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2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

Old Jun 21st 2019, 2:49 am
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Default 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

10 years! Seeing as I moved to Canada at 22 years old, it's like a different life to think back on my time before Canada. It wasn't an easy process by any means, dealing with work permits, jumping through all the hoops to eventually become a permanent resident under the skilled worker program. It was truly an excellent day when I finally became a citizen.

When I moved to Canada, my UK passport was set to expire in October 2015. It sounds a bit silly, but I had the goal to try and become a citizen and get a Canadian passport before it ran out! Amazingly, I actually pulled it off and got my Canadian passport in September 2015! Just in time I let my British Passport expire and have no intention of renewing it - wherever I travel I will be a Canadian tourist.

I met my now-wife the second year I was living here, who has made a hugely positive impact on my life, from teaching me how to drive, to supporting me in my career and hobbies, as well as helping me integrate in general. The biggest life change happened last year - me and my wife had our first baby together. He is growing so fast, but I am enjoying every moment watching him grow and learn more and more every day. Being a parent isn't easy but it is incredibly rewarding.

At the time I immigrated, my mother and step-dad who I lived with had already moved abroad themselves to Spain, so it felt there was little reason for me to stay in the UK, and I struggled with the language barrier in Spain and didn't really want to live there. After a few of years they moved back to the UK themselves, but I had already committed to Canada at that point and building a life here. Previously I always had itchy feet, I never felt at "home" in the UK, but felt and do still feel completely at home in Vancouver and didn't want to give that up.

My first job in Canada was pretty terrible, I have to be honest. I was barely getting paid above min-wage to do web development for a tiny software company. My cupboards in my apartment were 90% superstore's noname brand food! However at that company the main programmer left, and I was able to throw myself in completely to learn new programming languages. This helped me get my second and third better paying jobs, until finally I started my at current job around 2 years ago in a multi-national software company.

Perhaps I would have been able to pull this off in the UK as well, but since I have no degree or qualification in programming or computer science, I think it would have been a lot harder due to the more academic CV format. In a resume you have far more opportunity to "sell yourself" to get around any shortcomings in education and experience. My current job is by far the best I have ever worked at and have no intention of ever leaving it!

It's been very interesting watching things change in BC during the time I've lived here as well to actually become even better for UK migrants. I've seen Save-on-Foods start stocking Tesco products, Heinz launch British Style baked beans, and better vegetarian options with the launch of the Beyond Meat range. Wine and Cider options are now (finally) available to purchase in some grocery stores without a separate trip. Amazon.ca has dramatically improved as well, when I first moved here they had very few products compared to the US and UK counterparts, now I'm a prime member and buy things from Amazon all the time.

My opinions have been shaped by living here as well - things I thought were frustrating about Canada have turned out to be for the good. Diesel cars that I knew were more fuel efficient in the UK, but non-existent in Canada, have now been shown to cause terrible pollution and health risks to people. Uber, which was always frustratingly unavailable in Vancouver, has been shown to increase congestion and hurt public transit. Politically I used to be more centre-right people living in the UK, influenced by the tabloid media to feel unhappy with all the people "sponging" off of welfare, but in Canada, I have learned to understand the challenges people face and now would like to see more welfare and social housing here to help people, I'd even like to see a Universal Basic Income. So Canadian Liberalism has definitely rubbed off on me.

My personal opinion on the downsides of living here:
- the car dominance outside of urban areas. If someone wants to go between major cities in BC without a car, often there are just slow infrequent coaches. In the UK and other European and Asian countries, there are passenger rail services that link almost everything together. I would love to see more long-distance high speed rail options develop here. China has proven it can work in less densely populated areas.
- NIMBY culture in general - a vocal minority of people who don't want their neighbourhoods to change who show up and disrupt council meetings. They restrict economic growth, new jobs and new higher-density housing.
- Prescriptions are expensive and should be free, or a flat rate like in the UK.
- 2 weeks min. vacation time. While I get 4 weeks at my current job, 4 weeks should be the federal minimum for everyone in my opinion.
- Canada Post is too expensive, less ecommerce options outside of Amazon.
- Cell/mobile phone plans more expensive for less data.
- Grocery store sliced bread is too sweet and gross - have to go to Cobs Bread (which is expensive)

Upsides of living here:
- Multiculturalism and diversity is celebrated, immigrants are made to feel very welcome, Canada is open to the world as long as you can contribute. Liberal political values are accepted norms for the most part (unless you go into more rural areas).
- New architecture and new-built house design is really nice, grid road plan is logical and easier to navigate than radial plans
- Young country so more of a feeling you can contribute politically and make an impact, also great to witness the city grow and mature with new skytrain routes, etc.
- Climate is excellent in Vancouver (Sorry rest of Canada...) - we just had the hottest day since 2013 earlier this month!
- All the amazing asian food, in supermarkets and restaurants
- Huge variety of great restaurants in general
- Less crowded / amazing scenery
- Skytrain and transit is decent, always expanding, and affordable to use
- Awesome craft beer and wine scene
- Great "indie" culture, independent video game developers, musicians, film makers are all celebrated and receive a lot of support in the community
- Stanley Park

Finally, I want to mention how several years ago I had a bit of an outburst and left this forum, frustrated with the unfair negativity around life in Canada. I appreciate not being banned and allowed to keep my account. I have to say I am really happy to see more positive and balanced posts from members here about Canada, with many of the "grumps" seeming to have finally moved on. This has renewed my interest in staying a part of this community. While just under a third of my life so far has been in Canada, my British upbringing had a huge influence on me and remains a big part of my identity.

Here's to the next 10 years, and more!
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Old Jun 24th 2019, 4:32 am
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

Congrats and well done you!!! I love reading stories like these.. from alienation to integration - from not feeling a part of anything and being annoyed by the little stuff to opening up and embracing the things that make Canada different and making it a place you can call home.

Ignore the ones who don't care for Canada so much or are having a bad day.. (literally, just put them on ignore) Canada may not be right for everyone but some have to remain due to other factors - or are going through a bad time... and need an outlet to have a typical Brit moan from time to time... live and let live.. a balanced view helps everyone - so good or bad, it's all got it's value

Enjoy the rest of BE - glad to see you back!

Here's to the next 10!
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Old Jul 3rd 2019, 8:50 am
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

I'm also in the Cob's Bread or bust gang. I did some digging and it turns out it's actually an Australian Franchise Chain, known as Baker's Delight over there. I find Aussie and British tastes are similar (NOT the same).
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Old Jul 3rd 2019, 9:25 am
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

Congratulations, Jimmy.

I missed this thread earlier.

I love your positivity and embracing the Canadian culture and way of life.

I've been in Vancouver since 1968, and have never regretted coming here and staying ........ we realised it was "our place" within a matter of months of arriving here. Got our citizenship in 1974 though it was much much easier back then. We also did as you did, let out British passports expire and have never renewed them.

We've since taken leaves of absence and lived for almost a year in Australia and later about the same length of time in NZ .............. we've never had any desire to leave Canada, but one of those 2 countries would attract us if we did leave.
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Old Jul 5th 2019, 8:58 am
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

Thanks for the kind words everyone

Also it appears I spoke too soon when I mentioned Tesco products in my post, apparently Save-On-Foods no longer stocks them as of March this year. Boo
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Old Jul 7th 2019, 12:27 pm
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

Originally Posted by CanadaJimmy
Thanks for the kind words everyone

Also it appears I spoke too soon when I mentioned Tesco products in my post, apparently Save-On-Foods no longer stocks them as of March this year. Boo
https://twitter.com/saveonfoods/stat...48421091835905
https://twitter.com/saveonfoods/stat...97692386545664
That's facking bullsheet.

They better not stop selling the made in Birmingham Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate or I'll be forced to move back.
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Old Jul 7th 2019, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

You didn’t say anything about the obscene house prices here...
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Old Jul 8th 2019, 5:18 am
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

Originally Posted by beckiwoo
You didn’t say anything about the obscene house prices here...
True. I guess I've been lucky and it hasn't effected me too much personally. When I moved here in 2009, rents were on the higher side, but not as insane as they are now and I was able to get by. When me and my wife bought our townhouse in 2013 it was actually during a slight slump in the market in Langley so we didn't pay a ridiculous price for it.

I do feel very bad for people renting and buying since that huge spike in the past 2-3 years and low vacancy rate. However since the NDP gov't brought in some housing policies and increased the foreign buyer tax, the market is significantly slowing and prices are going down, so there is hope if you are a buyer. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...uver-1.5198669
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 9:58 am
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

A most enjoyable post...please don’t give up on us again!

Just stay with us!
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Old Jul 22nd 2019, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: 2009-2019 - 10 Years in Vancouver

Congratulations Jimmy! Great post! It seems a lot of your initilal life here has similar parallels to my own, except you a fair but younger than me, so that will obviously make a difference, and importantly you met your wife, I didnt manage that.....didnt have a lot of luck in that area not sure why....timing, location and maybe some wrong choices in the first place. Anywat I am glad you did....and she has had a huge positive impact on your life.....with a new little addtion now too! I think its safe to say your a lifer now here in the great white north!
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