City Love: Vancouver versus Toronto

It’s a sunny afternoon in Vancouver.  I’m listening to tugboat whistles and the rustling of lush green leaves just inches from my window as I pack for a business trip.  I always get excited about going to Toronto.  Partly because I love business travel to any city and partly because I used to live in Toronto.

I get asked all the time what I think of living in Vancouver.  It’s been two years since I moved here and I think I can finally say I’m beginning to understand my new city.  None of the common beliefs I heard about Vancouver ring true.  I don’t find the city to be laid back.  If you doubt that, just rent a car and try to keep up with the rest of us on the road.  “Green” is important but we definitely have air and water pollution issues here.  And I haven’t yet located the proverbial Lotus Land (which, by the way, is not a term used by local people).

Yet for all the hustle and bustle common to every city, something is definitely different here.  I read a blog post this morning written by someone who has lived in both cities as well.  She describes Vancouver this way:

There’s a depth of sensing and intuitiveness in the air and the people. Here, we would prefer to grow things – and things grow by being nurtured, by having an environment that supports things flourishing. And boy, do we ever want things to happen organically. The image in my mind for this, naturally, is that of a tree. We imagine things growing large, subtly immovable.

Organic.  Nurture.  Tree.  This makes sense.  What outsiders take for standoffish or cliquish behaviour is actually the Vancouverite assessing the potential relationship for quality and longevity.  Maybe it’s the proximity of the ocean and the mountains that keeps people grounded.  I’m not sure.  But I do hope it rubs off on me.

(You can read Karen Quinn Fung’s post on life in Toronto and Vancouver here.)

2 Replies to “City Love: Vancouver versus Toronto”

  1. Vancouver is definitely a city with superb weather and vivid city life for its size! Unfortunately, the cost of living is very expensive. With the influx of wealthy immigrants and the HST introduction, many are overlooking YVR’s beauty as they face a tougher and more competetive life..However, there are always great people you meet regardless of where they’re from. This week I will be volunteering with a local charity and its such a wonderful feeling to be able to help others make my favorite city a more harmonious place.


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