It had always been a dream of mine to go to Canada and visit its beautiful cities. Last year I had the opportunity of living in Canada for almost 2 months. If you’re interested in going to Canada too, take a look at these posts:
- How can I move to Canada?
- How can I immigrate to Canada? What is Express Entry?
- How to legally Work & Travel in Canada with International Experience Canada
Since our stay would last almost two months, we decided to stay at an Airbnb apartment, which was a lot cheaper than a hotel and had more of a “home” feeling too (sign up through my link for a $30 discount!).
So we decided to stay the whole time in one place only and we chose the city of Vancouver. It’s safe to say it was a great start. Everything I’ll share here is based on our own experiences in this city.
Since Canada is huge in size, we haven’t been to other parts of Canada (yet), but I really want to go to the east side too. So keep in mind that other regions might be different or very different from what we’ve experienced in Vancouver.
Multicultural food is offered everywhere you go. From all types of Asian food to Arab and Italian cosines as well as the good old North American Fast Food.
Speaking of which…let’s talk Poutine! Poutine is a typical Canadian dish. I really liked it when I tried. It’s made with fries, cheese, and gravy on top. I never know which one to eat, Poutine or regular fries. Life is hard, what can I say. Decisions, decisions, decisions…
If you’re more in the vibe of grabbing something on the go, Downtown Vancouver has plenty of Food Trucks. From hot-dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches to soups and greek food, there are lots of choices, even in the Winter. And I’m sure you can find one that serves Poutine too.
One great thing I also love is how many organic grocery stores we see in Vancity. These places offer an awesome selection of fresh fruits. In my home country, we don’t find berries very easily. When we do, it’s so expensive. Since berries are my favorite, I love making a quick stop to those organic grocery stores to grab some berries (and nuts) for an afternoon snack.
And a message for all my vegan friends out there. Vancouver is packed with vegan restaurants! In most countries of South America, you don’t find a vegan places or menus that easily. I’ve tried becoming vegetarian once, but due to lack of alternatives, I couldn’t keep up. Nowadays I do find options to replace animal products, but unfortunately, here where I live, vegan products cost double or triple the price of a regular food product. But that my friend, is not going to be a problem if you are in Vancouver. There you find many vegan places with fair pricing.
Canada has two official languages, so I expected to listen and read both English and French. I mean, I knew that Vancouverites speak primarily English, but still. Anyways. To my huge surprise, when I arrived at the Vancouver Airport, I saw English and CHINESE signage. And NO French AT ALL. I know French is more widely spoken in Canada on the East coast, but still, I don’t remember listening to anyone on the streets speaking French. And in my mind, I guess I wouldn’t find it strange if everything were in English only. But English and a non-official language? That blew my mind! I remember seeing all those signs in Mandarin and thinking to myself, “Where am I? Is this really Canada? Did we land in the right country?” LOL Don’t judge me, but I had NO IDEA that Chinese emigration was that huge in Canada. It got me so curious about it when I landed, that I wanted to do a little research and look it up online. Seriously. Many countries I’ve been to have a Chinatown/Little Korea/Greektown area. So I’m used to seeing a large number of immigrants from the same country, in specific neighborhoods. But in Vancouver it was different. It was so diverse and it was soooo interesting seeing that most of the population there looked foreign or was an immigrant. But after reading a couple of things online, I learned that actually, the current Asian population in Canada is the second or third generation of the first Asian immigrants, mostly Chinese. Meaning, the Asian Canadian or Chinese Canadian you meet today was born in Canada, but their parents or grandparents were born in Asia.
To illustrate that, I follow 5 Canadian bloggers. 3 of them are Asian Canadians. I just love how internet has bringing peoples and countries closer together.
Sidenote #2: seeing that much of Asia in Vancouver made me want to go to Asia so badly, that I ended up going to Shanghai that same year (lucky me!) and of course, it was incredible! I love it.
A major quality I see in Canadians is how polite they are. They’re always being so nice to everyone, trying to help, they all look like they’re in a great (not good!) mood. I guess that’s what living in a great country makes to you, LOL. I just love love love Canada and Canadians.
I went to Vancouver in the Winter, both times. Yes, it was cold. But not snowy-cold. Not Winterpeg cold, LOL. Sorry, my friends from Winnipeg.
Winter 2015/2016 we didn’t see any snow in the city. Well, actually in February 2016 we had a few flurries, nothing big. Same as February 2017. Let’s see how it’s going to be this Holiday season.
Vancouver has milder winter temperatures when comparing to other Canadian cities such as Montreal and Toronto. Both times we went to Vancouver we faced temperatures that ranged from – 5 to 5 C (23 to 41 F). Have in mind though, that sunny winter days can be quite rare in Vancouver, where it rains a lot this time of the year.
Gyms on every corner. Yoga studios everywhere. Vegan food. Organic food. Nice and happy people. Canadians are so polite and sweet! Gorgeous beaches and seawall for outdoor workouts. Kayaking. Stand Up Paddleboarding. Bike sharing and bike rentals for fun city bike rides. Stunning hikes even in the Winter.
Sidenote #3: How not to love the Vancouverite lifestyle? It’s all about spreading love and having healthy habits. I love Canada with all my heart!
A great experience too is to visit local events. We watched the Canucks, Vancouver hockey team, play at Rogers Arena. And we also went to the Vancouver International Boat Show at BC Place. Nothing tourism-related, but definitely the kind of activity a local would do to enjoy this beautiful city.
This year we want to go up to the Grouse Mountain. But we don’t have any snowshoes though. I looked up online and it seems that they have rentals there, so I guess that should work. And again, if you’re not following me yet, head over to my Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss out my next travel tips.
Are you planning a trip to Canada? To what destination?
If you have been to Vancouver, let me know what your thoughts are.