Vancouver, British Columbia is one of the most popular areas for people to migrate to from the UK. We take a look at some of the reasons why B.C. is so popular.
If you’re thinking of emigrating to Canada, or more explicitly moving to the west coast of British Columbia and Vancouver from the UK, then you’re thinking along the right lines if you want a place where culture is valued and where the quality is about as high as it gets.
Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for liveability and quality of life, with the Economist Intelligence Unit placing it 5th in 2023 for most liveable cities taking into account stability, culture, entertainment, infrastructure, and education.
Ranking second in the 2023 Best Country in the World Report, Canada has a lot to offer. Not only in its epic landscapes, clean cities and friendly people but also in terms of safety, work satisfaction and the health of the population.
Moving to Vancouver and Canada is something which appeals to anyone looking for that special place which seems to have it all. A seaport, Vancouver, is situated in Western Canada…so it’s not the coldest part of this enormous country by a long shot. Nestling in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Vancouver has become a haven for culture with many great arts institutions, a thriving music scene, and some of the country’s best nightlife.
Why you should seriously consider moving to British Columbia and Vancouver, Canada, in 2023/2024
If you’re still undecided about emigration to British Columbia, look at our 21 Great Reasons to Move to Vancouver, British Columbia and see what you think!
1: You’ll be made to feel very welcome
How do we know this? Not only has Canada long basked in a reputation for being incredibly friendly, but there is far too much proof of this fact to ignore.
Canada was ranked 6th best for expats in HSBC’s Expats Survey and 1st place for tolerance; not only that but it was also named 10th most friendly place for newcomers by the Expat Insider Survey. So, there’s every reason to expect a warm, Canadian welcome when you relocate to Vancouver, BC.
2: The mountains, the ocean and the beaches!
The most noticeable thing to any newcomer arriving in Vancouver and British Columbia by plane is the fact that it’s surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and rising in the distance are its impressive snow peaked mountains. Walk down many streets in Vancouver and you will see water in some form or other. The air here is knockout, invigorating and bracing. It feels like a healthy place to live, thanks to all that ozone!
Vancouver alone has 8 stunning beaches by the ocean and another on a lake so you’ll never be short of somewhere to go for a swim or to top up your tan. From Kitsilano Beach (known as Kits Beach to locals) with its saltwater pool to Ambleside Beach with its spectacular views, you will surely find it a struggle to choose your favourite.
3: The food in British Columbia is out of this world
Until you’ve eaten really good food, it’s entirely possible to have no idea just how good it can get. In Vancouver, it gets really good. This is a real foodie city, and with seafood caught and bought a stone’s throw away, emigrants to Vancouver often remark that food simply tastes better here! There are many award-winning restaurants and cafes here, as well as fantastic food markets and specialist shops for the budding chefs among us.
British Columbia benefits from all the seafood offered by the Pacific Ocean. Its mixed climate means a variety of fresh fruits and produce can be grown, including peaches, plums, apricots and the famous Bing cherries.
4: Cultural diversity
The mix of nationalities now living in British Columbia and Vancouver makes it one of the most exciting places to visit…or indeed live, in the world! Emigrating to Vancouver will do one thing for you: expand your circle!
In British Columbia, your neighbours will be from all over the world, with a good chunk of them from European cities and Australia. This of course has a knock-on effect and you can see the international influence in everything from the shops, restaurants, cafes and the art.
5: Stanley Park
At 1000 acres, this park is more like a beautiful wilderness smack bang in the middle of the city. With forests, formal gardens and particular areas left to go wild and teeming with flora and fauna, you can make far more of Stanley Park than a day trip.
Emigrating to Vancouver puts this wonderful haven right in your sphere, and, like the locals, you can hire a bike or hike to your heart’s content in the stunning countryside and yet remain close to the city!
6: The wildlife in British Columbia is like nowhere else
Bears (grizzly, of course), bald eagles, sea otters, humpback whales and more…the wildlife in and around Vancouver is indeed, wild! You can take advantage of Vancouver’s situation, get out and about in some real-life wilderness, and be home in time for tea!
Locals like to head off for long weekends spent fishing and hiking, and there are some great cabins for hire! Vancouver has a lot if you’re a fan of the great outdoors.
7: Some of the best Skiing and snowboarding opportunities in North America!
If you’ve ever fancied a more active outdoor life, then you won’t be disappointed with all that British Columbia offers in skiing. Choose from Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour…all just a few miles from the centre of Vancouver!
With lifts open from early morning till late at night, it’s a convenient weekend trip once your working week is done. Emigrating to Vancouver opens more doors than you could imagine and an entirely new way of life could be at your fingertips.
British Columbia is, of course, home to Whistler – one of the top ski resorts in the world. But once you move here, you’re sure to discover many of British Columbia’s other equally stunning but not-so-frequented ski runs!
8: A huge selection of high-quality neighbourhoods
We’ve established that Vancouver, B.C. is a great place to live,, but when you start to really explore the options for property, you begin to see just how great. A great way to start looking for your new home in Vancouver is of course to visit…then you can walk around the different areas and see properties advertised.
In Vancouver, you will notice ads are placed outside buildings which are for sale or rent, so it’s easy to find something in a spot you love. Downtown has some fantastic luxury apartments with everything you want on your doorstep of course, but if you have a family then it’s likely you’d prefer something a little more suburban, and this is where you will really begin to see how vast your choice is.
But don’t be put off by stories of sky-high prices – the areas surrounding the city are uniformly well managed and well maintained and whilst some are more expensive than others, even the most affordable are safe and pleasant.
Looking at other areas and cities in British Columbia and you’ll find even greater value for your money
9: The Sea to Sky Highway
Less romantically known as BC Highway 99, The Sea to Sky Highway is an impressive 377km or around 237 miles, and it cuts a swathe through some of Canada’s most breathtaking scenery.
A legendary journey which showcases some awe-inspiring scenery and a lot of British Columbia’s most fascinating historical sites, if you’re moving to Vancouver, then this is one ride that you simply must add to your bucket list!
10: Ice Hockey!
This addictively exciting game is the game in Canada, and Vancouver is no different in its dedication. The Vancouver Canucks are followed slavishly by their fans, and if you’re visiting or moving to Vancouver, you have to take in a game.
11: The Sea to Sky Gondola
This is arguably part of the Sea to Sky Highway trail, but it’s so awesome it deserves its own spot! The Sea to Sky Gondola is quite a new attraction, and it offers a unique opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the fantastic alpine scenery surrounding the mountainside town of Squamish. Riding high above the treetops, you can take in the scenery in a unique and tranquil way.
12: The best weather in Canada!
If you worry about moving to Canada because of the cold winters, then think again! British Columbia and Vancouver are often stated as being the places with the best climate in the country, and with good reason.
It’s beautifully mild in Vancouver, with heavy snowfalls rare during the winter. This is because the city is so close to the ocean…but it’s not at all difficult to get to the snow if you really want to, as the mountains and ski slopes are close! During spring, the city’s famous cherry blossoms come into bloom, and the streets are an incredible sight.
13: The Vancouver Aquarium
An award-winning aquarium that is packed full of amazing sea life and hands-on participatory shows, this aquarium is one of the largest in North America and enjoys a fantastic reputation for its research work.
As a local, we’d recommend signing up as a member and so gaining access to behind-the-scenes events, beach walks and benefits such as the Junior Biologists Club.
14: Gastown and ‘The Drive’
Downtown Vancouver is full of character, and there is a unique contrast between the new and the old. Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, is a fashion centre with boutique shops and cafes amongst the cobblestones and vintage lampposts.
Commercial Drive, known to locals it’s just “The Drive”, is one of the oldest streets in Vancouver; it’s close to the waterfront and has some incredible architecture as well as a high concentration of shops and places to eat. It’s an attraction to tourists and locals alike as there’s so much on offer here, with regular street festivals and musical performances all year round. A walk down The Drive is a must when you visit Vancouver, and there’s a lot to take in so make sure to schedule in plenty of time!
15: The Vancouver art scene
Vancouver takes its arts seriously, and the city invests time, money and space in its large population of performers, musicians and visual artists. There are innovative and beautiful galleries to take in as well as small performance spaces everywhere you turn in Vancouver. For those of an artistic disposition, relocating to Vancouver might just be a great move. There are over 50 professional theatre companies in the city and many venues dedicated to comedy and musical performances of all kinds.
16: Victoria and Vancouver Island
British Columbia’s provincial capital Victoria has to be one of the best places to live in BC. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, it has the warmest and mildest climate in Canada so is perfect if you’re worried about the cold.
Victoria is a quaint harbour city with lots of stately charm, a rich history and a modern, progressive outlook.
17: Sunsets at English Bay
The sunsets at English Bay are legendary, and if you’re thinking of moving to Vancouver permanently, this is one spot you’ll definitely want to get to know more. You may even see your household belongings arriving on one of the container ships!
It’s not just the fantastic sunsets that make this stretch of coast famous, though…English Bay is home to the city’s annual Celebration of Light, which is a fabulous festival of fireworks taking place in late July and sometimes into early August and the beach is connected to the beautiful Stanley Park via the seawall. There is a tonne of attractions surrounding the beach, and you can while away entire days here in the pursuit of pleasure.
18: Free outdoor movies
This is a real tradition in Vancouver. The showing of free movies in an outdoor setting has become de rigueur during the summer, and it’s a hugely popular pastime for families and singles alike. Settle down with a picnic and some friends, and you’re in for a great night! The soft weather in Vancouver makes this a great way to spend an evening during the warmer months. With locations including Stanley Park and Canada Place Promenade, you can be sure of a magical evening!
19: British Columbia’s huge variety of great water and amusement parks
If you’re looking for a fun day out for all the family, you’ll have no shortage of options with B.C.’s wide variety of amusement parks. These include the 135m Kitsilano Pool, LocoLanding Adventure Park in Penticton, Rattlesnake Canyon in Osoyoos and our favourite, the Splashdown Waterslides in Vernon.
For some nostalgia, don’t miss the iconic Pacific National Exhibition, including Playland Amusement Park in Vancouver. This century-old celebration has its very own fair grounds so that it can return yearly, and locals and visitors alike can enjoy all it has to offer. In the grand old tradition of the county fair, it boasts rides, animal displays, auctions, concerts and performances and is hotly anticipated every year.
20: An amazing education for all
The excellent public education system in Vancouver has to be one of the biggest attractions to anyone thinking of emigrating to Canada…and British Columbia particularly. The system is well-run and well-funded. Some of the best public (free) elementary (primary) schools in Vancouver include,
- Irwin Park (West Vancouver)
- West Bay (West Vancouver)
- Andre Piolat (North Vancouver)
- Chartwell (West Vancouver)
21: Vancouver is experiencing its lowest rates of unemployment ever
That’s right…ever! The organisation, Statistics Canada, released data in June 2019 which indicates that currently, there are more people in employment within Canada than there ever have been before, and British Columbia / Vancouver has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in Canada at just 4.5%.
If you’re considering emigrating to Vancouver, this of course will be a huge plus and explains why Canada is looking to migrants to fill their skills shortage. Finding employment is top of every would-be emigrant’s to-do list, and if these figures are anything to go by, there shouldn’t be a problem!
Bonus reasons for 2023-2024
A friendly and thriving British expat community to make you feel at home
Of course, you’ll want to mix well with the locals, but it is also comforting to know that thousands of British people are already living in Vancouver. There are, therefore, many helpful expat groups and home comforts, including many British pubs such as The Fat Badger and Cheshire Cheese Inn, serving fish & chips, Yorkshire Pudding and full English breakfasts. You can also get your British food favourites from suppliers such as the Celtic Treasure Chest on Dunbar Street to ease homesickness. Treats include Jaffa Cakes, Bird’s Custard, Branston Pickle and proper English tea!
Amazing festivals and events
One thing is for sure: you’ll never be bored in Vancouver! There is an astonishing number and variety of events and festivals to choose from throughout the year, including the marathon, Celebration of Light, Pride, Cherry Blossom Festival, music, sports, film, food, wine and many more. And with such a backdrop, it’s no surprise. Did you know Vancouver is also home to the famous Ted Conference?
Vancouver, British Columbia – one of the world’s most attractive regions for British people to move to
Offering a unique combination of modern, clean urban living with spectacular scenery all around, is it any wonder that Vancouver tops the list of places people are most interested in when considering emigration?
Vancouver is not only stunning and well-equipped, but it’s also highly forward-thinking in terms of its economy and public funding policies, so if you are considering a big move any time soon, make your enquiries sooner rather than later!
You may also wish to check out our Reasons to move to Canada article, which details many more reasons why Canada (and, of course, Vancouver) is such a great place to live.
At PSS, we help hundreds of people and families move to Canada each year, and you can be sure that Vancouver is at the top of the most popular destinations.
For more information about moving to Vancouver or British Columbia and to get a quote for shipping to anywhere in Canada, visit our Canada International Removals page or click here for shipping boxes to Vancouver and Canada.