Vancouver is undoubtedly an expensive place to live — but there are cheap(er) options if you're looking to plant roots in the West Coast city.
Lots of them, in fact, that don't involve throwing $2 million down on a single-family home.
Vancouver Magazine has ranked the city's best and worst neighbourhoods, based on several factors — and affordability was clearly top of mind.
Neighbourhoods were scored out of 100, with affordability counting for 20 per cent of the grade. The proximity of good restaurants and coffee shops counted for 10 per cent, and green space for another eight per cent.
(You can weight those factors differently using this calculator.)
The Downtown Eastside (DTES), an area that has been called Canada's poorest neighbourhood, scored 48.7 — a higher rating than the pricy westside areas of Kerrisdale (46) and Dunbar (44.3).
Those pricey areas were slapped with some of the lowest scores — and those weren't the only interesting results.
Here are Vancouver's top 10 neighbourhoods, according to Vancouver Magazine, ranked from last to first:
You might recognize this east side neighbourhood from Michael Buble's video for "Haven't Met You Yet". With lower housing prices than elsewhere, it's a great place for couples and families to find a property if they're looking to gain a foothold in the real estate market.
The neighbourhood earned high scores in categories like multicultural diversity, affordability, and stability. Restaurants, however, weren't so great.
Kits Beach. A Shakespeare festival. Lululemon's headquarters. All good reasons to take note of Kitsilano, a neighbourhood that helps give Vancouver its reputation as an active city. It's a place where you find people running, cycling, or doing yoga at almost any time of year.
It scored high marks for being a smart and engaged community. (Its incredible location on the water didn't hurt either.)
Yaletown was once the westernmost stop for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and consequently, it was a place where industry thrived. Today, it's a vibrant area with new industries that still pay tribute to the area's past.
It has enviable cafes and restaurants, some beautiful parks adjacent to False Creek, and a hat store with styles that would look as at home in the 1920s as they do in the 21st century.
Once a place of learning, now a place of living. The University of British Columbia (UBC) scored 99.5 per cent when it came to green space, which is a strong testament to its forested setting.
Simply driving to campus is like travelling into another world, shielded by tall trees. But it's a world where lots of new housing options have built up over the years, along with stores and restaurants. On top of that, UBC isn't a half-bad learning institution.
The Olympic Village was once an industrial and warehousing district, just a few steps away from Science World. The 2010 Winter Olympics changed all that when the city needed the area to house the world's most elite athletes.
Though it hasn't been a smooth transition, Olympic Village is now one of Vancouver's most desirable areas, with incredible places to drink (Craft), eat (The Tap and Barrel, Earnest Ice Cream) and hang out (the Seawall along False Creek).
Take a walk around the area at sunset — it's breathtaking to see the colours behind BC Place Stadium.
Single, eligible, and looking? Look no further — Vancouver's downtown core scored top marks as a place to be when you're young and waiting for the right person.
It's easy to travel around on transit, it's not very big (compared to other cities,) and there are plenty of places to indulge in great food and drink. It's little wonder that downtown buildings keep reaching for the sky — it's just growing bigger and better.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user Arbron)
Main Street hasn't always been so sweet. For a long time, it was nothing more than a row of antique stores, with little to attract young people. All of that's changed, and the area now plays host to some incredible bars, restaurants, and specialty stores. It's a place where you can play pop culture trivia in one place, then go have coffee and play board games just down the street.
And then, of course, there's the nearby parks, which have an incredible community centre. Nat Bailey Stadium, where you can enjoy a Vancouver Canadians game on a sunny day, is just a stone's throw away.
When you're single, downtown is the place to be. But when you're ready to settle down with a family, North Vancouver's Lynn Valley area is a good bet. It's a gorgeous, green area with plenty of space for mountain biking. You can also take a walk over the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.
The area received a lacklustre score in the commute category, and didn't do so well when it came to diversity. But there's still lots to like, especially if you have kids.
Can't afford to live downtown? Check out the West End. With older, cheaper buildings still standing, it's among the more affordable areas you can find on the north end of False Creek.
Its proximity to Stanley Park earns big bonus points, too.
Call False Creek an experiment with fortuitous results. In the 1970s, it was an area where co-op housing stood alongside market properties. Today, Vancouver Magazine ranks it as the city's best neighbourhood, with high marks for affordability (66.9), green space (99.4), and for singles (72.6).
The neighbourhood faces some near-future uncertainty, with city land leases set to expire starting in 2022. But for now, it's a strong, longstanding community that is sure to remain desirable for years to come.
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