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Moving to Vancouver. Need advice from locals!

Hey, I've just arrived in Vancouver after a 4400 km bike ride from Toronto. Besides looking for a job (anyone want to employ an inspired, motivated, culinary-focused young man?) I'm wondering which neighborhood would be best to settle in. By "best" I mean, of course, which neighborhood will have the best selection of exotic foods / international foods / fresh local foods / farmer's markets?

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Two words: Commercial Drive.

    Rent is cheaper than most areas in town (though not as cheap as Toronto). Lots of options for markets and still within short bus/train rides of downtown and more ethnic centers.

    1. Main street for ethnic foods but it's becoming trendy so rents may be creeping up. If you do restaurant work check out job postings on Craigslist.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bud carlos

        Commercial and Main are both good ideas, definitely stick to the east side and as peter suggests the nearer a Skytrain stop the better (though bear in mind that some train stations do attract a less desirable element). Our transit here blows compared to TO but the new lines are helping to cut down travel time to chow "centres" like Crystal Mall (Burnaby) and No 3 Rd (Richmond).

        -----
        Crystal Mall
        4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

        1. re: grayelf

          Thanks guys. I'll take a look at those parts of town today.
          Can't wait to actually begin my new life.

      2. I live in the Commercial Dr area so I am a bit biased. It is one of the most ethnically diverse and activist neighbourhoods around. The food shopping here is great - a good selection and variety of ethnic foods. Within biking distance is the best place to shop for Italian food (Bosa) and Chinese food (T&T)...also some great butchers, etc. I also think it has the most diverse ethnic eating in terms of restaurants. Hastings St around the corner also has quite a number of shops and restaurants. So if you combine Commercial and Hastings St (they intersect) then you will find probably the best food shopping in the GVA. Great coffee too.

        Main St would be my next choice. The restaurants higher quality in general than Commercial Dr and almost as diverse. The food shopping isn't nearly as good as Commercial Dr, IMO....nor is the coffee scene (although JJ Bean and ReEntry are great).

        An overlooked area is Victoria Dr and 41st ave - an excellent food shopping street especially for Asian ethnic. Some very good and inexpensive restuarants there too.

        The there is Fraser and 49th area. Similar in profile to Victoria and 41st. Also a good eating and shopping area.

        3 Replies
        1. re: fmed

          I should add one more area to the list of places you can explore: Burnaby Heights - not as diverse populous as Commercial Dr and Main St, etc, but some very good stores (eg Cioffi's) and decent eating.

          1. re: fmed

            I would add Hastings/Sunrise as the next up & coming Commercial Drive-like 'hood:

            http://www.straight.com/node/54044

            So the Hastings St corridor between Victoria Dr. all the way to Renfrew St. in a very broad sense.

            (this of course as a 3-yr update to this thread .........)

            1. re: LotusRapper

              I have been fortunate to live in a neighbourhood that is within walking distance from both Commercial Dr and Hastings-Sunrise ( which is being misguidedly rebranded with the wretched and universally reviled name - "The East Village"). When added together, there really isn't a better place to shop for food in the entire city.

        2. See if Gardein is looking for someone...here is the link:

          http://www.gardein.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pollo

            You can take your bike with you while exploring via transit-a very handy option.

            Details on http://www.translink.ca/

          2. i moved to the Drive (Commercial) last spring, handy for transit (Skytrain, Hastings buses)...lots of greengrocers, diversity in restos (tho' not many "wows"), lotsa coffee shops...great option for shopping is to walk up to Hastings Sunrise (around Nanaimo)...i'm pretty happy where i wound up

            1. Close to three years late, but I do hope your move to Vancouver went well.

              1. Location is often a function of budget, but I have to say I am surprised no one has mentioned the West End. I am also partial because I have lived in this downtown neighbourhood for years, after having spent years living on Main street and Lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver.
                The West End is a little more expensive than Commercial, but actually very similar to the rents being charged in Fairview and West Mount Pleasant (Main Street), but in my opinion has much more to offer.
                If you choose a location in the centre of the West End you are litterally a few blocks from Robson, Davie, Denman, Granville and Burrard. Plus you are easy walking distance to all the restaurants in the business district and just short hop over to the new places in Gastown and Crosstown.
                All this in a quiet, tree lined, older neighbourhood that is right next to the beach and Stanley Park.
                Diversity wise you can get anything from hole in the wall Asian and Middle Eastern eateries, to fine dining at Hawksworth and Le Crocodile.
                In my opinion Commercial and Main are great places to live, but I think the West End takes the cake.