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Places to stay in Vancouver

#1 · Posted: 20 Oct 2004 03:57 · Edited by: Jyrki21
kirthiboy: Offtopic (Sorry): Jyrki21, I need your help regarding some info since you stay in Vancouver! I got admission in VFS and my session starts from Feb. I want to know about staying/renting rooms in Vancouver!!! Please assist

Well I grew up in Vancouver, I don't live there now (at the other end of the country in Toronto), but here's what I can tell you.

Vancouver Film School is in downtown Vancouver (in fact, it's at [color=green]this link[/color]), and when Vancouverites say "downtown," we actually mean a very specific part of the city, not just 'the city' as opposed to the suburbs.

This is important, because downtown living (outside of one particular neighborhood) is really quite expensive. Downtown is crammed into a little peninsula jutting out from the north side of the rest of the city (you can zoom out from that map to see what I mean), so there isn't much land to go around, which makes it pretty expensive.

That said, I think you'll find most VFS students live downtown anyway, so that they can walk to school and what not (and a lot of it is part of the VFS 'image,' which you probably already know something about...!)

Vancouver used to be very, very difficult to rent in, for lack of availability. But now, because so many people have moved into condominiums, apparently rentals are starting to free up. So I might also be overstating prices a little bit.

So here's what I can tell you about places to rent:


Yaletown - a downtown neighborhood which has been completely revitalized over the past 15-20 years (since Expo '86, really, which was Vancouver's big coming-of-age). Formerly industrial land, it's now home to lost of condos, bars, dotcom companies, Generation-Xers and young couples. A lot of it is very pricey (not sure of specifics), and yet I've heard the VFSers tend to settle there.

The West End - the residential half of the downtown core. It's the densest neighborhood in all of Canada, and also quite culturally thriving with tons of cafes and bars, partly because it's also the gay district. You can get a gorgeous view of English Bay and Kitsilano across the water (or, at the other end, Burrard Inlet and North Vancouver). A single-bedroom, depending on how high it is (mostly tall apartment buildings) will probably go for $800-$1200 Canadian a month. There is a very large diversity of apartment types, from the ultra-swanky to the relatively simple.

Gastown/Downtown Eastside - Gastown is the "quaint" part of Vancouver (cobbled streets, old-style streetlights, etc.) and very touristy. But if you walk just a block or two away, you end up in the Downtown Eastside, which is legendary for being the heroin capital of the country (if not the continent) and the poorest neighborhood in the country. (Because Vancouver is so much warmer than anything farther east in Canada, a lot of troubled individuals tend to migrate out West... and a lot of them end up in this neighborhood if they have a drug problem). I would not recommend living here, but it'll be far and away the cheapest downtown living, that's for sure! (Gastown is very nice, though, and has some good nightclubs).

Not downtown, but close

Generally to get downtown, you have to cross a bridge (go far enough east, and you don't have to). There are some very, very nice neighborhoods just on the other side of the bridges, though, on the 'non-downtown' side of the water. You'd probably want to take a bus to get to VFS, but it'd be a quick ride.

Kitsilano - the 'yuppie-meets-hippie' district. A lot of students from UBC live around here, as do young, active types with dogs, and latte-drinkers. Tons of excellent restaurants and bars. Broadway is probably the main East/West street in the city and it runs through here, as does 4th Avenue, the hippie central. Some very nice homes with a lot of character (mostly detached homes with yards), and basement suites in houses to be rented. I'm not sure, but I would guess that a one bedroom here probably goes for about $500 - $800 Cdn?

False Creek/Fairview - If you speak to a local, I'm talking about the area immediately east of Kitsilano, near Granville Island (a big tourist site). I don't know if there are tons of rentals to be had, but it's another very pretty neighborhood with tons of amenities. Prices would probably be similar to Kitsilano.

Mount Pleasant - This is farther east, and not as wealthy, but it's a neighborhood with tons of character which has become very popular among the 'hip' crowd. On a map, look between Cambie and Main, from about 1st Avenue south to King Edward, more or less. Lots to rent, some much nicer than others. You'll find both detached homes and apartment buildings. Streets like Cambie and Main are lined with restaurants and stores. I would guess that rentals will go between $400-$800 Cdn.

Farther out, but still in the city

Here are some neighborhoods from which you'd definitely need a bus or the SkyTrain to get to school, but these are also the parts of town where most 'normal people' live.

Commercial Drive - On the east side (not to be confused with the 'Downtown Eastside'), the "alternative" district. Popular among artsy types, anarchists, and people who just like a little more randomness and diversity. Also very popular. Plenty of houses off of the main strip, and you could probably find a room for, hm, prices similar to Mount Pleasant?

Kerrisdale - Going back west to one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. A lot more older people, but it's quiet, clean and has amenities in it. The downside is that there probably aren't that many rentals to be found, but if you can, look for prices similar to Kitsilano.

Shaughnessy - The richest neighborhood in the city. It's very green and beautiful, but I don't think anyone rents here. :)

Dunbar - The area immediately east of UBC. Very nice, friendly, lots of families. Some real diamonds in the rough, too, in terms of stores and restaurants. Like in Kits, you might want to look for something like a basement suite here. Maybe marginally cheaper than Kitsilano.

Fraser Street - Back to the east side again... parts of Fraser can get a little sketchy at times, but it's pretty normal for the most part and the next major street east of Main. You'll probably find rentals from $350-$500 Cdn.

There are tons of other neighborhoods, but I can't hit them all... :)


Don't be intimidated... most of the suburbs aren't actually that far away, although the commute would probably still be annoying. But if you live in North Vancouver (a separate city), you're actually closer to downtown than most of Vancouver proper -- but separated by water. You can commute in with the Seabus, though, which is a little ferry interwoven with the public transit system. Burnaby is the first suburb to the east of Vancouver, and it's not much farther than a lot of the regular old east side, and doesn't look very 'suburban.'

If you do find a prospective place, and want to know a little about the area, tell me what you find and I'll let you know whatever I can tell you about it...

Hope this helps!

-J21, an enthusiastic Vancouver supporter. :)
#2 · Posted: 20 Oct 2004 11:01
Thanks a lot J21. Thats like a load of information :)
#3 · Posted: 23 Dec 2004 05:39

I just read this thread but thought I would offer my help. I live in Mount Pleasent area of Vancouver so if you have any questions please feel free to ask!

christopher R:
#4 · Posted: 27 Feb 2005 06:46
Kirthiboy, have you moved to Vancouver in the end?
#5 · Posted: 12 Mar 2005 21:45
Jyrki21, good descriptions of Vancouver neighborhoods, and good luck to the person who got into Vancouver Film School, that must be exciting!

If you check out the Vancouver Sun newspaper online, you can find listings of Vancouver apartments for rent.

If you have the money, I would consider renting a furnished apartment rental in Vancouver: http://www.furnishedrentals.com/north_america/canada/british_columbia/vancouver/

I've had an easier time finding an apartment rental in Vancouver than many other cities of the world I've lived in.

Good luck!

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