A city to fall in love with (in) (day 325)

“Hi Vancouver, how are you doing?”

“Well, I am doing just fine Hayden. In fact, I have a great many excellent features that I am sure you will appreciate and enjoy, even in just the few days that you have to spend here before your trip around British Columbia.

“Of course there is my attractive aspect. I am nestled on a beautiful bay, with the downtown accessible by a number of picturesque bridges. I have a few too many 1950s high-rise buildings to be to everybody’s liking, but I always say if you can’t like a 1950s’ glass and concrete monstrosity, what hope is there for you, really?

“I have perfect weather sometimes. In fact, I am a pretty canny city salesperson (while there are some cities of gender, I am not one – that would not be appropriate, given my western, liberal attitudes) who will give you fine and beautiful (but crisp) days when you first arrive, and save the endless rain for when you have already committed to stay.

“I enjoy a super-logical layout, thanks to the railway engineers who laid me out. While I do repeat street names in more than one part of the city sometimes (which can be a little confusing), I also have square blocks where the house numbers on one block are exactly the same as the numbers on the parallel street the next block over. This makes it incredibly easy to find your friends, your enemies, or the premises of one of the innumerable high-quality businesses that choose to call Vancouver home.

“The denizens of this fair metropolis (if I might be allowed the lattitude to so describe myself) enjoy intriguing local customs. One of the most intriguing is, of course, hockey (which is not, in fact, the national sport of Canada), where watching your fellow spectactors can sometimes provide more entertainment than trying to espy the invisible puck moving at high speed across the ice. And where the bill for beer and hotdogs rivals the ticket price at very moderate levels of consumption.

“Speaking of beer, it is true to say that Vancouverites have a penchant for drinking (although they don’t use too much French, as a rule, despite it being the second official language). Many visitors find this appealing.

“I am very, very easy to get around as well, Hayden. You can walk lots of places, as you know, hire bikes easily and cheaply (even if the man does sometimes try to rip you off), and there are highly efficient buses, boats and a newish train system.

“Of course, my citizens are unassuming, dressing-down, relaxed, friendly, outdoorsy types, just as at home in a kayak or a tent as their own apartments. And far more willing to help you out for no reason at all than many other citizens of many other cities in the world.

“And the downtown area is crowned with the jewel that is Stanley Park. Big, open, filled with tracks, empty, varied and easy to get around. Although it can still be a little tricky to escape the traffic noise (especially since the main road to North Vancouver runs right through the middle of the park.

“In fact, Vancouver is so great that it consistently rates in the top 10 cities in the world to live in (search on Google for ‘mercer’ and ‘quality of life survey’). And that is that.”

I have a friend who, in the space of just three days in this fine city, decided that she would move here, find the perfect man, and settle down. Children may even be on the cards. Now where she actually follows this plan or not, we shall see. And admittedly these are things that she was ready to do before coming to Vancouver. Even so, it is just that kind of place.

Not too bad at all.

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