It’s now just less than 5 months until we leave, and the excitement is building every day! I think about the move around every 10 seconds. If we had the money now, I’m pretty sure that we would just go! But it’s really not that long away, and it just makes it all the more exciting. We have created a forum for people who have applied/are applying through the IEC programme, hopefully it’ll take off and we’ll get loads of users! There isn’t a specific forum for UK IEC applicants that we can find, so hopefully its useful to people! Getting it started will be a slow process though. Check it out www.experiencecanada.co.uk
Now that we have decided on the city we want to live in; we need to pick what area! Like anywhere, there are so many differing areas to choose from, and each has their pros and cons. We’ve found that the main areas to live in Vancouver are:
- East Vancouver
- South Granville
- North Vancouver
- Marpole (South Vancouver)
Choosing an area is a pretty difficult task, as neither of us have ever set foot in Canada, never mind Vancouver! We’ve managed to narrow it down and categorise some of the areas now though (kind of!)
Downtown is pretty central, and seems to have a mix of both pricey high rise apartments, and more affordable ones (if you search hard enough!). This includes areas such as Gastown and Coal Harbour. It’s near the main shopping area, the Pacific Centre Mall (yay!) as well as being close to Stanley Park, which would be useful for forcing us to get outside and do active things :p
Kitsilano, or Kits for short, has the COOLEST name. I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to the name, but I love it and I want to live there. It’s got two beaches, amazing views of the city and the mountains, and seems a really chilled out, hippy-ish place to live. BUT we have heard it’s pretty expensive. Some info on Kits here – http://vancouver.about.com/od/neighbourhoodshousing/p/kitsilano.htm
Here’s an example of what some houses look like in Kits (can you tell which area I want to live in!?)
South Granville seems an affordable area, probably slightly more affordable than Downtown. It’s still quite near the main shopping areas and is a 10 minute walk to Granville Island which looks AWESOME! Granville Island is an island in the middle of the city, and has bars, restaurants, a public market, theatre, etc.
East of any city is usually more affordable and generally has higher crime rates, so we weren’t surprised to hear some areas in the east are to be avoided. But needs must, and if we find a nice enough apartment in that area then we’d be silly to turn it down.
We’ve been looking at apartments on craigslist, kijiji, and airbnb (for long term lets) which have been really useful. For the moment we are undecided between Downtown and Kitsilano, but we’ll never really know if a place is ‘right’ until we see it for ourselves! We’d just like to live in an affordable and comfortable apartment, in a nice, safe area, relatively close to shops and bars. If we had the money, we’d have a swanky 2 bed apartment, fully furnished, with views over the whole city and to the mountains, and only $200 per month inc. Bills. We can dream!