Expat Exchange

Vancouver, Canada

Allianz Care International Health Insurance
Allianz Care International Health Insurance
Allianz Care International Health Insurance
Allianz Care International Health Insurance

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Vancouver, Canada. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

What do I need to know before moving to Vancouver?

Live in Vancouver? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Vancouver, they said:

"Where you move to will depend on your work. Visit first and decide which localities you like that might offer the type of employment you are engaged in. Then go job hunting or start your business. If the latter, make sure there is enough of a market to provide your business with critical mass. Too many people move to the gulf islands, stay a year then move out because they find they can't earn a living," explained one expat.

How do I find a place to live in Vancouver?

Live in Vancouver? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I bought a house near where my daughter initially wanted to go to school. She changed her mind before we moved in, wanting to attend school in a different town. So we moved 4500 miles together only to live 30 miles apart. She boarded, came home at weekends. Soon as my residency permit came through, I sold the house and bought one in the gulf islands," said another expat in Vancouver.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Vancouver?

Live in Vancouver? Answer this Question

"I have a small farm, 11 acres, on the ocean. We have 5600 square feet of home, offices and workshops. This isn't typical for expats," remarked another in Vancouver.

What is the average cost of housing in Vancouver?

Live in Vancouver? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Vancouver, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"I live in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. The area includes the towns of Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland, and the rural areas in between. Since Covid began, many newcomers are here and prices have gone through the roof! The average condo is $400,000, average townhouse is $600,000, and single family homes are higher. But prices are starting to fall as interest rates rise, and houses are not selling as fast. I recommend waiting a year to buy. That gives you time to explore the different areas, as each one has its own unique character," said another person in Canada.

"Cost of housing less than the UK but living costs around the same. Typical median house in the islands would be around $650k CAD," remarked another expat in Vancouver.

Get a free international health insurance quote from our partner, Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.
Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance in Canada

Get a free international health insurance quote from our partner, Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.
Get a Quote

What should I bring when moving to Vancouver?

Live in Vancouver? Answer this Question

People living in Vancouver were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"I suppose that depends on what country you arrive from. We came from the U.S. to the Comox Valley on Central Vancouver Island. There isn't that much difference but everything is more expensive than it was in California, and the variety of items available is much less than in the States. My recommendation is to rent a furnished place and live here for awhile if you can. Then go back to your home country and make your big move. You'll be better informed about what to bring and what to ditch. Of course, I realize that isn't always possible. The things I really miss are good Mexican food. Hominy is unheard of here, so I bring a case of it back whenever I cross the border. Other things that I miss are good quality spices. That's about it. Canada has pretty much everything," explained one expat living in Canada.

"Top of the list is my Mercedes G wagen. Diesel off road vehicles just aren't available here. My heavy tools, bandsaw, planer, whacker, etc. I sold most of them before emigrating thinking that they'd be cheap to buy used here. They're not. Don't ship any 220 volt printers. I wasted my time bringing a laser printer that has languished in an outbuilding for the past five years. 220 volt workshop tools are ok though," said another expat in Vancouver.

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Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

Will I be able to find a job in Vancouver?

Live in Vancouver? Answer this Question

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Vancouver, they reponded:

"Skyscrapers in town house many office workers. Film Industry is pretty big in Vancouver. Travel, accommodation, outdoor entertainment at ski resorts in winter. It's not unusual to see women wearing hard hats and doing manual labour," remarked another expat in Vancouver.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats VancouverExpats in Vancouver

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Vancouver.

Canada Index Vancouver Index
An index of all of our site's Vancouver information.

Canada Forum Canada Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Canada on our Canada forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Canada Network Contribute
Help others in Canada by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Canada.

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