You can sense it as soon as you arrive. There’s something about Vancouver which gives an immediate impression of a city that is softer around the edges than many of those found in America. Even places such as Seattle, which actively promote progressive policies on urban development, fail to match Vancouver’s greenery.
In the US, urban and economic growth is often prioritised ahead of the creation of natural aesthetics such as parks. For example, although people in San Diego can enjoy the beautiful gardens and museums located in spacious Balboa Park, if they live in the downtown area, they must drive or use public transport to get to it. In contrast, Stanley Park in Vancouver is firmly incorporated into the city and is only a short walk from the pleasant harbour front. Once here, it is easy to forget you are in a city at all.
Although other cities on the trip may be more iconic, Vancouver would be my favourite place to live. Unsurprisingly, the combination of the surrounding snow-capped mountain range, busy nightlife and the proximity of the adventure capital of Whistler, just two hours away, is hard to match.