The BBC reports that the Economist Intelligence Unit reports that the two best places in the world to live are Vancouver and Melbourne. The accompanying picture, featuring former Prime Minister Paul Martin, who’s from Québec, with a dorky-looking Mountie, is pretty lame. But still, thereby hangs a tale.

When I met Lauren, she was living in Germany. Eventually I started trying to persuade her to move to Vancouver. She was tired of Germany but, as a New Zealander whose happiest years had been in Melbourne, she was hankering for Down Under.

Eventually, we came to agreement and she moved to Vancouver, which has made me very happy. But the agreement has a fallback clause: if we ever move from Vancouver, it has to be to Melbourne.

Do those Economist dudes have good taste, or what?


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From: John Cowan (May 29 2007, at 22:31)

Fine, fine, fine. But EIU's competition Mercer Consulting ranks Vancouver as #3 (Zurich and Geneva outrank it) and Melbourne as only #17. And what's the reference city, the one that is rated 100.0 (Vancouver 107.7, Melbourne 105.0)? Well, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere....


From: Bruno (May 30 2007, at 00:55)

I've been to Vancouver for a conference last March and I visited the city quite a bit. I had high hopes but, unfortunately, I didn't see what all the quality of living ratings are about. (It's different as a tourist than as a resident, but still.)

Things I liked: spectacular setting, some great places nearby (Stanley Park, Whistler mountain), great Asian food

Things I disliked:

- the look/feel is just like any American city (wide lanes, big cars, buildings are mostly flat and disconnected except for a few skycrapers, how many fast food/coffee places do you really need? etc.)

- there are a lot of poor people wandering the streets or begging at convenience stores (especially at the Gastown/Chinatown border),

- it can rain a lot, sometimes non stop for a few days, which is just dreadful,

- some places just seem overhyped to me (yes, Commercial Dr and the Main Street area) (I liked Kitsilano though)

- limited offer of cultural/historical attractions (just the Museum of Anthropology and maybe the Vancouver Art Gallery); most attractions are of the Disneyland kind (e.g. Vancouver Aquarium is mostly for kids)

Or is my view just too European?


From: Mark (May 30 2007, at 05:47)

Best cities ... for the paranoid?

"Canadian cities scored well, as did Austria's Vienna and Switzerland's Geneva, because they are not seen as targets for terror attacks."

Reading this, I wonder what the other criteria were?


From: Martin (May 30 2007, at 06:18)

FYI, Paul Martin is from Ontario:

He does speak a good Québec French...

Living around Montréal, I'd like to visit Vancouver, but it's so far... ;-)


From: Eugene (May 30 2007, at 08:47)

I went to Vancouver to visit relatives back in 1999 and I really fell in love with it. Stanley Park was awesome as well as the Science World. I also liked how orderly and clean everything were, quite unlike my hometown (note: I live in a third-world country). But given a choice, I'd still rather live where I am right now. Nothing really beats hometown charm. :)


From: Andrew Phoenix (May 30 2007, at 19:43)

I loved living in Vancouver. I'm not sure what the best part of the city was; I think it's one of those things where the city as a whole is more than the sum of its parts. Biking down a mountain and swimming in the ocean on the same day has a lot to be said for it, as does good, inexpensive sushi.

One of my acquaintances claims that Guelph is like a mini eastern version of Vancouver which is interesting. It does have that same sort of feeling of community that Vancouver has, but I think that's more a function of the size of the city than anything else. Maybe the most amazing thing is how Vancouver manages to feel small town while having all the amenities of a big city.

Man, I miss Vancouver.

(good to see you Tuesday - great talk)


From: David Smith (May 31 2007, at 07:32)

As I sometimes say, if you could eat scenery we'd still live there...not the whole story, but it makes a pithy sound bite.

Must say, though, that when I visit the grandkids today I miss the funky town I moved to in 1972, with Sweeney Cooperage at the head of a very aromatic False Creek and the "Kosmic Korner" at 4th and Burrard.

Just a bit more gentrified than seems right, but then there's no pulp mill in Squamish and there's no more mining in the Kootenays. Maybe I did head South at the right time, after all.


From: walter (May 31 2007, at 21:27)

hey the link is from 2005. a lot can change in two years. @bruno, as much as i love Vancouver i think your view is one that i sometimes could share with you. in many ways vancouver is way over-hyped due to it's setting. but i am always so GLAD when i return to vancouver after my travels. Vancouver is an attitude and a feeling. nothing like it for my money!


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May 29, 2007
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