Dear Vancouver – Sorry to Leave

Dear Vancouver,

It is with great pain that I leave you. While with you I gained a wife, a child, a mortgage and a low-level dependency on alcohol. I explored your mountains and your waters, your culture and your secrets. I strolled through parks and neighborhoods and rushed hurriedly through your Downtown East Side. I’ve lived largely without the need of a motor vehicle, having all my needs within walking distance, and not daring to get stuck in your traffic. I lived in the West End and at Granville island, two of the nicest places in the world. I should add that I was fortunate enough to live for a time in a mansion in Kerrisdale, I did not enjoy the empty homes, bubble tea and nail salons, that disproportionately populated that neighborhood….if you can call it a neighborhood (it didn’t have a pub.) I attended almost all of your WhiteCaps games and embraced all of your other walkable, family friendly activities. Much of this came from my excitement in something new and willingness to explore, but also because I had a huge advantage in getting to know you: a job that took me to every corner both in both day and night; a rotating schedule that allowed me to avoid weekend crowds; I got to look down on you from the mountains and up to you downtown. I was in your houses, your condos, your SROs and your alleys. I know your beaches, your dog parks, your shortcuts and your breweries. I am happy to have seen it all.

Many people come and go expressing a dislike for you. I did not understand, until I discussed with a coworker also from Vancouver Island why so many of our friends returned “home.”  We discovered that most people “did Vancouver wrong.” While they moved here, they actually moved there – meaning outside of the core or heart of the city. This, foremost, lead to an unbearable commute. It also meant a reliance on a vehicle and shopping at strip-malls. In most cases, with typical Monday to Friday, 9-5 jobs it also meant that they stood in long after-work grocery lines and that they fought crowds on weekends. The liveliness, entertainment and culture that is Vancouver was to them just a slightly brighter orange glow on the rain clouds low on the horizon.

But I “did Vancouver right.” I will miss walking my daughter to Granville island, paying a dollar for the play gym, grabbing groceries at the market and maybe a beer at GI Brewery. Or walking the dogs to Kits Beach or Spanish Banks and running the seawall. I will miss the pace, the challenges, the sights and the sounds. I will likely miss it all.

I want to thank you for making this lifestyle possible. While I will soon leave, I will only be a ferry-ride away, and you will always remain a part of my life.

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