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I lived there for a couple of years, and couldn't agree more. There's a lot of awesome people making their best efforts to counter it, but really it's a dead city.

I remember realizing that all the cafes closed around 6 or 7 in the downtown area, then finding out it was because of lack of demand. A city of 2.5 million people that can't keep a coffee shop open past dinner - coming from Toronto it was bizarre.

I also remember the absolutely awful experience of trying to find an appartment to rent. There were so many people competing that we had to line up and "audition" - I ended up getting to know a lot of my fellow contestants by name because you had to show up to practically every single Craigslist listing if you were to have half a chance. Then finally getting a place and seeing that half of apartments in the towers around us were empty.

Vancouver in the 80's was apparently one the hippest places in Canada, definitely not any more.

I've lived in various places in Canada, and now live on mid Vancouver Island, which IMO has the best overall quality of life anywhere in Canada (if not the world). You get the same amazing scenery and outdoor activities, but with reasonable property prices and no traffic or urban sprawl. I live in a luxury, new 1200sqft townhome which I rent for $1200/month, I can walk into town or to the sea, and I'm 15 mins from Vancouver by floatplane (well, about an hour once you add the drive to Harbour Air, etc).

I've lived in Vancouver since 2007 and have rented 3 places within the city and 2 in the suburbs (Richmond and Maple Ridge). I was only turned down from getting the place I wanted once, and that was purely because I called back an hour after I said I would respond and the landlady had given it to another person.

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