Vancouver is a sleepy large tourist village. The pace is liken to Mexico. There is not much for big business and people tend to be wandering rather then walking our streets. Theres plenty of coffee shops in the downtown core filled with people who do not work and sit there for hours on end. Some are rich retiree's, most are on welfare which is handed ut freely.
Vancouver was once a fun place to be. But its the hippie city that cannot cope with growth. Traffic is out of hand and the homeless bum problem is staggering. Vancouver is home to the largest slum in North America. Per capita it is larger and worse then anything in the USA including Fynnt Michigan. Vancouver likes to keep this quiet, especially since the slum is located just one block over from its Gastown tourist strip. The hood used to be about 6 blocks long and walkable, now its 20 blocks long and I wouldnt walk there for money. The East Vancouver slum is literally jam packed with junkies. It has the highest rate of aids and hepatitis in North America. Another little fact you wont see on the tourist brochures. How does the city cope? It has needle exchanges where junkies can go shoot up on a sofa while nurses watch them. If that weret enough, they now hand out free herion to the junkies. No kidding, look it up. The result is violent junkies that spread thru all areas of downtown with a huge entitlement chip on their shoulders. They smash car windows for change in the ashtray and women are mugged every day. All this stuff is kept quiet by the city but if you call the newspapers with say a mugging story you will get a dose of reality when they calmy tell you "so what, I've got three calls like this already this morning, call me when you have NEWS"
People think sitting around in coffee shops wearing roots hats no shoes is cool. People dress poorly in Vancouver likely due to the high cost of living and lack of work they do. I've lived in Vancouver since 92 and it keeps getting worse.
Traffic is growing rapidly. Many areas of the city take hours to get through which is puzzling since I cannot figure out where they are going. There isnt a downtown core in Vancouver. Downtown is mostly residential due to a 10 year condo boom. This in turn has caused a reverse commute in traffic and a tax problem for the city since residences pay way less then office space.
2010 winter olympic costs are likely going to push Vancouver to the brink. The high condo density in downtown will likely force the city to raise taxes substancially on residences to cover costs. Many so called hip area like Yaletoen (not hip whatsoever by even say Edmonton standards) are destined for slums.
There is plenty of great surroundings in Vancouver. However there is not much of a city. The Art Gallery features prints. Not kidding, many of the displays are prints which floored me the first time I saw it. There is no arts scene. The symphony and opera are struggling little entities and as a result are not very good. Its a catch 22. They cannot afford to pay due to poor ticket sales and they cannot attract many people due to poor performances. A shame. I think most people in Vancopuver simply cannot afford to go out much and when they do its a hockey game or drinking. Vancouver is pretty low brow.
If you visit visit in the summer when the weather is gorgeous. THat 3 months the city is a great little getway. However the rest of the time is dark rainy and depressing. Its a small town growing into a city and has not faced the problems of that growth. Makes me wonder about its future. So far Vancouverites have proven themselves to have their heads in the sand hoping the problems will fix themselves. With a mounting drug infested slum, reverse commute from residential downtown and lack or revenue plus apple social handouts I cannot see this city improving.