilities. If you’re looking for a place to raise a family or retire in comfort, Vancouver should be at the top of your list.
Vancouver Is a Great Place to Work
The city offers ample opportunities for career growth and advancement. Vancouver is one of Canada’s leading economic hubs and home to many multinational corporations as well as small businesses and startups. With its competitive salaries and low cost of living, Vancouver is an attractive option for professional workers from all over the world.
The Pros & Cons of Moving & Shipping to Vancouver
Pros of Moving to Vancouver
There are many reasons why people move to Vancouver. The city is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Here are some of the pros of moving to Vancouver:
- The weather is mild compared to the rest of Canada
- It’s a beautiful city with lots to do and see
- Vancouver is a very diverse city, with people from all over the world
- There are plenty of job opportunities in Vancouver.
Cons of Moving to Vancouver
Of course, there are also some downsides to moving to Vancouver. Here are some factors to consider before making the move:
- The housing market is extremely competitive, and it can be difficult to find a place to live
- Traffic can be a nightmare, especially during rush hour
- The cost of living has been increasing in recent years, so it’s not as affordable as it used to be
Moving & Shipping Costs to Vancouver
The cost of moving and shipping your belongings to Vancouver will depend on a few factors, such as the size of your shipment and the distance from your current location.
However, you can expect to pay around $1,000 for a large-sized shipment from within Canada. The average cost of shipping a 20-foot container from Los Angeles to Vancouver is about $2,700.
The Different Ways to Move & Ship to Vancouver
Moving to Vancouver by Car
There are a few things to consider if you’re planning on moving to Vancouver by car, such as the cost of gas, the potential wear and tear on your vehicle, and the time it will take to drive to Vancouver. Depending on where you’re coming from, this could take several days. And finally, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space in your vehicle to fit all of your belongings.
If you’re moving a smaller household or don’t have many belongings, driving may be the most economical option. But if you have a lot of stuff or are moving a long distance, flying or shipping your belongings may be a better option.
Moving to Vancouver by Plane
Flying is generally the fastest way to get to Vancouver, but it can also be the most expensive – especially if you’re bringing a lot of stuff with you. If you’re only bringing a few suitcases worth of belongings, flying may be the best option since you won’t have to worry about renting a moving truck or finding storage for your things.
However, if you have bulky furniture or a lot of boxes, it may be cheaper and easier to ship your belongings using one of the many cargo services available.
Shipping to Vancouver
Shipping is a great option if you need to save money on your move or if you have large or bulky items that would be difficult to transport by car or plane. There are plenty of companies that offer shipping services to Vancouver, so it’s just a matter of finding one that fits your needs and budget.
The main thing to remember about shipping is that it can take several weeks for your belongings to arrive – so plan accordingly!
Vancouver Housing Costs & Best Places to Live
Vancouver is not a cheap city to live in, and housing costs are a major factor in the high cost of living. If you’re thinking of moving to Vancouver, it’s important to be aware of the city’s housing market and what you can expect to pay for accommodation.
- Housing costs
The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $1,750. For a two-bedroom apartment, the average rent is $2,150. These figures are higher than the national averages of $950 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment.
If you’re looking to purchase a home, you can expect to pay even more. The average price of a detached home in Vancouver is over $1.5 million, while the average price of a condo is just over $600,000. Again, these prices are significantly higher than the national averages of $455,000 for a detached home and $347,000 for a condo.
Generally speaking, downtown neighborhoods like Coal Harbour or Yaletown will be among the most expensive places to live due to their prime locations near business districts and tourist attractions. More affordable options can be found in suburban areas like Richmond or Burnaby. Of course, even these “affordable” suburbs are still relatively pricey compared to other parts of Canada!
Here are some tips on finding housing in Vancouver:
- Look for apartments and houses for rent in areas outside of downtown Vancouver
Downtown Vancouver is the most expensive area of the city, so you can save money by living in a less central location. There are many great neighborhoods to choose from in Vancouver, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs and budget.
- Consider sharing an apartment or house with roommates
This is a great way to save money on rent and utilities. Make sure to find compatible roommates who you can get along with!
- Furnished apartments are also available, but they’re more expensive
It may be a good idea to rent a furnished apartment if you will only be staying in Vancouver for a short time since it will eliminate the hassle of furnishing your own place.
Cost of Living in Vancouver
The average monthly cost of utilities, including electricity, gas, water, and garbage, is about $200. This does not include the cost of cable or internet, which can add an additional $100 to your bill.
The cost of transportation is also relatively high in Vancouver. Public transit fares start at $2.75 per ride, and a monthly pass costs $98. If you choose to drive, expect to pay around $1.50 per liter for gas and upwards of $30 for parking downtown.
Food costs will vary depending on your eating habits. A meal at a casual restaurant will cost around $15-20 per person, while groceries for one person will cost around $200-250 per month. Eating out more often or buying organic/specialty items will obviously increase your monthly food expenses.
Clothing costs are similar to those in other major Canadian cities like Toronto or Montreal. You can expect to pay around $60-80 for a pair of jeans or a nice shirt from a mid-range store like H&M or Forever 21. Prices will be higher at upscale stores like Holt Renfrew or Club Monaco.
Saving Money on the Cost of Living in Vancouver
- Downsize your home
If you don’t need a lot of space, you can save a significant amount of money by renting or buying a smaller home or apartment.
- Use public transportation
Public transportation is an excellent way to save money on the cost of living in Vancouver. It’s much cheaper than owning and maintaining a car. And, with an extensive public transportation system in place, you’ll be able to get around the city with ease.
- Buy in bulk and cook at home
Food costs can add up quickly, but there are ways to save on groceries. One way is to buy in bulk when possible and cook at home rather than eating out all the time. You can also take advantage of coupons and discounts when grocery shopping.
And, if you’re strategic about where you shop, you can find some great deals on food and other items.
- Use coupons and discounts
Coupons and discounts can be found everywhere if you know where to look for them. You can often find discounts on food, clothing, entertainment, and more if you do some research ahead of time or simply ask around. There are also a number of apps and websites that offer coupons and discounts, so be sure to check them out as well!
- Compare prices and shop around
It’s always a good idea to compare prices before making a purchase, and this is especially true when it comes to the cost of living in Vancouver. There are a number of ways to compare prices, including online tools and price comparison apps. By taking the time to compare prices, you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal on everything from groceries to housing.
Transportation in Vancouver
One of the first things you’ll notice about Vancouver is that it is very easy to get around. The public transportation system is clean, efficient, and reasonably priced. Vancouver also has an extensive network of bike lanes, making it a great city for cyclists. If you’re planning on moving to Vancouver, here’s what you need to know about getting around the city:
- Public transportation
Vancouver’s public transportation system is made up of buses, SkyTrains, and Ferries. The bus system is extensive and covers all areas of the city. SkyTrains are a quick and easy way to get around downtown Vancouver, and ferries are available for trips to Vancouver Island and other parts of the Lower Mainland.
You can purchase tickets for all forms of public transportation using a Compass Card, which can be bought at any Skytrain station or online. A single fare starts at 2.85 CAD, and discounts are available for seniors, students, and children under 5 years old.
Vancouver is an extremely bike-friendly city, with over 400 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes. Cycling is a great way to get around Vancouver because it’s cheap, healthy, and environmentally friendly. If you don’t own a bike, you can always rent one from one of the many bike-sharing stations located around the city. Just remember to wear a helmet!
Walking is another great way to get around Vancouver, thanks to its relatively mild climate and scenic views. Walking is also a great way to explore different neighborhoods and find new places to eat or shop.
Education & Schooling in Vancouver
Vancouver is home to a number of excellent educational institutions, both public and private. Students looking to move to Vancouver will be able to find a school that fits their needs and budget.
- Public schools
Public schools in Vancouver are administered by the Vancouver Public Schools (VPS). The district offers a variety of programs for students of all ages, from early childhood education to adult education.
There are also a number of specialized programs available, such as the International Baccalaureate program and the French Immersion program. Students attending a public school in Vancouver will receive a quality education at an affordable price.
- Private schools
Private schools in Vancouver offer an alternative to the public school system. Private schools often have smaller class sizes and more personalized attention from teachers.
They also typically offer a wider range of extracurricular activities than public schools. However, private schools can be quite expensive, so students should research their options carefully before making a decision.
It costs an average of $22,615 per year to attend a private school in Vancouver, with tuition fees ranging from $3,500 to $51,500.
Whether you choose a public or private school, you can be sure that your child will receive a quality education in Vancouver.
Healthcare in Vancouver
- Public healthcare
Vancouver residents have access to high-quality public healthcare, which is funded by provincial and federal taxes. This means that most basic medical care is free for residents. Services that are covered by public healthcare include hospital stays, doctor visits, preventive care, and some prescription drugs.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, dental care and optometry are not covered by public healthcare. Additionally, if you require non-emergency surgery or other treatment that must be performed outside of a hospital, you may have to pay for part or all of the cost yourself. However, even in these cases, there is usually financial assistance available to help cover the costs.
- Private healthcare
If you have private health insurance, you will have to pay monthly premiums as well as out-of-pocket costs when you visit the doctor or hospital. If you do not have private health insurance, you will still have to pay for some basic healthcare services through the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). The monthly premium for MSP is $75 per person or $150 per family.
Private healthcare options in Vancouver include private hospitals and clinics, as well as some specialist surgeons and physicians who practice outside of the public system. Many people choose to use private healthcare for things like cosmetic surgery or fertility treatments that are not covered by public health insurance. Others simply prefer the convenience and flexibility that private healthcare provides.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Vancouver also has a number of walk-in clinics and urgent care centers that can meet your healthcare needs
- If you have a specific medical condition or need, you can find specialists in Vancouver to meet your needs
- Vancouver also has many alternative health practitioners, such as naturopaths and acupuncture therapists
- If you are moving to Vancouver with children, it is important to enroll them in a good healthcare plan as well
Weather in Vancouver
Vancouver has a temperate climate, with mild winters and cool summers. The average temperature is 10°C in January and 20°C in July. Rainfall is heaviest in the winter months, but there is still plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
- Winter weather in Vancouver
Although Vancouver’s winters are relatively mild, there can be occasional periods of cold weather and snowfall. The best way to stay warm during these times is to dress in layers and make sure you have a good winter jacket, boots, and gloves. If you plan on doing any outdoor activities, it’s also a good idea to invest in some quality winter gear, like snow pants and a warm hat.
- Summer weather in Vancouver
Temperatures in the summer months can range from cool to hot, so it’s important to be prepared for both extremes. It’s a good idea to have some light layers on hand that you can take off if you get too warm. And if you’re planning on spending any time outdoors, don’t forget the sunscreen!
Moving to Vancouver Alone
If you’re moving to Vancouver alone, you’ll need to factor in the cost of shipping your belongings. The shipping cost will depend on your shipment’s size and weight, as well as the distance it’s traveling.
To save on shipping costs, consider sending only your essentials or storing some of your belongings until you’ve settled into your new home. You can also try to find used furniture and household items once you arrive in Vancouver.
Moving to Vancouver With a Family
Moving to Vancouver with a family can be an expensive endeavor, but there are ways to minimize the cost.
Here are some tips:
- Use a moving company
- Rent instead of buy
It can be cheaper to rent a house or apartment in Vancouver than to buy one outright. This is especially true if you’re only planning on living in the city for a few years.
- Consider all your options
There are many different neighborhoods in Vancouver, each with its own character and price point. Do your research before deciding where to live.
- Get help with childcare
Childcare is one of the biggest expenses for families with young children. See if your employer offers any subsidies or discounts on childcare costs.
- Create a budget
Moving to a new city can be challenging, but by creating a budget and sticking to it, you can ensure that your move doesn’t break the bank.
Moving to Vancouver From the United Kingdom
If you’re moving to Vancouver from the United Kingdom, there are a few things you should know.
First, the cost of living in Vancouver is high, especially if you’re used to living in a smaller city or town in the UK. You’ll need to budget for higher housing costs, food costs, and transportation costs. Additionally, Vancouver is a very diverse city, so you’ll need to be prepared to meet a wide range of people. However, the city also has a lot to offer in terms of culture and entertainment.
Depending on the amount and type of belongings you have, shipping can be expensive. For example, shipping a full 20-foot container from the UK to Vancouver can cost up to $5,000.
There are a few ways to reduce the cost of shipping, such as:
- Ship only what you need
This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. If you don’t need it, don’t ship it! Moving is a great opportunity to declutter your life and get rid of items you no longer use or need. Not only will this save you money on shipping costs, but it will also make unpacking and setting up your new home much easier.
- Send items ahead of time
If you have items that you know you won’t need right away (e.g., winter clothes in summer), consider sending them ahead of time via air freight. This can be cheaper than shipping everything in one go.
- Consolidate shipments
If you have friends or family members who are also moving to Vancouver (or elsewhere), see if you can consolidate shipments and share the cost. This is a great way to save money on shipping costs while also getting some help with packing and unpacking!
Moving to Vancouver From the United States
Moving to Vancouver from the United States can be a big undertaking.
When it comes to shipping your belongings, you have a few options. You can ship them via ground transportation, which will take longer but is typically cheaper. Or, you can opt for air shipping, which is faster but more expensive.
As for cost, it really depends on how much stuff you need to ship. Just be sure to get quotes from multiple companies before making your decision.
For example, if you are shipping from New York City, the cost is $3,000. This is due to the distance between NYC and Vancouver being almost 2,900 miles.
Moving to Vancouver From Canada
The cost of shipping to Vancouver from Canada will vary depending on the size and weight of your shipment, as well as the distance it needs to travel
- For a small shipment (under 10 kg), you can expect to pay around $50-$100.
- For a medium shipment (10-100 kg), you can expect to pay around $200-$500.
- And for a large shipment (over 100 kg), the costs are around $500-$1,000.
Of course, these are just estimates – actual prices will vary depending on the specific details of your shipment. But in general, shipping to Vancouver from Canada is relatively inexpensive and is definitely cheaper than shipping from some other countries (like the United Kingdom or New Zealand).
Moving to Vancouver From New Zealand
If you are shipping a small number of goods, the most economical option would be to use airfreight. For larger shipments, sea freight is usually the best option in terms of cost.
However, it should be noted that sea freight can take significantly longer than airfreight (up to 12 weeks), so if you are tight on time, this may not be the best option for you.
To give you an idea of how much it might cost to ship to Vancouver from New Zealand, we’ve compiled some sample prices below:
- 1 cubic meter (cbm) of household goods via air freight: NZD 3,000-4,000
- 1 cbm of household goods via sea freight: NZD 1,200-1,800
- A 20ft container (approximately 25 cbm) of household goods via sea freight: NZD 5,000-7,500
Of course, these are just estimates – for a more accurate quote, it’s best to contact a reputable shipping company.
To move to Vancouver from New Zealand, you’ll need to obtain a visa. There are several options available, including work visas and student visas. The process can be complicated, so it’s important to research your options and get professional help if needed.
Moving to Vancouver can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. With the right preparation and the right shipping company, you can make the move as painless and affordable as possible.
Your new home is waiting for you; all you have to do is bring your things there.
Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of Mover Focus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go. Read more.