After 5 years of living Downtown, I’m moving to Burnaby next month. It’s a bittersweet time as I’m sad to see the end of an era but I’m excited for new adventures. With 2 of my best friends moving to Texas and myself moving out of my home for the past 5 years, it’s definitely a time of change, but change has been a regular bulletpoint on my life list for the past year so it’s nothing that I haven’t become accustomed to rolling with. I’m not sure what Burnaby or my next year has in store for me, but I know that my past 5 years were great and full of some amazing times with some amazing people.
Here are my top 10 things that I’ll miss most about living Downtown:
10. Everything within walking distance
I need a coffee. Go downstairs. I need a new shirt. Robson and PC are down the block. Movie starts in 20 minutes! Good thing ScotiaTheatres is 5 minutes away. Damn, I’m out of clean underwear, out of laundry detergent and have a hot date tonight. Booya, IGA has detergent (and there’s a florist on the way too. Girls like flowers right?).
9. Afterparties at my place
Clubs closed but the party just won’t die? So many weekends my little condo has been standing-room-only with boys and girls packed in the place downing more shots of Goose and Chivas with a slice of Johnny’s Pizza and Fritz in hand, music pumping on my 5.1 surround sound at 4am. As the sun starts to rise at 6, people start trickling home and dreading the drive ahead of them while I just walk into the next room and pass out. (Downside is the damn mess the next day and usually one of my buddys passed out on the couch)
8. I don’t know where anybody lives anymore
When I was in Coquitlam, I was the starting destination. I used to pick everybody and their grandma up on my way out to anywhere. Living downtown, I am now the end destination for about 80% of the fun times. Movie nights, dinner dates, weekend club benders, everybody comes to meet me at my place and I rarely pick anyone up anymore. It’s been a while since I’ve had to wait in front of my friends houses, patiently waiting for 30 minutes while they pick which shoes to wear.
7. Starbucks, Sushi Maki, and TD Bank
After living in an area for so long, you get to know the people who work at the places you frequent. While this happens everywhere, I’ll definitely miss the VIP treatment of a long time customer at some of the places that I visit often.
6. Sunset Beach and the Seawall
It’s Tuesday. I just got off work and it’s sunny out. I hop on the bike and head down to Sunset Beach, sit on the grass and read for a bit, nap or just lay there, soaking in some vitamin D. The days stresses and trivial problems melt away. It’s Saturday morning. I walk down to English Bay and start my run around the Seawall, dodging rookie rollerbladers and trying to keep up with the cute girls on bicycles. It’s amazing when one of the best tourist attractions in North America is your literally your backyard.
5. 2am Ambulances, Car Alarms, and Random Screaming People
Ok this one is a love/hate. While the ambulances screeching out of St. Pauls at 2am with their sirens blazing wake me up every night to the guy with the Honda Accord who parks his car out front with the sensitive alarm pisses me off, it’s definitely a part of downtown culture that I’ll miss. Every Christmas I move back home to my parents for a week and I actually can’t sleep because it’s too quiet. Kinda creepy.
4. Vancouver on my BCDL
Growing up in a small town (when I was growing up it was a small town anyway), I’ve always wanted VANCOUVER on my drivers license and when I got it, it felt like I’d accomplished something on my life list.
3. Yaletown, Gastown, Coal Harbour, Denman, Robson and Bentall Districts
Six cultures within a stones throw. The yuppies walking around Yaletown sipping on lattes walking their punt-sized dogs, the hippies smoking weed on the corners of Gastown, the excessively rich and pretentious crowds of Coal Harbour, the Suits walking around the Bentall districts with blackberries and suitcases in hand to the young, vivacious and fashionable crowd on Robson, Downtown has it all. The most fun I’ve had was walking around all the areas in one day last year and seeing how different one city could be just by crossing the street.
From Hapa Izakayas to The Elbow Room to Cactus Club. Downtown has so many restaurants to choose from and experience. From nice upscale restaurants on Alberni street to the mom and pop restaurants on Denman to the barrage of ice creameries and dessert houses, you can literally experience any type of food in any type of setting you wish. Vancouver is known North American wide for its quality of eateries and Downtown is the epicenter of culinary choices within our city. For about 6 months a couple years ago, my friend and I would try a new restaurant every weekend within walking distance. That was fun.
1. Ho Yeet Lao
I love the hustle and bustle of downtown with all its local residents. Most downtowns in other cities might be 70% commercial and 30% residential but in Vancouver it’s the other way around. More people live here than work here. City lights, thousands of homes in hundreds of buildings. People everywhere each living their own lives but within the same vicinity. I look across at my neighboring towers and each condo is its own story, carrying its own heartbeat. Living life in a fishbowl, you realize that while you are people watching others across from you, you are also being observed as well. There’s something to being in the middle of it all, its own vibe that you don’t realize exists until you experience it firsthand.
I love this city and exploring is awesome. The past 5 years was fun. The next 5 should be interesting.
(My next Vancouver address will be somewhere west of Granville street…In a huge house on the West side with a 3 car garage and a swimming pool.)