Beyond the Rhetoric


10 Things I Hate About Vancouver

February 10th, 2008 by
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Having been born and raised in Vancouver, you could say that I know a few things about this city. If you asked me where you should go shopping, I could probably point you in the right direction. If you asked for restaurant recommendations, I could probably help you there too.

For the most part, it’s pretty safe to say that I love Vancouver, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my gripes about this town. In no particular order, here are ten things that almost make me want to leave this town.

1. Rain
That’s an easy one. We get a lot of the wet stuff here and it can make for a rather miserable mood for a good part of the year. The dreary weather can probably explain the relatively high prevalence of seasonal affective disorder.

2. Vancouver drivers can’t handle snow
Vancouver doesn’t get very much in terms of snow. As a result, the drivers in this city are typically very unprepared and have no idea how to maneuver in the snow. They all slam on the brakes, drive too fast, or end up in the ditch. This city pretty much shuts down with just an inch of snow.

3. Canada’s poorest postal code
While there are great organizations like Union Gospel Mission doing what they can, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. I’m not entirely sure what can be done, but something needs to be done about this overwhelming poverty.

4. Housing is expensive
Unless you’re pulling down six figures, it’s nearly impossible for a single person to own any sort of property in Vancouver. It’s a little out of control when a modest 600 square foot apartment goes for $300,000. And that’s not even downtown. Needless to say, the boom hasn’t burst (yet).

5. Possibly too liberal
While I’m sure that I sit closer to the left end of the political spectrum, I find that Vancouver (Canada?) can be a little too far to the left sometimes. Just the mere mention of abortion or the death penalty can solicit a huge uproar.

6. Gimme gimme gimme
Vancouverites, myself included, complain a lot. We want cheaper university tuition, perfectly maintained roads, better public transit… but no one will accept any sort of raise in income tax, property tax, or transit fares.

7. Wha? No English
Because Vancouver is such a multicultural city, there are many immigrants that can get along just fine without speaking a single word of English. I love the variety of food we get, but communication can be a challenge when you go to certain stores or certain neighborhoods.

8. Cheap things to do
This is probably the result of living in this city my whole life, but I’m running out of fun things to do, mostly at night, that won’t cost me a pretty penny. The costs of fine dining and watching movies can add up pretty quickly, but I’m at a loss as to what else I can be doing. Pool? Bowling? Go-karting? Been there, done that.

9. Horrible highway system
Years ago, someone decided that they didn’t want a highway running through the middle of the city. As a result, we are now suffering from a very bad system of surface roads that result in nothing but congestion, frustration, and road rage. Even compared to somewhere like Seattle, Vancouver’s traffic is pretty bad.

10. Expensive cellular
The issue of expensive wireless data is not isolated to Vancouver, but it really sucks when compare to the relatively cheap data that people south of the border can have. Guys like Bob Buskirk can enjoy high-speed EVDO anywhere in the country for one flat rate, whereas the same service could cost as much as $50/MB here.

UPDATE (2/13/08): This post has been picked up by StumbleUpon, so if you could spare a Stumble (link is just above the related posts list), that’d be awesome. Thanks!

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41 Responses to “10 Things I Hate About Vancouver”

  1. Bob Buskirk says:

    stop complaining, I live in PGH…I could list 50 things

  2. hey if you want less left leaning people you should move to Alberta. We so right it’s ironic (that we’re on the left side of the country).

  3. Oh and we get lot’s of sun, even when it’s -30C ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Ed Lau says:

    I don’t care about the death penalty or abortion or soft drugs and such but I feel we’re far too liberal in terms of CRIME. Criminals can do whatever they want these days. If some jackass broke into my car and I shot him in the face, for some reason, *I* would be at fault.

    I think we should all be allowed to shoot criminals in the face. Like…if they’re threatening harm to my family, friends or property…I should be able to smack him in the head with a shovel.

    • Jeff Kee says:

      Ed, that’s because a gunshot to the face is not a comparable defense to a car break in. When a simple baseball bat can deter the guy, a gun would be an overcast.

      That being said, as much as I am quite liberal minded, I am in favour of the death penalty. I can’t justify my taxes paying for meals and housing for criminals who are apparently too dangerous to be released. Also stiffer penalties against gangs, gun crimes (watch out Ed) and what not.

      When it comes to local economics I’m very right wing. Ship the homeless people off to sheltors, allow growth, add highways, expand roads, build more expensive beautiful buildings to cleanse the city. Did you know I used to be hitler in my previous life? Just kidding. Maybe not.

      • Ed Lau says:

        Who wants comparable defense? I want overwhelming and complete ownage of criminals.

        …actually, I feel much the same as Jeff. Ship criminals to death town and bring us more money.

      • cal says:

        You my dear belong back in China , communism would work well for you , you think as a communist, and so go back there , eeven if you were born here , we do not need ignorant ***** whom do not comprehend our system and laws!!

      • KL says:

        Actually, Cal, no you can’t shoot someone in self defense in China. They have much stricter gun laws over there than here, you racist buffoon. What makes you think that a totalitarian government would allow private citizens to be armed?

    • cal says:

      You CAN shoot criminals …just do it in China , your ways work over there not here.

    • Majestic Poe says:

      Okay Ed Lau, I probably wouldn’t shoot anyone in the face unless they were trying to kill me or loved ones, however I just wanted to say this is the funniest reply I’ve read in a long time and you are now my new hero!

  5. BiGpUn says:

    i must agree with your list of 10, i am sure we could all add to it.. but i really don’t like the rain.. and i am glad to see that is on the top of the list (although you stated in no particular order) but if anyone ever asks, what do you not like about vancouver, rain would be the first thing that comes to mind to many ppl! and eddie, that seems a little harsh to be shootng criminals in the face,dont you think.. hehehe.. they have to earn a living as well , lol, j/k

  6. Jeff Kee says:

    Also the snow driving thing – so true. I drive a 4X4 so I can get through snow no problem and I’m smart enough to not slam on my brakes or drive too fast etc. Most people do not know how to react to snow in their cars, and are completely hopeless unless they have snow chains and everything set up. Even then they mess up.

  7. Dave says:

    Regarding highways, Vancouver got it right, so right. Here in Toronto, they built some of the biggest, ugliest, noisiest freeways in North America and traffic is still a mess. If you build it, they will fill it.

    Imagine if False Creek and English Bay were cut off from the downtown by a towering 6-lane freeway.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I have a whole category dedicated to “cheap things to do” but it’s mostly stuff for the weekends or special events.

  9. […] Sunday, I wrote a post listing 10 things I hate about Vancouver. Having been born and raised in this city, it’s easy to pick out countless items to dislike […]

  10. Kevin says:

    “9. Horrible highway system”
    You can give credit to Larry Beasley for that choice (more of less). But its not actually too bad of any idea. Its actually a really good idea and many other cities in the world are expanding on the Vancouver model. Remember; “Congestion is our Friend”.

    “10. Expensive cellular”
    This will hopefully get solved very soon with the Canadian government “opening up the airwaves” so to speak. I agree that the prices are far too high and the fact that I have to bitch and complain to the cell phone companies all the time doesnt make anything any better.

  11. […] Miss604 is one of Vancouver’s most famous bloggers, so it only makes sense that she loves this city. It’s easy to point out the variety of cuisine and our obsession with hockey, but she also notes that she loves the nerds, the bus drivers, and the monkey puzzle trees too. She even likes the balance. […]

  12. […] more efficient, but you also have to put up with big city traffic. One of the biggest things that I hate about Vancouver is that no one knows how to drive in the snow, so when you add the white stuff in with gridiron […]

  13. disdeinen says:

    Regarding #2: I would tend to agree, although (as you point out) with the limited exposure to such conditions it is hard to blame Vancouverites for their lack of preparedness. In such conditions people would be prudent to find alternate means of transportation.

    Point #8 is interesting: are you suggesting that if you grew up in any other city you would somehow be less bored over time? It is my experience that locals everywhere tend to grow weary of their surroundings, which is why people generally go away for vacation.

    I am rather ambivalent about point #9: my main complaint is the limited capacity of the bridges.

    As for #10: are there actually cheaper cellular plans elsewhere in Canada? I agree that the US generally has superior plans, but as a consumer I only had to make a phone call and ask for a better rate from Telus… I now have unlimited data (EVDO) for $15/month.

  14. chris says:

    Finalllllllllyyy everytime i tell people i hate vancouver there like why?why? why?
    1. people dont leave this country and see the world outside so they get all stuck up and think there king sh*t within there own walls and no traveling doesnt mean going to alberta or toronto. This is why BC has so many white boys that run around grab there nuts and talk slang “Wiggers”

    2. the people, rude people i move for a pregnant lady on a skytrain give her my spot while i watch others and have even hurd people say “f— off’ to pregnant and elderly , or you open a door for someone and instead of thank you they just walk through like your there electrical door mechanism

    3.Clubs, i go into clubs and see all these dorks standing there saying what are you looking at?! like if your going to have fun at an event have fun, dont stand there and stir shi* up to look “hardcore”

    4. Things arent cheap, people are cheap , i have a side business and people say ohhh 80 dollars is alot of money , when there not paying for a house, cars, rent, ect.

    5.i do agree with the criminals , out here someone who is mentally ill gets the shi* end of the stick, beat, thrown in jail for years but when someone gets shot up and they find the guy its like ooh here you go your out on bail even though you blasted a hole in someone

    • Fred says:

      Thank you for saying this. 1 is probably the main reason so many people in that city become narrow minded and stuck up and in turn they think that Vanloser is some special little kingdom. Oh, it’s special alright. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I think it’s hilarious that they always ask why why why????? when you tell them you don’t like it. Again, the lack of perspective. I’m 32 and have been to one country for each year I’ve been alive and I highly recommend this to any Vancouverite wanting to broaden his or her perspective.

      Vanloser, along with Dedmonton and Winterpeg are my least favorite cities in Canada so thanks again for sharing.

  15. Sabrina says:

    Seriouslyy …. i HATE HATE Vancouver!! … The People there are the mosttt rudest people in this whole Entire World!!! Its veryyy Veryyy Expensivee. There isnt even fun places to visit there. … I REALLY Love Toronto. Its veryy Multicultural, People are like Angels living on Earth, They are very nice and Helpful! … Espceially the Nightlife, its Awseme! There are so many things to do in Toronto .. but definitly NOT in Vancouver!! .. its not Nice at All.

  16. Melissa says:

    Vancouver sucks big time!! … Btw … Why is .. Canadian Cities are all unique! Toronto is very beautiful .. Residents of Vancouver are VERY VERY jealous, because they cannnot afford soemthing like this City. Toronto is the Jewel of Canada. I love Canada!! ..It ROCKKSS!!

  17. shut up says:

    wtf is wrong w. you ppl ? u liv in the most beautiful city of canada and ur complaining, u ppl are sick and need a reality check.i’m gonna kick all ur asses when i move to vancouver,

  18. Oscar says:

    Vancouver is an awesome place to live, don’t know what you’re talking about.

  19. Sandra. says:

    Come Kick our ass!! what if we dont like this city??? you gotta problem with that??? Vancouver Suckssss big time!

  20. Greg says:

    Vancouver??? … EWWWWWWWWWWWW. … Vancouver???? EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Ugliest City!

    You have a probelm?? come kick our ass. we gonna get the heck out of this city, and move ot a better one!

  21. Marvin says:

    Vancouver is one lamee City. .. I live here, and it sucks BIG TIME! (i dont know why people ranked it as the best place to live.) its SUCKS!! .. HIGH CRIME! We dont just have people that are homless, they are heomelss and the meanest people in the world. .. they are not well-mannered. Vancouverties havent even been outside this lame City. .. They hate Toronto, they can come kiss an ass. .. i have been there, its way better than our city. .. There are some positivie thing in our city… but over all .. i like Toronto, Montreal and Calgary more.

    • Jack says:

      Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. My three favorite Canadian cities! Why? Friendlier people. They don’t have an inferiority complex like many Vancouverites do.

      As for the homeless people, ya, Vancouver homeless people are very aggressive, demanding and expectant.

  22. shmecher says:

    i have lived here for 12 years, and there are ups and downs to Vancouver, but mostly DOWNS. this place is infested with asians in which most dont want to learn the language, and want nothing to do with any other race/culture other than their own. this is appauling to know that Canada has given china visa-free traveling. this city has changed alot in the past 12 years and is disgusting. thats why i am happy that i sold my home and (thanks to the economic crisis) have bought a house in California.

  23. misty says:

    ive been in canada for three years now and all i can say is that in terms of people is where canada suffers the most. i dont have anything against immigrants coz i am one too and so are 80% of the population but the ignorance of many of these people are just appalling. not mentioning their lack of english knowledge, its as if many immigrants take pride with their rudeness. ive had asian customers who yells at me for not understanding what they’re saying when its quite obvious that i dont speak their language. and also the number of vancouverites who dont know the concept of inside voice is growing. no wonder mp3s is a must if you’re taking the public transport lest you’ll be plague with people shouting right up your ear. so the above list and this short rant is my complaint and the reason why as soon as i finish my schooling, im definitely moving out.

  24. Mike says:

    I thought I was the only one… *huge* comment coming…

    Now, first some background – I’m not a BC native. I moved here from Ontario (like many other people in BC it seems). I’ve lived in several large Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. I’ve also lived in smaller communities in the Interior of BC and southern Ontario. Finally, I’ve driven across the country and visited just every province with the exception of Newfoundland. Still have to make it to the territories though.

    Now, given that all, I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed in Vancouver, for a lot of the same reasons you mention. Here’s my take.

    1. “Vancouver is a beautiful city”. This is patently false and is bad marketing. What really should be said is “Vancouver is a medicore city situated amongst beautiful surroundings”. There is no arguing that the mountains and ocean are a picturesque backdrop for the city. But Vancouver itself is pretty plain, and in some places downright unkempt (East Van, certain areas along Broadway, etc). Architecturally, Vancouver’s buildings aren’t very interesting either – just one copycat condo after another. The skyline is flat and without any kind of character.

    2. The homeless situation here is beyond belief. I was floored the first time I visited Gastown (I work in high tech). Here are a ton of well-funded high-tech startups, and a few classy restaurants, situated right next to the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. I remember walking past a very fancy restaurant, right next to a mini tent-city in the foyer of an abandoned building. What’s wrong with this picture? How can this be a *beautiful* city?

    3. Real Estate is insane. $550,000 for a 600 sq. ft 1 bdrm condo downtown? $550,000 gets you a home in Toronto and Montreal (in the city, not in the burbs). In smaller up & coming communities like Kitchener-Waterloo, $550,000 gets you a 2200 sq. ft. heritage house that’s well over 100 years old. $270K gets you a brand-new 1800 sq. ft house w/warranty.

    4. The local work ethic is too relaxed. I used to live next to Vancouver’s “financial district” downtown (all 2 blocks of it). One day I overheard a conversation between two bankers – they were complaining that “big business” prefers Toronto & Montreal over Vancouver and never locate their headquarters here. Then the conversation switched to how they were taking the afternoon off to go skiing at Cypress. On a Wednesday.

    Actually, the work ethic here isn’t really a bad thing if you’re an Ontario transplant. I’ve found that I do *very* well here while only working about 70% as hard as I did back east.

    5. Unions. BC has too many of them.

    6. Food is too expensive. Example: a large brick of Armstrong cheese (originally from Armstrong, BC) costs $11+ here. In Ontario and Montreal, the same amount costs $7-9.

    7. Rain. Actually, Vancouver only gets about 18-20% more rain per year than Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario. So it really doesn’t rain *that* much. However, the precipitation in Vancouver is almost entirely rain, and almost entirely occurs within a 5 month period – whereas KW precipitation is spread out over the entire year, so it doesn’t seem as bad.

    8. I have to agree with your #8 – “cheap things to do”. There really isn’t much in this city. It’s not that “the locals always get bored” as some other poster indicated. I’ve experienced that. This is different. If you’re into hiking and boating, then the area surrounding Vancouver has lots to offer. But if you’re not into the outdoors, the city offers little beyond shopping, movies, and dining out. Compare the events section of the Georgia Straight paper with a similar publication in Toronto or Montreal and you’ll see what I mean.

    9. Vancouverites/BC residents don’t get out much. By “out”, I mean out of the province. The Rockies act as a buffer and cut BC off from the rest of the country. I’m amazed at how few BC natives have ever gone east of Alberta. I know it’s a trip, but c’mon – if you’re going to complain about Ontario, Ottawa or Toronto, you should at least visit it. And no, switching flights in Toronto on your way to somewhere else doesn’t count. Sure, Ontario has its downsides (I could write a long post about it too), but at least I’ve *been there* and know what I’m talking about when I complain.

    10. Roads. Get some real ones. The major artery which connects the largest metropolis in BC to the rest of the province is a 4 lane highway that is frequently backed up beyond belief.

    And rather than scrap the Georgia Viaduct, *finish it*. The city needs a fast, effective way to get downtown. If you’re concerned about traffic noise in residential communities, I submit it’s already there because you’re forcing more cars on residential roads. But if that’s still not enough, then take a look at what Ottawa did. The Ottawa River Parkway is a dedicated route from the ‘burbs’ to downtown Ottawa (almost literally to Parliament). It follows the Ottawa River & is very scenic. On Sundays in the summer, they even close the parkway to traffic and open it up to pedestrians, cyclists and roller bladers (plus there’s a dedicated cyclist path that parallels it all the way downtown).

    Revitalize your waterfront and put something similar in that runs from Burnaby mountain / the Barnet Highway to downtown.

    12. Recycling programs. Get real ones.

    In the eyes of the rest of Canada, BC is a “green province” (and I don’t mean the weed). Imagine my surprise when I moved here and discovered the abysmal recycling programs. In Ontario I could recycle *everything*, in almost any moderately-sized community. Here in BC it’s hit and miss, and most of the recycling programs are limited in what they actually deal with. In the interior, it’s much worse. City recycling programs were scrapped in Kamloops because they apparently took business away from independent recyclers.

    And did I understand this correctly: Victoria dumps *raw sewage* into the ocean? I know that’s not Vancouver, but still… WTF?

    11. I’ll end this on a semi-funny note:

    Vancouver retailers: Bagged milk. Get it.

    Yes, I know the concept sounds funny. But it’s *super convenient* and uses less packaging than jugs or cartons.

    That’s it for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. James says:

    ” โ€œVancouver is a beautiful cityโ€. This is patently false and is bad marketing. ”

    Never a truer word spoken.

    One of the interesting things I’ve found is that most Vancouverites have absolutely no concept of a built environment being beautiful in itself. The idea that buildings and civic spaces can be beautiful…it just doesn’t compute here. If you try to tell a Vancouverite that Vienna is a truly beautiful city, or Paris, or Edinburgh, or even New York, they will look at you like you’re crazy. “But those places don’t even have mountains!”, they’ll object. “Paris doesn’t have a harbour and a sea wall!” To a Vancouverite, a collection of rancid shacks next to a mountain would by definition be beautiful, whereas Venice can’t be beautiful because it isn’t surrounded by natural beauty.

    I guess if you never leave the confines of this city, other than to go to Calgary, Vegas or Victoria, you will have no lexicon by which to converse about what true civic beauty is. It is a deeply ignorant place. Not stupid; ignorant.

  26. I agree with your number 1. It’s not the rain that’s bad. I love a good storm, which don’t exist here. It’s the endless grey. Months of months of sunless sky. I would add that real estate, food, and clothing are unaffordable.

    Top three things about Vancouver: 1. mountains/hiking; 2. Chinese food; 3. Consignment stores on every block.

    The other HOlly thinks the number one thing about Vancouver is good coffee shops. Tons of them.

  27. Anon_truth says:

    -There’s too many gangs/ criminals that the police never do anything against. Tons of drug addicts and homelessness.

    -People being labelled “mentally ill” and stuck in a hospital for a long year despite them being completely normal. (This is from my experience)

    -Too many chinese(look at UBC, they’re everywhere). Immigrants(mainly chinese), buying up all the real estate with all their money, making it impossible for the average joe to compete). (One of my parents told me this, and I think it’s true. My mom knows a chinese man who wants to buy ten houses in westside Vancouver!).

    -and more! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Mari says:

    I agree with many of the above comments. Vancouver’s main appeal is where it’s situated – the setting is beautiful, but the city itself is another story. If there was a better attitude amongst Vancouverites, the generic look of the city would be more forgivable. Unfortunately, it’s overrun with posers, criminals, and rude immigrants who are unwilling to adapt to Canadian culture or law. Only in Vancouver is our second language replaced by Punjabi, Korean, Mandarin, etc. That would not be accepted in most other parts of the world. I was confronted with many communication barriers, and the general expectation was that I learn their language. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way! I’d be happy to learn every language on the planet, but it’s a two-way road. And yes, our country has two official languages. It makes things much more simple, so you don’t have idiots on the highway who can’t read the signs and cause accidents. Any other languages are welcome, but at least have the decency to function in your surroundings. Next, they will be expecting us to replace the road signs with new ones containing 5 different languages, which will just cause even more accidents. People moving here should be expected to fill out their forms in English/French. If unable to do so, they can either stay put or learn to communicate with us. And they can keep their gendercide and other nasty practices in their own countries (which will hopefully evolve enough to stop such madness).
    Anyway, enough of that. I know that other parts of spineless Canada allow for such behaviours to exist, but I think Vancouver is by far the most far gone. Other issues are the recycling programs, cost of living, crime, weather, healthcare, road safety and overall smug attitude. The market will surely crash, as nothing so ridiculous can continue for much longer. Anyone who thinks that buying in Vancouver is a good idea must be a total asshat. Most people are extremely in debt just trying to eke out a living in this depressing hellhole. The job market is brutal. On average, a degree and years of experiece are required for lousy positions (part-time $12/h receptionists, for example) and many people will take anything they can get and face work abuse because the cost of living is so high. Depression rates are also very high, yet unless you’re a meth addict or a drunk, there is very little help for those needing psychological help. The Vancouver police are notoriously crooked, and crimes against prostitutes and the homeless (some of which are committed by the police) are generally ignored. Most of the work done to help clean up the streets is done by the UGM. The city couldn’t care less, as they’re too busy looking for shitty excuses to hose the citizens for more tax dollars (ie: the Olympics and all the unnecessary crap that came with that).
    Because of the general dampness of the city, it’s difficult to maintain buildings (mold and cockroaches just adore Vancouver) so they simply get torn down and replaced. Because work ethic and conformity to building codes are so poor, these structures have a much higher turnover rate than other cities. It’s terribly wasteful.
    People there are generally very stuck up. A common attitude is that Vancouver is the best city in the world, and if you don’t agree, you aren’t worth spit. Friendships seem few and far between, so for being a big city, it’s actually very isolating. And I’ve never seen so much celebrity worship in all my life. I think these people must be so unhappy with the pretentious, rat-race, status-quo mentality that Vancouver breeds, which is why they’re so delusional and fucked up. The dismal weather likely doesn’t help either.
    I’m sure I can think of even more crappy things to say about Vancouver but I’m getting bored and depressed just writing about them. If anyone reads this and gets offended because you love the city, well hey, I’m just stating my opinion (and practically everyone else’s that I know who has been “privileged” enough to live in this hellhole)

  29. […] had some struggles with your car insurance company following a fender bender with one of the many bad drivers in Vancouver, because you had little in terms of proof that the other guy was wrong? For these and so many other […]

  30. A.Ts says:

    Vancouver is terrible at taking care of people. I need to move away asap! I just can’t becuase of its leaching prices. Please dont move here people! Especially young and poor guys, you’ll be homeless. This place is superficial as hell. Only thing i respect about vancouver is its environment awareness. but still. I just dont undersatnd why people want to even immigrate and work hard for nothing and become psycho. Seriously that is soo sad that wasting your youth and life for nothing.

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