Pros and Cons of Living in British Columbia

British Columbia

British Columbia is a province on the west coast of Canada and is home to some of Canada’s major cities, such as Vancouver. If you’re thinking about moving to British Columbia, you’re going to want to know the positives and negatives.

The pros of living in British Columbia include the city of Vancouver, the scenery, climates, and the SkyTrain, while the cons are the high cost of living, limited outdoor activities for the adventurous, potential natural disasters, and limited jobs.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Pros of Living in British Columbia

First, we’ll take a look at the pros of living within the province of British Columbia.

The City of Vancouver

Vancouver is one of the most popular and most populated cities within British Columbia. It’s been named one of the best cities to live in the world

The entire city is planned to get enough green space while still providing enough buildings for the dense population. It’s arranged in a beautifully balanced display of man-made buildings and green spaces, which gives it a relaxed feel rather than an urban one.

It’s also one of Canada’s largest cities, which makes it a hub for many indoor and outdoor activities. 

Beautiful Nature
Vancouver

The entire city of Vancouver is sitting on the Pacific Ocean, but it also hugs the Rocky Mountains. No matter where you look on your drive through the city, you’ll have rich views of mountains with every turn.

Not only could you spend your days on the beach, but you can also take a trip to hike the mountains if you need something to do. Vancouver is also located just a short 2-hour drive from two of the best places to ski in Canada. 

Also, just a short 1 to 2-hour drive away are forests filled with the biggest trees you’re likely to ever see. You can find many hiking trails throughout the province that will suit your experience level and your personal interests.

Perfect Climates

The weather in this region of Canada is perfect. While it does snow, it’s nothing compared to the snowfall in other parts of the country. You’re likely to get around ten days of snowfall, with depths of a little over 1cm.

With the summer months, they are typically just a mild and nowhere near as hot as Toronto can be. Their temperatures can range from 64°F (18°C) to 68°F (20°C). This still allows for spending time on the beach and doing other outdoor activities without worrying about the heat.

SkyTrain

Another pro goes to Vancouver’s SkyTrain. This public form of transportation is great for those who want to get a view of the city.

The entire train is elevated above the city, which allows for breathtaking views of the ocean, the mountains, and the city itself. For just $5, you can travel on the three zones available, and you also get a map of the SkyTrain stations. 

Education

Canada was ranked 3rd best education in the world in 2019, with British Columbia having the highest-ranking education system in the country. This means the responsibility of education is with the province.

They have three options for education:

  • Public: Public schools are different there. Some schools might focus more on art, while others are more technology or science-based. The public schools are also free to their residents and even to some living on a work visa. It’s best to check with the school district you plan to move to in order to verify your child’s eligibility.
  • Private: Despite being the best in the country for education, private schools are not very common in the Vancouver area. They also tend to be located more in regions that foreign residents live. It’s always recommended that before you enroll your child in a private school that you first check with the Ministry of Education to make sure the school is registered with them.
  • Childcare (Daycare): In many instances, you’ll have to pay around 50 CAD to keep your child in daycare in Vancouver. Most women will stay home with their children and the children of their working friends. However, if a woman decides to watch more than two children, she’s required by the country to get a license.

Cons of Living in British Columbia

Even dream destinations have their downsides. Let’s take a look at the cons of living in British Columbia.

High Cost of Living

Not all provinces have a high cost of living, but it’s something to consider when looking for your new residency.

British Columbia is considered one of Canada’s most expensive provinces. This is largely due to the high-priced homes in Vancouver. A one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver could cost you an average of $2,100 a month.  

Beyond the housing, however, there are additional taxes that are charged in British Columbia. British Columbia is one of only four provinces that charge a Provincial Sales Tax (PST). This 7% tax comes in addition to the 5% Canada-wide Goods and Services Tax (GST). 

Could Be Boring

If you aren’t an outdoor-loving person, this region of Canada could be less appealing to you. Most of the attractions to British Columbia are outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, sailing, or skiing. 

Unless you live in the bigger cities of the province, you’re unlikely to find many attractions that don’t involve the great outdoors.

Vancouver itself is where you’re going to see more museums, restaurants, and bars. However, they have a pretty strict set of rules that restrict the nightlife of the city. They are health-conscious there, and prefer to focus on staying fit and being active outdoors.

Potential Natural Disasters

Due to its location, Vancouver is poised for future natural disasters in the next 50 years. This is often referred to as “the big one.” 

This is because of where the Pacific Ocean Plate and the North American plate rest just offshore Vancouver island. The Pacific Ocean plate is subducting under the North American plate, which could lead to a magnitude nine earthquake. Several old buildings wouldn’t be able to survive that level of destruction.

Limited Jobs

As with all locations, you want to go where the jobs are. This could be an easy decision if you need to look for jobs in Vancouver, but in other parts of the province, it’s harder to find work. 

You want to make sure you have a clear idea of what you need to make for sustainable living. The city’s potential to offer more jobs while living in one of the smaller areas of British Columbia could result in a large decrease in your overall pay.

Cities to Move to in British Columbia

There are several places to live within British Columbia, but here is a list of some of the most popular cities:

  • Vancouver: As mentioned above, this is a favorite location for many and offers a wide variety of options to those looking to move.
  • Saanich: Located in Greater Victoria, this city has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.
  • Fort St. John: This is a small city; however, it is incredibly wealthy and prosperous, with an average household income of $102,903, as of 2015.
  • Kelowna: This quaint little city is popularly known as the heart of British Columbia’s Wine Country because of its 200+ wineries.
  • Victoria: This coastal city is known for its old-world charm as it is reminiscent of Victorian England.

Summary

Now you know the pros and cons of living in British Columbia. As with all places, some aspects of the location don’t work for your needs. The best thing to do is come up with a pros and cons list. Hopefully, this list has helped. If you want to to know more about this beautiful province, don’t forget to check the following articles:

Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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