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7 Things About Living In Vancouver That Are So Different In Calgary

It's not just the cost of living!

Vancouver Staff Writer
Ashley in Vancouver. Right: Charlie in the mountains.

Ashley in Vancouver. Right: Charlie in the mountains.

This Essay 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.

Vancouver and Calgary might be two cities in Western Canada, but that's basically where the commonalities end. Everything from the people and food to the cost of living varies between them.

I'm a proud Vancouverite and haven't spent a lot of time in Calgary before, so didn't think that much about it honestly — until I started working with Charlie Hart, a resident of Cowtown.

Charlie and I are both staff writers in our respective cities, so know just about everything about them.

Once I got chatting with Charlie, I realized how wildly different our lives were, all because of where we lived.

While Charlie mentioned the freezing cold temperatures and somewhat affordable cost of living in Calgary, it was hard for me to relate.

Whenever I talked about travelling to the U.S. from Vancouver for the weekend or taking a dip in the ocean, the difference became even more obvious.

So, we collected all of the main things that are wildly different about our lives in the two cities, and here's was we realized.

The weather

Ashley: People don't call it Raincouver for no reason. The city is pretty much constantly raining or grey and cloudy. If there is a beautiful summer day, the entire city will pretty much flock to the beaches. It's a no-brainer that living in Vancouver, you will probably own a pair of rain boots and a massive umbrella.

Charlie: Calgary on the other hand is one of the sunniest cities in Canada, and rain is practically non-existent. However, we pay for the lack of rain with some brutal conditions in the winter. A massive winter coat is an absolute must.

Weekend activities

Ashley: Living in Vancouver, we are so lucky to be so close to so many amazing things. From beautiful mountains to hike to nearby beaches along the ocean, Vancouver has it all.

Not to mention, if I ever want to pop down to the U.S. for the weekend, it's a quick and easy drive down to the border.

Charlie: Banff has some of the most incredible scenery and hikes in the world so you could take a quick drive out of Calgary and find yourself somewhere truly beautiful. Unlike Vancouver though, we are not blessed with white sandy beaches on the ocean. Instead, you have to enjoy one of the province’s gorgeous swimming holes instead.

Charlie by a lake.Charlie by a lake.Charlie Hart | Narcity

The people

Ashley: Vancouver has a classic stereotype of people being hippies. I'd say Vancouver does have its fair share of nature-loving hippies and maybe that's why we are so passionate about being an eco-friendly green city. You will catch many Vancouverites choosing to ride a bike over driving and more and more people are choosing to become vegan or vegetarian.

Charlie: There’s definitely an expectation that Calgary will be all cowboys all the time and that’s exactly the case when Calgary Stampede comes around. You’ll see cowboy hats for miles and almost everyone gets in on the action. Even at other times of the year, you’ll be able to get line dancing at some of Calgary’s western bars.

The cost of living

Ashley: Vancouver is so darn expensive. From the food to the gas prices to the rent — it's hard to save money when you are just constantly spending it on the necessities.

Charlie: Calgary has been named as one of the most affordable places in the country when it comes to housing and even living downtown is pretty achievable without going completely broke. Sorry, Vancouver friends!

The food scene

Ashley: Vancouver has an amazing food scene and I am all here for it. Plus, if you love seafood, you're in luck because there is no shortage of great seafood cuisine in this city. Sushi is one of my favourite cuisines and Vancouver has so many great options for it.

Charlie: The food scene in my city is drastically underrated. While we’re known for having some of the best beef around, there are so many talented chefs in the city making incredible dishes. From Italian to Japanese, there is basically something for everyone. While seafood isn't our thing, you get to try some truly wild dishes in Calgary.

The nightlife

Ashley: Honestly, Vancouver nightlife is so bad. Night club options are very limited and frankly, most people in the city go to bed early.

Charlie: Calgary’s nightlife is surprisingly good for such a small city. When summer comes around, bars and restaurants are packed — especially if they have a great patio. There are tons of comedy shows, drag nights and trivia on pretty much every night of the week.

How friendly (or not) people are

Ashley: Vancouverites pretty much just avoid talking to others if we can, all together. I have heard from many people that it is hard to make new friends in the city because people typically don't branch out much from their current friend groups.

Charlie: Calgarians are super friendly and I actually found it pretty jarring at first. People are so willing to help and I’ve never had more conversations with strangers than I’ve had in this city. You can always tell people that are visiting from Vancouver or Toronto by how surprised they are when strangers speak to them.

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