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Vancouver vs. Toronto?

Travel Forums North America Vancouver vs. Toronto?

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1. Posted by linnp (Budding Member 5 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Hey guys.

Im thinking of doing the Work and Travel in Canada this fall, I've already done the same but in Oz and Canada seems like a good country to be heading to next. So my question is basicly wich city is "the better one" to be working and living in, Toronto or Vancouver? Obviously I understand that its hard to just say which is simply better, but give me some pros and cons please :)

Im not a super winter person, and I understand that the winters in Toronto are pretty bad ass huh? But Toronto is warmer in the summer right? Im not a huge fan of grey/rainy days either wich I understand Vancouver has plenty of? So the question is, which city do you guys prefer and why? Both seems really nice :)


2. Posted by talesbackpack (Full Member 117 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

From my perspective as an avid outdoorswoman, it's not hard to say which is better at all. Vancouver, hands down. I've lived in both and there's no contest for me.

Although, I'll now qualify that with the question: what are your interests?

- There's more history in Ontario than in British Columbia.
- People are more laid back in Vancouver than Toronto.
- Toronto has proximity to places like Ottawa, Montreal and upstate New York.
- BC is better for non-motorized outdoor activities - hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, etc.
- Ontario is all about outdoor activities with engines - boating, snowmobiling, ATVs, etc (BC has all of these too of course).
- BC has proximity to the Rocky Mountains
- Ontario is generally pretty flat with a ton of lakes.
- BC is more majestic with a dozen mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean.
- Cost of living is slightly higher in Vancouver than Toronto.
- Toronto has drastic temperature fluctuation between the seasons - it will go from -30C in the winter to +35C in the summer.
- Vancouver has a rainy season - it will be wet and grey from November to February
- Vancouver has a more stable temperature - on average about -5C in the winter to 25C in the summer
- You have to travel 2+ hours out of Toronto to enjoy nature
- The nearest mountains are 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver and the beach is 5 minutes from downtown.
- Ontario has Algonquin Provincial Park
- Whistler is only 1.5 hours from Vancouver
- Vancouver Island is only a 2-hour ferry from Vancouver
- Niagara Falls is only 2-hours from Toronto
- Ontario has the Niagara and Prince Edward wine regions
- BC has the Okanagan wine and orchard region
- BC has fantastic outdoor sport opportunities in the Okanagan
- You can't ski and snowboard in Ontario (ski hills exist, but they suck beyond measure compared to what's available in BC)
- BC has some of the best cold water SCUBA diving in the world
- Ontario has some of the best wreck SCUBA diving in the world

That's all I've got off the top of my head. Because of my interests, I tend to slant more towards the outdoor appeal of the two cities. If there are other things that you're more interested in, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer objectively!

3. Posted by linnp (Budding Member 5 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

THANK you so much for good information :) You made a lot of good points that I will take in consideration that I didnt know about both citys. Are you from canada?

By the things you just wrote down, I guess Vancouver seems like the best option for me. Just because of the skiing/snowboarding, the cold water SCUBA (had no idea) sounds great and kitesurfing is something I really wanna learn how to do. I have some more questions tho, hows the nightlife in Vancouver? And do you think its harder to get a job in Vancouver than in Toronto?

Many thanks.

4. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2574 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Vancouver used to be very lame at night, but the city has changed hugely in the last 10 - 15 years so their nightlife is no longer an embarrassment. That said, it can't match Toronto's scene by any measure.

Remember too that moving to Vancouver in the fall means no sun and a lot of rain for the next several months.

Lastly, neither place will be easy to get a decent job. Times are tough all over.


5. Posted by talesbackpack (Full Member 117 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Yes, I'm from Canada. I grew up in Vancouver, but I currently live a couple of hours out of Toronto.

I agree with Terry that the nightlife is better in Toronto. Vancouver's has improved greatly over the last few years though. It just comes down to population really - Toronto has more than double the number of people that Vancouver has. It leads to a more diverse nightlife.

As for jobs, it really depends what type of work you're after. Minimum wage jobs are always available. Skilled professions can be tougher to get into.

For diving, there are a couple of decent dive sites on the mainland just north of Vancouver. The best ones are off Vancouver Island though.

If you do choose to go to Vancouver, the best way to cope with the dark and wet is to become an all-weather explorer. Get yourself some decent wet weather gear and get outside. If you sit home waiting for the rain to stop, you'll never do anything and quickly become depressed. Another option is to head inland to Kelowna for the worst of the rainy months. It's colder, but brighter because they get snow instead of rain. Great skiing there too!

6. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

In addition to the excellent info above I can add that while Vancouver has a lot of Asian influence Toronto is more multicultural.

7. Posted by linnp (Budding Member 5 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Ok, THANK YOU ALL for great info! Much appreciated :)

8. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2009 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Vancouver is also in very close proximity to the best of the USA - Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Northern California. Toronto, in contrast, is only close to the rust belt of the USA - Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland.

Which would you rather experience?

9. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2574 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Daawgon, if you're going to say Vancouver is close to Alaska and Northern California then you have to be fair and also admit that Toronto has easy access to the entire US Eastern Seaboard too, which contains some of the most interesting cities in North America...


10. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Any reason why you are limiting yourself to only Vancouver or Toronto?
If you are a big city person and that's what you enjoy about traveling to other countries, then I can understand. Or if your plan is to get work for a year in a specific profession that is more realistic in a large city, then I get it.
However, Canada has so much more to offer, and if you are looking for temporary unskilled work and a chance to experience the real Canada (not to say that Van or TO aren't real Canada), then consider looking deeper into the country.
Why not spend some of your time in Van or TO and then try something else, like a winter in a ski resort (like most Working Holidayers), or working at a pub in Halifax or any East Coast town, or a summer on PEI (lots of seasonal work, and I may be biased, but Charlottetown is a wonderful place to be in summer). Or you could work in our bilingual capital, which is really a lovely small city. It would be a bit more off the usual traveler's route for you to try a prairie city, like Calgary, Regina, or Winnipeg (maybe not in winter though). Or you could go to one of Canada's most interesting cities (my opinion of course), Montreal, and challenge yourself to learning a bit of French while you are there.
Just a thought.

PS. I would choose Vancouver over Toronto any day.