Canada's East Coast and West Coast might as well be in separate countries they're so different. We live in a massive country, and thanks to the cost of flying and the sheer distance, many people haven't really explored the opposite coast. Before moving, I was one of them.
After living in B.C. for two years though, I've now moved back home to New Brunswick, and I've gotten to see this side of the country with fresh eyes. The comfort of being home is like a warm blanket, but I can't help but think about how much is different here.
When I first moved out west, I went to Vancouver, where I lived for a year. I got a feel for the big city and then wanted a slower pace, so I moved to Whistler and then Pemberton.
I tried to explore as much as I could while in B.C., but I really only got to see a slice of what the province has to offer. Still, it was one of the best things I've done, and I got to experience a bit of the other side of Canada.
Here's five ways my life is different since I moved back to the East Coast.
There are way fewer people who move west to east
While living in B.C. I would often run into people from all around Canada who had moved out there like me. There were loads of people who came from Ontario and even a few I met from the Maritimes too.
I think there's an allure to the West Coast that other places in Canada don't have. You see these unbelievable photos of scenic mountain views, glacial lakes and the sparkling ocean. You dream about Vancouver's nearly snowless winter while shovelling out your car yet again. It's this idyllic place that draws in people from all over, including lots from eastern Canada.
A lot of it even lived up to this dream I had in my head too, so it's easy to see why so many people move out there.
On the flip side, I don't think I've met more than a handful of people who lived on the East Coast but were originally from the West Coast. I find there are a lot of people like me who have moved back home after living away for a while, but West Coast natives are few and far between out east, in my experience.
Fall is a different thing altogether
There's good and bad on each coast, but the rain that came in B.C. — especially when I lived in Vancouver — was truly painful. In the fall, there was a mix of cloudy days and rainy days, with the occasional hint of a blue sky in between.
It was a relief to have a classic New Brunswick fall this year, with lots of blue skies and sunny days to enjoy. The leaves all change colours around here, and it creates that picture-perfect autumn atmosphere.
That said though, I'm dreading the winter ahead. In Vancouver, it was easy to shake your fist at the dark skies, but at least it was decently warm and there wasn't much snow to complain about. Living in Whistler, winter wasn't too bad either, because all that snow meant a good ski weekend ahead.
In New Brunswick, there are piles of snow and slush, and no silver lining of a ski day at Whistler. It's a long season here, with seemingly endless snowfalls and the odd ice storm to really take it to the next level.
It's hard to compete with B.C. adventures
Maybe it was just because I was more avidly exploring the province while living in B.C., but I found that there was much more adventure to behold there.
The East Coast has its own beautiful hikes and scenic views, don't get me wrong, but there were so many full-on bucket-list excursions in B.C. that kept us endlessly entertained.
There was always some new hike to try out, some little island we hadn't explored, or a cool hidden gem to road trip to. B.C. is such a massive province filled with so much beauty that we only scraped the surface in our two years there, even with lots of weekend trips and getaways.
Coming home, I'm definitely more committed to exploring my home province since it also has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, but I don't think many places come close to B.C. in that regard.
Saving money is way easier
This is one of the best parts about moving home, if I'm being honest. Being close to friends and family is a win for sure, but there's nothing like escaping B.C. prices.
Essentials like gas and groceries are expensive in most places in Canada right now, but rent is the real saver here. According to Zumper, Vancouver has the highest rent for Canadian cities, with a sky-high median one-bedroom rent of $2,800. Burnaby, Victoria and Kelowna are also in the top 10. Halifax is also on that list, but it's the only East Coast spot that made it.
In general, you're probably going to save on housing if you move to the East Coast.
I also find I'm saving a lot because there's less to do. The (kinda sad) fact is that there's less going on than on the West Coast — at least where I live — so I find myself just naturally spending less money on activities and going out.
People love to chat here
There's a stereotype that East Coasters are some of the friendliest people around. Although I don't actually agree with that — you're going to find rude people and friendly people anywhere, honestly — I can see why we have that reputation.
In general, I find people are more chatty on the East Coast. Whether I'm at a store and the employee starts talking my ear off, or out on a walk and someone stops me to have a full conversation — there are some big talkers here.
I do live in a small town in New Brunswick, but I find the same thing happens a decent amount even when I'm in cities like Halifax.
Of course, there were also super friendly people on the West Coast (especially in smaller towns I lived in, like Pemberton), but I definitely had fewer strangers approaching me just to strike up a convo.
Sometimes I loved the ability to do my errands without having to say a word, but it's nice to have the small-town feel that comes along with hyper-talkative communities.