A photo of the Edmonton City Hall by WinterforceMedia (CC0 1.0 Public Domain)
Table of Content
1. Cost of Living
Alright, so it should come as no surprise that Vancouver is a pretty expensive city to live in, especially when it comes to the rental market.
Back in 2018, I remember that it was still quite possible to secure a one-bedroom for about $1,600 or so within Vancouver. Not necessarily Metro Vancouver or cities surrounding Vancouver, but within Vancouver proper itself.
These days, that's not really happening anymore (unless you are in some form of student housing). Now, apparently, as of May 2023, Vancouver is the most expensive city to rent in across Canada, beating Toronto and many other major cities in Ontario.
I wouldn't recommend moving to another city solely because the cost of living, but it is one factor that contributed to my decision.
Source: Rentals.ca (May 2023)
2. The Outdoor Lifestyle
A lot of people living in Vancouver and BC in general love the outdoor. But not me. Not so much, at least.
So I always feel a little bit out of place whenever I get an invite to go hiking, or go to the beach. I don't hate it, but I don't particularly enjoy it very much.
3. The Indoor Lifestyle
Edmonton, on the other hand, is more of an indoor city compared to Vancouver.
Think about how it's like when it's winter (which is about half the year). Nobody goes hiking. People stay indoors in their homes, or they'll go out, but they'll be indoors most of the time.
Some people would say it's boring, but I prefer being indoors and hanging out with people indoors, say, restaurants, malls, and the likes. (By the way, I find the restaurant scene in Edmonton to be pretty good.)
Long story short, I feel a lot more in my element when I'm indoors and it feels easier to build connection with other people who are also similar in that way.
If you love the Vancouver outdoors, Edmonton might not be right for you.
4. General Friendliness
The weather in Edmonton can get pretty cold, but I personally find the people to be warmer. I've had a couple fun and friendly interactions with servers and people in general when I dine out and go out in Edmonton, but this didn't really happen to me as much in Vancouver.
5. Potential of Home Ownership
A typical detached home in Edmonton can go from $250K-ish, up to the millions in some parts of the city.
It feels easier to find something for everyone here.
6. Living Spaces
Right now, Edmonton has the space. I find that it's rare that you would feel cramped in public, and whether you rent or own a property, you would tend to have more space for yourself in Edmonton compared to Vancouver.
Vancouver is competitive. Whether it comes to getting a place to live in, finding a career, and also dating.
But at the end of the day, it comes down to what you are looking for. Some types of career and relationships may be easier to find in Vancouver, but for some others, it may be easier to find somewhere else. Hard to generalize a one-size-fits-all.
8. Potential for Growth
When I moved away from Vancouver, I was in the midst of growing my online business.
But what this means is that I need to be in an environment supportive of my growth.
I'm not saying Vancouver is not the right place for that in general—I'm saying it didn't feel like the best place for me personally.
With the lower cost of living, a more compatible lifestyle, a bigger living space, and a more optimal amount of competition, I personally feel that Edmonton gives me a lot more mental space to think and grow, and also to build the right connections.
When I was in Vancouver, the higher cost of living, the lifestyle, a smaller living space, and the high amount of competition did not make me feel the same way.
Two Downsides of Moving to Edmonton
At the time I'm writing this, I've lived in Edmonton for over half a year and I am enjoying it. But there are two somewhat minor downsides to moving here.
The first downside is the few friends and connections I left in Vancouver. I can still come over and visit from time to time considering it's only about an hour flight away, but it's not realistic to do that every other week of course. I have been visiting Vancouver from Edmonton every other month... for now.
The second downside is the transit system in Edmonton. Undisputably, Vancouver's transit system beats Edmonton by a long shot. For a start, the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Edmonton does not go to the airport, unlike the Skytrain in Metro Vancouver.
Metro Vancouver is also more well-connected via transit when compared to Edmonton. There are 53 SkyTrain stations across Metro Vancouver that connects The Cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, New Westminster, Port Moody, and Coquitlam, whereas there are only 18 LRT Stations that run through The City of Edmonton. Here are two maps that show the train stations in Metro Vancouver and Edmonton.