Van•cou•ver (noun) – A rainy city with breathtaking nature, rich in social enterprises, and yoga fans.
You sit with your feet in warm, soft sand. Light falls across the mountains in front of you. Trees sway in the wind, and to the right you see the city skyline.
This view is a 10-minute bus ride from my university in Vancouver. Another 40 minutes and I’m in the bustling business district. Just an hour and a half drive takes me to the snowy ski peaks of Whistler.
I love Vancouver because it’s a beautiful city that’s so close to all these amazing natural landscapes. Vancouver is the third greenest city in the world. Greenpeace, one of the world’s oldest environmental groups, started in Vancouver and today the city continues to be a hub for social enterprise. Cooperative banking is very popular. One such bank is Vancity, and they reinvest in community projects and enterprises.
People in Vancouver also care a lot about health. Organic foods, so-called super fruits, gluten-free, vegan, local – you name it and someone in the city can provide it. Pursuing a raw food diet? No problem – there are cafes and food trucks that cater for you, and you’ll probably find that the veggies and fruits you crave are locally grown, too.
Yoga is another Vancouver classic. If you happen to visit, you’ll probably end up seeing one too many yoga studios, with people in Lululemon yoga pants drinking healthy smoothies. Lululemon is a leading yoga apparel company that hails from Vancouver.
The city is also North America’s closest port to Asia – which probably explains why there are lots of amazing Asian food hotspots. Sushi is particularly good here. There’s even a roll named after the province that Vancouver is in (the British Columbia roll, or BC roll).
First Nations art is also everywhere and you’ll see totem poles and contemporary aboriginal art galleries scattered across the city – and in fact, the University of British Columbia is built on leased Aboriginal land.
Last but certainly not least – I can’t talk about Vancouver without mentioning the weather. Although Vancouver has the mildest climate in Canada, it’s always raining. If you’re planning on moving here, you need to get some boots, a windproof jacket, and an umbrella. Or you can do as the locals do, and just wrap a blanket scarf around you and pull your hood up.