We both woke up at about 6am on our first full day, after both falling asleep the moment our heads hit the pillows the night before. Fortunately the massive king size bed was very comfortable and we both felt much better having had a good nights sleep. We spent a bit of time planning out our day and eventually headed out at around 9am. Although it probably wasn’t the quickest way into downtown we ended up just going the same (wrong) way that we did the night before as we were more familiar with it now, so after a 10-15 minute walk to 29th Avenue Skytrain station we were on our way to start our day!
Things got off to a bad start when we realised that I hadn’t actually made a note of the White Spot restaurant we had planned to have breakfast at, and as the 3G on our UK sim cards decided to stop working we couldn’t find it at all. We ended up having some amazing breakfast crepes which had egg, cheese and ham inside. They were awesome! After breakfast we headed to Coast Capital Savings to set up our bank account, only to find that we needed proof of a permant address to do so, which was a bit of a problem and at the time we had no idea how we’d fix it.
We took a stroll down Robson Street, which we have both fallen in love with. There’s loads of shops and it’s lined with trees either side which I’m sure will make the street look even nicer in the summer. There were loads of different places to eat as well; we saw a burrito and taco cafe, numerous places to buy crepes, and the infamous Japadog! Japadog began as a single street stand in Vancouver and now has a total of four in the city and even one in New York. They specialise in hot dogs which include variants of Japanese-style foods as toppings. It sounds vile, but the beef teriyaki has my name on it and will be consumed very soon!
Further down Robson Street we found a Fido store; one of the mobile network operators here in Canada. Mobile plans in Canada are much more expensive in the UK, but I think we did pretty well and ended up with a good deal. It seems that if you want any decent amount of data (which we did) you needed to be on one of the top plans. We eventually decided on a $50 plan which included a promo offer of double Canada wide minutes and 1Gb data rather than the usual 250mb. Usually you’d have to pay extra for voicemail, caller ID, and incoming calls (ridiculous) but fortunately these were all included. We even got to choose our numbers, so we ended up getting ones that ended in 4104 and 5104, so we now have matching numbers. We’re so cool!
Next on the list was getting our Social Insurance Numbers (SIN), so we headed to the nearest Service Canada and after a short 10-15 minute wait we were seen to. It only took about 5 minutes each before we were given our SIN, although we now need to wait 2-3 weeks before we go to the local Post Office and pick up our cards. The guy that dealt with us was really nice and chatty, which is something we’ve noticed about most people here. Everyone seems really nice, although there’s always going to be the odd douchebag that will ruin it for everyone else, in our case it was the passport control guy at the airport. He was a prick!
We’d had a busy morning so we decided to do something a little more touristy. After a quick hot chocolate at Tim Hortons we headed to the Vancouver Lookout. It cost $15.95 plus taxes each to get the lift to the top, and it was definitely worth it. The lift that takes you up goes from the inside of the building but very quickly you’re on the outside, so you have great views of the city as you climb the 553 feet to the top. Once at the top you have an incredible 360 degree view of the city and surrounding areas. You really have to be there to appreciate it, but here’s some photos I took whilst up there.
We spent around 45 minutes up at the lookout and then headed off to our first of three apartment viewings of the day. But not before stopping at Rogers Arena to buy ourselves a Canucks jersey each! They are so bloody expensive, but we couldn’t call ourselves a true Vancouverite without one, so it had to be done!
The first apartment was a 25th floor one bed on Seymour Street; the place itself was very nice, with incredible views over downtown. We were very keen but we just got a bit of a bad vibe from the guy showing us around. He was nice enough but we both had the same feelings about the place. We headed off to our second viewing which was on Pacific Street. We met a guy called Tibby, who at the end of the viewing we were both in love with! He seemed of Eastern European origin and probably in his 50s or so, and he was the nicest guy we’ve ever met. He loved talking and it was hard to get a word in, but when I did comment on his BC Lions cap (the American/Canadian Football team here in Vancouver), he paused for a moment, pointed at the hat, and replied “you like?” – it was probably a ‘have to be there’ moment, but it made us laugh. After finding out that he supported Manchester United because he felt sorry for them after the Munich air disaster in 1958, we headed to the apartment. It was very nice, included everything we would need, but it was just way too small. It was a studio apartment and we just felt that things would be too cramped. As we left we felt awful that Tibby wouldn’t be our new landlord, but on to the third and final viewing we went.
The third apartment we viewed was right next to BC Place and Rogers Arena, so was easy enough to find. We met the guy outside and immediately we had good vibes from him. He was really nice and we spoke about everything we’d been up to that day. We made our way up to the 18th floor and he took us inside. The first thing I saw was a 50+” TV in the corner. I had to hold back from shouting “WE’LL TAKE IT” as soon as I saw it, although after viewing the apartment it wouldn’t have mattered if I had done that as we loved it. It was perfect for us, the kitchen was nice and included a dishwasher (something we didn’t have in our last place in the UK), there was a brand new looking washer dryer, the bedroom had floor to ceiling windows which overlooked Rogers Arena, False Creek, and Science World, and there was even a little den which had a desk and some storage in it. We took a step out onto the balcony and could already picture us sitting out there in the summer having breakfast, although it was a little on the small side I’m sure we could manage. The guy then took us to see the amenities which are free to use for all residents, this included an indoor swimming pool and a gym, which is nice.
After finding out everything we needed to find out we told him that we’d take it! We gave a $200 deposit and some other details, got a receipt, discussed the next steps, and were on our way feeling very pleased with ourselves. Here are some pictures from the listing.
By the time we’d finished viewing the apartment it was pushing 7pm, so we decided to head back to where we were staying and relax for a bit before heading out for dinner, as we realised we’d forgotten to eat lunch and so we were pretty hungry by this point. We didn’t up up leaving to go out until about 9pm, but we headed towards Gastown and found a great place to eat. We shared a pizza, had some drinks (my first beer since we arrived, it was good!), and once we were done we went home to bed. We were knackered!
So all in all it was a massively productive day, we experienced some amazing sunshine in the middle of the day and some awful rain and wind in the evening, and it was all awesome! Here’s some more photos from our day.