I Moved To A Small Town In BC & These 9 Things Totally Took Me By Surprise (PHOTOS)

It's so different from Ontario!

Morgan Leet. Right: People at Joffre Lake.

Morgan Leet. Right: People at Joffre Lake.

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.

There are so many small towns in B.C., and having moved to one recently I can say it's a much different vibe than Vancouver. While I've also lived in Ontario and New Brunswick, I can safely say that life in Whistler, B.C., is a whole other reality.

I decided to move to the Canadian ski town because it's pretty close to the big city of Vancouver but gives all the small-town feel that I missed from my time living on the East Coast. Plus, I get to ski at one of the top resorts in the world all winter long.

Having moved only last month, I've already been totally shocked by a few things here. Some were even scary (I'm looking at you, my friendly neighbourhood bear family!).

Bears will stroll by your bedroom window

The biggest shock happened on my second day in Whistler when I woke up and looked out my window to find a little family of bears. The two cubs and a big black bear were right next to my car!

I knew bears were a thing here, given some of the wild videos on TikTok, but the wildlife still managed to surprise me once I was confronted with it.

Bears in Whistler. Bears in Whistler. Morgan Leet | Narcity

Everyone knows each other

This was true for my small hometown in New Brunswick as well, but I didn't expect it in this relatively busy small town. Walking through the different areas in town though, I always see people bumping into each other and stopping to chat.

It's so different than Vancouver

I knew it would be different than the city, but I didn't know quite how different. Everything from the people to the stores is different here, and honestly, I like it better!

Although Vancouver had the mountains and nature right there, in Whistler, you're in the heart of it all. I do miss the beaches though.

I miss the big box stores already

Something I also miss is access to the mall. I expected to have to give up Sephora, but there's not even a Winners here. I mean, even my hometown has Winners.

It's definitely been an adjustment having to drive to the city for certain necessities.

It's like living in a Hallmark movie

Living here is like being in a little Hallmark movie bubble. It's set up for tourists, so it's super pretty, manicured, and serving up idyllic small-town vibes. If you want to feel like you're in a cheesy Christmas movie, move here.

There are so many people my age

As far as I know, this is something you usually don't get in a small town, but Whistler is different. So many young people move here to work, so walking around I see so many people my age.

When they say its expensive, they mean it

Again, this is pretty specific to Whistler. Ski towns in B.C. and Alberta as a whole though have wild prices for food, housing, and really everything. It's worth it in my opinion, but be prepared!

Housing is so hard to find

This is an issue in other ski towns too. Actually, this year, a house in Banff had around 40 people living in it, which is a testament to how rough the housing market is. It's next to impossible to find a rental because basically everything is on Airbnb.

People can't wait for it to get cold

Usually, people are sad to see summer go, but in Whistler, people can't wait for the cold weather to set in. This fall has been unusually warm, and people here are itching for the snow.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Morgan Leet
Morgan Leet is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media based in Vancouver, B.C.