What it is like Living in Vancouver

Nature, quality of life, and a thriving economy. Canada is a country that has it all and Vancouver is its best exponent.

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In this guide, we will expose everything there is to know about what it is like to live in Vancouver, a city that seems to come out of an urban planning manual.

We believe that living abroad is something you have to do at least once in your life. Especially if you have the possibility of moving to Canada, a country that you will never get tired of.

So if you need one last push to help you decide to pack your bags, please read on.  Of course, when you know what life is like in Vancouver, there will be no going back. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!  

Learn what life is like in Vancouver and why you have to try it

For anyone who dreams of studying abroad, Vancouver should be their plan A. In many ways, it is the best city in the world to do so.  But what is it like to live in Vancouver?

Firstly, Vancouver is a city full of attractions. From beaches to national parks, through museums and neighborhoods that transport you to different countries.

It is certainly impossible to get bored, as there is so much to see in Vancouver.

On the other hand, it is one of the most fascinating extreme sports places in Canada. Being between the sea and the mountains, it is an ideal city for both water sports and extreme outdoor sports.

Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s take a closer look at why you should live in Vancouver!


The Greater Vancouver Regional District has a population of nearly 2.5 million people. Still, while it is a great city, Vancouver is a nature lover’s paradise.

The city has an immense amount of parks and green areas. In addition, Vancouver stands out for a large number of trees on its streets and the design of its buildings, many of which have gardens on their facades and roofs.

Moreover, the city itself is surrounded by forests. On the northern edge of the city is the famous Stanley Park.

And in all the surroundings there are provincial and national parks. The Pearl?  Garibaldi Park, one of the best places for hiking.

As you can imagine, so much nature attracts many tourists, both from other regions of Canada and from the rest of the world. 

For this reason, Vancouver has a very dynamic hospitality sector and is one of the most important cities to study careers related to the tourism sector.

Climate is the Achilles heel of Canada. Especially for people used to heat.  However, thanks to being between the Pacific coast and the mountains, Vancouver’s climate is one of the most moderate in Canada.

Of course, it is a fairly rainy city. In fact, Vancouver is the third city with the most rainfall in the country. 

Each year, they have about 160 days of rain that are concentrated, mostly, in the fall and winter.

In any case, the buildings and cities of Canada are perfectly prepared for the cold. 

Therefore, almost all residences, shopping centers, and educational buildings were built to ensure maximum comfort.

Standard of living

Well, here we can hardly surprise you. Canada is always among the countries with the highest quality of life in the world. It stands out in all aspects: education, life expectancy, health, employment, and so on.

If that is already an impressive achievement, keep in mind that Vancouver is one of the best cities in Canada and ranks in the top 5 of the best cities in the world to live in.


Another advantage of living in Vancouver is that you can practise your English.  The city is on the west coast of Canada, so it belongs to the English-speaking region of the country.

For that reason, Vancouver is an excellent city to study English. However, you must bear in mind that if you want to study English in Canada on a student visa, you will not be able to work. Likewise, we will see later that there are alternatives to do both.


Education in Canada is one of the most prestigious in the world and Vancouver is no exception. Its educational institutions are a guarantee of quality, both at the primary, secondary and higher levels.

Every three years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) assesses the performance of 15-year-old students.

In fact, Canada had the best performance in the last PISA tests in America.  Globally, it ranked seventh in reading, eighth in science, and 12th in math.

Cost of living

We are not going to fool you. Life in Vancouver is incredibly great and incredibly expensive. In fact, Vancouver is the city with the highest cost of living in Canada. Therefore, it is practically a requirement to work while you study.

This has to do with their very high quality of life. According to consultancy Mercer, Vancouver competes head-to-head for the top spot in the best city in the world. Only other dream cities like Vienna (Austria) and Zurich (Switzerland) win.

But how much is the cost of living in Vancouver?  

Well that will depend on your lifestyle. In addition, there are many areas to live in Vancouver and each has its own price range. Anyway, let’s look at some estimated costs:


You can get a room in a shared flat for about CAD $600-1,000.


On average, a person can spend CAD $300 a month to buy food and other groceries. Obviously, that will depend on how much you cook at home and the supermarkets you go to.


Vancouver has the great advantage that it is ideal for cycling, as it has dedicated lanes. Of course, in winter the walk will not be so pleasant. 

Public transport connects the entire city and its metropolitan area. Depending on the area you go to, monthly passes cost CAD $93-172.

Leisure and entertainment

Two movie tickets (CAD $31), a full fast food combo (CAD $11), a standard dinner for two in a restaurant (CAD $30), and a pint of beer in a bar (CAD $7).

Entrepreneurial culture

While it dropped a few spots in recent years, Vancouver is still one of the best cities to start a startup.  According to the 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking report, it ranks 37th globally.

This is because the government of Canada strongly encourages the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. 

In particular, Vancouver is a reference for its cultural diversity and its interest in sustainable development.

Also, taxes for entrepreneurs are lower than in the United States. Therefore, it attracts many businesses that are just starting out.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, in Vancouver you will find several courses on business and entrepreneurship, as it is a city that is at the forefront of the latest trends. Here are some study opportunities in Vancouver, courtesy of GrowPro!

Requirements to live in Vancouver if you are a foreigner

If you want to get a job in Vancouver you must meet the requirements to work in Canada. Which are?  Let’s see it:

  • Be of legal age (18 years old).
  • Have a visa for Canada, not all visas permits you to work.  In order to do so, you must have a student visa or a Working Holiday Visa.
  • To process these visas, you must have a valid passport and proof of financial solvency, among other documents.

Each case has its peculiarities. For this reason, we recommend that you visit the official website of the Government of Canada. 

If you need help, enlist the help of an immigration consultant or check online where you can get advice for free. 

Working as a foreign student

You can study and work in Vancouver to help pay for your stay. In any case, your chances of working will depend on the visa you choose.

You can apply for a student visa if you want to study in Canada for a period greater than six months. 

To do this, you must be enrolled in a government-certified school, college or university. 

The exception is English courses, which do not allow working with this visa.

You can also opt for a Working Holiday Visa. It is a visa for those under 35 years of age, which allows you to stay in Canada for one year and work full time. In addition, it allows you to take an English course of up to 6 months.

Now you know roughly what the requirements are to work in Canada as a foreign student. But, what are the jobs that you are going to find? Most international students have one of these jobs:


House keeper

Kitchen assistant 



Barista / Bartender

Store clerk

Construction apprentice


Cleaning staff

Well, now you know a lot more about one of the best cities to live in Canada. What are you saying? 

Will you decide to undertake the adventure? We hope so, living in Vancouver will certainly enrich your life. If this guide was helpful to you, please share.

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