Is moving to Vancouver Island a good idea?

Is moving to Vancouver Island a good idea?

Where you live says a lot about you and is a large part of people’s identity. Whether you live in a rural community or in the city, with your family or far away from them, in your hometown or a brand-new country – where you live dramatically impacts your life!

If you’re looking to find a relaxing lifestyle, Vancouver Island is the place for you. The island is situated in beautiful Pacific Northwest Canada where they have mountains, lakes, forests, and the ocean- all with amazing places to explore. They also have more than 500 communities that offer a variety of services like schools, health care facilities, and transportation systems.

Many people looking for somewhere to move in Canada, specifically in the province of British Columbia (BC) might consider Vancouver Island. But, is moving to Vancouver Island a good idea? Well, to start, it’s a large island (31,285 km²) off the coast of British Columbia. It has a population of 870,000+ and is known for its natural beauty, laid-back lifestyle, and family-friendly communities. While visiting Vancouver Island is a must when you are in BC, moving there is obviously a much larger commitment.

People move for a variety of reasons, including the cost of living, job opportunities, and lifestyle. To determine whether moving to Vancouver Island is a good idea or not, we need to look at each of those criteria in turn.

Is it expensive to live on Vancouver Island?

The cost of living is a major factor to determine where you should move to. For a detailed look at the cost of living, this calculator is a valuable resource to those planning on moving. However, we can look generally at Vancouver Island to see if it’s an expensive place to live.

As mentioned, Vancouver Island is geographically large, with many different communities ranging from urban centers like Victoria or Nanaimo to small rural towns that are disconnected from larger population areas. This means that the cost of living will differ dramatically depending on where you choose to live on Vancouver Island.

Broadly speaking, most places on Vancouver Island are very typical in cost of living to the rest of BC. That said, BC is one of the provinces with the highest cost of living in Canada, along with Ontario and Quebec. Those who are moving from the mainland of BC will not notice a significant increase in the cost of living – in fact, it will decrease if they move from Vancouver, the most expensive city to live in Canada. However, those who are moving from a province like Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or the Maritime provinces will find it to be quite expensive.

Looking at the comparisons between a few cities on Vancouver Island and the mainland, we can determine the following about the cost of living on Vancouver Island:

  • Housing: While it will vary over the Island, housing is generally fairly expensive in any urban center with prices increasing steadily. Rural housing is much lower than in the cities, though, both for buying and renting. Those moving from Vancouver will find housing on the Island significantly cheaper.
  • Transportation: Most people on Vancouver Island travel by car. Gas is slightly more expensive on the Island than on the mainland. Islanders also need to factor in ferry costs to go to the mainland for some activities like large purchases or specialist doctor’s appointments.
  • Consumer goods and recreation: Most consumer goods are similar on the Island as the mainland, with some utilities and grocery items slightly more expensive, but recreation or entertainment at the same price.

Are there good job opportunities on Vancouver Island?

Another big reason people will move to a new country or city is because of work opportunities. People are sometimes forced to move because they are relocated with their current job, or they decide to move to pursue new opportunities elsewhere. Because of this, it’s important to look at whether or not there are good job opportunities on Vancouver Island.

The quick answer is: yes, there are many great job opportunities across Vancouver Island. A recent study predicts that over 153,000 new jobs will be added to the Vancouver Island/Coast region over the next 10 years, with the majority of jobs in healthcare and social assistance, wholesale and retail, and construction. The same study indicates that the employment demand matches the whole province’s demand by an increase of 1.1% annually. In short – there will be lots of jobs on Vancouver Island in the next decade!

There are two unique industries on Vancouver Island that will attract job-seekers:

  • Provincial government: The capital city of BC is Victoria, where the parliament buildings are located. Of the 30,000 public servants who work for the BC Provincial Government, many of them are located in Victoria. This is a unique and engaging job opportunity for those interested in a career in public service.
  • Tourism: Vancouver Island welcomes many international and domestic tourists each year. The tourism sector is a large source of employment with more than 60,000 jobs in this sector, including hospitality, restaurants, the ferry, and vacation homes and rentals.

What is the lifestyle on Vancouver Island like?

The last major factor in choosing a new place to live is the lifestyle – what is it like living there? Is it fast-paced or laid-back? Rural or urban? Lots of entertainment and recreation options, or little to do? Close to nature or just city life? These are all important things to consider about how a new place will fit your current or desired lifestyle.

Vancouver Island really has something for every person. If you want to live in a dense urban center, Victoria is a wonderful city with lots to see and do. If you like a small, rural community, there are many options all over the Island. Outdoor recreation – check. Arts and culture – check. University and student-friendly areas – check. Seniors’ communities – check. Vancouver Island is diverse and will be appealing to people from all walks of life.

One of the biggest lifestyle-related features of Vancouver Island is the natural beauty and countless opportunities for outdoor recreation. The vast majority of Islanders are very “outdoorsy” and love to live and play in the great outdoors! With over 120 provincial parks, ocean all around, and mountain ranges on the island, there is no shortage of activities.

Here are some of the most popular outdoor recreation and lifestyle activities on Vancouver Island:

  • Beach and ocean activities: There is no shortage of beaches on Vancouver Island, and therefore no shortage of fun beach activities! Whether you just like long strolls and beachcombing, or want to try your hand at surfing, kayaking, or snorkeling – there’s something for everyone! 
  • Hiking and walking: With many beautiful forests and parks, there are many hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult.
  • Winter activities: There is also a lot to do outdoors during the winter months! Mount Washington is a downhill ski and snowboard mountain so you can take part in this quintessentially Canadian sport while living on Vancouver Island.


To answer the question, “Is moving to Vancouver Island a good idea?” you need to first know what your goals and desires are for moving to a new place. If you are moving for great job opportunities and a laid-back, outdoor lifestyle, then Vancouver Island is a great place to move to! However, if you need to live somewhere with a very low cost of living, then it might not be the best choice. Ultimately, there are many factors to consider when deciding where to move. Vancouver Island is a beautiful location with great communities – so definitely consider it as an option for your next move!

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