ytOwen saidHi Guys!
I'm moving to Vancouver in September.
What do you find are the pleasures and pitfalls of the city?
What do you wish you knew about the city before you moved there?
What advice would you give to a guy moving there?
On one had this is a general question. On the other, I'm keen to know
of specifically gay issues.
While I've never lived in Vancouver proper, I spent the first 12 years of my life in several of the surrounding cities (Surrey, Langley) and I go frequently since I live in Kelowna, a city 5 hours east of Vancouver.
Vancouver is somewhat notorious for being "hard to make friends". I think that while this is somewhat true, the people that say this are not part of a specific subpopulation such as the gay community. With respect to pleasures, Vancouver is gorgeous in the summer. Due to the large amount of rain that it gets in the winter, late fall and early spring, there are beautiful flowers and plant life everywhere in the city. Stanley Park is amazing and connected to downtown, as is the Sea Wall, which many people jog/bike/walk on throughout the year. The close proximity of the US allows for you to get cheap gas and groceries on day trips into Blaine and Bellingham, which is something a lot of people in the Lower Mainland do. Also, public transit in Vancouver is renowned as some of the best in the world. If you live in Vancouver proper you do not need to own a car. You can use Zipcar or car2go for any short-term driving that you need to do and beyond that transit is awesome.
A pitfall of the city is that during the winter, early spring and late fall, you'll see that there is lots of rain and cloudiness. Get used to wearing a rain jacket or taking an umbrella with you everywhere. This is something a lot of people wouldn't know if they visited Vancouver in the summer and weren't familiar with the weather in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, if you have a car or you don't mind taking a quick shuttlebus from Vancouver to Bellingham in Washington (just across the board), the Bellingham airport is an Allegiant Air hub for super cheap flights to warm places. I'm taking a round trip flight from there to Honolulu this fall, and it cost me $220 round trip!! Allegiant also flies to Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco from Bellingham. The former is often $59 each direction (so about $120 r/t), and Phoenix and SF can be anywhere from $69 to $109 each direction depending on time of year. Part of the culture in Van is to leave at various times throughout the year if you have enough money to do so. We love our country but we also love leaving it haha
With respect to the gay community I don't know a whole lot, to be honest. There are a number of gay bars/nightclubs and a lot of gay men (a good chunk of them live along Davie Street, which you will soon find is gay mecca in Vancouver) but like any community you'll find some cliquey people and some that are cool.
Hope this helps!