Most Liveable City in The World – Again!!

Ah again. Five times in a row.
Vancouver is voted as the most liveable city in the world, by the Economist magazine.

Way back before I got hitched to a certain supergeek who made Canada his home 18 years ago, Vancouver let alone Canada – has never been on my have-to-travel list. I know it is a pretty city, but I don’t care much about it because ‘pretty’ is not an adjective that attracts me as a city when it comes to exploring. My young blood then hungers for raw energy in a city, so being all pretty and dandy is errr…unattractive. Funny eh?

My first year living in Canada was not in Vancouver, but in Mission – 1 hour drive away from Van . It is a little sleepy country town, flanked by salmon-filled rivers and clear creeks. We have a monstrous house and lots of greens. I remember reading the news about how Vancouver is the most liveable city then, and I was curious. My relationship with the city was contained within the context of having meetings, hanging out in the robust coffee culture and of course the usual visits.I like Vancouver then, but am not sure about its livability.

Now that we have moved to Vancouver, I can vouch for the tag the city has earned. Vancouver is very pretty, but more than that – I love how graceful the general society is. I fell in love with the love people have for animals here, the respect for differences and the general courtesy even on roads. I recalled a cousin from SG who was here last Spring. She was crossing the road and saw a car coming. She stoppped, thinking that she should let the car passed. But in Canada, most cars will stop instead to let the pedestrian pass (even with a long line of cars behind you). This happened many times, and she went home impressed. I don’t notice these things. I should, I know.

I love the variety of landscapes that Vancouver has, both geographically and in its people. Only in Van can you find mountains, the blue water, rivers and a high-rise buildings next to each other. We live near the beach, and it so happens that our place is on top of a hill. Our morning drives to downtown means we get a full view of the mountains, the beach and the skyline and a few minutes later, we are driving parallel to the coastline. Now that it is summer, you can see seagulls flying past and the beach crowd basking in the sun. It is a gorgeous way to start your morning, and we are always happy driving from Mackenzie Heights (where we are), past Kitsilano Beach and then crossing over to historic Gastown (where DH’s office is).

And only in Van, can you see literally a variety of colours in peoples’ skin.

However, Vancouver is not without its downsides. There are poor areas, and there are very-open druggie infested parks. There are also the not so pretty sides of Vancouver, though I must say these areas usually have the best food ! But I love this diversity.

My own take on the new ranking is, I am blessed and very happy to be in one of the most beautiful city I have ever been in. But that aside, liveability is not a definitive term. How do you define liveability? From whose perspective are we measuring liveability from? John Doe may want a tiny apartment for himself, and to him thats liveable. Jane may want a huge house with a big lawn, and anything less to her is not acceptable. See where I am going at?

If the readers of the Economist are the ones who voted, then chances are these are educated and well-travelled individuals, who would probably be living and sampling the more comfortable side of Vancouver anyway. Of course they see the very pretty and beautiful side of Vancouver every day. In a way, DH and I are cheating by living in that side of town. Our space is small for the huge rent we are paying, but our choice to live on the West Side is totally about location. So we have to bite our tongue and pay the price. We would have loved a bigger space, but this is what we have decided on for now.

Talking about the common Economist readers, I can see it from the area where we are renting right now. You see Bentleys, BMWs and Porches parked on the streets where we are. Our Honda looks a little meek sometimes but thankfully, we don’t have a yearning to have big cars right now. We are just very happy with the proximity of our place to everything we like!

Another issue with liveability is affordability. Vancouver is very expensive to live in. A very pretty heritage house , with only 3 bedrooms and with a fully manicured lawn is a whopping USD$1.5 million at least. And property taxes will easily set you back with US$7000 a year. Surely you want a gardening team with that, like my landlord does. So add that on to your maintenance cost. We both don’t like the idea of slaving our lives for another mortgage, so until such time that we have a whole lot of cash to throw (including the ever-useful gardening team! – renting is hot on our list:) Seriously, can you see DH or I pottering away in our garden to keep cost low ? I think we will end up killing the plants.

Anyway, here is a tribute to the city I now call home. Vancouver is a very nice place to be. So all of you who are still contemplating a visit, just pack your bags and get your a** here. Nothing beats the warmth of family and friends I grew up with in Singapore, but for now, I am content. Alhamdulillah.


  1. i was just about to tell you that i resigned and with the probation period of new job, i cant travel for the next 6 months!!!!! and then i read your blinking post – excuse me now while i go cry and pull my hair in my office loo… momok #1

  2. Dont pull your hair!! you dont have much left!!! Dah lah rambut kau tu tipis !

    Anyway, haiyayayaya…takpelah Momok. Vancouver will wait for you – amacam, next Spring?

  3. OOOhhh! Time to visit!! I can collect my 20 bucks from you then. 😛 Aku miss kau lah pompan!!!

  4. zuzan, you ‘up’ my wanting to leave sg for greener pastures very very high hehe. how would you compare cost of living in sg (ok lah tampines, since it’s one of the more expensive hdb areas).. sama mahal??

  5. haizzz fau: Generally aku rasa Vancouver (note, not the entire Canada) is more mahal than SG ie Tampines in terms of property – rent or owned.

    SG has cheaper food too, here its USD10 for a decent sandwich and drink. If you are talking abt restaurant meals – its higher.

    The only thing murah sikit sini is kereta, because it is a must have since the city is huge.

    Oh and yes…taxes alone can kill you.

    But quality of life here is higher, so mungkin it comes with the price. People are more graceful, polite and open minded. I like that. So it depends on apa yang menggoda hati kau? 😉

  6. Dearest Bom,

    Sesungguhnye, aku amat jealous… the city you live in, the people… wen can I pack my three kids in a suitcase and belah to join you in the “MOST LIVEABLE CITY IN THE WORLD”???.. but i don’t think I want to live in the west side… ambik murah2 sikit… btw, manelah aku punye “Little whatever on the prairie” DVD?

  7. suzanne: mintak mahap!!! aku lupa terus pasalDVD tu ! Akan ku usahakan insya’allah.

    dulu i dont even know where this ‘west side’ is. But yes there are many other nice areas within and outside Vancouver too – the trick is, kena pandai merayap and cari! something we Singaporeans can do very well 😉 Betul tak, kak?

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