A list of reasons to hate Gotham, in no particular order. This list is a work in progress …
(1) Grey and overcast:
If you were born and raised here you’re used to it, but come from somewhere else, or move away for a decade or two and come back – it’s hell! Where is the damn sun for 10 months of the year? I’m not a vampire I NEED SUN! Grey, grey, grey. Overcast, rain, grey overcast, fog, mist, grey, rain. WHERE IS THE SUN?!???
You complained about the winter conditions elsewhere but it’s not much better here. Like the east, it’s black at 5 PM until late morning in the winter … rain pouring down. At least in the east there’s SUN reflecting off the snow during the day and part of the evening; it’s actually brighter!
(2) Too much rain:
“But everything’s so green and nice because of the rain!” Sure that’s true. But what’s the point of nice looking surroundings when you’re inside 9 months outta the year because of the downpour!? Do you go out jogging, hiking, walking the dog, taking the kids to the park in the downpour of rain? NO!
But … I love paying an extra $1500 in rent a month to live here and hide from the rain!
In the east you hid from the snow all winter, and now here your bills are doubled/tripled to hide from the rain all fall, winter and spring …!
You live in the most expensive province in Canada (generally speaking ) and the most expensive housing market in Canada, or a close second. A house now costs over A MILLION DOLLARS; a condo is now over HALF A MILLION DOLLARS! A dumpy place in the lower mainland nearby is nearly $800,000.
Canadian law states that a down payment of 20% is required. Have you got an extra $200,000 kicking around on top of currently paying rent and bills? You’ll also have to pitch in for closing costs (inspection, titles, legal fees, etc) so tack on an extra $40,000 or so.
If you do have that money and you’re not filthy rich, why are you so dumb that you’ll pay that to live here and scrape by instead of living like a king somewhere else?
I know people who were actually dumb enough to sell their homes and come here where they will RENT for the entirety of their life/retirement years at $2000-3000/month!
(4) The Walking Dead:
Get used to seeing the mentally ill, homeless and drug addicts everywhere, especially down town! You’ll be shopping while crackheads smoke their pipes right beside you. Take a stroll with the family as people go into seizures and overdose in front of your eyes. Walk to work while businesses and the city are hosing off the feces in the street.
People flock here because it’s the warmest place in the country, exacerbating the problem. Most of these people are mentally ill or seriously addicted. The city pretends to “help” by spending money on shelters or other facilities down town which does nothing but propagate the issue. To seriously help these people you would need to change the laws, reopen the mental hospitals and have dozens of recovery centers and 24 hour live-in facilities downtown. But of course, that’s too hard and too logical. Instead we’ll just open shelters with crowded bunk beds and give people clean needles and vending machines. Why attack the sources of the issues when we can just treat the symptoms?
They spent a BILLION on the Olympics a decade ago, and some want to spend billions getting the Olympics back here, but they don’t want to fix this mess!
The DTES (down town east side) is infamous and has been notorious for decades! Even major cities like London and New York don’t have areas like this. The only comparable place is skid row in Los Angeles – a city with a population nearly as large as the entire province of B.C.! In the words of Snoop Dogg: “clean this shit up!“
(5) Greater Vancouver Zoo
So the zoo is technically in Aldergrove, but what a pitiful place! Absolutely pathetic: overpriced, uninspired and sad; wandering around a small, ugly little area viewing a handful of bored, lonely animals. (What a goddamn embarrassment.) Not much to see or do. The aquarium is nothing compared to American ones, but at least you won’t feel completely ripped off. Don’t waste your money on this dump!
(6) Smug locals:
The idiots here think they’re “so great” because they live in Vancouver. Since the rest of Canada is a shit hole with arctic winters (and the rest of B.C. is a dump with more of the same) they feel smug living in “warm” Vancouver. It doesn’t matter that a house will cost a million dollars, living is unaffordable, salaries are lower than elsewhere, or that it rains 3/4 of the year, they’re smug and self satisfied.
Despite the smugness they’re also cripplingly insecure: when someone makes a humorous, inconsequential Tumblr blog it makes the news. When a few people complain on Reddit it makes the news again. When some kids made the film “Crack Ass” about Surrey (a city in Metro Van) it made the news and the mayor got involved. Nobody is allowed to actively criticize “the best place on earth” – yes the license plates used to say that. Sure you can complain about city issues, but you’re still pressed to acknowledge how amazing this place is and superior to elsewhere. Fools !
(7) Rental prices:
Forget searching for Noah’s Ark or El Dorado … try finding a decent, affordable apartment in Vancouver! Average rent is around $3,000 for a two-bedroom and over $2,000 for a one-bedroom, which may be a little more or less depending on where you are; rental vacancy is currently hovering around 1%.
I remember over a decade ago (when I left) I was paying $1500/month for a one bedroom – nothing included- in a garbage apartment where three people were murdered in the span of a few months and bullet holes filled the foyer. Oh but it’s totally worth the cost! To quote another: “but, but … muh mountains!”
(8) The “Big One”:
It’s inevitable that a major earthquake is going to hit the Pacific Coast. It’s predicted to be a 9.0 – causing massive destruction and a tsunami with waves up to 20 meters high. The last one was hundreds of years ago and the next one could quite literally be any day now. The prospect of the ‘Big One’ hangs over the city like a cloud, but most people aren’t prepared and assume it won’t happen.
Imagine spending $700,000 on a condo on Vancouver Island, or $1,000,000 on a house in Vancouver only to have an earthquake completely destroy everything! Better start looking up insurance, mind the deductibles and premiums!
It’s extremely difficult to find a place to rent if you have pets (particularly dogs). The Residential Tenancy Act gives landlords the right to prohibit pets, and unlike other provinces there are no legal protections or rights for pet owners. Only about 10% of rentals are pet-friendly and these tend to be very expensive, high-end places. Competition for the few overpriced units is stiff regardless, and tons of people are forced to give up their pets or face homelessness.
In places like the United States people riot as a protest over social injustices, which may be: poverty, income disparity, systemic racism, police brutality or any number of complaints. In spoiled, fool-hardy Vancouver they riot over hockey games and concerts!
They rioted over the Grey Cup in 1963 and 1966, and outside a Rolling Stones’ concert in 1972. They rioted in 1994 when the Canucks lost, and again in 2011. (And let’s not forget about the one in 1907 where they rioted over Asian immigration.)
(11) Wet dog.
Dogs make great companions: they’re loving, loyal and guard the home. They also stink when they’re wet. And it sucks when you live somewhere that rains 80% of the time because it demotivates you from taking the dog out. When you do your dog gets all wet, the fur stinks, the stench is rubbed onto other materials in the home (which in turn stink), and muddy paw prints are left everywhere.
(12) Gas prices.
Gas prices are usually the most expensive in B.C., and especially in Vancouver. (Fuel taxes are the highest as well.) After reaching $1.70/liter the premier ordered the B.C. Utilities Commission to investigate why prices are so high. The B.C. legislature finally had to pass a law mandating fuel companies disclose how their prices are set.
In typical B.C. corruption-style, the report found “no collusion” but magical “unexplained price differences” costing consumers an extra half billion per year. B.C.’s corrupt politicians also refused to provide provincial price regulations. Right now gas prices are hovering at around the $1.49/liter mark – the highest in the country and province.
(13) Car Insurance
Of course, in addition to all the other expenses, if you live in Vancouver you get to pay the highest amount for car insurance. B.C drivers pay the most in Canada, at an average of nearly $2,000 per year. ICBC (Insurance Corporation Of British Columbia) runs a monopoly in the province and its basic coverage is mandatory.
(14) “Mountains” excuse.
If you ever bother to complain to the smug, deluded locals you’ll hear some variation of … “but … but … the mountains!” The “mountain views” are the miraculous cure-all for any personal or financial woes and excuse everything.
There was a time when the middle class in North Van and the upper class in West Van were situated in the lower mountain regions/next to real wilderness; with urban sprawl, population growth, and new construction that time is nearing its end. You’re not living in beautiful wilderness in down town Vancouver, or east Van, or shit ass Burnaby or Surrey. You might be near a park or can view the mountain tops from your window – worth the $3k rent? You decide! Only the rich are living the true “mountain” Vancouver lifestyle.
(15) “Ocean” excuse.
Another variation of the ‘natural beauty’ excuses – but this time the ocean. And by “ocean” they mean the beach/seaside. Who has ocean views? Unless you live in a multi-million dollar house right on the waterfront, you don’t! Or unless you live in an ultra-expensive apartment down town right by the beaches, you don’t, again.
The vast majority of renters in down town Vancouver, North Van, West Van, Burnaby, Surrey, New West and everywhere else don’t have “ocean views”. Count on your fingers how many times you’ve been to the ‘ocean’ (sea) this past year, and ask the person next to you as well. Once? Twice? Five times? Once a week during the summer? Worth $30,000 in rent? You decide! Even the mountain-excuse is better than this one!
(16) Minimum wage.
B.C.’s minimum wage is not enough to live on. If you’re a student attending college, an immigrant, or need an entry-level position in the work field you aren’t going to get by unless you live with multiple other people.
According to a study: minimum wage workers can’t afford a one or two bedroom apartment in ANY of Vancouver’s 70 neighborhoods. That would require a 112 hour work week. To spend the recommended 30% of income on housing a person would need to make over $35/hour.
People I know who make $4-5k a month and live alone still spend half their income on rent. So it’s either multiple generations in one house, a half dozen students living together, both parents working or toeing the precipice of homelessness! (And this isn’t including food, bus passes, daily necessities, etc.)
(17) Lowest pay for tech workers.
Vancouver has the lowest wages for tech workers in North America, something the city actively bragged about while trying to attract business. The average wage of a Vancouver software engineer is $60,000 USD ($80k CAD) compared to $113,000 USD in Seattle.
(18) “Sun” bragging.
Sure, a warm sunny day is undoubtedly a good thing – unfortunately Vancouverites won’t shut up about it. After 40 days of rain and one sunny day: “See? It doesn’t rain all the time! It was a beautiful day today!” After 10 months of grey, gloom and downpour: “We’ve had four weeks of sun this summer. See? It doesn’t rain all the time here!” If there’s even one sunny day all year Vancouverites will brag about it and downplay the other 364 days of rain. ‘Cause it’s “the best place on earth!”
(19) Money Laundering.
In 2018, 7.4 Billion was laundered in B.C. alone, 5 Billion of that coming from real estate – the majority of it in Vancouver. Why does this matter? It pushes up real estate prices, which in turn screws locals out of home ownership, distorts the economy, and causes breakdown as the middle class and working professionals go elsewhere.
(20) Seasonal Affective Disorder.
S.A.D is a mental health disorder wherein the weather/seasonal change can cause depression in some people. The most common form is found as the days get shorter and colder: generally fall or winter. Vancouver doesn’t have an extreme seasonal change as it is generally grey, overcast and raining, in fall, winter and spring – meaning if you have S.A.D you’re screwed.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association it affects 2-3% of Canadians severely, and another 15% in a milder form. That’s nearly 1 in 5 Vancouverites!
Despite a recent decline in 2019, British Columbia has been setting new records for overdoses for the past six years. Of course the largest number happen in Vancouver. (See: The Walking Dead, #4). This isn’t a surprise given the size of the city and the problems down town.
(22) Unhappiest city.
Studies consistently rank Vancouver as the unhappiest city in the country. This is no surprise given the low wages, skyrocketing costs of living, housing market, corruption, and rain. Whenever it doesn’t hold this distinction, it’s coming in second place to Toronto.
(23) Very little heritage.
British Columbia didn’t join the Confederation until 1871. The city of Vancouver wasn’t incorporated until 1886 making it one of B.C.’s youngest cities; that year a fire razed it to the ground and it had to be completely rebuilt. So there is very little by way of old heritage buildings, sites and history like you find in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec city or even Halifax! (Something built in 1900 is “old” here.)
When there aren’t wildfires up north or in the interior of the province then they’re below in the United States. Time to breathe in that nice grey smokey air! Every end of summer there’s the feeling of apocalypse-lite as you wander around the smoke haze.
Food isn’t necessarily a lot more expensive than other places (although it isn’t cheap either) but it’s required to live and feels terrible when you don’t have enough of it to eat. Affording it can be difficult when you’re paying the most expensive rent (or mortgage) in the country, the most expensive gas and car insurance in the country, and so on. (Unlike the new shoes or movie tickets it’s not something you can forgo.)
(26) Missing the snow.
After years of arctic temperatures, blizzards, huge snowfalls, and the rest of the inconveniences that come with the crazy winters – you’re complaining and wishing you could live in the mild winter climate of Vancouver, until you get there!
Years later I can actually say I prefer the snow. I’ve come to call Vancouver “Gotham” because of the gloom and dreariness which becomes oppressive for months on end: the black or grey skies, constant downpours, damp that chills your bones – it’s awful. At least snowfall is beautiful and snow reflects light making things brighter. If you’ve got quality winter gear and a good vehicle, I’d take the snow any year!
Assholes are everywhere and this place is no exception. But what’s worse than dealing with massive assholes all around you? Dealing with massive assholes while living in the most expensive place in the country and paying the most expensive rent, gas, car insurance, bills, etc. It’s the cherry on top of the shit cake!
(28) Lousy radio stations.
The radio stations pretty well suck, with Z 95.3 still being the same crappy station its been for decades. (The non-rock stations still play “Soul Decision” !!!!!)
(29) Shit service at criminal front organizations.
Prepare for the worst Chinese food you’ve ever tasted, a hideous tattoo, a pedicure accompanied by infection … ETC. Although most of B.C.’s criminal money is processed through casinos, real estate and drugs – there are also plenty of front organizations. It sucks when you happen to use one (unaware) because of the terrible service and ’employees’ who can’t do their jobs. (It could be argued they’re actively trying to drive away legitimate customers!)
(30) Shit help for the disabled.
For example, take the typical disability payments: $1,200 a month to live on for a single disabled person; up to $1,600 for a single parent with two children. Keep in mind that the average one-bedroom rental in Vancouver is over $2,000 a month. Even if you move to Surrey, Burnaby or New West – you’d be lucky to get a one bedroom for $1,200 a month.
(31) Shit help for the poor.
On ‘Income Assistance‘ (welfare) you will receive $760 a month if you’re single, or a whopping $1,300 a month for a couple with two children. Vancouverites are so generous!
(32) Shit affordable housing.
Because Vancouver doesn’t care about the poor whatsoever, subsidized housing is a joke. There is a serious need and to keep up with it Vancouver would have to build 10,000 units a year, which of course they don’t do and build condos instead. Only 4-5% of Metro Vancouver’s housing is ‘public housing’ compared to 20% or more in many European cities. People will wait YEARS and as of 2017 there were 4000 people on the waiting list.
(33) Driving in the rain.
With the wet roads comes the glare on the puddles and rain from streetlights. It’s even worse at night in certain places because you can barely see the traffic lines and stops. In dimly lit areas it’s downright scary! (Don’t forget the hydroplaning!)
(34) Can’t even own a mobile home.
There are few areas set aside for mobile homes because of Vancouver’s real estate market selling off to foreign interests or big companies. Even if you find a park to live at (on undisputed land) the pricing is ridiculous. For instance let’s take Surrey (generally considered the cheapest area) and have a look at listings: the cheapest you’re going to find is about $150,000 going up to $400,000 to live in a trailer!
One of the biggest complaints about Vancouver? Loneliness. Year after year the complaints continue. People call it a cold, socially-isolating, depressing and lonely place to live. Whether you’re a senior, young person, immigrant or single, everyone seems to struggle with it.
From 2012-2017 it’s the same old (and you could even discuss it with an MP over a $25 breakfast)! Complaints about it in 2012; one out of four residents complaining about it in 2017; now in 2020 a guy who moved to Vancouver is making a documentary about it; some poor man made a cry for help about it in 2018 (that went viral); that led to a CBC special series about it (including a mental health crisis hotline centre where 80% of calls were about it); this could go on and on. It’ll still be this way 10-15 years from now, guaranteed.
The best advice would be “get out there” and “go meet people”. That’s kind of hard to do when you can’t afford to, when you live-to-work, with the urban sprawl and racially self-segregated neighborhoods. Plus it’s raining outside … AGAIN !!!!
(36) Highest single-family home property taxes.
According to SFU research, Vancouver homeowners pay the highest single family property taxes in Canada – even beating out Toronto by $1,000 a year! In typical Van-style it’s not clear where all the money is going or what it’s being spent on; costs don’t equate to adequate public services and an audit is suggested.
I’m not sure who else suffers from this … painful inner earaches that feel like the start of an ear infection (yet never seem to progress that far). Despite years in Ontario with the temperature fluctuating between 0 C to -30 C I never experienced this; I assume it’s related to being cold in the damp.
Living in the most expensive place in the country is a bad situation in emergencies … whether it’s personal, a pandemic, or anything else. If you can’t work you’re soon in over your head.
Take COVID for example: how do you afford $2,000/month rent during a two month shutdown if you aren’t allowed to work? If your business is forced to temporarily close how do you pay your $5000/month rental space?
There are endless examples but the main point stands: unless you’re wealthy Vancouver is a bad place to be with health problems, work issues, or local/national emergencies.
(39) Cockroach landlords.
One problem with living in an expensive, overhyped city with a vacancy rate of 1% (down to 0.4% in surrounding areas) is horrible landlords who are emboldened and entitled. They know there are dozens of applications for every rental and that risking eviction or battles with the Tenancy Board puts people in a perilous predicament. They use their advantage to take liberties in how they treat their tenants.
You can expect: slumlords who never do repairs; slumlords who mislead you into renting places with severe issues (mold, bugs, leaks, etc); landlords who expect “extras” from tenants free of charge (repair and maintenance, landscaping and lawn care, babysitting, “massages”, etc); landlords or building managers who are never available (since they live in China, don’t speak English, etc); on and on.
The damp is awful for many reasons! First, is constantly feeling cold and/or uncomfortable. Second, is the structural damage done to buildings from condensation or rain penetration (mold, water logged walls, etc). Third, the damp can aggravate asthma, bronchitis, respiratory issues, arthritis and other conditions, worsening them.
(41) Leaky condos.
Built between the 80s and 1998 there were a minimum of 65,000 “leaky condos” across the province. “The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines leaky condos as a “catastrophic failure” of building envelopes, which lets water into the building frame and leads to rot, rust, decay and mould.”
After spending over $500,000 on their condos, people began to discover the poor design and “California style” construction was not suited to the wet, damp climate and expensive repairs were needed. Some spent over $150,000 on repairs while others went bankrupt.
There was then an “inquiry” that led to “higher standards” and a short lived interest-free loan for “leaky condo” owners. There are currently around 200 (acknowledged) leaky condo buildings still in the Lower Mainland and twenty years later repairs are still ongoing. Beware of the leaky-condo lemons out there!
Yes, there are gangs in ‘nice little Vancouver’ too and they’re only growing in numbers, shootings and levels of violence. (And in typical Vancouver-style everything is ass-backwards!) While gangbangers in the U.S. came from slums with extreme poverty and no prospects, most of Vancouver’s gangsters are middle-class and rich kids from good homes looking to make fast, easy cash.
Aside from classic bikers (Hell’s Angels) there are the Red Scorpions, United Nations, Brother’s Keepers, Independent Soldiers, etc; and the Indian and Chinese groups.
Yes there are drive-by shootings here too, where innocent bystanders are hurt and killed or wrong properties targeted. In fact, you’re more likely to witness a drive-by in an upper class neighborhood than Vancouver’s poorest areas. Gang-related violence accounts for 37% of all killings in BC.
(43) Port city.
Vancouver, Halifax and Montreal are Canada’s three major ports. Vancouver by its very geography is a port city, which makes it an automatic target for criminals and smugglers: guaranteeing crime, violence, gangs and corruption, despite local laws and policing efforts.
More than 1.5 million shipping containers pass through every year, and only 3% are checked by Border Services; corruption, incompetence, and Vancouver-style idiocy run rampant.
Some examples: fully patched-in Hell’s Angels members are part of the local Union; gang members from other groups are longshoremen, and criminal record checks aren’t required for longshoremen. Anecdotally, I know of alcoholic and drug addict longshoremen actively working (even while smoking crack)!