Like our neighbours south of the border in Seattle, Vancouver has a reputation for being polite but not friendly. Whether this reputation is deserved or not, it’s a popular observation that Vancouverites tend to stick to running with their own pack and that means no new friends.
Does this standoffishness to outsiders extend to the rest of the Lower Mainland?
Vancouverites have a superiority complex when it comes to how they interpret the quality of life in cities in the Lower Mainland. Whether it’s making a dismissive joke about crime-ridden Surrey or complaining there’s nothing to do in Langley, it’s a rare occasion when a city in Metro Vancouver is remarked on without judgment.
When there is room for a compliment, it’s often marred by a tone of surprise that something positive can actually be said about a city that’s not Vancouver.
To an extent, the mindset that Vancouver’s where it’s at is understandable, when the city consistently ranks high on surveys and charts that measure the world’s most livable cities. Yet, Vancouver has the same problems that plaque other cities.
While the city’s backdrop of mountain ranges can’t be found anywhere else, the same can be said about the homeless concentrated in the Downtown Eastside and the hot real estate market. Not to mention, Vancouver has also been accused of lacking a thriving culture and nightlife scene, a perception that’s earned us a nickname for being no fun and a documentary about us being no fun.
Every global city believes it’s in a league of its own and it’s not for nothing Vancouverites have their blinkers on, but big changes are sweeping across cities in Metro Vancouver, most notably with the development booms popping up along transit corridors.
With the Millennium Evergreen line extension recently opening up for service, municipalities in the Lower Mainland are becoming more urban and turning into hub spots for shopping, dining and working. Case in point: getting off the skytrain at Metrotown in Burnaby, its sleek apartment buildings and trendy coffee shops are almost indistinguishable from those in Vancouver in style and substance.
It wasn’t too long ago Brooklyn was the butt of jokes for New Yorkers in Manhattan, and while Vancouver’s elitism is not going anywhere anytime soon, it may be Surrey that gets the last laugh.