Is Vancouver, Canada, the Perfect City?
Over the last six years that Brent and I have been nomading, we’ve often said to each other, “If we ever find the perfect city somewhere in the world, maybe we should just stay there the rest of our lives.”
We may have finally found the perfect city: Vancouver, Canada.
Unfortunately, we’re not staying. For me, it’s too cold and rainy too much of the year.
So maybe Vancouver isn’t quite “perfect” after all, at least for us.
But a lot of people think it is. I’m sure as heck not the first person to write about how great it is.
From 2002 until 2010, Vancouver ranked number one in the world on The Economist Magazine’s Global Livability Ranking. It’s fallen slightly since then, but this year, it clocked in at number five.
I wanted to know what exactly made it so great. I knew all the obvious stuff: the natural beauty, the parks, the great public transportation, and the racial diversity.
But something about this city just works, and I wanted to know the secret. I wanted to know how it all happened.
Then a former Vancouverite now living in the U.S. found out I was writing this article, and messaged me to say, “You sound like a typical American looking at Canada through rose-colored glasses. You’re just going to write another puff piece that doesn’t tell the truth about living there.”
She wasn’t talking about the weather.
A recent pair of documentaries — Vancouver is Dying and Canada is Dying — make a similar case: drug use is everywhere, and most Vancouverites now live in fear of being violently assaulted.
Now I had more questions: Was my initial impression wrong? Was Vancouver really dying? How did most people living here see things?
I ended up finding answers to all my questions, but let’s take the easy ones first. What do the locals really think of this city?
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