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)!
“Shocking as it is, great hiking trails and natural beauty don’t pay my bills.”
“It’s getting harder to find trails that aren’t being trampled by the masses. Getting there is also becoming more irritating as the highways clog with traffic worse than ever.”
“I feel the same. If you want to relax on a lake, you need to either travel three hours or to get there at 7am and enjoy until 9am.”
“This is what I’ve been saying for a long (long) time; no one denies Vancouver’s beauty – but it’s not the only beautiful city, and the cost to live in it (or near it) is so exorbitant as to be (at least empirically if not subjectively) not worth the cost. People being unhappy in ‘paradise’ is completely possible; Vancouver personifies this. More younger/mobile people should really consider leaving.”
“We did. Once my wife and I had our daughter we moved to Melbourne. Salary is 60% higher for us. Cost of living is almost similar, but the salary increase means we can afford better opportunities for our daughter.”
“I deny Vancouvers beauty. The nature is lit, the city looks like ass.”
“This. So much this. I could never undertand the claim that Vancouver is beautiful. It isn’t. It’s a revolting dog’s breakfast of uninspired architecture and shitty design surrounded by remarkable natural scenery. While I am no fan of the majority of modern architecture, Vancouver goes out of its way to look extra terrible.”
“I’m not sure what you want here, or what any of this has to do with my original comments on how Vancouver is home to a load of fuckugly architecture, but I’ll bite. I don’t live there anymore. Lived there for a number of years (Kits, East Van, West Van) before getting tired of the quality of life and jetting. Live in Victoria now. Much better, nearly incomparable. There are aspects of Vancouver I miss, but it’s easy to find it elsewhere (and it’s often done better).
If you want to see the best west coast city, it’s Seattle. The best Canadian city is a toss up between Halifax and Quebec City with Montreal as a close second.”
“We also don’t get that beauty anymore in August when “Smoke Season” rolls in. You can’t even fully enjoy the summer here anymore because it’s ruined by a sense of existential apocalyptic dread.”
“Well, Vancouver sucks by pretty much every other metric too. Dating? Sucks unless you’re a fitness lululemon junkie, loaded, or LGBTQ. Friendships? Unless you have a core group of friends you grew up with, sucks. Making plans with people? Prepare for flaking out.
Cultural entertainment? We have Bard on the Beach and Vancouver Symphony if you’re not into lesbian surrealist renditions of snow white at Community Theatre, that’s pretty much it. Challenging/interesting career with growth potential? Only if you’re a realtor, or maybe in acting/VFX. Everything else doesn’t exist here or caps out very low.
Family? Well, even if you can get hitched, you still can’t have kids because you can’t afford daycare or a place big enough to actually raise kids in.”
” … And at the end of the day, money doesn’t directly add new happiness but not having money does significantly add unhappiness.
Maybe some people can be happy living in the West End or on Commercial Drive with 3 roommates in a 1-bedroom (yes, I know more than a few who live like that), but it’s not sustainable for vast majority past early 20s.
Career growth isn’t even a financial thing, it’s one of self-actualization and personal achievement. Knowing that if you want, you can put your roots down in the city, and eventually achieve that C-Level position without having to uproot your whole family.”
“The red zones are where the middle class and poor live, although Richmond is also red. The light yellow is shaughnessy, and UBC and west vancouver are blue.
You could almost read it as a map of striving and struggle. The poor, middle class, and the wives of new-money astronauts are unhappy. While old-money in the middle of it is doing ok, old money set apart from the rest is happy, and academia just doesn’t care.”
“weird because in my experience with academia, about 1 in 3 people are clinically depressed, and I remember reading a paper that stated a similar number for phd students.”
“This is mostly due to housing affordability and income inequality that has markedly worsened in the last 3 years. The housing prices have pushed people farther away from their jobs and social circles. There are also significant financial pressures on the average person. There are increases in property tax, gas prices, car insurance and consumer goods/groceries (due to the low dollar). Combine this with increasing mortgage rates and it starts to paint a very clear picture. Vancouverites face longer commutes, less time for leisure, less money in their pockets and the stress of massive mortgages with increasing rates.
I know that I for one spend way too much time in traffic and have been increasingly frustrated lately. The Massey tunnel, Alex Fraser bridge, Lions Gate bridge, Iron workers memorial bridge, Patullo bridge and so on are bottlenecks that cause people to spend more time stressed out rather than at home relaxing. Our road and transit infrastructure is decades behind what is needed for the region. Transit is significantly worse as it can take 2-3 times longer than commuting by car.
It’s also tougher to socialize as people move away and you lose your friends base. Add on the fact that it’s getting harder to meet new people in society due to everyone spending so much time online, in traffic, overworked or stressed out at home. It’s taking longer to establish your career and reach financial stability which results in people getting married in their mid-30’s instead of mid-20’s. It’s no wonder that the birth rate is dropping.
This is true in most major cities across North America. The bigger the city, the bigger the problems. Vancouver’s massive attraction of foreign buyers has accelerated and amplified our issues relative to other cities. The politicians and voters need to step up and address these issues or they will only compound going forward. I have high hopes that the NDP will make progress but so far progress has been rather slow and underwhelming.”
“The BC government has done a shit job taking care of their citizens from a housing / deter money laundering and illegal foreign investment perspective.
And this underlying unhappiness trickles down into everything (like implementing bike lanes for example).”
“I think if any serious investigation is ever done we’ll find it goes beyond ‘shit job’ and straight into ‘actively complicit.’ Hell until right before the last provincial election they were still telling us that it wasn’t really happening.”
“I think it’s the fact that people keep getting their houses broken into and bikes stolen, while a permanent drug addict population keeps growing with a complacent and often-times complicit poverty sector, that makes people unhappy.
But keep diverting your attention to the latest phantom “crisis” (it’s always some variation of “rich corrupt foreigners”) that has never affected you negatively, but that the media has gotten you worked up about. You need an external enemy to blame your problems on, because Vancouver’s real problems are too hard to face.”
“Living in New Zealand right now.
It’s amazing how much more content and happy with life people 20-30 are when there’s actually opportunities for success available, the ability to buy a house, etc.
I imagine Auckland is more like Vancouver though since it too is crazy expensive.”
“Most livable unhappy city.”
“Most livable for the rich, I would add.”
“You forgot about unaffordable”
“It is so liveable, professionals are moving away due to high costs of living. So liveable.”
“Kill me now”
“Can confirm. Went to Vancouver, was unhappy, flew back to Germany.
Things i expected: A smarter version of the us, beautiful nature, happy people, interesting culture, nice Asian food.
What i got: can’t pay the rent, earn nothing, basic food costs more than minimum wage, expensive gyms, expensive housing, expensive food, expensive mobile bill, crackheads everywhere screeching at nothing, Asians, rich Asians, richer Asians, someone breakes into a car, someone breakes another mans skull, someone lives in our trash bin outside on the street, this costs money, that costs also money, monotonous condos, worst night life ever.”
“This is perfect… but I cracked up at the “someone lives in our trash bin”
“I love this because it is so true. Not sugar coated, pure truth. I had family visit and live here for “6” months to travel and visit BC. They left after 4. They had the idea of moving from London city centre to DT Vancouver and being able to walk around to and fro. What they didn’t realize is the crackheads everywhere so they felt uncomfortable with all the screeching and yelling. Naturally for a family from London with children 4-7. Quite the shame. Our city is definitely getting a negative light for those who visit.
Another anecdote was when my MiL visited from Seoul, she thought Vancouver was clean and safe, and sure enough, more crackheads and bewildered screams and screeches from addicts. It’s a problem. Fuck these junkies. Not mental illness, they are junkies who are addicted to crack, meth, heroine and they are ruining the city.”
“I’ve lived in a handful of cities in northern North America and while the Vancouver area is without a doubt the most spectacular when it comes to both natural and man made beauty, it’s got the ugliest personality of them all. It’s downright not “Canadian” just how unfriendly the average local is.
The lack of affordability for the average Joe makes Joe stressed all the time. Stressed people don’t tend to enjoy life as much, so when it comes to interacting with one another, patience and fuses are short.
On the opposite side of that coin is all the greedy motherfuckers out there who got in early enough or have unlimited resources and have pushed the housing and rental markets out of the reach of Joe and his family. Plus you throw in the rental scams (both trying to find legit ads or getting evicted so the landlord can “move in” and bump up the rent for the next poor bastard) and the lack of stability will drive you to wits end.
I moved out here almost 3 years ago for work, which worked out well, being as my wife and l had talked about Vancouver as a destination since the mid 2000’s. I’m now looking forward to the project wrapping up so l won’t need to live here.
It really is a shame.”
“Maybe it’s not Canadian because more than 50% of the people are from somewhere else. At this point Canadians have to adapt THEIR way of being rather then them assimilate to our way of life.”
“Crazy, you’d think a place with a super high cost of living, low minimum wage and 9 straight months of rain a year would be a barrel of laughs.”
“Depressed and lonely here, can confirm.”
“I think a lot of people are sick of being told that Vancouver is one of the most livable places on earth when a bunch of people can’t find a place to live, and can barely afford it when they can. When they realize they have to choose a place out of town, traffic is a pain and transit doesn’t provide a viable alternative.”
“Yes transit outside of the downtown area is shit. I lived in the suburb where it was literally faster to walk than wait ans take the bus (which sometimes didnt even bother to show up). The Skytrain is fine but needs public washrooms.”
“We need to show people that Vancouver is no longer livable, in fact you will die here. Guaranteed.”
“Based on the constant flow of people moving to the North Island from Vancouver I definitely believe it.”
“Condo living isn’t so wonderful after all. Seriously, back when I was growing up by Lonsdale, nature was a lot closer. North Van is getting ruined by all the traffic. Not that I care much, since I can’t afford to live there anymore.”
“I think your housing situation is worse. I’m looking to move to Vancouver and your rents are shocking and I live downtown Toronto”
“This. Had a coworker who flew in from TO. 1 week of every month and he was shocked – apartments are smaller for more $. So when people say that the price for a 1br in TO and Vancouver are the same.. the size and quality of that 1br differ.”
“I moved from Vancouver to another major city. Much happier now that I’m out of Vancouver.”
“It’s because things went downhill so fast in the last 3-4 years that people think Vancouver is worse off than other cities. Affordability is definitely the worst here but the sudden decline is what has people stressed out the most. There are worse places to live but it’s still unfair how bad things have become here.”
“The option of immigrating to another country always crosses my mind when this comes up, but once you’re waist deep in tuition debt, uprooting yourself for a new life is a hard ask. Nevermind if you just straight up have a degree/skill set that just isn’t marketable.”
“If it was a lot easier to work visa / green card South, I think there would be a much higher percentage leaving for the US rather than going East. I would move to Longmont CO in a heart beat if able.”
They’re unhappy because they haven’t tried living in other cities.
“No shit. Everywhere in Canada is cold as fuck. Try living in another country, it is much better.”
“Real estate values in previously affordable areas of metro van have doubled (or more) in 3 years and rents have gone up almost as much, it’s happened far too fast for us to adapt and re-evaluate our lifestyles/standards of living/goals etc.”
“This is what confuses me. On the international subreddits everyone is “omg canada so friendly poutine is the best sorry!”. It is clear none of them ever visited Vancouver. We are polite but sure as hell not friendly.”
“If Canada merged with the US, I guarantee that Vancouver would lose most of its appeal as it would no longer be the warmest city easily accessible to Canadian citizens. Hence the unhappiness in this town.”
“The most unaffordable city in North America is also one of the unhappiest? Colour me surprised.”
“Can confirm, I hate living here.”
“All I know is my wife and I will never be able to afford a detached house here. And maybe if we’re super lucky and continue to live extremely frugal we’ll be able to have enough saved for 20% down on an apartment or condo or townhouse in like 10 years.”
“its true its really all quite depressing”
“But the famous idiots of Instagram tell me VanCity is the best place on earth and everything is great every day and oh god I love this city oh god we have ocean and mountains and live for the moment so like follow and favourite my vide..”
“As far as I’m concerned, summer is amazing. It’s the rainy season that is so far the opposite that I guess it negatively effects us overall.”
“The pacific northwest is generally a shit hole because it’s always grey, fact. The only place more depressing is Manchester.
And truth be told, if it wasn’t because of work I wouldn’t be living here tbqh. Nobody knows how to drive and it’s constantly raining 8-10 months out of the year. And did I mention the CoL? $2500/m for a small studio? Pretty soon Vancouver will be a tourist hot-spot and nothing more. It most definitely won’t be a place to raise a family. Who knows – in a decade Vancouver might even surpass Monte Carlo in that regard…”
“Melbourne is infinitely better than Vancouver. The only thing that sucks about living in Australia is that it’s far as hell.”
“It’s the frikking rain, people. No brainer.”
“I’ve lived in this city my entire life and I find the longer I live here the more unhappy I become. I know Vancouver is beautiful and I should be thankful to live here but I don’t feel that way. And a lot of my friends have mental health issues and it seems like it’s only in Vancouver that it’s this bad. I travel a lot and I see people from other countries are much happier even with so little. Does anyone else think that living in a big city with so much opportunity that it’s causing a decline in mental health because more people are lost and feel like they have no direction? It’s also very competitive here and I find a lot of people are quite shallow and antisocial compared to other cities I’ve been to… does anyone agree?”
“All of the people I know that have left are actually significantly happier after leaving, which is why I was wondering. Wish I could do like a poll on here haha”
“I would have agreed a couple years ago, but my feelings have changed.
You’ll have to figure out what about the city is causing you to feel unhappy — cost of living, lack of engaging activities, etc. If not, if you go somewhere else with the expectation that you’ll suddenly be happier, you might be disappointed. The feeling from traveling doesn’t necessarily reflect the feeling of living somewhere. People in other countries may have their own challenges, and you generally have fewer responsibilities when traveling (e.g. you aren’t working).
Furthermore, Vancouver is not the only city with mental health problems. Suicide rates per 100,000 are very similar between Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.
Big cities do give off a competitive vibe, and maybe that’s just not suited for you — there was a study that says that people in cities are generally less happier, and I think part of it is because some people are in cities by necessity rather than by choice.
Lastly, from people I’ve spoken to who have lived in other cities, the west coast is very laid back compared to other cities — friends from Seoul, NYC and Toronto say that Vancouver’s pace is a breath of fresh air (one friend had been suffering from stress related health issues in Seoul)”
“Yeah I failed to mention this as one of the reasons I feel it’s difficult to live here. The cost of living. I love everything about this city from the mountains to the trees and would be difficult to live somewhere like Toronto or somewhere that is just a city with no view. But it’s just so unaffordable.”
“Weather can have a profound impact on mood and outlook, and when we get prolonged rainy spells when we’re expecting mild and sunny weather, it can get pretty oppressive.
Before you draw any lasting conclusions, wait and see how you feel a few days after the weather has been nice and bright. You may find a dramatic improvement, suggesting that poor weather has been an influence. You may notice no real improvement, indicating a broader influence. It’s an easy little experiment to do (though highly susceptible to confirmation bias) but you may find it helps to inform your next steps in terms of how to improve your emotional/mental health.”
“My mental health certainly suffers more in Vancouver, especially in the fall/winter months, but it’s not city itself more to do with the weather, short days and lack of sunshine in the winter,so yeah living here is a bit more of a struggle for me compared to San Diego and Phoenix where I have also lived, in those city’s the depression was far far less and overall I felt better and happier in those city’s especially in San Diego, I was way more active there year round since the weather there is so much better.”
“I think the depressing thing is the standard of living tends to decrease. Growing up, most people I knew lived in houses that their parents owned working regular jobs.
People aspired to grow up, own a house, travel, have a retirement, etc. Now, the dream of something like home ownership is all but gone for a lot of people, and their standard of living aspirations are much smaller.
Everybody I know who was moved away, to the island, to Calgary, to Winnipeg, to the US, they have better paying jobs, and many own houses, with yards, and vacations.
Here, it’s good luck just renting a place and lower your standards. Don’t plan on wanting anything too fancy.
Seems to happen to a lot of West Coast cities like San Fran, Portland, Seattle…they all have an opiate crisis going on now too. Coincidence?
But yeah, in a nutshell, as each generation passes, we’re told to expect less and less out of life – lowest paid, highest cost of living, congested. Imagine a buddy living in Calgary who pays a fraction for housing, has cheaper gas and car insurance, gets paid more for the same job, etc…
I know we have milder weather and beautiful trails but still…”
“Yes, it’s the most depressing place I’ve ever visited around the world and I can’t wait to leave for good and never look back.”
“The sort of Vancouver I’ve been exposed to, is people not doing anything other than staying home, watching Netflix, playing video games, 420. This is because of some self-imposed excuse of weather/$$/SO, usually once they are past the age of trying to drive back from nightlife in downtown (drinking and driving back from the club, and cabbing is too expensive because there is no Uber). Others are more healthy and regularly participate in hockey/ultimate/dodgeball/volleyball/hiking/basketball/yoga/badminton/tennis etc., which is at least healthy and recreational. In general I also don’t sense much hustle from people because everyone’s parents already can pay for their downpayment, so they are living a deferred Peter Pan lifestyle. There is not much meaning and purpose that Vancouver readily offers, because there is no struggle and its too comfortable. (Edit: https://www.reddit.com/r/vancouver/comments/bfsrn8/does_anyone_else_living_in_vancouver_ever_feel/elgjqv0?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x this comment actually echoes a lot of my sentiments) Most of Metro Vancouver just feels like a sleepy suburb where everything closes early, nice cars and blatant displays of wealth, while there is no obvious way to accumulate wealth other than converting into a FIRE industry snake and throwing away whatever education you got in your arts degree (not necessarily a bad thing). I actually have no idea what most people are even aiming for, other than trying to settle down and have brunch every Sunday and say they’re too busy with work, or because there’s not much apparent meaning, people end up on a hedonistic treadmill.”
“I moved to Calgary 3 months ago and honestly the sunshine helps me immensely. I know people will say “try taking vitamin D” but it didn’t work for me. I was honestly so tired of rain/overcast gloomy days. Since I’ve been here I find it a lot easier to be positive about things. Like my situation didn’t improve a million times over in Calgary vs Vancouver but the cost of living, weather and honestly the friendliness of people here is great.
This is just my 2¢, I love Vancouver and I called it home for a really long time but after visiting last week I can say I don’t really miss it.”
“I think the biggest problem as a country we don’t have the options for cities like it is in the USA.
He’ll there’s 70 cities that anyone can move to and there’s a different vibe.
We’re fucked for choices.”
“I grew up in Vancouver and moved east 25 years ago. I’m Scots Irish and my grandfather was part of a generation of men who arguably founded the city and turned it from a backwater rainforest into something resembling a modern metropolis. The city is a nightmare. I’ve never seen a place with so many isolated people leading lives that are meaningless. I think it has something to do with how isolated it is geographically. It is bordered on the south by the US border, trapped from the east by the Rocky/Cascadian Mountain ranges, and then further isolated and cut off by the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a relatively young city (compared to the rest of the world) with a terrible history of racism, poverty, drug abuse, and personal alienation. To add fuel to the fire, its housing market, literally where people have no choice but to live and make their lives, has been shockingly abused by rich foreigners who have treated it like an expensive, speculative, asset class designed to hide money (legally and illegally gained) from corrupt governments or foreign authorities. If that isn’t enough, there are at least two or three generations of Chinese immigrants (immigration is fine with me by the way) who can go to the same schools, eat in the same restaurants, and drive the same roads with you and your lives will never intersect in any meaningful way. It’s a failure of massive proportions. Behind a glittering, beautiful facade, Vancouver has a skull face like the angel/demons at the end of Raiders if the Lost Ark.
Unfortunately, that rant doesn’t really solve your problem, nonetheless, it addresses it. Some of the commentary here is telling you that moving cities won’t solve your problem. I can’t say if it will or it won’t. There’s an interesting documentary about a fuck up named Steve Fonyo (from the west coast) called Hurt you might check out. It seems to me that the thesis is that happiness is about where you choose to live and the people you choose to live with. ie. it has a “botanical” element. So, start something with other people that is meaningful to you – a book club, a running club, a paddle board club. Join something, build something, and do the hard work that puts glue between people and gives lives meaning. Best of luck.”
“You are correct. Vancouver living is overrated mostly due to the 8 months of rainy weather and subsequent darkness. Didn’t really like Vancouver that much but enjoyed living in North Vancouver and West Vancouver much more.”
“I find a lot of my friends as I get older in age are moving out somewhere East because its the price of living that’s causing the depression.”
“Don’t think I said anywhere that the city was making me depressed but simply saying that I’ve become unhappy as time goes by and have friends that are depressed and was wondering if it is because of the city. I’m a pretty happy person and never struggled with mental health but it’s just getting more and more difficult to be optimistic about a future living here. And people seem to be taking “the city” literally but more so everyone in the city as well as the city itself and what the city consists of. And it’s because of all the travelling I’ve done to so many places that I feel this way. For example there is trash everywhere in this city and so many garbage cans however you go to an extremely populated city like Tokyo where you can’t find a garbage can anywhere yet there is no litter anywhere…”
“I found the exact opposite when I travelled there. New Yorkers get such a bad rep but compared to Vancouver people they are way less shy, awkward and antisocial. I had more banter and great interactions with random strangers there than I’ve had in my whole year in Vancouver.”
Why are people in Vancouver so unhappy?
“It’s not a difficult question to answer.
Fewer close social ties. Research shows social ties are a major predictor of happiness. As the city becomes more unaffordable people leave and social ties break. Building new relationships takes time. But fewer ties = less happiness, in general.
It’s harder to make ends meet. When you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s harder to enjoy life. You spend more time working, have less income for the necessities (housing, food), less disposable income for discretionary purchases, less leisure time, less social time, and more worries.
Relative income matters. Research shows you’ll be happier if you earn 100k when everybody else earns 50k vs if you earn 200k when everybody else earns 250k. Vancouver has stratified along the lines of homeowners vs renters. If you’re a renter, you have less wealth than homeowners in your community. Because we’re social animals, we compare ourselves to our wealthier friends consciously and/or subconsciously. And the results of that comparison makes us less happy.”
” Salaries and unemployment levels did not emerge as much of a predictor of one’s happiness as did shorter commute times and what proportion of a family’s income goes toward housing. This confirms work by the Vancouver Foundation over the past several years that found that young people (between the ages of 18 and 24) in Metro Vancouver, and Vancouver in particular, are burdened by a sense of profound loneliness. It’s not a place where important human connections are easily made. “
“Moving backwards in life when you give it everything you’ve got, is depressing!!”
“Because it costs so god damned much to live there”
“Materialism and shallow people.”
“Seriously though, every time I go to the United States I always have random (not-homeless) people strike up conversations with me on the street. This almost never happens in Vancouver. The Seattle / Vancouver freeze is real. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_Freeze
I think multiple factors are at play, but I suspect asian cultural influences definitely plays a part.”
“Because, at least in Vancouver, their salaries are comparatively shit and their cost of living, mostly due to housing but other things too, is ridiculously high. What a difference some spending money can make.”
“Wanted: Extremely experienced professional self-starter to drive 50 km every day into Vancouver and try and find parking in order to sit in our soul destroying office doing things you hate. Must be proficient in 20 things irrelevant to your duties. Competitive $45,000 salary. No benefits. You’re taking over a mat leave. When we’re done with you we will discard you like the temp garbage you are.”
“No community, wealth disparity, rain. My tops <“
“Oddly, I think you nailed it in three fucking words. Dude.”
“When you write this all you seem to show me is that you live a very sheltered and highly segregated lifestyle away from all the shitholes. You aren’t giving me any reason to care about what you say because all you are talking about is stuff other people experience. Can you give a reason that Vancouver should be good for others?
There are a lot of people who can’t afford to blow their money on weed, alcohol, parties and dining out. And there are many people who can’t afford or for various other reasons can’t take 2 weeks vacation off in Whistler to enjoy the nature. If you can’t afford the time or money to get out of the city all you really end up seeing are the slums or a bunch of absent low-density housing. I hope that explains to you why some people see a lot of ugliness in Vancouver and not any of the natural beauty.
And when you write about poor people who are angry at hippies and cries of “racism” you betray a lot of ignorance. I feel relative to myself you have to be very privileged and have a very thin skin to care about such problems. To me real problems are family and friends experiencing pneumonia, being crippled, teen pregnancies, broken homes, affording dental care and the premature slow decay, ageing and enfeeblement of gluttony, cigarette, alcohol and other diseases and addictions. It’s only words on the internet. In an environment where it is common to swear like a longshoreman racial slurs just aren’t that serious.
And maybe the reason that I am not a fan of the “pretty girls wearing tight outfits” is because my comparable peers were “white trash” who got pregnant in high school. To be honest, I should stop kidding myself that I’m much better and probably date downward around in the 2/10 range. I can certainly tolerate “pretty girls wearing tight outfits” but that doesn’t mean its something to be happy about.
I like to pretend I’m better than where I grew up and block out a lot of it but its just not possible to forget the anger. I hope this shows to you why there is a lot of some people see a lot of ugliness, just don’t care about the same problems as hippies and liberals, and have a lot of jealously and rage towards the rich and attractive. And of course there are a lot of people who had it worse than me such as a bunch of the First Nations.
Also what is this weird fucking obsession with “sushi?” It doesn’t taste like anything. It’s just bland and nothing like styrofoam.
Also can you talk more about your Vancouver? I just can’t see how you can’t see all the fat, ugly, poor, crazy people with lots of problems.”
“Stress levels are high here. It is understandable It is hard to feel secure long term as you might need to move and then face serious problems in finding and paying for a roof over your head. It is expensive. People are flakey and not all that friendly.
Overall it feels like things will get worse too as new rentals aren’t being built yet our population is predicted to increase significantly.
Transit is good but a lot of commuting sucks with packed buses and trains that are too hot and stuffy and everyone coughing and sneezing. Forget about driving, you will go nuts with the horrible lack of skill and poor etiquette here.
Adding to it is the fact that most of us feel trapped here because we can’t easily go anywhere else and many of the same problems are all over Canada anyways.”
“I have friends and family here, so that keeps me here. I’ve also got a niche career that locks me to a few specific hubs in the world, and of all of them, Vancouver is the most appealing. I grew up here, so my roots are here, and Im acclimated to the seasons and lifestyle.
At the risk of being a gatekeeper though, if you don’t snowboard/ski/hike, if you hate long raining seasons, if you don’t have roots here, and/or if you aren’t tied to a career in the city… I’m not sure why Vancouver would be high on someones list of places to live.”
“born and raised in vancouver for 26 years. Moved out to Japan for a job in 2017-18, and still here. Honestly the grass is greener on the other side. Vancovuer is a nice city to visit, but a terrible place to live. High real-estate prices, dumb PC culture, lack of useful transportation, poorly managed civic construction, etc. etc.
The slogan “Best place on Earth” does not even come close.”
“Best place on earth (to sell some fentanyl and then launder your money through overpriced realty)”
“Welcome to the unhappiest city in the country!”
I am from Edmonton and been living here for one year. Here is what I observed since living here.
-The weather is much better then edmonton, Its much drier in Alberta and you dont notice until you go back.
Way way more space in Edmonton, the parks here will be full of people unlike edmonton. The lines here suck, Costco on weekdays after one hour of opening, you cant even find parking on weekdays.
-The people in vancouver suck. People from edmonton are much more friendly, lots of people here are snobby. Also parts of Vancouver dont even feel like your in canada (ex Richmond).
-Traffic and finding parking is much worse and the roads are smaller, although there are not that many pot holes.
house affordability and obvious foregniers driving up the prices.
Everything is cheaper in alberta. From gas to rent to no PST and you make less money here than alberta. Its not even funny.
nature and events there are more of that to do but they are sometimes packed w/ people.”
“People are miserable here because of the high cost of living and seemingly indifferent and cold populace. That’s my perspective 13 years after moving from Toronto.”
“It’s really disheartening to see that people who are genuinely struggling to live here, or LEAVE here, are being written off as shut-in-nature-hating loners. Experiences vary. For example: It’s really hard to enjoy that nature beyond Stanley park if you don’t have a car. It’s hard to have a car if you’re spending 1700 a month on a one bedroom. Want cheaper rent? Share with people or move further away. Oh wait, now you have a long commute!
My advice: hope you’re someone who can get used to seeing people OD after you leave your trendy dinner restaurant, and don’t have, or ever want a pet.”
“Can’t stand it, but this is where the work and family is. I keep my sanity by escaping the lower mainland at pretty much every opportunity I get. I’m actively planning the construction of a small escape a few hours up the coast. Vancouver is great to visit but its nothing special to live in. I grew up in the lower mainland and have lived in some of the most desirable area’s of Vancouver for the last ~3 years to see if maybe any of them were better… nope, the only reason to live in the city is to cut your commute down or you have the cash flow to eat out and go bar hopping every night.”
“I lived in Vancouver for 10 years or so and it was ok. The Rain and gloominess did make it difficult in the winter. It got more depressing as the years went on. Moved to Melbourne a few years back and I don’t miss Vancouver at all. I think Vancouver is a very pretty city because its surrounded by the mountains and ocean, but the city itself itself is pretty meh. That’s just my personal opinion.”
“The cost of living is extremely high. Wages are relatively low.
I guarantee you that’s the ultimate cause of 90% of the bitching you read around here.
It’s frustrating and stressful and makes young adults feel impotent.”
“I think you nailed it.
More so than just being expensive, many of the things you’re told you should be doing to be part of the Vancouver lifestyle cost a lot of money and are part of the resort town mentality here that exists, but people for some reason don’t want to admit to. It also doesn’t help that Vancouver is a resort town for the Pacific Rim’s economic elite. Many of the excellent activities really are only affordable to the top 5% of income earners but somehow everyone in Vancouver is expected to participate in them.
Oh, you don’t drive up to your second property every weekend in Whistler or have a seasons pass to local ski hills? Then what do you do?
Don’t go out for overpriced drinks and expensive meals at trendy restaurants a couple times a week? Then you’re just not taking advantage of this world class city. No wonder you’re a miserable fuck.
Fortunately, there’s also a ton of free or very cheap stuff to do in this city as well. The hardest part being that you need to find friends or have family that also like to do the same things.”
“That’s pretty much it. I do ok myself, but I know a lot of people who are not asking for much and work very hard, and despite that, they can barely afford a place to call home. I think to assume everybody wants a 3000 square foot home would be a lie, I think most people would be happy with a quality 650 square foot place that didn’t cost a fortune.”
“I was pretty happy in Vancouver, but I’m currently travelling and I’m constantly amazed how much cheaper life basically everywhere else is. I’m seriously thinking to move away and just make Vacations on the west coast. Maybe by the time I’ll retire I will be able to afford an island home and move back.”
“How about the 9 months of gloomy weather?”
“Oh I’m leaving. I just signed a 1-year lease and I am seriously considering moving out east when it ends next year. I’m here for my career, I did really well for myself in tech. But I would take a pay-cut to live somewhere where there is actual quality humans, affordable housing, and place where you aren’t shamed for being conservative. I’m really interested in visiting Halifax to see if would be the right fit.”
“Grew up here. can’t stand the bad drivers and pretentious entitlement of people. There are tons of nice people too, but I’m done. Moving to kamloops because I can transfer up there and work in the same field of work, and afford a house with a yard. Seems like a no brainer.”
“I left Vancouver about 2 years ago and moved to Melbourne. Having grown up in Vancouver ( and briefly Edmonton) I decided I needed one last life shift. No regrets and loving it so far. When you move away you see the horrible aspects of Vancouver and also a few things you miss.
Honestly though, I have to say my most recent trip back in December was abit of a shock. The city seems even more so on this insane hyper change that just blew me away more than ever in the past.”
“My fiance and I moved from Nova Scotia to Vancouver roughly 10 months ago and we are already talking about moving somewhere else in a year or so.
It’s not that we don’t like the city itself, though walking by a pile of syringes on the ground on Robson didn’t really make for a great afternoon stroll yesterday, but we both took higher paying jobs when we moved here and even though we have a good income and no children, we know we could never afford to buy a place to live here, and when you have to admit that, it just makes it hard to see any type of long term future in this city.
I would also add that I have never lived anywhere that has such abundant wealth thrown in your face as Vancouver does, and it can be a little disheartening.”
“Same boat. High paying job no kids but I can’t afford to settle down in a home and enjoy life. Sick of playing rental musical chairs.”
“Vancouver Is a terrible, terrible city to live in.
I was born here. I leave often. 4 years in London England, 2 in Paris and 2 in Los Angeles.
I will say it again, and people will argue with me, but It’s true. Vancouver is the most expensive city I have ever known. Our wages are the lowest. Cost of everything is 2x what you will pay elsewhere.
My personal feeling is that they’ve conditioned canadians to not complain, we are supposed to feel grateful and appreciative for everything regardless of whether it’s a good deal. We are supposed to be “nice”. It makes for an awfully one-sided relationship with the corporations that dictate our lives.”
“My husband is 2 years away from finishing his PhD, and then we will be leaving Vancouver for probably the US. There are way more jobs in his field south of the border, and I’m working now for a multinational so would most likely transfer to another office in the US when we make the move.
I’m quite relieved, because it’s depressing how much Vancouver’s identity is rooted in real estate, money laundering, and birth tourism, with no real sense of community. So I’m looking forward to him finishing his degree and us having the opportunity to start a new chapter.”
“I left Vancouver, made a career in Edmonton, got wife and kids, made enough money to now move back. Took me 8 years.
I left Vancouver to make a living. If I was still in Vancouver, I would be sharing rent and complaining about housing until I was blue in the face.
Go outside of the lower mainland. Opportunity awaits. If you are trying to wait for Vancouver to change for you, it will never happen. Vancouver is an area of Canada where the class divide is probably the greatest, job opportunity the lowest and affordability impossible.
Go outside of your bubble, find work in other provinces, become an expert in your field and once you have all that, then come back to Vancouver if you desire. A paycut will happen and real estate is expensive so make sure you saved up.
But if you sit there struggling to survive, waiting for the government to give you the affordable housing to lottery, you might as well lay down on the road and act as a speed bump. If your entire life is stagnating, you are slowing going to die from your own self inflicted demise.”
“We moved here a year and a half ago(ish). We struggled to find a place to live in, and the day after moving in, they implemented the new foreigner tax thing. We knew we’d never make enough to buy a place here unless we take a crazy mortgage for like 40 years or I don’t know what. My friends working in construction have all told me that the apartments here are botched and are not in good conditions, so it’s another reason why we weren’t sure about what to do.
So we have discussed and discussed, and we know we will leave vancouver whenever possible. This city made me extremely practical : do we HAVE to stay here ? no ? Then why struggle here when we can have a better life elsewhere in Canada ?
We can’t afford a car. We can’t afford even having children ! We are not tied here, so we can leave, but I feel bad for everyone who grew up here and is pushed out because of how expensive this city has become.”
“I’m 26 years old, and leaving this summer, in about two months. I’m beyond sick and tired at having to pay exorbitant amounts in rent prices, and having next to nothing to do here for nightlife or real culture. Everyone here is so douchey, and the new influx of wealth here has really ruined the city. All you basically end up doing outside of work is smoking weed, watching netflix, and reading books. It’s a very lonely and isolating experience for a lot of people, and I’m one of them.
I’m also tired of the ethnic enclaves- I really want a place with real multiculturalism, and a culture that isn’t built around fear or political correctness. People don’t even make eye contact out here out of fear of ‘xyz’. It’s probably the downtown eastside that influences this… The drugs and homelessness problems here are extreme, and up the whazoo. The dating scene is absolutely dismal, as most people are just passing through the city on an exchange, and those that choose to stay are forced to confront the actual cost of living here if they want to settle. Most young people don’t want to pay the price of living three hours outside of the city in an overpriced house. I don’t blame them. Not even remotely.
Also, there’s this weird element of denial and stockholme syndrome here. We’re supposed to be “the best place on Earth”, yet the locals have been sold out, overseas investors have taken over, families in the east live in poverty, and nothing substantial has happened about the extreme drug/homelessness problems in the last twenty years.
In terms of career, there are next to no business or career opportunities. Even if you got a good job out here, it’ll be underpaid compared to virtually everywhere else you’ll go, and at the very least, half your money is likely going to rent. This is often coupled with infuriatingly stupid living conditions (rathole basement suites, esl landlords feeling entitled to telling you how to live within the space you pay for, etc). You’ll find a place for $800 with any of the following: no stove; no shower; no parties; no dogs; no overnight visitors; no cooking with spices; must babysit our children/dogs; must give me massage services; etc etc etc! It’s disgusting.
Yeah, I’m sick of it. There are other reasons I’m leaving, too. But all I know is that I’m tired of waiting around in the hope that I’ll get to experience the Vancouver I knew as a child. That Vancouver is dead. What it has become now is a shallow narcissist, and it’s time to accept that.
Also, prepare for the narcissists and sociopaths that have come out here en-masse, like a massive in-crowd from all corners of Canada and the world. If you have lots of money to throw around, prefer a status-driven social circle, and you don’t mind pretending to be someone else to impress others, then sure, it can be a good time.
In terms of architecture, there’s no real character to the buildings either in my opinion- it’s all glass boxes. Anything with a history or quirkiness to it is soon torn down to make way for new developments. Do you think The Rio Theatre is going to last long? Exactly.
Overall, in my opinion as a local, if you’re saving for a place and are seeking real growth, down-to-earth people, real culture, real music, and real community and trust, then you are almost certainly in the wrong place. Even the weather sucks out here. You’re waiting in the pouring rain, living out day-after-overcast-day in the hopes of two months of summer, and even then, that doesn’t always happen. And dear Vancouverites, other cities DO in fact have superior weather and amenities. Just so you know. We’re not the only city in the world with mountains, and it ain’t the mountains you’re thinking about on a day-to-day basis when you’re working out here.
I don’t mind paying high rent anywhere, but if I do that- I’d better be getting something out of it. Here, it feels very one-sided, like a relationship with an abusive partner that gives nothing back to you, no matter how hard you try. And the smug BC Pretentiousness is just nauseating.
Anyway, that’s how I feel.
I know every city has its problems, but I’m beyond sick of this one. It’s way past time I moved on with my life. I’m going straight to Toronto. If I don’t like it, I’ll find a way to settle in one of Europe, Japan, or L.A. Life’s too short. Way too short to put up with this nonsense. You can’t get me out of here fast enough. I know there’s more to life than this. FUCK YOU, VANCOUVER!”
“I really like and miss Vancouver, but been living in Montreal for a while I see a lot of what Vancouver deeply lacks – art, character, history, culture, life! And the weather is pretty mild compared to these harsh winters we get here. Regardless, in a Friday night in Jan or Feb, at -20C, you go walk around at St Catherine, St Dennis or Crescent and there would be tons of people enjoying themselves, from pub to nightclubs, to burger joints to amazing coffee places. I would need a lifetime to try all places around here.
That said, I miss the seawall and the views. and I really dislike the political/separatism aspect fo QC.”
“I agree with your observations about Vancouver. I’ve lived here a long time, but have lived elsewhere too. This city is overhyped in many ways.
Our cheerleaders have done an amazing job selling our city abroad and locally.
To those who are looking for stability, safety, good education, healthcare, and nature, few cities beat Vancouver. But if you want long term affordability and urban excitement, Vancouver is low on the list of modern cities. Our nightlife generally sucks, there little in the way of a real arts district, there are virtually no good international-level museums and galleries, independent creative business are on the extinction list, there are very few affordable things for families to do during non-summer months besides visit malls, and our local governments have few ideas on how to make life fun.
If I was a millennial who could pick up and go, I probably would, but my roots are too deep here. Nevertheless, I sympathize with young people here who feel hopeless about this city that’s been way overhyped.”
“I think the entirety of the GVRD/Valley is over-rated. There are other worldly cities with mild climates and nice scenery that don’t cost an arm and a leg to live in due to high rent/real estate, gas, taxes, low wages, and so forth. Saying this is tantamount to heresy around here; people just point to the mountains, the ocean, and the mild climate as if this compensates for everything else – perhaps for some it really does, but for most, I think they’re lying to themselves. You want to see downvotes due to unpopular opinion, watch this comment for poof.”
“I was born and raised here. This city fucking sucks ass.”
“I would also add that everyone’s so busy working their butts off to live here, they can’t even enjoy this place.”
“Speaking from personal experience: it’s quiet because it’s expensive. I would love to go out every night and do something fun, but I can’t even afford to go to a bar and have a few drinks more than once a week. Shows and events are out of the question. I even make an events calendar every month only to find I can’t afford anything as it comes time.
Low wages and a high cost of living completely kill my ability to enjoy what’s “happening”, and i suspect it’s that way for many others as well.”
“Vancouverites are used to taking it up the ass it seems, in the salary department. I moved here also from another province and had to take about a 25% paycut. People here need to grow some fucking spines.”
“Vancouver is a nice place to visit. As for living and working, well that’s debatable. I left Vancouver after 12 years. While it wasn’t “terrible”, the lack of meaningful community, extreme competition among co-workers, low wages and astronomical cost of living had made living in Vancouver more of a chore than it was worth. What good were the North Shore mountains if I couldn’t enjoy them except to look at them from my office window? How pleasant was it to walk around a neighborhood, knowing the only way I could live there was by having tens of millions of dollars? And the whole “fake it till you make it” attitude was just getting too much.
The last year and a half of living away from Vancouver has reduced my blood pressure and stress levels, eased the strain on my bank account, allowed me to put together the start of a down payment on an actual property, and brought me closer to members of the community I now call home.
Just my 2 cents.”
“Agree about the COL in comparison to the wages. The wages do not compensate for how expensive it is here and that’s an understatement. Yes, everyone (especially newcomers) raves on about the beauty, the mountains, the water, the lifestyle but it doesn’t justify the costs.
And yeah, it’s not progressive like other cities; I mean, we don’t have Uber here, seriously! I grew up here and I feel stuck here given my age and situation.
I’ll make the best of it and I’m thinking of leaving the city when I retire. (although the way things are going, that may not be the solution either)”
“Vancouver has changed a lot over the past few years, and not in a good way. Here are just a few ways in which everyone favorite ‘most liveable’ city has changed for the worse.
Some parts of the city are effectively empty. If you walk around Coal Harbour or parts of Point Grey at night, you’ll notice that very few of the houses/condos have lights on. Are they trying to save on their hydro bills? Nope. The new owners live outside of Canada. Either they are keeping the property empty so they can flip it in a year or two, or they use it for 2 weeks a year when they visit Vancouver.
Young families are leaving / have left. When you’re 25 and single, you can pretty much live anywhere. Things change when you have your first kid. Now you need space, and the $5m homes on the Westside are just slightly out of your budget. So where do you go? Either you move out to Coquitlam and commute, or you leave for somewhere like Squamish or Kelowna.
The ethnic mix is changing fast. Some of the Kindergarten classes now have more than 60% ESL students. There are areas like Richmond, Dunbar etc that are pretty much Chinese-speaking now. Diversity is unquestionably a good thing, but some of these neighbourhoods are actually so full of non English speakers that they have lost any sense of community.
The ‘rural’ feel has gone. People used to say that Vancouver was a city with a small urban core, surrounded by a leafy, semi-rural area. Not so true any more. Densification is ongoing. Homes have been turned into duplexes, triplexes, or torn down and replaced by apartment buildings. Expect this to continue.
There has been no attempt to preserve the city’s character. This is true in a couple of ways. From a purely physical sense, the city’s planners have allowed countless traditional homes to be torn down and replaced by charmless ‘luxury’ boxes. In a less tangible sense, the uncontrolled immigration and foreign investment has rapidly and irreversibly changed the demographics. Has anyone in city hall ever sat down to think about what Vancouver used to be, and what its turning into?”
“Vancouver: the city with everything but a soul.”
“I lived there for a year and was amazed at the divisiveness of the people. No real sense of community at all. After a year I had enough and had to leave even though it meant leaving a really cool job.”
“Vancouver is like a sex doll – looks good, nice to visit but empty, expensive, and likely to cause self hatred.”
“I grew up just outside of Vancouver, luckily in what is now a $3m home my parents built decades ago on relatively undeveloped land. My mum is an entrepreneur that spent 30 years building a multimillion dollar business and there is no conceivable way she could afford anything remotely like it now.
I’ve made peace with the fact that, barring a huge windfall, I’m not ever going to be able to afford a decent quality of life in my hometown, much less a property. I’m into my twenties now and everyone I went to high school with either still lives at home, or paying ungodly rent to be crammed into a divided home like a Dickensian workhouse. And this is the norm.
It’s not so bad though because I’ve also come to realize I don’t want to live there anymore. Ignoring how obscene it is that the whole city is basically one big investment/money-laundering scheme for rich foreign plutocrats, there’s a huge diaspora of Vancouverites. In 20 years, when I might actually buy a house somewhere, Vancouver is going to be a cultural desert populated by bankers, real estate agents, corrupt city officials, and Beijing billionaires.
“B-b-but muh mountains!””
“Here is my Rant:
I lived and owned a few business in Vancouver from 2008 to 2015. Through my time there I had dealings with the business community, City Officials, Real estate developers and property mangers.
I can honestly say the city is broken. It does not have the will or physical strength to enforce any kind of limit to growth. The companies and real estate developers simply outspend and outmanoeuvre a electorate that is too transient (bet you dont know many people that live in Vancouver that were born there), or too uninvolved in the state of things, and a goverment that is all too happy to play along.
There are so many appalling things happening within the power structure it would make a US city like Baltimore cringe.
I currently make 2/3 of what I once made living in Vancouver, but I reside in Montreal. I am telling you I live like a King in comparison.
Every time I go back for work I cant believe I once lived there…”
“I left Vancouver a few years ago. Actually, I left Canada completely. Living in Asia; figured since I’m already becoming a minority in my own country and Vancouver is almost part of Asia now, might as well move there for real and cut my living expenses by 3/4.”
“I am from the easy coast. I moved to Vancouver after uni and stayed for 5 years. Beautiful if you get out of town and play in the rockies. Two points I would add are:
6) parts of the city are like an episode of the walking dead. My second day there I got up super early and took the Skytrain to downtown from Burnaby. There were junkies laying face down on the side walk (this is like 7AM) that I thought they were dead (nope, just asleep). There were city workers with Hazmat gear (gloves and boots) using these grasping sticks to put syringes into yellow and white containers. The drug problems in that city are unreal. Maybe other Canadian cities are equally bad but more hidden, but, I am guessing not. Why are there so many gangs and drugs in that city?
7) Job Salaries. When I got tired of it and moved to Toronto, my salary doubled for the same industry. I suspect part of it was me getting older and being more mercenary in my negotiations, but, it seemed like the job front was super weak.
I do miss the mountains though.”
“The uncontrolled immigration and foreign investment is definitely what is killing the city. And a change in policy should be such an easy fix. It’s pretty brutal that Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, yet Canadians who grew up in Canada can’t even afford to live there and enjoy it.”
“Can confirm, Vancouver has gone to shit.”
“I left because I couldn’t afford to live there. Even making a fair bit above minimum wage (was 8$ at the time, I was making about 14$) I couldn’t freaking afford to live in New Westminster! Not that I lived horribly or anything. I could live comfortably and never really worried about eating and shit. But no savings of any sort. loads of cc debt. just lived to work. rarely went out or enjoyed life”
“As a native born and 2nd generation Vancouverite I feel your pain. What the hell happened? The culture of homelessness and rights of street people and drug addicts have been far more important than us taxpayers. Needles, garbage, poop both human and dog, city halls disregard for heritage, but the worst offender is this cult of density. Surrey has lots of space to grow so go grow out there.”
“I make 90k a year and live in a 1br in the west end with my two boys. I need to reevaluate my life choices.”
“I couldn’t agree more I also find that places like North Vancouver are being torn down house by house and are being replaced by overly priced apartments. As a 18yo male who has grown up in North Vancouver I find this situation a bit sad. I have always pictured living where I have grown up, but this seems financially impossible. We should limit foreign buying as this is exploding housing pricing.”
“Vancouver is fractured. The communities don’t mix. The city has always been multicultural yet xenophobic, cliquey and shallow. Friendly on the surface but not really kind or less there’s something in it for them. It’s been like this since moving here in 1990 and it will never change because it doesn’t want to change. The locals are so deluded and brainwashed into thinking it’s world-class and this behaviour is completely normal. Ultimately, they will tell you to leave if you don’t like it so you give up and become anti-social yourself. You have assimilated.”
“I’m from Vancouver and I wish I could take back the time I’ve spent here and have spent that time elsewhere.”
“the most bland classist gentrified pretentious place on earth”
“Every city has its spirit and Vancouver attracts the people who suit it. That’s why you can’t connect. Those who can’t tolerate it leave quickly. Some of us are stuck until we can save enough to leave, all the while keeping to ourselves because the alternative is to interact with the shallow self absorbed poor hygiene degenerates. It’s only getting worse. Leave. You’re better off. Take a good soul with you.”
“This city is a middling place that offers nothing unique to the average person. It’s woefully overpriced and severely lacking. It’s a movie set dressed up as a metropolis. The desperation that many have here referring to this dump as world class is downright pathetic.”
“Born and raised here, Van is bad, but North Van (where I live now) is the worst cesspool of entitled wastes of space I have ever seen. Have hated it since day 1, I don’t want my son growing up in this twisted, toxic atmosphere, and we will be leaving.”
“Vancouver has slowly but surely become a disgusting nightmare.”
“They suffer from the secret delusions and lies spread around the continent about how wonderful Vancouver is. It is NOT! I’ve been stuck here for the last 30 years, and I have hated every damp, dripping, dark, dingy minute of it. Retirement is nigh, and I’m already packed so as to Rip This Joint as fast as I can.
It’s the nonstop dampness. Even in the summer sunshine, you’ll find yourself damp and clammy under what you’re wearing.
The other big complaint I have about Vancouver is the dark, foggy, low-cloud-ceilinged winters. I read somewhere that of all Canadian cities, Vancouver has the worst suicide rate. No wonder..All this WETNESS is enough to make anyone wanna get outta here.
AND my last big b**ch about Vancouver is how the wealthy are so neatly hived off geographically from the peasants. They live across the bay, over the Lion’s Gate Bridge in “West” Vancouver. Well, La Dee Fuggin DAH! When I happen to be in West Egg I smell snotty attitude everywhere.”
I just moved to London UK after 17 years (mostly) in Vancouver. In one week here, I saw the Parthenon Marbles, a dozen Van Gogh paintings, dinosaurs, a dodo, Raphael’s sketches for the Vatican frescoes. – all for free. I ate Bangladeshi and Keralan curries, and heard more languages spoken than I can name. I got everywhere on transit without waiting more that 10 minutes for any train or bus even late at night.
Vancouver culture: one tour of sketches or lesser known works by a Rennaisance artist will come to the VAG maybe every 18 months – otherwise, hope you like Emily Carr… Museums? UBC Anthropology is OK, I guess – but when was the last time they had a David Bowie show? Vancouver Aquarium is world class, definitely, but it’s hard to fill a year of culture going between the VAG, Aquarium, and a handful of local-interest museums.
I’m sorry to say, but clean air, ocean and mountains do not make for ‘culture’.
And, yeah, rent is the same here in expensive London as it is in Vancouver…”
“Does anyone remember that earthquake we had at the end of 2015???
Well, this part of the world is waiting for the BIG ONE….
Most of the year we have rain, showers, horrific rain & wind, spitting rain, pelting rain and of course misty rain…..
If you are single and make at least $20/hr you’ll be A-OK add anything more and you definitely won’t be A-OK, even if you live outside of Vancouver….think about that!
Traffic and shitty, shifty drivers (anywhere in the Lower Mainland!)
Vancouver is a mostly conservative city so I consider Vancouver extremely boring, especially in the winter if you don’t do sports outdoors. Generally speaking, boring if you don’t have a lot of money.
Daycare is very expensive and hard to get your child in (waiting lists are insane)
There is gang life and criminal operations but they usually don’t involve the general public, outside of the city is a completely different story though
For the DTE (downtown east side) it is really a sad place, the smells, the activities etc…. Personally it doesn’t bother me at all, its OK if you wanna walk around the area however late at night (after 10pm) I probably would not do that alone.”
“Vancouver doesn’t have economy. It’s a very strange city in that it has a lot of inhabitants who lead a pretend live-work lifestyle. In a way, living in Vancouver feels like spending prolonged time at an international airport. The airport has a mock city feel, there are some stores and restaurants, but they don’t feel real, because it’s not a real city.
Eventually, sooner or later, your flight is gonna come in and you’ll take off to a more exciting destination. It’s inevitable.”
“1. No corporate growth opportunity
2. Forget about buying a house and if you do forget about saving anything
3. Travel time to anywhere is so much
4. Ferry terminals are far
5. In and out of Vancouver is getting painful day by day
6. Streets are getting crowded
7. Politics is getting dirty
8. Prices are rising”
- Incredible high cost of housing (rental or purchase) which makes the cost of living very high.
- Wages that do not match the cost of living for many people, leading to poverty and homelessness even among working people.
- An entrenched drug using, mentally ill, chronically poverty-stricken and unemployed/unemployable population concentrated in the East Hastings area. Do not go down there alone at night…and I’d avoid it during the day as well.
- The WORST traffic congestion in Canada and possibly in North America, according to some rankings. When I’ve gone to the lower mainland, I try very hard to NEVER bring my vehicle. I HATE driving in Vancouver.
- Snow is rare and temperatures are generally mild – especially for Canada – but it can be depressingly gray with non-stop rain from November to March.
- A recent surge in what I call activist entitlement…such as tent city organizers who maintain that society MUST provide housing and income as a basic right.
- People who take advantage of Vancouver for criminal activity, including money-laundering, human trafficking, smuggling, and immigration fraud. It is a major port city and sits just north of the US-Canada border, so draws those activities.
- A surprising number of murders for a Canadian city. Most seem to be the result of rival gangs and the drug trade, so the victims are often reported to be ‘known to the police’ which is Canadian media code for criminals.”
“The prices for living is ridiculously high. A townhouse that looks like a dump is over 1 million.
Homeless crowd the streets, they build camps, and sometimes fires break out, burning houses around the camp.
Drug addiction, is horrible. When in Chinatown for a field trip, the druggies were so bad, we paid attention to the ground. Watching for needles.
EI – unemployment is under $700 dollars, my parents rent ou5 a 2 bedroom coach house for $2000 dollars a month. No renting near anything important is under a $1100.
In the Fraser valley, or lower mainland the bus routes are not out in the country like area, making cars a must.
Sidewalks where I live is rare.
The Provincial Gov’t is corrupt, to win two parties combined against the conservatives at the last moment, after voting, to have a house majority of 1! The Liberal and Green Party.
Lots of good happens in Vancouver also, the sea wall is a must.
Fraser Valley – Horse country. Drive around people have acres and every second house you’ll see horses.
Campbell Valley park , and Stanley park. The area is amazing. Horse trails too.”
“High cost of housing, to a large extent driven up by absentee Chinese speculators, has driven up real estate prices to the extent that most Canadians can’t afford to live there, even if they work in Vancouver. They have to commute from suburbs, often an 45 minutes to an hour each way. The downtown eastside is disgusting, dirty, full of homeless people and druggies. It’s so full of foreigners that it doesn’t even seem like a Canadian city anymore…it’s not the city I recall from the late 70s and 80s.”
“Traffic is hellish, and drugs are becoming a real problem in the Downtown Eastside. But the real problem is housing, both the exorbitant cost and the general lack of availability. Finally, certain areas such as Surrey and Abbotsford are experiencing unprecedented levels of gang violence. Don’t get me wrong: the situation generally does not impact the general public, but shootings are occurring with disturbing frequency.”
“it is extremely expensive rents are very high food gas cell phones everything is the highest in the world here.The traffic is horrendous and crappy transit unless you live in the city.Huge rich asian population the have and the have nots basically.Plus it rains a lot ,the city has no charismatic soul, other than that its great.”
Feel free to add your comments. Are Vancouverites dull? Compare these comments to other rantings and see how passionless they really are … can’t even be roused to anger.
Since people want a place to vent about B.C., here it is – feel free to comment! It really sucks that the rest of the country is such a shit hole that you have to move to B.C. to cope. You move here and it costs a fortune to live (mostly in dumps), Vancouver is a gloom-hole that’s too expensive to survive and glorified as the only ‘livable’ place in Canada. What a nightmare. What a fucking nightmare.
“I’d like to comment on BC, and racism. In the Fraser Valley, BC, you’ll see some of the most disgusting displays of racism. Take Abbotsford, BC for example. On the west side the public schools are nearly 99.9% Punjabi. Why? because the white people figured out they can move to the east side of town. Or, the white people (the Dutch and the Mennonite) put their children in their own schools. Now, the fault is firmly on the shoulders of the public school district, which built beautiful, newer schools on the “white” side of town. They allowed the problem to grow and fester and grow and fester until it’s virtually intractable to fix. How depressing and sad for “multicultural” Canada that we are all carved up into our ethnic groups like this.
Also, is it not incredibly racist to see the Chinese as only dollar signs? To invite people from a communist country to come over and buy up all your real estate? This is of course colonialism–where those with the most money get to buy up the land. So, while there is some poetic justice for the “cakers” sadly the Indigenous are just going to continue to be dragged down with the rest. What a joke Truth and Reconciliation is! Wouldn’t it be more honest just to let the Indigenous know they don’t stand a chance? I mean that at least would take some courage. Then the Indigenous would know exactly where they stand.”
“I’d also like to comment on how BC got itself in such trouble with the Chinese/China. (And think about, for a moment, the sad state of the education system in BC. The choice schools are so filled with international students, coz they come with the money honey, that local smart kids can’t even get spots! Some districts have signed ‘Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements’ but try holding those districts to their word and getting your own super smart kid into an excellent school. Fat chance!) Back to the Chinese–the “cakers” thought they were “smarter than” the Chinese. They thought they would know if they were being taken advantage of because white people are inherently smarter than the Chinese! How stupid! How completely stupid and foolish to think that you are smarter than an imperialist country that has existed for 4,000+ years, and is just coming out of Communism. As if that was ever going to end well for Vancouver. And even when the LOCAL Chinese Canadians were calling it out–they turned it on them and accused people of colour of being RACIST against the Chinese! Nice one “cakers”–smart.
Canada is 150 years old and it’s still doing business as it always has–exploiting the land, exploiting its people, and chasing the dollar. Now, wouldn’t it be something if we actually had VALUES in this place? Where we valued our children, where we built great schools–oh yes, our schools are just crap right now. They emptied out the city of Vancouver and drove everyone out to the Fraser Valley–so the Valley’s schools are filled to the brim. And the housing continues to be built with no planning–no new schools being built. No new parks. Money, money, money, money. And you ask local Canadian people to speak out. To fight. It’s always crickets. Always. I feel so sad for this country. I worry about the future of my own children here.“
“How about how they killed off the natural diversity of the forests, making deals with Monsanto, and killing off all the trees like aspens that are natural forest fire guards? So now, we can’t even enjoy our summers because we are drowning in smoke. (Note one Canadian who has true values, visit the site stopthespraybc.com, Mr. James Steidle is giving up all his time and risking his safety to expose the disgusting mismanagement of BC forests.) Now, to be fair Washington state and California are also killing off all the natural diversity in their forests that work to keep the forest healthy and help to repel forest fires naturally. But you’d think BC would understand that the one thing we should take very, very, very good care of is our forests. But nope, the kill off any trees that aren’t seen as having dollar signs attached to them. And, as the kill off the natural biodiversity, there is less food for the wildlife to eat–animals like moose are dying off. So, for Canadians to claim they value their natural landscape is really silly, isn’t it? As for the rain, if you learn to see it as nourishing the beautiful woods, then it can be beautiful. But it’s hard to love the rain if you hate everything else. I think really for BC the problem is more the corruption, which makes everything seem grey.”
“I have to say I am really impressed by anyone who comes here as a newcomer (I’m assuming you’re a newcomer?) and cares about the state of the Natives. Again, this is something Canada has down a TERRIBLE job on. See, it is WRONG to invite people in and invite them to settle on land that is basically stolen, whilst pretending as a nation that we are “doing” Truth and Reconciliation. For example, how many Chinese millionaires are educated on their way into Canada that they are buying land in Vancouver that is unceded? None are, of course–and millionaires don’t tend to really care if they are settling on stolen land, right? They’re like, I paid for this land so how dare you tell me it’s stolen. But if Canada truly valued justice, it could try to attract newcomers who care about values, justice, and true multiculturalism. But really, Canada is just trying to attract newcomers with money. This is very dangerous because regardless of cultural backgrounds, we are all human–and humans who really care about money tend to just really care about money. Thus, unless we have more newcomers like the author of this blog–like dude, you totally get social justice, we need more people like you–well, I don’t see much hope for Canada.”
“Okay, on Chilliwack. Do you know about the draining of Sumas Lake? If not google it, lots on it online. But basically Sumas prairie was once a beautiful lake–a lake the Sumas people based their lives upon. It was their food source and also their source of transportation. Well, when the Dutch/Mennonites came they decided they would use their talents for draining things to drain that lake. “They” (meaning the Brits and the Mennos/Dutch) all “voted” and decided this would be a great idea. The Sumas people thought it couldn’t be done–but oh, it was done. And in fact, to this day the lake water is drained into canals. They exposed fertile farmland. And, they got VERY rich off that fertile farmland–I believe they purchased that fertile farmland for VERY cheap. The Sumas people wept and wept–they watch fish flap and die. They saw their way of life literally drain away. I’m not sure if they have yet to be adequately compensated. But really, what compensation would ever be enough?”
“Next time you drive out to Chilliwack think about that sad story. Ironically, of course, every few years there are worries about Sumas prairie FLOODING. Because, of course, it’s meant to be a LAKE. This only happened in about 1920. If you tell locals about it some of them will say things like, “Oh yeah, that was my grandfather who helped drain that lake–it was amazing what we did.” They still don’t get how BAD it is that they did that.”
As I go through the process of covering the country, one idea presents itself: taking refuge in B.C. from the inept backwardness of the rest of the nation. This is a pretty common idea among desperate cakers, but B.C. itself isn’t all that pretty when you glimpse beneath the surface.
I’ve already covered the Thompson-Okanagan, and will get to Vancouver and area soon enough.
When people speak of moving to B.C., they almost always mean the Lower Mainland, Greater Vancouver Area or possibly Van island. Most people forget that at least half the province (“north”) is as bad as anywhere else they’re fleeing from.
Not only is it subject to the same terrible winter weather as the other provinces, but it can also boast of terrible poverty, redneck towns, and staggering levels of ineptitude. Having personally lived in northern British Columbia I can tell you it’s as awful as anywhere else.
Let’s begin with some shit town communities.
We’ll start with Prince George:
It’s the largest city in northern B.C. with a population of just over 70,000 people. A few years back it made it into Maclean’s magazine as Canada’s most dangerous city (a title it held for three years), although by 2016 it had dropped to third place.
21% of children there are living in poverty and over half of single parents are living below the poverty line. The minimum wage is $12.65/hour despite the ‘living wage’ being nearly $17/hour; and (according to a government study) 65% of studied residents were either on social assistance or disability.
Nearby on Highway 16 – known as the Highway of Tears – women (up to 40, according to some groups) have been going missing for decades. There are probably multiple serial killers at work. It’s been argued that little has been done since most of the victims are Aboriginal. And in classic B.C. corruption, whistle-blower Tim Duncan claims emails pertaining to the issue were deleted (he calls the B.C. government a “cesspool”).
Let’s move on to some other shit towns. How about Smithers? A town of less than 6000 people with almost no vacancy rate; an average rental is $750/month; no proper services or access to them. There is limited employment and most people can’t afford to travel anywhere. Basically, a typical northern B.C. town.
How about Hazelton? The village and surrounding district has 627 residents. See: same issues as before, but worse: a poverty rate of 80%. The town’s biggest news and “hope for the future”? An outdoor hockey rink.
What about Vanderhoof? A town with a population less than 5000 people. And more of the usual for B.C.: a nearly 20% “low income” rate; 10% unemployment rate; about 90% of people have to drive. See: same issues as noted above. Women regularly go missing or wind up murdered, and a local serial killer was sentenced a few years ago.
How about Prince Rupert? Its population is just over 13,000 and on the decline. It had a child-poverty rate of 30% in 2016. See: same issues again.
Let’s try Dawson Creek, a city of just under 13,000 people. Like most work in the north (B.C. and elsewhere) the majority of employment is through extraction and a lot of the industry is going to shit. Again, close to 20% of children are living in poverty. See: here we go again.
I could write about another ten shit towns, but why bother? Surely you get the point by now?
Overall, 1 in 5 children live in poverty and it’s been that way for years. As of 2017, it was the second-worst province for child poverty. The province only just now passed a poverty reduction plan/legislation – half assed, as per usual.
Its affordability is classed as “severe” and is the least affordable of the provinces (generally speaking) for housing and rentals. The average home price is $700k or more.
Half of British Columbia is encompassed by the “north” which is a collection of barely populated cities and shit towns where unemployment, poverty, and violence are abundant. A lack of proper transit forces people to hitchhike or pay absurd costs to travel. There’s a fair chance if you take risks while travelling you could be killed by serial killers. (With Greyhound stopping its services in Western Canada, there is now no reliable transport in the North – particularly along the ‘Highway of Tears’.)
The main sources of employment are extraction industries, and whenever clean energy comes into use those jobs will be wiped out and northern B.C. will become more of a wasteland than it already is. There’s nothing to see, nowhere to go, no money to get there; a lot of boredom and despair.
The Okanagan is unaffordable except for the wealthy few and has become a cesspool of drug trafficking, addiction and crime.
Vancouver is extremely expensive and just below Toronto in costs of living. Overall, B.C. is the most expensive place to live despite having a lower minimum wage than four other provinces, and rate close to a couple others. B.C. is jokingly referred to as “Bring Cash”.
Welcome to B.C., Canada … !
The following quotes and information are taken from the 2014 report: Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls: Literature Review and Key Informant Interviews
This is an attempt to narrow down the report to the most pertinent information.
“According to the 2006 Canadian Census, Aboriginal peoples (North American Indian -First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) made up 3.8% of the total population, with just over half (51.2%) of the Aboriginal population being female. This is nearly 4% of the total female population in Canada.
Although they are only a small percentage of the population, Aboriginal women and girls are severely over represented in sexual exploitation and trafficking in comparison to the general Canadian population (Seshia, 2005; Sethi, 2007; Saewyc et al, 2008; Sikka, 2009; Farley, Lynne, & Cotton, 2005; Ursel et al, 2007; Barrett, 2010)” (pg 8)
“As part of her literature review on Aboriginal adolescent girls in the United States of America (USA), Pierce’s 2012 research paper explored recent Canadian research. Also grouping prostitution and human trafficking for sexual exploitation together, her review of Canadian literature identifies “Vancouver, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; and Winnipeg, Manitoba as major centers for the sexual trafficking of Aboriginal women and children (p. 39)”
“Winnipeg: Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (2010) released a document citing a Government of Canada website (www.stopsexwithkids.ca) identifying that of the approximately 400 children and youth exploited in Winnipeg every year, a high of 70-80 percent were of Aboriginal descent (and 72% of the 400 had been processed through Child and Family Services).”
“A 2010 extensive literature review by Barrett identified and explored promising practices for the prevention of human trafficking in Canada for the Status of Women Canada. Barrett stated that “studies on human trafficking in Canada conclude[d] that the majority of people trafficked within Canada are Aboriginal women and children victims of sex trafficking” (p. iii)” (pg 9)
History of Abuse
“Below are some of the highlights of the experiences of the experiential Aboriginal women in the report:
79% had been abused as children (on average by 4 perpetrators).
Over two thirds of the women had family who had attended boarding schools.
92% had been raped.
84% had been physically assaulted.
72% experienced traumatic brain injuries in prostitution.
98% were either currently or previously homeless.
52% at the time of the interview had PTSD; 71% had symptoms of dissociation.
80% had used outpatient substance abuse services; 77% had used homeless shelters; 65% had used domestic violence services; and 33% had used sexual assault services.
92% wanted to escape prostitution.
(Farley et al, 2011, p. 3)
Additionally, from the pool of participants, thirty-nine percent identified as prostituting as minors (below the age of eighteen) – which means they were trafficked.”
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
“In a 2005 paper examining prostituted and trafficked women, out of the one hundred participants, including both First Nations and non-First Nations, 72% qualified for PTSD, which is “among the highest reported in populations where PTSD has been studied, including battered women, combat veterans, childhood trauma survivors, rape survivors, and torture survivors” (Farley, Lynne, & Cotton, 2005, p. 255) . Those who are prostituted and sexually trafficked often experience extreme and intentional violence, abuse and torture. It is no surprise that these women and girls fulfill the criteria for PTSD. Such evidence suggests the difficulty of trying to move on from sexual exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution.”
“The over-representation of Aboriginal women and girls in sexual exploitation and trafficking in Canada has been explored on repeated occasion through a span of years. However, the identified root causes never seem to change. These are the impact of colonialism on Aboriginal societies, the legacies of the residential schools and their inter-generational effects, family violence, childhood abuse, poverty, homelessness, lack of basic survival necessities, race and gender-based discrimination, lack of education, migration, and substance addictions.
In some Aboriginal communities, these root causes coupled with rural/remote living conditions creates a complex environment that contributes to an increased risk among Aboriginal women and girls in being sexually exploited and trafficked. Also, some of the cultural aspects of rural environments make it difficult for Aboriginal communities and individuals to address this issue, prevent it and/or heal from it. Factors such as isolation, poverty, lack of support networks, lack of education and cultural activities further enhance the vulnerabilities of Aboriginal women and girls when they migrate to cities (Kingsley & Mark, 2001; Barrett, 2010; Urban Native Youth Association, 2001; Seshia, 2005; Farley & Lynne, 2005).” (pg 11)
As noted in the report, most of the issues are also common to non-Aboriginal women in prostitution and trafficking: sexual abuse, traumatic childhoods, poverty, low education levels, substance abuse, addictions, lack of resources.
Introduction into both has common themes, including: pimps (originally acting as caretakers, ‘job providers’ or other concerned benevolent characters), boyfriends (feigning love and comfort at the beginning stages); drug suppliers (creating addictions in order to control the women physically and financially); and criminals holding them against their will through coercion and threats of harm.
Generally cakers will argue that Aboriginal women were abused by “their own” and so it’s not their [cakers] “fault” or responsibility; as such, they shift the burden back onto the women. While inter-familial violence is a big issue inside Aboriginal communities, these women are abused just as much (if not more) by white Canadians.
This happens through the johns [customers] who are predominately white, and sexual abuse in foster care; a very slim minority of foster carers are Aboriginal.
Correlation to Foster Care
“While the research does not say that Aboriginal children who go into child welfare services and foster care will be sexually exploited, there is significant co-relational data to link heightened vulnerability to being sexually exploited and trafficked with being involved in child welfare services. TERF performs an intake evaluation on their participants and their findings are that:
74% of TERF youth are involved with Child and Family Services.
With an average of 5 placements in their short lives.
68% of TERF adults were clients of Child and Family Services as youth.
With an average of 6.5 placements during their youth.
(Ursel et al, 2007, p. iii)
Saewyc et al’s 2008 study, compiling data from five different youth health surveys, and including 1,845 youth across British Columbia, (and of which Aboriginal youth were found to make up one third to one-half of the sexually exploited participants across the surveys) found that many participants had had experience with child welfare services.
For some, foster care or a group home was their first site of sexual exploitation: 14% in 2000, 10% in 2001, and 12% in 2006 (p. 23). The researchers further explored the relation of youth in care and found that “sexually exploited youth were significantly more likely to have been in care than their non-exploited peers” (p. 40). The researchers specified further:
Among younger street-involved youth in 2006, 44% of sexually exploited youth had been in care, compared to 33% of non-exploited youth. Similarly, among older street-involved youth in 2001, 66% of exploited youth had been in care, compared to 41% of non-exploited youth. Youth in custody in 2000 had even higher rates: 75% of sexually exploited youth had been in care, while 59% of non-exploited youth had been in care. (Saewyc et al. 2008, p. 40) (p33)”
The reality for many Aboriginal women and girls in Canada are that they are victims and survivors of domestic sex trafficking. Aboriginal women and girls are being targeted for sexual exploitation and relocated from their communities, homes, foster homes, to and within urban centres in Canada. In general, the high rates of migration from a reserve (rural area) to an urban centre also poses an increased risk and entry point through which vulnerable Aboriginal women and girls may be exploited. The promises by sex traffickers to provide shelter and employment in off – reserve communities can lead young Aboriginal girls to feel that they can escape poverty or a potential problem situation at home. They willingly leave their home and community only to discover that the promise was too good to be true and they are forced into sex slavery. They are manipulated and lured by sex traffickers. Many Aboriginal girls go missing from communities or in urban centres and they are viewed as runaways, or simply fall off the radar. The misinterpretations of misconceptions on the definition regarding cross-border movement and coercion leaves many trafficked Aboriginal women and girls unprotected and neglected. (p 35)”
I looked up information regarding Aboriginal children in foster care. They overwhelmingly represent the bulk of foster children:
“… aboriginal children made up seven per cent of the country’s child population, but accounted for 48 per cent of foster children.”
Of course, cakers didn’t begin to take census information on foster children until 2011! Subsequently, it’s difficult to ascertain certain things because they – you guessed it – don’t have the data!
From the data in this report alone, sexual abuse of foster children can be assumed to fluctuate between 10-15%. Keep in mind this is only self-reported data from women who went on to become prostitutes or trafficking victims (the small group surveyed here); not counting the unreported incidents and women who survived childhood relatively unscathed. The number could reasonably be assumed at approximately 1 in 5 aboriginal children being abused in care.
Curious, I looked up statistics and lo and behold:
A recent report found shocking levels of sexual abuse in British Columbia. And:”More than 60 per cent of the victims were Indigenous girls, the report found, even though Indigenous youth only make up a quarter of the youth in foster care in B.C.”
Indigenous girls are up to 4x more likely to be sexually abused. I would like to give more information but you know the old favorite caker standby: we don’t have the data!
RCMP’s Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre:
“In fulfilling these priorities they have launched a campaign, “I am not for Sale” with educational tools aimed at Canada’s youth. They have also released a report, Human Trafficking in Canada. Regrettably, both of these initiatives are lacking a specific mention of Aboriginal peoples. The report goes so far as to include specific chapters linking Eastern European, Asian, and African women to human trafficking in Canada, and yet there is no specific mention of Aboriginal women and girls. Instead of putting forth the needed awareness and identification of the importance of Aboriginal women and girls’ sexual exploitation and trafficking in Canada, we are instead left with a stereotyped view of human trafficking that largely passes over the domestic nature of this crime in Canada.” (p 37)
(It would make sense to aim your awareness-campaign towards the most trafficked group, would it not? But this is the RCMP!)
“Further challenging the RCMP’s task to address human trafficking is a lack of funding when it comes to Aboriginal women and girls. In a Committee report of the Parliament of Canada, it is reported that Sergeant Lori Lowe had advised the Committee, “that the RCMP’s National Aboriginal Policing Service had an interest in examining the trafficking of Aboriginal women for the purpose of sexual exploitation, but that the RCMP lacked funding and human resources to be able to carry out such research” (Standing Committee on the Status of Women, 2007, p. 10). Considering the prevalence of Aboriginal women and girls as victims of sexual exploitation, this is a funding and resource deficiency that should be sufficiently addressed so that the RCMP is properly informed on the issue.”
Of course cakers don’t have the funding! And without the funding they can’t carry out research, which of course means solid information and provable statistics; they can fall back on their favorite excuse: lack of data! Why even have a unit if you can’t fund resources for the number one victim group?
BC’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons
“In line with some of the suggestions put forth earlier in this paper, the OCTIP engages in significant public education endeavours on human trafficking. Networking and collaborating with Aboriginal communities is to be applauded, and their approach of education about human trafficking directly answers to calls in the literature for such practices. However, while they recognize the priority of human trafficking for Aboriginal women and youth, currently the organization is without a strategic plan on how to address the issue. It is also unclear how, from their report, they plan to leverage the relationship-building with Aboriginal communities to combat Aboriginal sexual exploitation in a systematic way.”
National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
“The Canadian government released their National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (NAPCH) by Public Safety in 2012 …
In a testament to how prevalent domestic trafficking is, the report identified that, of the cases waiting to be processed, ninety percent were regarded as domestic human trafficking (National Action Plan, p. 8). The report identifies the disparities in the current protection system, confessing a knowledge gap in how human trafficking in Aboriginal communities manifests and takes shape (National Action Plan, p. 12). In their 2012 strategy, the only suggestion to address gaps in this area is that there needs to be enhanced engagement with Aboriginal organizations. More recently, Public Safety Canada tendered a call for proposals titled, Research: Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls: Trends and Issues. At the time of this writing, this research is currently being carried out.” (p 39)
Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act, 2012
“In addition to this, the Act also provides the victim with recourse to sue their perpetrator in Tort Law over the harm caused by their actions. While a valid effort, an analysis of Aboriginal contexts quickly raises some problem areas …
… suing requires a lawyer, and a lawyer requires fees. Requiring Aboriginal women and girls to fund their pursuit of justice as trafficking victims is problematic. Considering that Aboriginal women and girls are among the poorest of the poor, this may be a very unaffordable option to pursue their rights.
Considering the widespread sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada as a domestic trafficking practice, it would seem logical that any anti-human trafficking endeavours in Canada would have this consideration as one of its key understandings and act upon it. Yet we see from the above examples that it is quite often simply not the case. The Manitoba Act is the only one in existence in Canada.” (p 39)
Victims by “choice”
“Throughout the three articles, the collective argument of the researchers are that the prevalence of sexual abuse suffered by these women as children, their on-going exploitation until they hit the age of 18 (at which point Canadian law, law enforcement, and civil society seem to deem it a ‘choice’), their poverty, and their lack of alternatives can only logically and ethically mean that it is not a choice, they are being exploited, by pimp, madam, or john. In the 2003 article, which was a research endeavour exploring the roots of ‘prostitution’ in nine different countries, these authors make the contention that genuine consent cannot exist in prostitution. Real consent requires: “physical safety, equal power with customers, and real alternatives.” (Farley et al., 2003, p. 65)” (p 40)
“Historical views of Aboriginal females as sexually available and as criminals carries over into some modern views. Added to this image are the impacts of colonization, residential school trauma and intergenerational effect, and the breakdown of traditional communities as a result of these pressures and impacts (Sikka, 2009), resulting in inter-related factors increasing the over-representation of these women and girls in Canada’s domestic sex trade. However, these factors do not move these women into the category of what is popularly and legally considered trafficking, “thus, things that happen to [these women and girls] are not viewed as exploitation or trafficking in persons, but rather as a natural consequence of the life that she has chosen to occupy. The image of the trafficked ‘victim,’ therefore, does not include her story” (Sikka, 2009,p. 2). ” (p 41)
“If, in attempting to address women who have been sexually trafficked, we ignore women working in prostitution who have not been relocated for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and we ignore women who have no pimp but are daily exploited by johns, then it is NWAC’s stance that such a perspective would be unethical to addressing sexually exploited women, and such endeavours would be built to greatly limit the addressing of the real society issues and factors that make up human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation in Canada.”
Legalized prostitution: a failed project
“Illegal prostitution, in the form of human trafficking, continues to take place in countries, such as Germany, where it was legalized in 2002. Two-thirds of the estimated 400,000 sex workers in Germany travel from overseas to the country (Osborne, 2013) where the system of legalized prostitution provides a cover for traffickers to mask indications of international human trafficking, allowing women in large numbers to be brought to Germany and sexually exploited (Unprotected: How legalizing prostitution has failed, 2013). When confronted by police, many workers from outside of Germany were told what to say by their pimps to avoid suspicion. Since the legalization of prostitution in Germany, the number of trafficked victims has increased from an estimate of 9,870 – 19,740 in 2001 to 12,350 – 24,700 in 2003 (German Federal Police Office Report, 2009, p.75). The legalized prostitution system has provided for a great increase in trafficking victims in an unhealthy dynamic that seems to be increasing the number of women who are forced and trapped within a legalized system.
Quit talking, start doing
“Perhaps it is time to reframe the discussion on sex trafficking in Canada and greatly increase the emphasis on exploring Aboriginal over-representation, exiting, and prevention as opposed to repeatedly ‘discovering’ high Aboriginal representation in research on Canada’s domestic sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Some of this would be addressed through pursuing a national research agenda that would present a comprehensive picture of Aboriginal representation in Canada’s domestic sex trafficking. Partly it would depend on recognition in the ranks of policy development and implementation that Aboriginal contexts should be a priority. It is not our contention to displace others who are suffering in sexual exploitation and trafficking in Canada.
However, from our research, and that of others, findings show that Aboriginal women and girls are drastically over-represented in sex trafficking to the point where they seem to be the dominant representatives in some regions of Canada, and not far behind that in other places. With Aboriginal women and girls making up such a small segment of Canada’s population, this over-representation is unacceptable and requires immediate attention.”
Caker question: What’s the difference between ‘red-skins’?
“The prevailing practice in research focusing on Aboriginal women and girls in sex trafficking and sexual exploitation in Canada uses a “pan-Aboriginal” approach which amalgamates First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples into one group. This is both troubling and problematic. It does not fully recognize the cultural diversity, distinctness, and identities of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples.”
Buying sex: interconnection
“As I’ve studied and learned from women who’ve been exploited and prostituted – most from the time they were children – it has become clear to me that trafficking, prostitution, strip clubs and pornography are all interconnected. Unless we are willing to talk about and address each of these, and in particular, the demand that drives them, we won’t solve the problem of sexual exploitation.”
Ms. Beazley further expressed that, “Pornography teaches entitlement – the idea that sex is a need, and that men have a right to it on their terms at any time, which legitimizes the buying of sex and leads us to accept that there should be a class of women made available for purchase. Porn feeds the demand for paid sex – which funnels women into prostitution. Men consume porn and seek out the sex they believe other men are having and feel they too are entitled to have. As violence and degradation in porn have become commonplace, this is mirrored in the lived experiences of women in prostitution. And all of this fuels sex trafficking. Increased demand for paid sex always leads to an increase in trafficking. Trafficking victims are exploited in pornography, and filmed sex acts are sometimes used as a means of coercion and control. Porn is also used to groom and train trafficking victims.”
John entitlement: violence
“We know from the research that a very high number of Johns are violent (this includes both physical and verbal acts of aggression). High-volume participant studies return high reports of violence: 90% of 100 women (52 of which were First Nations) had been physically assaulted in prostitution (Farley, Lynne, & Cotton, 2005); 92% reported being raped in prostitution – over half were raped 5-10 times, 15% of them raped over 20 times; 84% reported being physically assaulted while prostituting, and of the assaults, Johns were the perpetrators for 44% of the attacks (Farley et al, 2011, p. 28). While we recognize that there is a distinction between prostitution and trafficking, as prostitution is deemed non-forced and trafficking as forced, we think it is fair to work on the inference that, if different, trafficking victims would face more, not less violence. For this reason, studies on violence against prostitutes would still have bearing on people who are sexually trafficked.” (pg 46)
“From their perspective, it would seem that the fundamental approach in Canada was misdirected, and that blame for trafficking fell squarely on the shoulders of trafficked women and girls. This was reflected in the fact that prosecuting of prostitution where currently women faced incarceration for acts of prostitution while the johns were sent to john school (a place where johns are educated on prostitution such that they are discouraged from engaging in it again). Incarceration only further marginalizes and discriminates against these vulnerable women and girls and makes difficult their exiting of prostitution for safer, more reliable employment options. The law does not seem to be effective in pursuing pimps and johns. In their experience, the interviewees indicated that judgment, on the part of police and media, seemed to be a very relevant factor in terms of whether police perform fairly when it comes to missing and trafficked Aboriginal girls. The police are more likely to arrest the women over the men. Some may have thought it was a form of helping these women.”
Torture vs Assault
“Additionally, we would like to specifically address the aspect of torture in sexual exploitation and trafficking. Torture that occurs in the context of intimate relationships and trafficking is dismissed as an assault or domestic violence. Two of the key informants that were interviewed spoke of how disappointed they are in Canada because of the present government’s refusal to change section 269.1 of the criminal code so that a private individual (a non-State actor) who commits classic torture can be criminally charged for the crime of torture they perpetrate; making such a change to the criminal code was a recommendation given to Canada by the UN Committee against Torture in 2012. They explained further that the criminal code only criminalizes torture perpetrated by State actors such as military and police personnel. Currently, the definition of human trafficking is about perpetrators who work to enslave a victim in the ways described in Canadian law and the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress & Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The interviewees strongly emphasized that “once enslaved the reality is that many are tortured and Canadian law does not provide for holding such torturers criminally accountable for the torture they inflict; they must be, to eliminate discrimination under the law and support the human and legal rights of women and girls so victimized to speak their truth, be heard, and seek justice.” (pg 73)
Finally I will include what seem to be the most relevant and common sense solutions recommended for implementation:
Social Support Programs
“As much as is possible and practical, involve experiential survivors in the running of support programs and services. According to previous research, this is one of the best ways to make positive connections with women and girls currently being exploited, which reinforces their own commitment for and belief in changing their lives for the better.
- Involve experiential women (former and, if possible, current) in the development of new programs and support services; showing them how important their voices and input are helps build confidence while ensuring the program will connect with them and meet their needs.
- Aboriginal women and girls need safe housing and safe spaces; homelessness and a lack of safe places greatly increase the vulnerability of these women and girls. Immediate funding and long-term support are needed to provide for this housing shortage
- Provide childcare for participants in programs. Many of these women and young girls are attempting to raise children; without adequately providing for their childcare needs, they may be unable to attend or effectively engage with any support programs and services.”
Because the overwhelming majority of cakers are too lazy, racist and stupid to read a simple report, I will summarize and interpret:
– As poverty statistics show: Aboriginal people all over the country overwhelmingly live in poverty and often third world conditions (see: north, rural).
– Most Aboriginal women grow up in dysfunctional homes with cycles of family violence and addictions; these are in part a result of a century of child sexual abuse, rape, and torture at residential schools.
While cakers will tell the communities to “get over it”, the last school closed in the 90s. For those who went to school during the 60s era and had children in the 80s, their offspring are somewhere in the late 20s to early 30s age-group; it is still fairly “new” inter-generational trauma.
-When Aboriginal girls are removed from their dysfunctional homes and placed in foster care (with “white parents”) they are at large risk of being sexually abused: 4x the average of non-indigenous girls, as many as 1 in 5 girls (likely more).
-After being abused at home, growing up in dysfunction, and/or being sexually abused in foster care, a significant portion go on to become addicted, homeless, or are “pimped” into prostitution or sexually trafficked.
-Aboriginal women make up the majority of trafficked persons in Canada.
-Society then complains about the victims of “choice” when they go missing or are murdered, saying they “chose” to be victims, thereby dismissing their hardships and the systemic racism in Canada.
-The women are punished more often – and harsher – than the men who are “buying” them. Without demand there is no need for supply (as anyone fighting the “drug war” will tell you); it is a simple, well known principle.
It seems absurd to re-victimize the very people who have been downtrodden their whole lives, but this is what the Canadian system does.
So after non-aboriginal Canadians raped and abused the children at residential schools, they then are the majority of johns “buying” the children and women in Winnipeg, Vancouver, etc. They are also the majority sexually-abusing indigenous girls in foster care.
Is it any wonder that the “Johns” or customers are never held to account, properly prosecuted or investigated? It’s no coincidence. It is easy to blame the victim for existing, for not “trying hard enough” to escape victimhood, while the perpetrators remain protected and unprosecuted.
Cakers … such nice people! In fact, they love to tell you how nice they are! They’re “not racist”. And of course they’re “less racist” than Americans (which the facts do not suggest), something they’ll point out should any criticisms arise.