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Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Old Sep 14th 2010, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by canadian_bacon_boy View Post
Our family cannot stand it aside from my 13 yearold son who if he could would live on it.

We visit Yo! sushi in the Uk because you can get miso soup and noodles which means he can eat raw fish while we still have a meal.

He is looking forward to moving to Vancouver next year as sushi is far more common than in the UK. In the cotswolds where we live you have to resort to going to tesco and buying a crappy little pack for a high price just to have something.

Sushi is really one of those things that you either like or don't. I can't stand it myself.
Same here you can get all manner of Ramen/miso soups, deep fried chicken wings, yakisoba (like a stir fry with noodles), chicken katsu - which tastes very much like chinky curries in the UK and the usual teriyaki chicken/beef and what not.

On another note, I've become very partial to pho soup which is Vietnamese - very tasty, cheap (like 6 bucks for a massive bowl) and filling.

Last edited by dboy; Sep 14th 2010 at 2:17 pm.
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Old Sep 14th 2010, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by dboy View Post
Wild Rice is a higher end Chinese place on Pender near tinsletown. Everyone in there was white! It actually seemed odd. The food was great but spendy
I know it is cliche but I like the Gyoza king on Robson..
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Old Sep 18th 2010, 9:26 am
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by dboy View Post
I had some terrible sashimi here on teh north shore a few months back. It's put me right off. Some other high end places I used to go to were Octopus Garden on Cornwall, one on 4 th a sushi tapas place that i cant recall the name of and another one on yew just off of cornwall that used to be the Urban Well some years back.

My wife likes Kaydoya on Davie and thurlow which is pretty good for a cheaper place.
if you're close Shima-ya on Victoria drive does absolutely flawless sushi and other stuff besides.

http://dinehere.ca/vancouver/shima-ya for some more perspectives and info.
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Old Sep 18th 2010, 2:37 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Just out of interest, have any of you Sushi lovers tried to eat an alive fish caught, by yourself, either from Canadian inland or coastal waters?

Surely this would be a true "Canada" experience. All the advices offered such as "...that restaurant isn't very good" , "...this restaurant is excellent", "...it's the way the chef cuts the fish", "...it's the freshness of the fish" just form an illusion to make you part with some pennies and feel somehow accomplished.

Let's see that sense of adventure put to good use, there's got to be at least one of you out there who's either already tried this or is willing to (and please share the experience on here with words and photos )
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Old Sep 18th 2010, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by Greenhill View Post
Just out of interest, have any of you Sushi lovers tried to eat an alive fish caught, by yourself, either from Canadian inland or coastal waters?

Surely this would be a true "Canada" experience. All the advices offered such as "...that restaurant isn't very good" , "...this restaurant is excellent", "...it's the way the chef cuts the fish", "...it's the freshness of the fish" just form an illusion to make you part with some pennies and feel somehow accomplished.

Let's see that sense of adventure put to good use, there's got to be at least one of you out there who's either already tried this or is willing to (and please share the experience on here with words and photos )
i don't fish myself but have friends that do give me all manner of creatures incuding bear (yuk) and deer (too gamey) and Salmon (yum)
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Old Sep 18th 2010, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

There are so many restrictions on fishing for salmon here that I've just not bothered yet. I'll make a promise though, the day I do finally get around to fishing for salmon, and the first I catch, I'll take at least one bite out of it, as soon as I get hold of it.

We love deer meat here. Some people say the heart is the best part of the animal but I've not yet had the chance to try that. If you're not too keen on steaks or joints, have you tried sausages made from deer? Honey garlic and spicy italian, for example, are delicious.

Originally Posted by dboy View Post
i don't fish myself but have friends that do give me all manner of creatures incuding bear (yuk) and deer (too gamey) and Salmon (yum)
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Old Sep 19th 2010, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by Greenhill View Post
Just out of interest, have any of you Sushi lovers tried to eat an alive fish caught, by yourself, either from Canadian inland or coastal waters?

Surely this would be a true "Canada" experience. All the advices offered such as "...that restaurant isn't very good" , "...this restaurant is excellent", "...it's the way the chef cuts the fish", "...it's the freshness of the fish" just form an illusion to make you part with some pennies and feel somehow accomplished.

Let's see that sense of adventure put to good use, there's got to be at least one of you out there who's either already tried this or is willing to (and please share the experience on here with words and photos )
Yes, salmon, salmon roe and the brown goopy stuff from a crab for a bet.
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Old Sep 19th 2010, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)



So can you tell us a bit more about the salmon experience? Did you land it then just take a big bite from it? Did you scoff the lot, skin, tail and entrails included? Did you eat it with cheese?

I think it's important to hear the intricacies of such adventures posted on here, in great detail. It's not that I have visualisations that most users of this site let true Canada adventures pass them by (as they're amorphous blobs that are telepathetically connected to the internet), I don't, but I think validation is an important part of assimilation.

Start a new thread, if you like. I, for one, will read it.

Originally Posted by Oink View Post
Yes, salmon, salmon roe and the brown goopy stuff from a crab for a bet.
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Old Sep 19th 2010, 8:47 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by Greenhill View Post


So can you tell us a bit more about the salmon experience? Did you land it then just take a big bite from it? Did you scoff the lot, skin, tail and entrails included? Did you eat it with cheese?

I think it's important to hear the intricacies of such adventures posted on here, in great detail. It's not that I have visualisations that most users of this site let true Canada adventures pass them by (as they're amorphous blobs that are telepathetically connected to the internet), I don't, but I think validation is an important part of assimilation.

Start a new thread, if you like. I, for one, will read it.
After catching the fish.On the boat, it was bled, then gutted and beheaded, then we ate thin slices of the belly. It was pretty good actually.
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Old Sep 19th 2010, 8:49 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Better than the sushi served by a top chef??

Originally Posted by Oink View Post
After catching the fish.On the boat, it was bled, then gutted and beheaded, then we ate thin slices of the belly. It was pretty good actually.
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Old Sep 19th 2010, 8:51 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by Greenhill View Post
Better than the sushi served by a top chef??
Difficult to tell as there had been many beers and shots of rum by that point.
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Old Sep 19th 2010, 10:20 pm
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Default Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by lwilli63 View Post
Background: we landed in Vancouver last October and spent 10 days summing up the various neighbourhoods then returned to the UK.

We arrived in Vancouver (to stay) on Tuesday 24th August. We are a family of 4 with 2 boys aged 8 (grade 3 - elementary school) and age 12 (grade 7 - middle school).

I thought that it would be useful to pen a few thoughts and facts regarding costs we have incurred as this might be useful to others who are about to make the journey.

I would also caveat what I am writing with the following provisos:

a) although we a far from being rich, we don't tend to spend hours on end looking for "the best deal", life is too short so we generally do some basic research and go for something that is within our accepted price range. What I am saying is that if you do like to spend hours on end doing your research you will probably find things a bit cheaper but I suspect not by much

b) we are no experts: we've only been here 2 weeks what follows is an account of our expenditure and experiences so far


1. Before arriving we rented a furnished apartment in North Vancouver. We performed all the necessary over the internet and email. On arrival I must say that the photos on the internet were much better that the real thing (is that a surprise?). Having said that the place is adequate and is fantastically located near Victoria Park, on the North Shore. We rented for 30 days - 2 bedroom flat for CAD 2,450. We stayed in a hotel the first night because we were arrived late and moved in next day after 14:00

1a. Very first thing to do was to get mobiles for me and wife. We brought our unlocked phones over from the UK so we only wanted a monthly plan with a SIM card. Very expensive compared to UK. Though I must say that due to the urgency we did not shop around at all for this item: we just went into the first mobile shop (Rogers) we came across and asked for the best deal for our requirements.

2. First day after our arrival we started looking for a house / flat to rent. Reason for prioritising this is that school term starts on 7th September and we need an address in order to enrol the children in school. Our favoured neighbourhoods were North Vancouver and Coquitlam

3. Having seen a few places we arrived at the conclusion that we weren't going to get much in North Vancouver for our price range and decided to search for a place in Coquitlam which is about a 40 min drive from Van

4. We were very lucky in that we answered an ad in Craigslist and the landlord happened to be English (moved to Canada 3 yrs ago) and we just clicked which made things easier

5. We had looked at a whole load of properties in Coquitlam price range CAD 1,700 for a 3 bed suite and around CAD 2,500 for a 5-6 bed house. If the property is being rented via a real estate agent they ask you to fill in an application form which will ask for references and some form of evidence that you have the funds or means to pay the rent. The application can take a few days to process. Since we didn't go through a realtor and dealt directly with the landlord our rental arrangements went very smoothly and quickly. One thing I found interesting is that several realtors told me that they could see that we were an "OK" family and that the application would merely be a formality. I can only assume that what "OK" meant ???. We ended up renting the 1st floor of a lovely house on a hill in Westwood Plateau, the suite has three bedrooms and backs onto virgin forest, the children were very excited to hear that bears roam across the gardens once or twice a year.

6. Once we had the rental agreement in our hands (1/2 months deposit paid CAD 1,000) the next thing was to enrol the children at school. Schools here work in catchment areas i.e. depending on where you live you will have a school(s) in your catchment area where you are meant to enrol your children. Our local elementary school opened for late registrations on Monday 30th August. We arrived at noon and found that we were about 30th on the waiting list. The deputy headmistress who saw us told us that she would call sometime next week, after the children had gone back to school, to let us know where our son would be going to school. The way it works is that when a school is full they wait until day 2 (once term has started) to see who has turned up for class (people move out of an area) and that way they gauge how many spaces they have. After a good start to our arrival this brought us crashing down to reality, we had our hearts set on this school as it was rated very highly in the Fraser Institute report of elementary schools in BC. Anyway, we were not entirely happy with this and started going to other schools in the district but outside of our catchment area. We literally visited 9 schools (all full) until we hit upon a school that "might have a place" - they would call us later in the week. The wait is a real killer - eventually we got the call yesterday - he has a place. My observations having visited 10 schools and spoken to various headmasters and headmistresses are as follows: the schools buildings are bright, modern, welcoming, clean. Regarding the people we spoke to: I have never met such helpful and enthusiastic people.

7. The middle school for my 12 year old started registration the next day (9am) so we decided to get there early. We stopped at Starbucks to arm ourselves with coffee and hot chocolates and arrived at the school at 7:30am to form an orderly queue just to find that we were beaten to it by someone else. Still number 2 in the queue looked promising to me, by 8:30 there was a queue around 12 long. The registration process opened at 9am on the nose and this school were very strict in terms checking the necessary documentation: PR cards, Rental Agreement (to prove we live in catchment area) and a utility bill or bank statement with address on. Without this they were not accepting any registrations. Once again we were told that we would get a call over the next few days. We received a call yesterday to say he got in. Fantastic news! as this school was on our list of preferred choices. My son was quite excited to hear that he has been allocated to "Team Extreme". School Houses here are called Teams by the way.

8. Buying school materials: this is entirely new to us. Every school has a list of stationery that must be purchased before term starts and they produce a list that you can to take to Staples or wherever and fill your trolley with crayons, paper, binders, pens, pencils, glue etc. The shopping lists are very precise and quite extensive. Cost for 2 boys CAD 200. We went to Staples but we subsequently dropped by Office Depot to pick up some other stuff and found it to be cheaper than Staples. You can probably get stuff cheaper elsewhere (but see my note above).

9. Next on the list was to get a BC driving licence. We went to an ICBC office (they are all over the place) and found to our relief that since Aug 2010 you can swap your UK licence for a Canadian one. If you ever decide to go back to the UK to live, once you arrive in the UK you simply hand over your Canadian licence (to the DVLA presumably) and you get a UK one back (or so we were told). There was a cost of CAD $31

10. Final item on the list was to purchase a car. Our car rental was for 2 weeks. We got a good deal on an ex-demo with CAD 6,000 knocked off the price. We learnt several things here: there is credit deal with Scotia Bank for immigrants. So a newly landed immigrant can purchase a car on hire purchase (without having a credit history). However, you must pay a 40% deposit. Our deposit came up to CAD 13,500 but we told the finance lady that we did not want to part with more than CAD 8,000. We went away while she worked the phones and she managed to get the bank to agree to a lower deposit (I must emphasise that they may have accepted the lower deposit because I had a contract of employment with me) if you don’t have a job this MAY not work for you (I mean negotiating a lower deposit). The HP is over 60 months at 0% interest. The dealer also tried to sell us: protection package (coating the underside of the vehicle with some protective layer), insurance in case the car was written off before it was paid and extended warranty. We declined all of them. The dealers will not allow you to drive the vehicle away without insurance so before you leave with the car they call the government insurance broker and they get down to the dealership within minutes. They quote you a price based on the vehicle and if you are new to BC you can only get insured for 6 months (after which you can renew it for a year). You don't have to take the govmnt insurance (Autoplan) you can arrange for your own insurance but we didn't have the time or inclination to do this. The price for 6 months insurance for 2 adults (45 and 46 yrs) on a CAD 32,000 motor was CAD 1,080 (this includes a 40% discount for our UK no claims bonus). Incidentally, they will ask for your no claims bonus certificate from the UK but here is the thing: it appears that it is no good just having your current year's insurance certificate stating 10 years NCB they actually want to see a certificate for EACH of your insurers going back 10 years! We told her that this was not possible and that our current UK insurers would have checked the veracity of our NCB before issuing us with a certificate. She said she would give us the 40% and submit our paperwork but said that it is 50-50 whether the insurer will accept or decline our UK NCB certificate.

Some final observations:

Meat, veg and fruit is generally cheaper or same price as UK. All other groceries, soap, drinks etc appear to be significantly more expensive.

People over here are unfailingly polite and helpful (I have no doubt that Canada has its fair share of scroats but fortunately we have not come across any yet)

1 Ltr of unleaded fuel is around CAD 1.14

Most prices are quoted exclusive of tax so remember to add 12%

Supermarkets do not sell booze which is bad if you are a responsible drinker but good if you are sick of seeing drunken louts roaming the street. By the way cheap bottle of wine is CAD $12 and a six pack of beer CAD $13

Useful documents to bring to Canada.
  • Canadian Bank statement (open an account from UK)
  • Proof of funds (we brought this, but were never asked for it anywhere)
  • Contract of employment if you have a job
  • Some character references (useful when you want to rent)
  • Building Society letter stating that we had never missed a mortgage payment (this came n useful when we purchased the car)
  • Proof of no claims bonus (see info above)
  • School reports for the children (school have not asked to see them)
  • Immunization record for children (not asked for)

We have had a great time so far, so much to see and do. Kids loving it as well but we shall see what happens after their first day at school

Banking system here is totally different - don't assume anything.

Anyone about to arrive in Van just drop me a line via private mail and I'll try and answer as best I can
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Old Sep 19th 2010, 10:45 pm
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Smile Re: Arrived last week in Vancouver - useful facts (I hope)

Originally Posted by sandra wilson View Post
I found your article spooky as i thought i wrote it 4 years ago! Did the same as you. landed in Van, decided to rent in Coquitlam. Went through a realtor who said we were an ok family so got us a place within 5 days, no references etc, in westwood plateau where bears did roam our garden.
Did excatly the same regarding school with our daughter who was 12. School said they were full, but next day rang us and said,someone did'nt turn up so she had a place.
She even went in the same team.Is your son at summit school? My daughter loved it there but has moved to high school now. We went to Saples for school supplies, but now go to Zellers/dollars and cents. Thought shopping in general was expensive,but have now learnt where to go. Realized we could still use our Costco card from home.

As you are new here and living in Westwood plateau, would love to meet up and help with local things, can i pm you, or you us?
congratulations on your move
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