Where in BC would you live if remote work let you?

I am new to Canada and have heard BC is one of the most beautiful provinces of Canada with the added benefit that the winters aren’t as harsh in some of its parts.

Could you recommend areas of BC or Vancouver in particular to move to if I prioritize the following 4:

  1. Convenient access to the great outdoors
  2. Cost of living comparable to or less than Downtown Toronto
  3. A good community
  4. An international airport nearby (India)

I have read the following two discussions on this general topic already but one compares Vancouver to Toronto and the other isn’t specific enough for me (all it says is inexpensive) - especially the access to outdoors part.

I plan to do a comparative piece on Toronto and Vancouver soon. We lived in Toronto for over 3 years and recently made a move to Vancouver. Vancouver is a beautiful city, nature is all around and to access the great outdoors takes not more than 15-30 mins depending on where in Vancouver you are living. There is a huge Pacific Spirit Forest and great beaches within city limits itself.

The North shore mountains are just across the Lions Gate Bridge, Whistler is just about 1.5 hrs through the most scenic road. Islands can be easily accessed by Ferries (BC Ferries are amazing)
Rentals are slightly bit higher than Toronto. You can get a much bigger space in Toronto for the same amount of money, also the rental availability is more as compared to Vancouver.

There are direct flights from Vancouver to India (Air India and Air Canada) that takes about 15hrs.

There are many places in BC you can consider to live besides Vancouver. Victoria is a great option and so is Whistler (its a year round playground). You can live in North Van or West Van or on one of the Islands close to Vancouver. However if you intend to fly out to India or other places regularly you’ll have to budget in time to Vancouver airport.

To give you an idea of how Vancouver weather compares to Toronto, this is a picture I took today (Jan 24, 2022)

@panditji can share more about his experience of living in BC.

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Jai Shri Ram Deepa madam!

I’m happy to chime in :slight_smile:, this is pretty much the situation that I found myself a couple of years back and chose to move to Victoria BC.

Before that however I would encourage the OP to distill down and crystallize on their priorities, at the bare minimum to classify them as must haves and good to have. For example the requirement to have an international airport nearby is plain silly unless they travel to India 6-7 times a year. If you’re going to be travelling only once or twice a year then making a domestic connection to Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary really shouldn’t be a big deal. The other requirement around a good community is very vague so I will gloss over that. The population of the province of BC is roughly 5 million and I’m sure you could find like minded people in most medium to big towns and cities here along any dimension - food, language, culture, religion, sports or any other mutual interests.

So I’ll focus on the other two points in the question and add a little bit of my commentary on what it’s been like living here. BC is a pretty large province, not as big as Ontario or Quebec but still pretty substantial, I think it’s Canada’s most unique province a bit of like what California is in the US. You have access to the Canadian Rockies along with the Costal Mountains, you have access to the Pacific Ocean. There are numerous local rivers and lakes of various sizes. So depending on what you like to do outdoors you can find it here.

As for the cost of living, unfortunately this is not lower than any other place in Canada in my opinion. The cost of living is pretty high in Canada and BC is on the higher side, there is a joke that the locals have, the acronym of BC is Bring Cash, lots of it. I’ve not personally lived in downtown Toronto, so I can’t really compare the two but assuming that the area of interest to you is the Lower Mainland aka the Greater Vancouver Area, you will find that costs are similar if not higher than Toronto. Realestate in this area is ridiculously expensive and has been for years even before the most recent Covid bull run. If purchasing a home is important to you then it’s worth rethinking if the Vancouver metro area is for you, other markets in BC are more affordable but still very expensive when compared to Alberta. The cost of fuel is the highest in the country, expect to pay 30-40% more for Gasoline, other fuel sources like natural gas or propane are more expensive than most provinces as there is a pretty substantial carbon tax added on in the province.

If the cost of living isn’t an issue, then I think the single biggest reason to move to BC is that it has the best winter weather in Canada by a large large margin over any other place. Now mind you, I’m not saying that the winter weather here is any good, it’s dull and gloomy and rains incessantly most of the time. But when you compare it to anywhere else in Canada it is extremely mild, there are a few snow storms over the course of winter but for the most part, you can go out with a light jacket. Now there are people who will tell you that you can enjoy winters in any part of the country with the right clothing etc and while I don’t disagree with them for me harsh winters are taxing. Specially with a young child at home, it is a blessing to be able to go out with them to a nearby park in the evening (you have to tolerate a drizzle from time to time). For me in bitter cold winters, my instinct is to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary and with a toddler who can’t tell you if they are feeling cold or where they are cold it becomes much easier to stay bundled up inside.
I’m not talking about the weather in the summer because almost every Canadian city has excellent summers and you could fall in love with any of the cities Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver or any other city in summer.

So yeah to summarize, BC is pretty damn expensive don’t move here expecting a low(er) cost of living but if you are outdoorsy and access to nature is important then BC is unparalleled in Canada. The moderating effect of the Pacific Ocean keeps the climate mild throughout the year, the winters don’t get miserably cold and the summers don’t get sweltering allowing you to access most activities year round.

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This was a fantastic reply. I really appreciate it, thank you!

I think you’re right about the international airport thing - I added that to contrast from someone who might be content not travelling internationally at all and might be home in the Canadian Rockies as long as there was a strong internet connection :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

By community I meant an active theatre, outdoor, board game, workshop scene as those are the things I’m into. And while it is true that any large city would have all of these somewhere in pockets, some cities might have quirks like a theatre district etc which might be beneficial to have close etc.

I have another question but let me start another post for it - about moving from TO to Vancouver using movers and packers.

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