Frommers: Vancouver is an over-rated city

Juraj sent in this link to a suprisingly negative travel review of Vancouver by a Frommers travel guide writer.  I’m just going to quote the whole paragraph so that no one can accuse me of taking parts out of context and making it appear worse than it is:

Vancouver. “Blandcouver” looks great on TV, where it often masquerades as other, more interesting cities. This Canadian metropolis is indeed like many other places, just duller. I actually heard a Vancouverite call their city “diverse” and “cosmopolitan” when what they mean is “we have some Chinese people as well as the Anglo-Canadians.” Anyone who thinks Vancouver is cosmopolitan has never been south or east of Portland. Most of Vancouver’s other attributes, meanwhile, are seen in better form in either Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco. Spend your time in Victoria instead, or Whistler, or, heck, Nanaimo. If you insist upon going, try our much more enthusiastic destination guide.

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For those that want to get ahead, to strive to be better at their job, to make it on an international level… want recognition…

Move somewhere else.

Vancouver is filled with people who play hard.. and enjoy life… no doubt about that… but work hard? Not really. If you have family and want a less stressful life and you can afford it.. Vancouver is fantastic!

But yes.. you need to afford it. A house in a good neighbourhood in Toronto or Montreal will cost you $500,000.. the same thing here.. it's at least $1,000,000….

For the twenty-thirty year old with no mom and dad to foot the bill… it's a HORRIFYING prospect to try to get ahead.. even when you make a solid income.


Neil, put down your crack pipe and stop flogging the "best place on earth BS". go out and see the rest of the world before you spout that crap.


Vancouver is surely the best place on earth to live ! Mountains, the ocean, beaches, parks, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing, walking, fishing, restaurants – food, night life, the fireworks, jazz fest, shopping…… i could go on and on forever. This City is definitely a marvelous place to live and visit. Real Estate is quite expensive but that's true for most places now, you will find that in most Cities. The rain season does put a bit of a downer on things but hey is that not the same in other Cities too? The people that live in Vancouver and complain about how it isn't a great place to be should really come back down to earth and realize that there aren't many other places on earth that offer such high standards of living whilst providing/offering a wide variety of recreational… Read more »


I live out in the valley, travled about during the 90's and have watched your DT Vancouver turn into a hell hole over the past 15 years. Try a city like Aukland NZ, it was nice years ago. I DON'T travel into DT unless I have to for these following reasons. Maybe 1 concert a year (if there is someone in town worth spending money on) 3 months ago I had to get a test done in St.Pauls. Parked a few blocks from the hospital, walking the short distance to the appointment I was accosted no less then 6 times for money, smokes, or just targeted. The last guy was extremely PUSHY as to why I wasn't giving him 2bucks after I told him to F-off. To those who want to live and defend your mighty city, have at it.… Read more »


other ted:

Well said Ted, that was essentially what i was trying to say. 'NICE PLACE' but falls short of being world class. Guess it depends where you are comparing to also – compared to the average British city – Vancouver rocks!


#101 as for this – "There is nothing of world-class cultures distinction in this city, nothing."

Actually, the location is world class for a city this size as anyone who has travelled will acknowledge. There are very, very few cities with the kind of location – not just the ocean and mountains, but the islands in the Georgia Straight. Sydney would be the closest and it simply doesn't compare for climate and easy access to amazing, and diverse, outdoors activities year round (in my opinion as someone who has lived there).


#101 "But no more than your typical North American city. " But why compare cities? What's the point? You live where you live. If you have the freedom to choose where you live then you choose somewhere that offers what you want. Ditto when you go on vacation you choose somewhere that offers things that you like doing. So to move to Vancouver, or even just visit, and then complain there aren't as many museums as Toronto or not as good pubs as Portland or not as nice a bridge as San Fran is completely pointless. There's a thing called the internet that lets you research exactly what vancouver is like before you move here or come on holiday here. Complaining about the place and comparing it to other cities is completely and utterly pointless. The people I love most… Read more »

other ted

Some people hate the city on here but I think that is a misrepresentation of the debate. There are people fanatically in love with it and people who are annoyed with this obsesion with itself. I grew up in vancouver and both sides on here make valid points. I think culturally the city lacks unless you compare it to calgary or some other cultural backwater. In that case vancouver rocks. Then again Calgary has a museum. Vancouve doesn't. Here are my observations. As a kid late 70's to early 90's I saw things get worse. The 90's was the era when most festivals were cancelled. The city became expensive and more uptight. The media would come up with "vancouver no fun city" and they were right. I would say after this last boom there have been big improvements in downtown… Read more »


For those on here who think Vancouver is a third world city passing itself off as something else, why are you going on and on about vancouver real estate?

I intend on staying here and hope prices will fall so I can buy something decent. But if i hated the place I certainly wouldn't be buying here, I would be planning my exit strategy. Seems odd to me.



Yep sydney nice place – just as well because you're in the middle of nowhere – as is the case with oz in general.

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it because they are all out on their boats.

annoying kayakers, seals, eagles and whales with their retarded music.

someone pass me a torpedo, or at least an amusingly-uncharted rock.


Just wondering, do grocery stores in any other city require $0.25 or $1 deposit to release the chain. Only two gang related shootings in last 24 hours. What's going on gangsters, pretty quiet. Are you in Eurpoe for your summer vacation?

No Longer Looking

"As for culture, there is plenty in Vancouver." But no more than your typical North American city. Arts festivals, sports teams and farmers markets are everywhere, even in small cities, and everyone thinks they're special because of it. "They are four completely different cities." Not as different as they used to be. North American corporate culture has made us all the same in so many ways. There is nothing of world-class cultures distinction in this city, nothing. We suffer badly from ugly buildings everywhere, have a small arts scene thanks to high costs for space, and people here develop their bodies not their minds. One notable thing we used to have was a fiery political scene. I barely even noticed the last election. In some ways I miss the wild personalities and animated debates of the past. Politically, we make… Read more »


PS. I constantly hear about vancouver having a "high cost of living". Can this be proven? Yes, it's expensive to buy a house. But food, rent, and everything else? I cohabit and we live comfortably on a joint income of around $75,000 a year. Sure, I'll never buy a house on that income, which is why I read blogs like this to keep an eye on when prices will come own to normal levels, but I'm not bothered if I have to rent forever. My cost of living here when compared to Toronto is considerably less – I had to spend a fortune on heating in winter and air con in summer while in TO. I earned around 20% more income there but spent a lot more time cooped up indoors or scurrying around through underground malls and subways to… Read more »


Vancouver only gets knocked because it appears at the top of certain surveys. I love the place but then I love the outdoors and that's what Vancouver gives you access to – more than any city I know of. As for culture, there is plenty in Vancouver. If you like live music, there are a couple of great venues. There are various Arts festivals throughout the year. If you like watching sport – for hockey there's the Canucks and the Giants. The Nat Bailey Stadium is my favourite baseball venue in Canada. Vancouver has an MLS soccer team for 2011 to provide more options. If you like playing sport, there's an enormous amount of choice – by far and away the most activities in Canada, particularly as you can do them year round. To compare Vancouver with Portland, Seattle and… Read more »

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meh, sydney ain't that hot. nice place, but full of australians! 😉 kidding aside, it's a great city, but it too has it's problems – like the horrific commute many have to put up with to find somewhere affordable to live – a bit like Van in that regard. beaches are nice tho, but the skiing sucks. 😀


Agree 100% with Rebootme, lived in Sydney as well for a couple of years, unreal city! But did run into some folks that pumped the same BS best place on earth as here, but no where to the same extent.


Totally agree that Vancouver is bland, bland, bland! I've lived in Vancouver and Sydney, Australia, which has often been compared to Vancouver. Of the two, Sydney's harbour, beaches, culture, cosmopolitan atmosphere, people, lifestyle, etc. makes Vancouver a cruddy little backwater town. Vancouverites are so delusionial about their city that they need to keep repeating to themselves "best place on earth to live, best place on earth to live" to filter out reality. The people living in Sydney didn't need to do this.

Vancourites get real… Vancouver is a hovel!


Arwen, if you check the downtownsuites listing there is or was one for Harbour Green 3.

Prompton also has one for cheaper ($5k)but the downtownsuites one was more candid.

It said something along the lines of "with $1 million down and the best interest rate this suite would cost $20,000 per month. Available for rent at $5,950"


Yes, I think rents will actually come down, Anon, especially on the low end as stuff jostles around in the higher end. The higher end rents seem priced pretty well, but the low end is evaporating; you can get housed quite nicely for $2000-, but that's quite a bit out of the range of low-income families. And there are more and more low income families. I live in the West End right now, and there used to be the standby "discount" buildings; the ones a little bit ramshackle but with a lot of character. No elevators, sporadic upkeep, maybe a bit of a musty smell, and kitchens from the 1940s. They're disappearing, the low end; and although I don't know other areas very well, I'm having a hard time finding the equivalents elsewhere. (Shabby chic, mind you, not crack-houses –… Read more »


#92 Arwen

Suites in 5-10 year old buildings in yaletown that were going for $1500+ and had multiple applicants are now vacant for over a month @$1300. They will have to come down more because

680 sq ft brand new units on the 28th floor of TV Towers are going for $1390 @prompton.

That's a brand new minimum of $420k+ GST and PPT unit for $1390!

The GST will take two years to three years (once you subtract strata fees) of rent to pay off!

In two years it'll be a two year old condo and the rent won't ever increase it'll actually decrease as the rent stays the same and inflation comes into play.


I am currently looking to rent a new place here, so I'm spending a fair amount of time looking at listings. I have also been tracking, for comparison, in Toronto ( I used to live there so I know the area.)

Rents seem to be suffering serious price compression, so the once cheap stuff is nearing the same price as the nicer stuff. Basements for the same price as suites, location not making much of a difference, etc.

Of course, that's looking on Craigslist, but Craigslist Toronto seems to be showing more of a spread.

Of course, that could be an artifact of how we rent here,or the fact I'm looking, uh, five days before people generally give notice. The bottom of the barrel?



Only for jobs? Hate to point out we are in a recession and where one can get decent work is going to be a big decider.


For some reason, this particular post keeps haunting me and the reality is, that yes, Vancouver is a pretty great place to live, it is just difficult not to have some sort of buyers remorse when housing (rent included) costs doubled in five years. Yes, some of us are certainly bitter, but we are also tired of working ourselves into the ground to enjoy this "laid back west coast lifestyle" we are all supposed to enjoy.

parisian tourist

Chilled Says:

I know your mistress and I confess that I have been pegging her in your absence. You are absolutely correct, she is hot!!!


Chilled, I did not know you are into shemales too….