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Vancouver, BC

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I've only visited and can't answer part of your question.

The city's beautiful, espcially around UBC, even in March. It's expensive, but probably no more so than similar-sized cities. If you're American, the weakening dollar might hurt you.

The people seemed friendly and I was amazed at the cultural diversity downtown.

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I live in Vancouver, the cost of living can be quite high if you are living right downtown, but it's not too bad if you live in the suburbs. As for safety issues, it is pretty safe here but the downtown eastside area of the city should be avoided. What university are you applying to, UBC or SFU? Vancouver is a beautiful city, with the ocean and mountains both nearby. Keep in mind that it rains here a lot though. If you have any more questions let me know.

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Pretty much anywhere near UBC is really nice... but expensive. The UBC is on some of the best land on the planet.

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Hey, I live just south of the border from Vancouver and it is gorgeous up here, for sure. One thing I hate about going up there, though, is the traffic. It's a city designed best for walking/biking. Avoid cars at all costs!

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I grew up in the area. Great city, and quite safe (well, maybe aside from the notorious Downtown Eastside). It does get pretty congested at times (especially around the bridges to North Van) and if you're at all susceptible to seasonal affective disorder, you'll be miserable in the winter, when the sight of the sun is a rare one. But UBC is gorgeous, the public transportation is pretty good, and the city itself is just vibrant.

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I would echo the comments above about walking and biking if you can - it's a very bike-friendly city, and it is gorgeous to bike in, while the traffic can be a nightmare for a car, especially some of the bridges. Stanley Park is an amazing public resource, even though it can get a little shady at night. The Asian food is particularly good in Vancouver, while what would be standard US fare (like burgers, hot dogs, etc) tends to be overcooked and oversalted, so let that sort of information filter down to your cuisine choices. Overall, Vancouver is a wonderful city, and UBC (while not particularly near the city center) is in a great location.

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How bad an idea is it to live in the Downtown Eastside? I applied to SFU and would like to live in Vancouver if I get in/decide to go but also want a reasonable commute to school and reasonable rent. What about Strathcona?

Are Grandview-Woodland and Hastings-Sunrise reasonable places for a student who likes cities to live?

Are there any areas with relatively cheap rent I should look at if I decide to move there? I'd prefer not to live in Burnaby or another suburb.

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I would recommend Hastings-Sunrise as a good area to live in. That's where I grew up and you can find nice places with good rent prices. It's not too far to get to SFU from there either. Another option is living in Burnaby; there are some great areas to consider there as well - North Burnaby and areas near Lougheed Mall as well. Good luck!

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I was just admitted to SFU (yay!) so I now feel less silly asking questions.

Is Hastings-Sunrise super suburban feeling or does it have more of an urban core feeling to it?

After I deduct tuition fees from my TAship+SSHRC money (assuming SSHRC comes through) I will have about $22k to live on - is this a reasonable sum to live on in Vancouver? People always describe it as being incredibly expensive but I feel like that might be a bit exaggerated.

Are there are any really good websites to look at apartments on (minus the obvious like Kijiji, Craigslist and the first page of google results) that I should be checking out?

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Congratulation thepoorstockinger

it depends on you life stile but on average $22k is enough for one person. Going from Hastings-Sunrise to SFU (the Burnaby campus) in rush hour is really difficult, so I suggest you to look for some closer place to the campus. You can also find some more economic places for rent in Burnaby.

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I'm interested in how good public transportation is in the Vancouver area, specifically to/from Burnaby. I'm married, so my husband will be looking for a job in finance/business, and I'm guessing most of those will be in downtown Vancouver (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). We'll only have one car, at least in the beginning, so we're planning to live close enough to SFU that I can commute by walking/taking public transportation, and he can either drive or take public transportation to downtown. Is that feasible? If so, what areas of Burnaby should I be looking at, and is the graduate family housing (Louis Riel House) a good option? The rent there is $732 for a one bedroom - significantly less than I am used to paying where I am from ($1000+ there) - but is that a good price for Burnaby? Any comments on its location to campus and/or public transportation?

Also, given that I am from SoCal, where no one takes public transportation unless they really can't afford to buy a car (and hence public transportation networks are inadequate and seen as, often, unsafe), is relying on public transportation for daily life a safe and easy option? Finally, are there areas of Burnaby I should avoid, either due to difficulty of getting around or being not as safe?

Thanks in advance!

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Welcome to beautiful Vancouver :D

I'm interested in how good public transportation is in the Vancouver area, specifically to/from Burnaby.

The public transportation in Vancouver is one of the best systems that I have ever seen. Bus, train Schedules are very accurate and you lay on them.

We'll only have one car, at least in the beginning, so we're planning to live close enough to SFU that I can commute by walking/taking public transportation, and he can either drive or take public transportation to downtown. Is that feasible?

Driving to Downtown is not a very good idea. First, daily parking cost for downtown is something about 20$! 300$/month.

Second, by using Sky train and bus you can save your time (sky train goes with 70km/h, but the avarage speed of you car can not be higher than 30-40km/h in rush hours). Also, if you want to stay in Louis Riel House, they only can provide you one parking slot!

If so, what areas of Burnaby should I be looking at, and is the graduate family housing (Louis Riel House) a good option? The rent there is $732 for a one bedroom - significantly less than I am used to paying where I am from ($1000+ there) - but is that a good price for Burnaby? Any comments on its location to campus and/or public transportation?

I personally live in LRH. I like it. It's very close to classes, gym, swimming pool, ... The security is excellent. BUT, the building it not so beautiful. It is in a very good condition, but not look very new. Also you think about to pay for parking (160CAD/ semester)+(120CAD/semester for phone)+(80-120CAD/semester Internet).

Many of student in SFU live in

East Hastings St. Somewhere between Duthie st. and Sperling St.( I never suggest the west part, it not safe and also too far from the campus)

around Lougheed Town Centre

you can find more public transportation of Vancouver in

http://www.translink.bc.ca/

and google map. both of them accurate

If you need more information, we can have a chat in more detail

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I'm interested in how good public transportation is in the Vancouver area, specifically to/from Burnaby. I'm married, so my husband will be looking for a job in finance/business, and I'm guessing most of those will be in downtown Vancouver (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

As long as you find a place on the Skytrain, you'll be fine. It runs in a loop through the suburbs, but has a branch that goes downtown. I live in East Vancouver, and I can get to SFU in 45 minutes and downtown in about 20 using transit.

We'll only have one car, at least in the beginning, so we're planning to live close enough to SFU that I can commute by walking/taking public transportation, and he can either drive or take public transportation to downtown. Is that feasible? If so, what areas of Burnaby should I be looking at, and is the graduate family housing (Louis Riel House) a good option? The rent there is $732 for a one bedroom - significantly less than I am used to paying where I am from ($1000+ there) - but is that a good price for Burnaby? Any comments on its location to campus and/or public transportation?

Is the graduate family housing on campus? I currently attend SFU, and would strongly strongly STRONGLY recommend against living on campus. It's beautiful up on the mountain, but it's pretty isolated. It's really a commuter campus. Everything shuts down around six or seven in the evening. There's not even a real grocery store up there, and sometimes in the winter you're literally stuck inside a rain cloud for months at a time. Then there's the issue of snow--it doesn't take much to close the campus down, since there's very little in place to clear it away and nobody (including the busses) has snow tires. I got stuck on campus for 48 hours once because of four or five inches of snow. Not fun. I have friends who live on campus and regret it.

Also, given that I am from SoCal, where no one takes public transportation unless they really can't afford to buy a car (and hence public transportation networks are inadequate and seen as, often, unsafe), is relying on public transportation for daily life a safe and easy option?

I'll second the last commenter's praise of the public transit here. As an SFU student, you'll have a bus pass included in your tuition. Unlimited transit across all three zones for $98 a TERM. It's amazing. Take advantage of it.

Finally, are there areas of Burnaby I should avoid, either due to difficulty of getting around or being not as safe?

Burnaby's generally a safe bet. I also really recommend East Vancouver. As long as you avoid East Hastings Street west of Commercial, you're in fine shape. Hastings around Nanaimo has a very cool neighbourhood feel, and Commercial Drive is a great place for cheap groceries, good food, and good bars. If you want an area that will be cheap and quiet without being boring, check out places between Commercial and Boundary, near either the Renfrew or Rupert skytrain stations. That way you're at the very eastern edge of Vancouver and able to get to SFU quickly, but you're also close to everything going on around Commercial. Just try to stay somewhat north, maybe as far north as Hastings and only as far south as 25th Ave or so.

Hope this helps. I love SFU and will miss it very much when I leave. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

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Hi! I got admitted at UBC and I'm thrilled, I have been to Vancouver but for vacation only. I'm also going to live with about 21-22K per year, and plan on living in campus. How expensive is it to eat there? I remember it was quite expensive from the tourist point of view, but living there and cooking on my own, do you think I'll spend more than 500 dlls per month on food?

Also, how are latinos viewed there? When I was there, I was amazed about how nice everyone was to me, but I must say that I only visited downtown. I bet there is no such thing as discrimination up there, but still wanted to ask you guys.

Thanks a lot!

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Congratulations!

Vancouver is very multicultural. Latinos and those of African descent are less common than East Asians, South Asians, and Caucasians, but people from all over the world live there. It's not that discrimination is unheard-of, but it's uncommon.

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The secret to minimizing grocery costs in Vancouver is to get as much food as you can from the smaller produce stores instead of the big chains. There are tons of small stores, mostly run by Asian immigrants, where you can get beautiful fruits and veggies (and sometimes bulk foods) for much less than you'd pay elsewhere. You can buy a whole bag of fresh groceries for $10-$15 if you buy in-season produce. If you're super-desperate, they usually also have $1 bags of veggies that are about to go bad. I have friends who buy them regularly, cut off the bad parts, chop em up and freeze them so that they have an endless supply of vegetables to make curries out of when they get poor.

I think that because there's such a high proportion of non-whites in Vancouver racism can actually be WORSE here than elsewhere because people feel threatened. But most of the reactionary stuff is anti-Asian, so as a latino you should be able to fly under most of the bigots' radar.

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My girlfriend just got accepted into grad school at UBC and we're trying to decide where to live. She wants to live on campus, and we were considering living together in on-campus housing. I will be working fulltime (hopefully!) though I don't know where yet.

My question is, how long/annoying of a commute is it to the rest of Vancouver? Is living on campus really boring for non-students? It looks somewhat isolated from maps. Are there any places to go out that are near campus? Is it possible to walk from campus to a busier part of the city (maybe not downtown but at least off campus)? My other option is finding an apartment off campus, maybe in Kits or thereabouts.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

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It's not a bad commute to the actual city, since there are a katrillion busses servicing campus. It's a fairly long walk, maybe 15-20 minutes, to get from campus to Kits. I don't know why you'd walk, though, since it's so well connected by transit.

Apartments in Kits will be pretty pricey unless you're looking for student places, basements, etc. I've paid anywhere between $400 and $600 a month for my share in some fairly crappy, damp, spider infested basements. Affordable, but I don't wanna do it again.

I'd say living on campus isn't a bad bet, because you can get off it pretty quickly by car or bus, and Kits has lots of good restaurants and bars. The food on campus isn't bad, there's a cheap second run movie theater, a gym and pool, etc. There are three bars on campus. Go to Koerner's, the happy laid back grad pub. Avoid The Pit, which is a dank hole of an undergrad meat market.

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Any recommendations for places to live while at UBC? I'm a 23-year-old female starting a 4-year PhD program, so I'd be in the city for awhile. I'd be looking for a one-or-two bedroom apartment (may live on my own, but probably can't afford it, so might live with a friend.) I could afford up to about $900/month, though clearly less is better.

I know next-to-nothing about the city... Any suggestions re: good apartment buildings, neighbourhoods, places to find postings would be very much appreciated!

Also, how's the grad housing at UBC?

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Also, how's the grad housing at UBC?

I can't comment on the quality, as I've never been inside. BUT I'm on the waitling list (have been for about a month) and I'm #497 for a single apartment in Thunderbird! Seems like the safe bet would be to look elsewhere and be pleasantly surprised if you're actually offered grad housing.

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anyone here looking for roommates? I am starting next fall at UBC and would like to room with someone since living alone is ridiculously expensive off- and on-campus.

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I've been accepted to a MA at UBC and am going to be looking for a place to share off-campus. I'm a bit nervous, since I'm living in Japan at the moment and am going to have to find a place and non-homicidal roommates over the magic of the internet.

Anybody else?

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