- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Vancouver Guide (PDF)
Local Vancouverites often comment that it is the snow-capped mountains, lush forests and mild climate that make Vancouver so enjoyable. The city fills out a large peninsula that is surrounded by water on three sides. The green beltways and urban parks provide residents with plenty of outdoor space while the epic views of the surrounding North Shore Mountain Range are breathtaking. Add to that a thriving economy and it's easy to see why so many expats choose Vancouver.
Living in Vancouver as an expat
Expats moving to Vancouver will find a city bustling with myriad cultures. While English speakers account for the largest language group, Vancouver is a city of immigrants and a colourful variety of languages can be heard on its streets.
Vancouverites enjoy an outdoor lifestyle with summer pursuits such as boating, kayaking, swimming and surfing along the beaches and waterways of Vancouver Island and Burrard Inlet, while winter brings opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.
Vancouver is also one of the world’s food capitals, boasting everything from fine-dining and wine lounges to food trucks and markets as well as culinary festivals galore. A possible downside to life in the city is the decidedly low-key nightlife, which party-goers might find a little dull.
Of course, one of the biggest reasons for Vancouver’s popularity among expats (besides being considered one of the safest societies in the world) is its thriving local economy and abundance of job opportunities, not to mention the city’s great work-life balance. Those professionals who plan to commute to work needn’t fret, as Vancouver’s transport system is topnotch and consists of buses, ferries and the SkyTrain that make getting around the city a breeze.
Cost of living in Vancouver
Still, not everything is picture-perfect in Vancouver. The city’s cost of living is incredibly high and is particularly inflated by the exorbitant cost of accommodation. Average rental costs remain expensive and demand is increasingly overshadowing supply in the Metro Vancouver area. This all makes house hunting quite challenging.
Expat families and children in Vancouver
Education in Vancouver is free for permanent residents and those on work visas. Expats will also find that education in British Columbia is generally excellent, and Vancouver offers public, private and international schools.
Expat families moving to Vancouver with children will have plenty to enjoy in their leisure time, too. The city’s natural landscape offers a multitude of outdoor sporting activities to engage in, while Vancouver’s many green spaces and museums are great places to explore with children.
Climate in Vancouver
Classified as a temperate oceanic climate, Vancouver’s weather is comparatively enjoyable to the rest of Canada. Winters are mild with more rainfall than snowfall, while summers are usually hot but short.
All in all, most expats report that living in Vancouver is a treat, with many taking the plunge and settling on a permanent basis.
►Read the Banking, Money and Taxes in Canada page to get an overview of expat money matters
►Learn more about the different Areas and Suburbs of Vancouver
"Vancouver is one of the top 10 cities to live in the world! Things might be a little expensive, and the pace of life a little slower than your home country, but people in this part of the world live longer and are generally happier because of all the great quality of life offered here. Go explore the mountains, make new friends, and enjoy life in beautiful British Columbia!"
Read more about American expat Cyrus's experiences in Vancouver
Are you an expat living in Vancouver?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Vancouver. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.