I Moved To BC 2 Years Ago & These 6 Places Beat Anything Ontario Could Offer

Sea-to-Sky Highway > the 401

Contributing Writer, Vancouver
Sierra Riley outside Fergie's Café in Squamish. Right: at the bird sanctuary near Ladner.

Sierra Riley outside Fergie's Café in Squamish. Right: at the bird sanctuary near Ladner.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Moving from Ontario to B.C. is an undertaking that most certainly comes with its unique set of pros (mountains!) and cons (grocery prices). Since making the decision to pack up my things in Toronto and head west to Vancouver, I've found myself at the centre of an interprovincial rivalry, perpetually unable to pick a side.

Still, there are certain places in B.C. that'll beat out their Ontarian contemporaries every damn time.

I've been in Vancouver for just under two years now, and these six places still take my breath away. Ontario could never.

Bowen Island

Small-town Ontario has its charm, but Bowen Island reaches cinematic levels of quaintness. On a visit from the mainland, you'll pull up to Snug Cove Ferry Terminal — even the name is cute — where you'll discover a humble assortment of tiny cafés, shops and eateries.

A few of my favourite of the island's features are its cozy public library, incredible hiking trails and towering trees. In this regard, Bowen could easily be the set of one of those CW high school dramas where the town is perfect and the houses are opulent but some creepy stuff is going down in the woods somewhere.


While on the subject of charm, I can't not talk about Steveston. A neighbourhood of Richmond, this old fishing village is easy to get to from Vancouver and I do so whenever I need a little mood boost. Here, you can go on whale-watching tours, mosey along the Stars Hollow-esque streets and brunch to your heart's content.

A comparable Ontario town might be Port Perry, but Port Perry doesn't have whales.

Pacific Spirit Park

Vancouver is literally a rainforest, and its conveniently located trails will beat out Ontario's public parks ten times out of ten. Pacific Spirit Regional Park is located on the University Endowment Lands, and its mere beauty is an argument for protecting old-growth forests across the country.

Sea-To-Sky Highway

Ontario is a big highway province. There are many highways, some of which offer serene views of farmland and trees, most of them so ugly that they inspire feelings of misery.

Imagine my astonishment when I discovered that highways could be things of majesty, offering views of mountains, cliffs, waterfalls, islands and the ocean. Driving along the Sea-to-Sky highway is a necessity for some, a tourist trap for others and an occasional treat for yours truly.

Deep Cove

Deep Cove is a North Vancouver gem with scenic trails, crystal-blue water and donuts that come recommended by Kate Winslet.

I have a lot to say about B.C.'s confectionary scene, all of it good, but I won't go so far as to say it's superior to Ontario's. I will note that I've never been to an Ontario donut shop that I liked better than what we've got going on the West Coast. If you're visiting Vancouver, take the bus to Deep Cove and get a signature donut from Honey's. You won't be disappointed.

Fergie's Cafe

I went to Fergie's as a stop along the Sea-to-Sky highway and haven't shut up about it since. Tucked away in the middle of the bush, right on a river, Fergie's Café is an architectural and culinary treasure. The brunch is to die for, the building is something to marvel at and its surroundings are very Henry David Thoreau.

For this spot, I offer no direct comparison to an Ontario destination: Fergie's is a one-of-a-kind diner.

Not for nothing, I'm an absolute sucker for any establishment that has a wood-burning stove — but hey, maybe it's because they remind me of the cabins in Northern Ontario where my dad grew up.

Sierra Riley
Contributing Writer, Vancouver
Sierra Riley is a Contributing Writer for Narcity Canada and is based in Vancouver.