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One Year in Metro Vancouver

One Year in Metro Vancouver

"I still remember stepping off that plane one year ago, walking down the steps at Vancouver Airport, hoping that I'd be able to get a Work Permit at the POE. Thank goodness that went ok! Living in Vancouver for a year has been a fantastic experience. This place has well and truly become my home, a laid back culture and a wonderful selection of things to do." British Expats member, CanadJimmy, shares how his first year in Vancouver has been for him.

I still remember stepping off that plane one year ago, walking down the steps at Vancouver Airport, hoping that I'd be able to get a Work Permit at the POE. Thank goodness that went ok!

Living in Vancouver for a year has been a fantastic experience. This place has well and truly become my home, a laid back culture and a wonderful selection of things to do.

I have no desire to live in the UK again. I would describe myself as a creative person, and in this context I have felt a real freedom to create whatever I like musically. Although people may criticize Canada for having no culture, it's clear to me that the smaller government here has a similar effect as it does in the States, with little threat to freedom of expression. The south of england in comparison had a nanny state and judgmental culture, I can only describe my previous life there as not feeling "free". I see now that although I didn't quite realise it at the time, that underlying feeling was the reason I wanted to get the hell out originally.

I came here alone, no family here, none that came with me. I think overall this has been a good thing, since I've not really had any other brits around me that can allow me to stay in a bubble, I've been forced to integrate. I think I'm integrating quite well, slowly getting the head around the canadian mindset which has allowed me to have less disjointed, and more pleasant, conversations.

Anyway, here are for a few useful tips that I've learned over the year, and which I hope may be useful to those of you yet to make the move:

Financial

Bank: Coast Capital Savings
Banks in Canada often charge you for having an account and have minimum deposits. With Coast Cap everything is free, they're usually friendly (though this depends a lot on the branch) and I've not had any problems.

Credit Card: BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard
Being on a TWP means no credit/loans/etc. The best solution was BMO's prepaid mastercard. You pay $9.99 once and then it's free to use for 3 years, and you can top it though the online banking of your bank (it usually shows up on the card the following day). Has been useful for buying stuff online mostly.

Food

Bread: Sliced white bread in Canada is very sweet (much like it is in Spain). After speaking to a Canadian girl I was dating about this, she explained that it was because people consider White Bread as "junk food bread" here, so if buying bread it's best to get Wholewheat; it's similar to Wholemeal but is a different process according to wikipedia. If you really miss white bread the closest you can get to "Hovis" is from a Cobs Bakery. At about $3 a loaf it isn't cheap (if you're looking for cheap get the Western Family Wholewheat bread for $1.67!) but it is very nice and great for sandwiches.

Baked Beans: Cheapest I've found is Superstore noname for 77c a tin. You can get a pack of 12 for around $9.

Tagliatelle Pasta: Bit of an odd one this, but Tagliatelle doesn't really exist in Canada. You can get overpriced boxes at Superstore for something like $3-$4, but your best bet is getting Fettucini. It's not in nests, but instead straight like Spaghetti. You need to use a lot of water to cook it though to avoid it clumping!

Friends

The best way to make friends that I have found, outside of just randomly talking to people or going to school, is meetup.com. There are quite a few meetups in and around Vancouver for various things like activities or certain social groups.

Also talk to your neighbours, I've become pretty good friends with mine!

Thats all the tips I have for now!

Tomorrow I am submitting my application for PR. I think I shall cry if something goes wrong, but I'm feeling very confident it will be okay! Living here is still my dream, and when I can stay here forever I will feel probably let out the biggest sigh of relief! I cannot wait till there is no expiry date looming over my head!

As my final words, I just want to thank everyone on the BE forum for being a delightful mix of reassuring, helpful and occasionally downright cynical in that traditional british way! I hope everyone who wants to can achieve their dreams of living in Canada.

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© CanadaJimmy and BritishExpats.com