British Columbia

Atlantic coast or Pacific coast? Prairies or cities? So many choices in a country of Canada's size... why not post here and discuss the options with others?

British Columbia

Postby carolinedraper » Tue 19 May 2009 16:30

I ask that any one living in BC to feel free giving their general perspective.
Thank you.
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Postby Graeme » Wed 20 May 2009 04:47

British Columbia is the most western province in Canada.

The climate is amazingly different in different areas of the province. Victoria and the lower Vancouver Island is warm, slightly wet and similar to the UK in that it is temperate with mild winters, rare snowfall and warm but not too hot summers. Vancouver and the lower mainland are wet, cloudy and damp for most of the winter and spring, they have shorter winters but can get significant snow depending on where you live. The further inland you go, the colder and snowier it gets. The lower interior is hot and dry in the summer and cold and dry in the winter, it is the most farthest north aspect of the Great Sonoran Desert and sometimes it does feel desert like. The valleys are full of sagebrush and tumbleweeds, the hills full of pine and fir (now beetle infested and dying at a huge rate). The northern interior is cold in the winter, very cold. Minus 40C is not that unusual once you get north of Prince George. Summers are dry and warm, but not cracking hot. The far north is cold in the winter and dry and warm in the summer. the Rockies, the eastern border of BC is highly changeable, but generally is similar to the interior except for the heavier snowfall.

Politically BC is a pendulum, it swings left for a few years then right, never stopping in the middle at all, this makes for some odd political extremes and bizarre government decisions. It's been right for the past 8 years and will stay that way for the next three, then look out, it might go left again.

Job prospects are good in BC, it's one of the better provinces for employment, the recent downturn in the economy hasn't been quite as bad here as the rest of Canada, but then we just had an election and the government were not too forthcoming about exactly how the economy was doing. The lower mainland is the main job market with the Okanagan coming second, the Island is considered a retirement area somewhat (they say its for the newly wed and nearly dead) although it is the seat of provincial government.

The minimum wage is still $8.00 but most places pay a minimum of $10 depending on experience, qualified positions obviously make more. A registered nurse with a few years experience should be making $35.00 an hour. A good plumber/brickie might make much the same in Vancouver. A secretary might make $16-18.00 if she/he's good enough. Computer geeks can earn more depending on their skill set.

House prices vary enormously depending on where you want to live, obviously. The lower mainland/Vancouver/Surrey/ New Westminster/Delta/Richmond conurbation is expensive, probably comparable to UK prices near London. The Island is also expensive although not quite as much, the Interior is cheaper by far depending on where you live. A 4 bedroom house in Kamloops might be $400,000 while the same house in Kelowna might be $550,000, in Vancouver closer to $850,000. (As a caveat these are not cast in stone prices, simply to give you an idea of the variations).

Food prices again vary, the further away from the ports you go the more expensive things are. In the far North, it's too expensive to buy milk a lot of the time so powdered milk and concentrated milk (sticky milk or -tinned milk) get used more so. The bigger the city the more the competition and that helps keep the prices down a little, the smaller towns pay dearly for being smaller towns.

The road system is great except for Vancouver where it sucks, commuting in Vancouver can be a real pain. The traffic patterns were established without any real forethought and the resulting mish-mash of roads can become a nightmare.

Petrol prices (Gasoline) has gone up recently as it has everywhere, we currently pay about a dollar a liter, which is about half what you pay in the UK. In the interior the roads are usually empty and it is a motorcycling haven in the summer months, of course in the winter months driving on snow and ice becomes unavoidable and quite a hazard. Make sure you have winter tires on (I don't know if you even have these in the UK) with studs if necessary when traveling out of the lower mainland in Winter.

People wise it's a good place, there are many different peoples here, BC is truly a melting pot of many nations. Quite a few groups tend to congregate together and you can see this in many areas of the lower mainland.

I hope that is reasonable information for you, some of it is no doubt incorrect and please feel free to correct me if you notice anything wrong. It is not meant to be an idiots guide to BC, but rather a sort of global snapshot of what BC is like as of today in 2009.

Graeme



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