Update: The Tyee has published a three part series by Christine McLaren, of which Why Portland Beats Vancouver was the first installment. Installment number two is Portland’s Bicycle Brilliance. Part three: Portland’s Progress on Homelessness.
I’ve never been to Vancouver, B.C., but it’s been on my shortlist of places to visit for quite some time (and very soon it will be much easier to make the trip).
But I have had high expectations for the place, as it always seems to be near the top of the best-places-to-live lists, and like Portland, is reknown for its compact urban center and urban planning. But it tells you how much I know about Vancouver that I was surprised by the findings of Vancouver, B.C. writer Christine McLaren in her article for The Tyee: Why Portland Beats Vancouver.
Free art gallery shows every first Thursday of the month? Massive burritos with all the fixings for under $5? $2 Beer!?
You mean you can’t get these things in Vancouver!?
And apparently in Vancouver it can cost upwards of half a million dollars for a liquor permit, on top of the onerous zoning requirements. Whereas in Portland . . .
Opening a bar in Portland is an almost universally obtainable goal. Assuming you pass the proper criminal record check and provide a statement of funding, a full on liquor license from the state costs a grand total of $402.62 on top of a $100 business license from the city and a few other small fees.
These are two examples from the piece that really jumped out at me. Vancouver is still the home of my favorite radio show, and of course there are the coffee shops. After reading the article, I still plan on visiting. But my expectations have definitely been tempered.
Note: Later this week we have a chance to witness another competition between the two cities, as the Portland Timbers host the Vancouver Whitecaps at PGE Park at 7pm. See you Thirsty Thursday!
Vancouver is a fun place to visit, but the cost of living there is really really high, and it’s harder than hell to get a decent beer. I guess there’s more of a younger nightlife scene there (and $10 cover charges to get into *any* bar on a Saturday night)… we’re much more laid back here, and I prefer it.
devlyn – This is really all news to me. I assumed all cities in Cascadia would have nice pubs – and a lot of them. I guess if you’re paying half a million for a liquor license, you have to charge $10 covers!
There are pubs there, we’ve found a couple during our trips up. But Devlyn is correct for the most part: it’s tough to find a comfy watering hole with decent beer. We did find a pretty cool Liverpool bar near our hotel last time, but even there pitchers of their crappy local lager were something like $15.
Cost of living and pub/beer issues aside, Vancouver is a very cool city. One thing they definitely have over Portland is the amount of Doner Kebab places everywhere (and cheap!). I always enjoy my visits up and look forward to the Timbers vs Whitecaps match next year (or this year, in the playoffs…hmm?).
We’re off for a week’s vacation on Vancouver Island starting next weekend, and hoping that Victoria isn’t quite as steeply priced as Vancouver.
Mmmm kebabs. Yes, the kebabs are nice, and there are some awesome late-night eats to be had along Granville, definitely. Oh, and they do have some *awesome* Japanese bookstores and food, as well. I wish we had more of an Asian community here to propagate that kind of stuff.
Lucas – I’m still looking forward to my (eventual) visit. I dig doner kebabs, and poutine – but seriously, neither sounds all that good unless beer is involved!
My cousin live in west vancover in canada.
Everything cost so much but some stuff are a bargain.
Has lots of nice parks!!!
Of course there’s that whole Canadian $ / US $ thing so while things initially seem very expensive they aren’t quite as bad when you do the math.
Oh – and seeing as they’re the only team to beat the Timbers this year, this should be a great match!
We also have a health care system that differs from theirs. Some say better, some say worse. Locally, Mercy and Wisdom Healing Center provides low cost solutions as a member of Portlands’ Coalition of Nonprofit Clinics. Good to know if ever in need of medical attention.
Vancouver, BC > Portland for one reason…they have an NHL team. I’m roaring up there in Nov to see my Leafs play the Canucks.
Hmm… I must say that Vancouver’s got some really great perks and some amazing craft beer places (if you’re willing to pay the price for them) along Commercial Drive & sometimes they’ve got sampler deals that are less pricey!