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Vancouver
  • $800   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $2091   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $2625   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of  Canada)

Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
lack of affordable housing, high cost of living
residential forest oasis, stunning views, waterfront, bicycle friendly, pedestrian friendly, public transit 6
stuck in traffic but downhill, normal people with expensive homes, floatplanes!, yuppies, even richer people hiding, vinyl record district, dogs and pot, 4 cyclists per hour, lesbians, lululemons, marijuana beach, South Chinatown, military cyclists and joggers, zombies, bohemia-town, and dense residential forest oasis are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Vancouver roommate rundown:

Vancouver is one of the world's most beautiful cities. Mile after mile of lush coastline, with the North Shore mountains on one side, and water on the others. Vancouver's tourist bureaus promote that at least theoretically (if not energetically) you could bike along a seawall, swim in the ocean, walk a park, stroll in the sand, ski some mountains, and then enjoy a few rounds of golf! All in one day!

(In other words, when you're in Vancouver, all of the above is near. Undeniably cool! But maybe leave a little for next week too?)

Vancouver hosts all the amenities of most large cities. Most demographics are culturally represented, and Vancouver's nicknamed "Hongcouver," due to multifaceted Asian influences. Vancouver's famous for Cantonese restaurants, including excellent dim sum, courtesy of Vancouver's large diaspora from Hong Kong.

Most residents ride public transit. Many also enthusiastically hike and bike. Not just because they're nice, but it also helps that their urban core was never the offramp of a freeway. Hiking and biking without motor vehicles right next to you is much nicer. With parks and public transit prioritized over freeways, it's compact walkable urban core over sprawl.

So everyone loves walking around here. So much that Vancouver now has the highest population density in Canada.

Listing all the transit would be longer than the rest of this section. Because it's possible to get from anywhere to anywhere else on transit within Vancouver. Because there are thousands of transit routes. You'll need to do your own research or ask your roommates, but Van's walking-friendly weather and "smart" density strongly suggest you'll find your public ride.

Then after you've made your selection, immediately find the app or electronic fare system via which you'll be getting your bulk discount. Almost all of them have something on sale.

And bicycle routes connect the whole city! Many are separated from traffic, and the city provides a downloadable map (below). Cycling is easy all four seasons.

Meanwhile, downtown drivers have to deal with a separate grid, while all the water means multiple crossings that all experience congestion. Even sometimes off peak. We recommend transit, but if you're determined to drive, tune into a traffic report FIRST (long list too). Then parking, particularly downtown? Long list again! There are more apps for larger parking lots, and residential streets tend to require permits.

If you can be happier high density, you can also enjoy Vancouver's low crime . . . in about 21 of its 22 official neighborhoods. Vancouver has structurally corralled a disproportionate percentage into only 1 of its 22, with ongoing political controversy.

But need-to-know practical FYI? In the last few decades, Vancouver's increasing rental prices steadily increased gentrification while decreasing the stock of lower cost housing all over the city. Homelessness predictably increased as well, and many displaced ended up in Downtown Eastside, mostly due to lower cost housing and several shelters. Meanwhile, a number of social services to combat HIV and opioid overdoses were launched and remain ongoing, including supervised injection, free testing, and needle exchange. Some blame social services for sending all the drug users to just one neighborhood, saying some subsequently commit petty crimes nearby to support their habits.

All ultimately just too much for one already struggling neighborhood?

Hence: Downtown Eastside hosts many unhoused persons who appear to be suffering from drug addiction and untreated mental illness. It also consistently scores abysmally on crime rankings. Cheaper rent, but most new roommates wouldn't enjoy the compromise. The city officially recommends that anyone new to Vancouver avoid exploring this neighborhood alone or after dark. Even though we don't imagine they'd put it precisely this way, sounds like the city's official-ish stance must follow that most women shouldn't live in this neighborhood at all?

Everyone walking around Downtown Eastside should keep their feet inside solid shoes with heavy soles at all times. Clever for all urban exploration, but this neighborhood more.

And the other 21 neighborhoods are consistently rated as some of the world's most livable! More and more great publicity, starting slow a few decades ago, gradually gathering speed . . . now everyone seems to know how much they'd enjoy living in Vancouver!

Hence: Supply and demand is NOT in favor of renters. Other costs of living remain high as well. The city is attempting to reduce rental costs with cooperative housing, increasing density by building up, and secondary suites. Also encouraging new residents to move to mixed-use housing, so they can reach most of what they need on foot or bike.

So, if you pick walking and transit over driving and large yards . . .

. . . the only dealbreaker left between you and Vancouver might possibly be whether or not you really want to afford it?

The rest of the Vancouver roommate lowdown:

  • on a narrow peninsula between the Fraser River, the Straight of Georgia, and Burrard Inlet - downtown is set on a beautiful natural harbor, with forest and mountains to the north
  • about 660,000 in the city, about 2,600,000 residents in greater Metro Vancouver
  • Vancouver experiences some seasonal variation, but typically neither summers or winters are severe. Winters are warm by Canadian standards, and generally regarded as the most pleasant in Canada. Snow falls only a few days a year, and spring blossoms put on a gorgeous show.
  • Vancouver is Canada's largest port, and a major sea port for cruise ships. It's busy in summer, with about a million people passing through, many on their way to Alaska.
  • Similar to Toronto, Vancouver has stood in for several American cities in movies and TV. Some have nicknamed Vancouver "Hollywood North."
  • home to Regent College, Trinity Western University, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Community College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, and the University of British Columbia
  • hosts Vancouver Canucks (NHL), Vancouver Giants (junior hockey), BC Lions (CRC), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS), Canada Sevens (rugby), Vancouver Canadians (NWL), Vancouver Warriors (NLL), and Terminal City Rollergirls (Vancouver's first female roller derby league)
  • Diversity is high. About 40% of Vancouver's residents were born outside Canada. About 50% do not speak English as their first language, and about 25% of those are Chinese.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Vancouver's:

  • Stanley Park: 1000 acres with miles of trails for walking and cycling, beaches, views, attractions, seawalls, gardens, beautiful scenery, etc. You and your roommates can marvel at the Coast Mountains rising above your city.
  • Vancouver Aquarium: Canada's largest aquarium since 1956. You and your roommates could Uncover What Lurks Beneath.
  • Shangri-La: Tallest building in the city at 659 feet or 62 storeys.
  • Museum of Anthropology (at the University of British Columbia): Thousands of artifacts from British Columbia's First Nations.
  • Vancouver International Jazz Festival: Two weeks every summer. And/or you could support Coastal Jazz by attending other events year round.
  • Vancouver Public Library (Central Library location): Vancouver's largest library, modeled after the Roman Colosseum.
  • Wreck Beach: Unique vibe at the bottom of a cliff, sheltered from view (except seaplanes). Because nudity. Nude people are here year round.


Here's the city of Vancouver's official .ca Cycling Map & Guide, along with local cycling resources.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.