A Brit’s love affair with Vancouver

Image by Lauren Keogh

Growing up barefoot in the English countryside, I always had the urge to discover more about the world. I'd accompany my mother to the travel agent to book our European vacation and would swipe every brochure from the shelves only to spend hours in my bedroom later, flicking through the pages and staring wide-eyed at places like South America, Japan, New Zealand, and Iceland.  

Canada's stack of brochures grew continuously. Glossy, coloured pages that showed snow-capped mountains, lush green forests, quaint fishing villages, people skiing, hiking, cycling, camping and canoeing and the bright lights of cities, each one different from the last had me enchanted. Overnight, Canada became my number one destination. I vowed to myself that one day I would somehow make it my home.

Flash forward some years later: a grown up job in London and an around the world flight that included a two month road trip across Canada. I fell in love with Vancouver.

I spent the next twelve months in Mount Pleasant where people were cool, drank coffee and rode their single speed bikes all day long. I loved to spend hours sitting in a corner with my book, sipping tea at Shaktea on Main or walking up to Queen Elizabeth Park for the fresh mountain air and to admire my new home from on high.

The laid back lifestyle, the friendliness of strangers and the way everyone values their free time gave Vancouver a unique atmosphere. It was a far cry from the overcrowded hustle of London. That city has the buzz, but, Vancouver has the beauty.

Beautiful British Columbia’ is the province's motto and it shows up on license plates. It’s a bold statement and utterly true. Vancouver, the jewel of the province, is inundated in natural beauty.  

Aside from natural endowments, the culture of Vancouver also shines. From the mass of cool, silent green that is Stanley Park to the voices and music that travel along the Granville strip, every corner of this city is filled with colour. Walking in the rain along Kitsilano beach, the pink carpet of cherry blossom that sticks to the sidewalk nearby and is like a sponge beneath your feet...I felt like I was in a dream.

Even when the grey clouds arrived and the weeks of endless rain began, the city is beautiful. It possesses a quiet calm as people pull up their hoods and carry on with their lives in their rubber boots.

I am back in England now surrounded by familiarity and the buzz of a city that no longer feels like home. I miss the smell of Solly’s cinnamon buns, the drunken cheers spilling out onto the streets from bars full of hockey fans and the twinkling lights of Science World. I was warned that once you come to Vancouver, you will never want to leave. Now that I have left, I want to come home.

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