The First 13 Things I Noticed After Moving To Vancouver

Every time you visit or move to another country, there are bound to be things that are different to what you are used to. I arrived in Vancouver on Friday after a 9-hour long flight from London. Since then, I’ve been mainly trying to sort out all the paperwork. From applying for my work permit at the border to getting my SIN number, looking for a flat, setting up my bank account and picking the best mobile phone plan.

Even though my mind has been busy with these essential, but quite mind numbing, activities, I’ve been able to notice and/or enjoy a few things after moving to Vancouver a few days ago. Some of these are quite small or insignificant things, but nonetheless, I noticed them.

Leaf imprints

Leaf imprint, Vancouver
Leaf imprint, Vancouver

I love the tiny details you sporadically come across while walking through a city. I’m currently in temporary accommodation in Yaletown, and most streets are lined with trees around here. On the pavement around the trees, you can see leaf imprints. I love this as it gives the otherwise dull concrete pavement a unique twist.

Starbucks’ food selection is not as great as the UK’s

There are more Starbucks in London than Vancouver, but because of Vancouver’s smaller size, you’ll find a Starbucks on almost every corner. Unfortunately, the food selection is a little bit of a let down. UK has a good variety of panini’s, salads, breakfast options and pastries. Vancouver’s food selection is quite small in comparison.


Moving to Vancouver
Mountains in Canada

This is probably the most exciting part for me in Vancouver. While flying to Vancouver, we flew over the Rockies and its mountain peaks with snow, as far as the eye could see. You can see the Coast Mountains from the city, beckoning to be explored.

Gaps between public toilet doors

Gaps between toilet doors
Gaps between toilet doors. This photo is taken from a toilet cubicle with the door shut.

This one is my least favourite. I knew the US had gaps between its toilet doors, but I had completely forgotten about it. Shame Canada also leaves gaps between the doors. I never feel comfortable going to public toilets here, and try to avoid them as much as I can.

Mobile phone data is expensive

I was kind of surprised about this when enquiring about mobile phone plans. There is not much competition between the providers, and the plans are more focussed on calls instead of data. I was paying £15 in the UK for unlimited data, 3000 texts and 300 minutes call time. Now I’m paying 55 Canadian dollars for 1gig data, unlimited texts and unlimited calls. That is roughly £27.


Raccoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver
Raccoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver

I have never seen a raccoon in the wild, but while walking briefly through Stanley Park, I saw 3. One of them casually strolled 1 m away from us, not phased by the intruders staring at it.

Lots of dogs

Vancouver is a very dog friendly city. There are dog parks, plenty of pet stores, and your four legged friend is welcome in most hotels and apartments. While exploring the city, I saw more people with dogs than none. Luckily, everyone picks up their dog’s poo, as there is a heavy fine of 2000 dollars if you leave it behind.

Lots of crows

In cities, you’ll usually find lots of pigeons flying around. In Vancouver you’ll see these birds as well, but you’ll also spot an equivalent amount of crows. I love crows, but I had no idea they could make a hell of a lot of noise!

Sushi is cheap

Sushi in Vancouver
Sushi in Vancouver

I was told by many that sushi is amazing and cheap in Vancouver. I’ve been to three different sushi places in the last 4 days, and I can confirm that the sushi is cheap. We paid around 20 dollars for each meal, and the equivalent would have costed us around 30 pounds (60 dollars), in the UK. Each sushi roll is also double the size from the ones in the UK. Not counting the take away places such as Abokado, Itsu and Wasabi in the UK, I’ve had some amazing sushi in UK restaurants, and I still need to find a place in Vancouver that tops this (I’m quite positive I’ll find one!).

Lots of ads on TV

I had hoped Canada wasn’t like this, but alas. I watched a couple of programs on tv, and every 5 to 10 min, there is an ad break. It’s incredibly frustrating, and I might just skip TV programs all together. No idea how TV on demand works here, but I hope I can pay to have an ad free experience!

Smoked salmon??

Canadian smoked salmon
Canadian smoked salmon

For some reason, I thought smoked salmon would be a big thing here. I was wrong. It seems you can’t find the smoked salmon we know in Europe. All I’ve been able to find is frozen smoked salmon and some kind of dried smoked salmon. I won’t be having my favourite Eggs Royale breakfast anytime soon.

Everyone is friendly

Apparently, the Canadian stereotype is that they apologise constantly. I haven’t experienced this in the short time I’ve been here, but I can confirm that the people in Vancouver are very friendly.

It’s easy to find your way

Moving to Vancouver
Street in Vancouver

Vancouver has grid-like streets which makes it easy to get around. The street names are also placed above the traffic lights, so no more squinting your eyes trying to read the tiny street name plaques on buildings. We had no data on our phones until today, so we weren’t able to use google maps to find our way, but there was no need. We never got lost.




Hi! I'm a Belgian travel blogger currently living in Vancouver, Canada after living in the UK for 7 years. I have a keen interest in responsible travel, volunteering and archaeology and I'm always on the lookout for new adventures around the world!

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10 Responses

  1. Glad you made it over there ok Lies! Your post very much reminded me of when I moved to New Zealand. That first week is a bit of a blur, as you try and sort out those essential things. I remember my first few days was to get connected with a phone, sort out my bank account and speak to the tax department.

    Canada sounds quite like New Zealand in some ways, what with the Mountains, and friendly people. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and enjoy spotting the differences each day – it is what makes travel and being some place new interesting!

  2. Hi Lies, good to see you made it to Vancouver alright! It’s fascinating to hear a non-North American perspective on North American living! I had never thought about the bathroom door gaps before now haha, but I can see now that the European styles do offer more privacy. I’m surprised you can’t find smoked salmon, although when you do find it, I would expect it to be expensive (considering I had the opposite reaction when moving to Europe). As far as TV goes, I can’t speak for Canada, but in the US basically everyone is using Netflix and foregoing the classic cable box. Don’t get sucked into Hulu, though – they charge you and still have commercials!

    Best of luck on finding a new place and adjusting to life in your new city!

    1. Hi Lies, I am also Belgian and have been in Canada for 40 years. It was an adjustment but it is also such a beautiful place, I have also travelled the world.
      Streaming Netflix or others is the perfect way to avoid commercials, we find smoked salmon in most grocery stores ( I hope that, as you settle in, you will find the same ), The Rockies are amazing and so is the interior of BC. I hope that you find your happy place in Vancouver, best of luck !
      PS : there might be cracks in the washrooms but you don’t have to pay Madame Pipi in Canada haha !

      1. Hi Kat! Great to meet a fellow Belgian living in Canada 🙂 It took a little bit of time to adjust, but after living here for 5 years I have grown to love Vancouver!
        I have managed to find some smoked salmon, but most of the time it is frozen, unlike smoked salmon in Europe.
        I will never get used to the gaps between the public toilets though 🙂 but I’m glad I don’t need to pay anyone to use the bathrooms. Whenever I visit family in Belgium, I always forget to bring some money with me when using the bathrooms.

  3. Welcome to Canada. If you want fresh smoked salmon, go to the East Coast. Although I am a little surprised that you can’t find it in Vancouver. I laughed out loud when I read your toilet comment. I have never thought about those little spaces before. Rest assured, Canadian women are not generally peeping Toms. Your public bathroom time will be private and safe 🙂

  4. Nice post! We still haven’t made it to Canada.. yet! I love the leaf details in the pavement! What do you mean by gaps between the public toilet doors though?

  5. I’ve just discovered your blog and am moving to Vancouver from the UK myself in a few weeks. I really enjoyed reading this, it’s reminded me of things I forgot about the city. I love sushi and am excited to eat as much of it as I can! But yes, I’m not looking forward to paying a ridiculous amount of phone data again! 🙁

  6. I disagree with “Everyone is Friendly” point. I mean sure, where you come from, people could be “not friendly” but majority of people in Vancouver are stuck up, money minded and self-centered. I highly recommend that you try visiting Manitoba or the Eastern Provinces of Canada, you’ll be surprised. I agree with all the other points you made. Cheers

    1. Hi there! I appreciate you leaving a comment and I can see where you’re coming from. When I arrived in Vancouver in 2015, I encountered mainly friendly people who were happy to help me/get settled in. After living here for a little over 4 years, I have met people on both ends of the spectrum, like you probably would in all big cities. I would love to visit Manitoba and the Eastern Provinces of Canada!

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