Thinking Out Loud

July 29, 2019

Why I Could Never Live in Vancouver

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:06 am

VANCOUVER — This city is a Hades for anyone who owns a car. If you live in Toronto, you can go years without ever having to drive downtown, unless some legal issue requires you to appear before a Superior Court judge. But in Vancouver, if you’re ever going to connect with the Lower Mainland — and the rest of Canada for that matter — you simply must drive through the downtown. There are no freeways, either.

Yet strangely, Vancouverites are greatly invested in their downtown core. Since this is a faith-focused blog, it seems fitting to mention that the downtown churches are healthy. But locals pay anywhere from $2.50 to $12.50 to park — depending on the church — each and every week. But they pay to park just about everywhere. There are no suburbs in the sense of what I grew up with or the neighborhood where we now live back home. Because the density is somewhat equally spread out, there are parking permits required on streets where you wouldn’t expect parking to be an issue.

Want to avoid the whole car thing? Check this out: There’s a bus system and a train system but they aren’t integrated. They’re treated as separate entities. It’s nuts.

Food costs more here.

Housing costs more here.

If you go for a walk there are no places to sit. 

There are no places to refill a water bottle, or any water fountains.

Information is hard to come by. It’s assumed everyone has a phone and can navigate Google maps, even when these maps are ambiguous.

But it’s the driving/traffic thing that really irks me. Our two journeys over the Lion’s Gate Bridge were on Saturdays. No business traffic, right? It was still crazy. Perhaps I need to go to New York City to have a better basis of comparison.

Mind you, Kelowna in rush hour on Friday was no better, and that’s a city of only 190,000 people. The same rush hour was creating havoc in Vernon. Maybe people in this province have never seen a traffic system that works, and they have nothing to aim for.

Heck, we got out of Greater Toronto, even though our daily reality was Scarborough, not the downtown, and now live in a town where three cars waiting for a traffic light to change is a major backup. And those traffic lights are all on vehicle-sensors so they change dynamically with whatever traffic exists at that moment.

No, this would drive me to insanity, and even though I was not behind the wheel today, it pretty much did anyway.


  1. Did I understand correctly that churches charge for parking? Interesting to explore how that works.

    I know of one church in Ottawa that has a pay lot, but they don’t charge during Sunday morning services. Another, which I haven’t attended, also has a pay lot but I don’t know how it works. In both cases these are downtown churches with cash flow problems who had the property available.

    I would not be thrilled at having to pay to park for church, but if it was the church I was supposed to attend I guess I would have to.

    If you attend a local church, within walking distance of your home, the way everyone used to, that would solve the problem.

    Comment by Lorne Anderson — July 29, 2019 @ 7:20 am

    • I reread the sentence and I don’t think I implied that. People are forced to use municipal parking lots and for the most part privately owned parking garages. The churches themselves do not own the parking. I will try to find the website for the one Church which said that you could expect to pay about $12.50 and send it to you directly.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 29, 2019 @ 11:13 am

  2. I was born and raised in Ontario, but now live in Saskatchewan. Two reasons I might live here forever: No traffic, no humidity.

    Comment by Tim Good (@Tim_Good) — July 29, 2019 @ 1:18 pm

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