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Initial Visit - What to See?

Initial Visit - What to See?

Old Jul 16th 2012, 8:45 am
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Default Initial Visit - What to See?

Hi,

We're making our first visit to Vancouver on 30/7/12 to see if we want to emigrate. We want to make the most of our trip, could anyone with experience suggest the things that we should check, see or do during our 10-day visit? (not tourist stuff) What I mean is, with hindsight, what would you have checked out before moving? (schools, neighbourhoods...?)

I've tried googling a "migration visit checklist" - no joy. I have a horrid feeling we'll arrive back in the UK after 2 weeks and start to realise we haven't done all the things we should have!

Thanks
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Old Jul 16th 2012, 8:56 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Originally Posted by Brickwood
Hi,

We're making our first visit to Vancouver on 30/7/12 to see if we want to emigrate. We want to make the most of our trip, could anyone with experience suggest the things that we should check, see or do during our 10-day visit? (not tourist stuff) What I mean is, with hindsight, what would you have checked out before moving? (schools, neighbourhoods...?)

I've tried googling a "migration visit checklist" - no joy. I have a horrid feeling we'll arrive back in the UK after 2 weeks and start to realise we haven't done all the things we should have!

Thanks
In your position, i'd focus on whether i liked the place first. I'd stay downtown for a couple of days to see a few sites and relax.

Before i arrive i'd be looking at what exactly i want from the move. What kind of lifestyle. What is my budget on housing (very important to define area). Where is my work likely to be. How far i'm willing to commute.

I'd want to have the above in some form of clarity prior to arrival. Then i'd narrow down the areas i'd be looking to live.

Once narrowed down, you have some clear target areas to spend time in over your remaining week or so to check out the areas, schools, pros cons, commute times, etc etc.

I'm sure there's much more you could do.
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Old Jul 16th 2012, 9:03 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

This wiki article may help...

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Scouting_Trip-Canada
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Old Jul 16th 2012, 11:17 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Four things make Vancouver special in my mind:

a) Mountains, sea, beautiful views and almost endless outdoor recreational possibilities on your doorstep.
b) Mix of European and Asian cultures.
c) Generally laid back approach to life.
d) The cost of housing.

Make sure a) rings your bells. If it doesn't then Vancouver might seem a little underwhelming if you are used to the great cities of Europe.

b) You might, or might not, care less. Hopefully you are not one of the people leaving Britain because of all the immigrants.

c) It is the city's vibe. It seems to drive some people nuts if they are used to a high speed busy, busy lifestyle.

d) Can you afford the type of house you want to live in, in an area you want to live in?

In order of priority:

1) You don't mention a job so I am guessing you either have an offer or transfer. If not then meeting recruiters and people in your industry has to be a priority. Until you have an idea of how easy it is to get work and what it will pay the rest is somewhat moot.

2) Relax, chill out, and enjoy spending a couple of days doing touristy things. I know you said you didn't want to but it helps to get the feel of the place and, if you do come here, you'll be doing a lot of touristy things in your free time.

3) Work out your housing budget, log onto realtor.ca and get exploring. You could easily spend four days doing this - Vancouver and Burnaby, North Shore, Tri-Cities, South of Fraser - and not see more than a fraction. New developments have model homes, on weekend afternoons realtors show private homes (look for Open House signs).

How is the budget feeling now in terms of what you want and what you can afford?

Unless you still gung ho at this point don't bother testing the commute.

Last edited by JonboyE; Jul 16th 2012 at 12:24 pm. Reason: Makes more sense when you spell things correctly
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Old Jul 16th 2012, 11:26 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

You won't be able to get into schools as they are all closed at the beginning of August. I would not worry too much about that. Most people just send their children to the local public (state) schools.
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Old Jul 16th 2012, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Like others have said, do the touristy type stuff to see if you like the vibe, check out downtown, gastown, maybe the north shore (best place to live).

Originally Posted by el_richo
Before i arrive i'd be looking at what exactly i want from the move. What kind of lifestyle. What is my budget on housing (very important to define area). Where is my work likely to be. How far i'm willing to commute.
But an absolute must in my opinion is where you can afford to live vs where is your job (or office). Lots of people come over and can't afford a place near their work and then bitch about the commute.

Make sure you do the commute during the week and during rush hour. I personally don't know how anyone can do the traffic in Vancouver - I'd have to live close to work.

Good Luck
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Old Jul 16th 2012, 11:54 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Agreed. If you can live closer to your work, you'll enjoy your life in Vancouver all the more. Vancouver is not a fun commuting city. If you have the choice to live somewhere larger but commute much longer, or live somewhere smaller but commute much less time, go for the latter. Many British expats go for the former, but I don't recommend it. Vancouver has a wealth of public spaces and outdoor recreation is always within close proximity; no need be outside of the urban centre to appreciate it; there are even beaches and forest in the downtown core!

Also, Vancouver has a diversity of regions. There are the mountainous regions (North Vancouver, West Vancouver), the hilly suburban areas (Coquitlam, Burnaby, Maple Ridge), the flat rolling hills/agricultural/suburban sprawl regions of the Fraser Valley (Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack), the Fraser River-influenced suburbs of Delta, Richmond and New Westminster, etc. They each provide a different flavour/look/feel to experiencing "Vancouver".

For a cross section of these areas, you could try driving from Vancouver to Chilliwack via Hwy 7 one way, taking Hwy 1 back the other. Another day drive from North Vancouver south to Tsawwassen via Hwy 99, then to White Rock, and back. It'll give you a taste of commuting corridors and the different regions and how they're all interconnected.

The further south you are, the sunnier it is, by the way. White Rock, Tsawwassen and South Surrey get much more sunshine than anywhere further north. The closer you are to the mountain, the more rain you get.

Last edited by Lychee; Jul 16th 2012 at 12:02 pm.
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Old Jul 16th 2012, 9:33 pm
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

A few of things:
  • get in touch with these people: http://www.relocation2bc.com/researchtrip.html, they would hopefully be able to speak to you and set you up for a tour of the various parts of town that would suit your needs. They are expats themselves. Their services are free and recommended (by my close friends). EDIT - it looks like they now charge quite a bit for it, so not sure if it would be worth your while.
  • if you can, try and make some time at the weekend to go to some open houses, in a selection of neighbourouds. If you have not discovered the wonders of the MLS, have a look at this: http://www.realtor.ca/index.aspx?cul=1
  • I definitely agree that you still need to do some touristy stuff - once you live there, you and your family are not always going to be working, are you?

Enjoy your trip

Last edited by nerdherd; Jul 16th 2012 at 9:38 pm. Reason: correction of info given
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Old Jul 17th 2012, 2:22 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Originally Posted by Lychee
Agreed. If you can live closer to your work, you'll enjoy your life in Vancouver all the more. Vancouver is not a fun commuting city. If you have the choice to live somewhere larger but commute much longer, or live somewhere smaller but commute much less time, go for the latter. Many British expats go for the former, but I don't recommend it.
+1

Vancouver really isn't set up for the typical (based on comments on this board) British dream of house-in-leafy-burbs and commute-to-city. In fact the city actively discourages it.
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Old Jul 17th 2012, 3:12 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Originally Posted by Kiwilass
+1

Vancouver really isn't set up for the typical (based on comments on this board) British dream of house-in-leafy-burbs and commute-to-city. In fact the city actively discourages it.
Unless you have a housing budget of $2M+

I don't commute but the other week i took my car in for a service into Surrey first thing in the morning. It took me 35 minutes to get there (against traffic), and 1hr 15 to get back (on the tail end of rush hour). I don't know how people do that day in day out.

I've driven back into downtown late afternoon during rush hr (against traffic) and it's not usually too bad. The traffic going out of town, however, is mental. It's often backed up from the Port Mann (sometimes further) to Willingdon or beyond 1st Avenue. That's over 10k. Crazyness i tell you. Crazyness.
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Old Jul 17th 2012, 3:20 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Originally Posted by el_richo
Unless you have a housing budget of $2M+

I don't commute but the other week i took my car in for a service into Surrey first thing in the morning. It took me 35 minutes to get there (against traffic), and 1hr 15 to get back (on the tail end of rush hour). I don't know how people do that day in day out.

I've driven back into downtown late afternoon during rush hr (against traffic) and it's not usually too bad. The traffic going out of town, however, is mental. It's often backed up from the Port Mann (sometimes further) to Willingdon or beyond 1st Avenue. That's over 10k. Crazyness i tell you. Crazyness.
You can get housing cheaper than that close -ish to DT But if you're looking for a single family home it's $$$$ for sure.
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Old Jul 17th 2012, 3:57 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Originally Posted by Kiwilass
You can get housing cheaper than that close -ish to DT But if you're looking for a single family home it's $$$$ for sure.
Sure. I mean the nice larger house in the leafy quiet suburban street people dream of.

$2.3M for this, when you'd be able to get similar out in Cloverdale for around a 1/4 of the price. The difference in commute to downtown would be around 2hrs a day potentially. Crazyness!!!!!

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...ey=-1607910940

Back to the OP, other than seeing whether i liked the place, my main focus would be on where i can afford to live and how the commute to potential work areas would look, versus what i want out of the move.

Everything else is secondary in my opinion.

Last edited by el_richo; Jul 17th 2012 at 4:14 am. Reason: Forgot linky
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Old Jul 17th 2012, 4:02 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

After visiting Vancouver why not think of other parts of Canada to emigrate to say Winnipeg for example?
Besides the mountains and the ocean what has Vancouver got that Winnipeg hasnt?
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Old Jul 17th 2012, 4:07 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Originally Posted by Former Lancastrian
After visiting Vancouver why not think of other parts of Canada to emigrate to say Winnipeg for example?
Besides the mountains and the ocean what has Vancouver got that Winnipeg hasnt?
better weather and no bugs, for starters.
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Old Jul 17th 2012, 4:15 am
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Default Re: Initial Visit - What to See?

Originally Posted by Kiwilass
better weather and no bugs, for starters.
The bugs I will concede but weather mmm I wonder colder in winter yes but total sunshine hours no Vancouver doesnt even make the top 10.

http://www.currentresults.com/Weathe...est-cities.php
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