Canada, a country often referred to as ‘America’s Hat’ by its southern neighbour, is often touted as having some of the world’s most livable cities. This is particularly true in the case of Vancouver, a city located on the country’s Pacific coast which consistently cracks the top ten of such lists.
Prospective tourists planning on visiting Vancouver naturally therefore expect to hold the city in a similar high regard due to its enviable position by the ocean and relatively proximity to nearby mountains.
While the unparalleled beauty of the surrounding nature cannot be refuted, the city itself is an entirely different story. Rather, when one looks closely at Vancouver, they are quick to realize that the city is actually instead dreary, distressing and decisively overrated.
So non-descript is the local cityscape that Vancouver has been given the moniker ‘Hollywood North’ due to a local film industry which is largely driven by Vancouver’s ability to be a generic city stand-in in many films. This is mainly a result of the city having a complete lack of notable and unique architecture.
And while Vancouver is technically one of the warmest cities in Canada, this fact is greatly diminished when one learns that it also one of the wettest places in the country. So, though a visitor may not encounter the frigid temperatures common in other parts of Canada during non-summer seasons, any outdoor experience will undoubtedly be damp and depressing.
Visitors will find many of the supposed must-see attractions pushed by other travel blogs quite lacklustre. The Granville Island Public Market for instance, often deemed an essential stop, offers nothing particularly exceptional beyond what can be found in many other cities around North America.
The same can be said about the city’s famed ‘Steam Clock’, which despite having been styled to appear as a relic from the 19th-century, was in fact only built in 1977.
Perhaps the city’s sole noteworthy site is Stanley Park, which is entirely due to the natural setting of the area and helps to distract from the dull urban sprawl that is Vancouver. In this sense, the park merely acts as a further reminder to leave the city immediately and escape to the surrounding wilderness.
Given the state of the city, it should not be a surprise to learn that locals and visitors alike commonly turn to narcotics as an ailment to their boredom. Although only recently legalised in 2018, marijuana has nevertheless been long associated with Vancouver and the province of British Columbia. The regional connection with the drug has been so strong, that ‘BC Bud’ (i.e. locally grown marijuana) has garnered a reputation among reefer enthusiasts across the world.
That being said, marijuana is hardly a prerequisite to have a mind-altering experience in this city. Unwanted interactions with the local homeless population can always be described as highly bizarre and unpleasantly hostile. These encounters in regard to their weirdness surpass even other West Coast cities like San Francisco or San Diego.
It only takes a couple steps down any street in Vancouver until you likely to already be offered some words of spiritual enlightenment, aggressively panhandled, trip over an unconscious heroin junkie, or have to pivot around a smug ‘Vancouverite’ who mistakenly feels their city of residence is a substitute for an interesting personality.
Essentially, any preconceived notion or existing stereotype which one may have about polite and agreeable Canadians will be utterly demolished by a visit to Vancouver. As such, it would be highly recommended that the only time one spends in Vancouver should be entirely at the Vancouver International Airport. That is to say, the minimum amount of time between disembarking the flight and picking up a rental car in order to drive as fast as possible away from the city and into the surrounding nature.