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9 Things That Surprised Me When I Moved From The East Coast of Canada To The West Coast

Spoiler alert: I didn't know there were palm trees in Canada? 🌴🇨🇦

Western Canada Editor
9 Things That Surprised Me When I Moved From The East Coast of Canada To The West Coast

Moving from the East Coast of Canada to the West Coast this fall was a huge change. Although I'm still in Canada, it's as far from home as I can get in the country, and so much is different.

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I've lived in New Brunswick for years. So, when I decided in 2020 to move to Vancouver from small-town NB, I thought "How different can it be? It's just another oceanside city."

Let's just say that I noticed differences as soon as I got off the plane, and every day I discover more.

Here are some of the things that are wildly different from one coast of Canada to the other.

The Ocean

Morgan Leet | Narcity

I was comforted by the fact that when I moved, I would have the familiarity of the ocean. While it's still the ocean, and I love it, it's actually totally different from the one I've come to love on the East Coast.

I've travelled, but never actually lived on the Pacific Ocean before. The smell, colour, and even ocean breeze are all so different. And the seaweed downright shocked me as I walked along the beach. Here, it's massive and a bit scary-looking.

Everything Is Just Bigger?

Morgan Leet | Narcity

This goes for most things on the West Coast strangely; the trees, bears, forest area and animals are all bigger.

I was greeted by a huge coyote crossing my path on one of my first outings out West. That paired with the size of grizzly bears here (which we don't have at all on the East Coast), had me a bit worried on my afternoon hikes.

The trees are also bigger than anything else I have ever seen in Canada. Within the massive forest areas are incredible trunks tall enough that you can barely see the top, and thick enough that you can't possibly wrap your arms around them.

The Way People Talk

Morgan Leet | Narcity

I knew Maritime slang was distinct, but you don't realize by how much until you start to miss people saying things like "Holy Mackerel," "Blowin a gale," and "'Magine."

The strangest look I've gotten so far is when I referred to someone as being "right confused."

P.S. Does anyone know where "Slurrey" is??

The Food

Morgan Leet | Narcity

My first week at the farmer's market had me giddy. Because of the milder weather, the fresh produce here is unreal.

My favourite so far is the mouthwatering Okanagan peaches.

The Cost

Morgan Leet | Narcity

Tell someone (anyone) on the East Coast that you're moving to B.C. and they will all undoubtedly make the same joke — "You know what they say B.C. stands for right? BRING CASH!!"

As much as I rolled my eyes after hearing it again and again, they all had a point. Compared to the costs of New Brunswick in terms of living, eating out, and doing activities, Vancouver is much more costly.

From my first look at gas prices here, I knew I had to get a bike ASAP.

Palm Trees

Morgan Leet | Narcity

Visiting English Bay for the first time blew my mind, to say the least.

In my mind, palm trees were strictly reserved for vacations, so I was a bit confused when I casually strolled by a tropical-like street.

The Weather

Don't bother checking the weather in Vancouver. It's rain, I promise.

The benefit? You're not buried in snow like you are in the East all winter.

The downside? I might forget what the sun looks like. Check back in after winter to see.

The Hustle & Bustle

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Halifax is a city, but Vancouver is a CITY. Even what people refer to as "small towns" here seem to be triple the size of where I'm from.

The Mountains

Swsomerville | Dreamstime

There is no mistaking Vancouver for Halifax when you get a glimpse of the massive mountains surrounding you, which are hard not to have in sight at all times.

I still feel like I'm waking up in a fairytale most days when I look outside.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

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    Morgan Leet
    Western Canada Editor
    Morgan Leet is the Western Canada Editor for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on interprovincial travel, and is based in Vancouver.
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