On my way out today to do some errands, I don’t know if it was because a sunny November day in a usually rainy city coincided with my recent visit to my hometown, but I was reminded again of the one big difference between Winnipeg and Vancouver.
What struck me when I first moved here over 14 years ago was that there were no single family dwellings on the street where I live. For five blocks, both sides of the road are lined with apartment blocks. Most of them are high rises. After living here for awhile, I discovered that the area of downtown Vancouver I live in is, per capita, one of the most densely populated in North America.
When my sister couldn’t get our Aunty J, a long-time family friend, on the phone to tell her about dad’s passing, we drove over to her place and knocked on the door. Standing on the top step waiting for someone to answer, all I could see looking down the street in either direction were houses – with front lawns!
In other areas of Vancouver, many older single-family homes are being replaced be duplexes or more commonly, 4-plexes. While both cities are growing urban centres, maybe the main reason for this phenomenon is population size – Winnipeg is inching toward the one million mark, while Vancouver is definitely way beyond it.
I often confess to having a love-hate relationship with Vancouver: impatient people bordering on rudeness; incessant winter rainy days; the constant sound of sirens and traffic noise. But since my father first became ill and I’ve been travelling back and forth from Vancouver to Winnipeg, I gave some serious thought to moving back to my hometown.
But then I remember my apartment overlooking English Bay, and yes, it rains but the temperatures are milder (5 Celsius vs. -30 Celsius). Vancouver definitely wins that argument, hands down.