If you’ve been in Vancouver for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the term “Metro Vancouver”… you might be wondering, what exactly is Metro Vancouver?
We’re here to share with you FIVE quick highlights that you might like to know about Metro Vancouver to give you a better understanding of the region you live in, relocating to, or are visiting. What is it? What do they do? Who’s involved? How do they operate? What’s some cool tips about Metro Vancouver?
5 Things to Know about Metro Vancouver:
1) Metro Vancouver is a federation of 21 municipalities, one Electoral Area, and one Treaty First Nation
Metro Vancouver is a federation of 21 municipalities, one Electoral Area, and one Treaty First Nation… these include (in order of population as of recent census):
Incorporated Cities in Metro Vancouver:
<1> Vancouver, BC – Population: 633,138
<2> Surrey, BC – Population: 518,078
<3> Burnaby, BC – Population: 232,755
<4> Richmond, BC – Population: 198,309
<5> Coquitlam, BC – Population: 139,338
<6> Township of Langley, BC – Population: 117,890
<7> Delta, BC – Population: 102,248
<8> North Vancouver District, BC – Population: 87,913
<9> Maple Ridge, BC – Population: 82,256
<10> New Westminster, BC – Population: 70,996
<11> Port Coquitlam, BC – Population: 58,612
<12> North Vancouver City, BC – Population: 53,474
<13> West Vancouver, BC – Population: 45,404
<14> Port Moody, BC – Population: 33,551
<15> Langley City, BC – Population: 25,888
<16> White Rock, BC – Population: 19,952
<17> Pitt Meadows, BC – Population: 18,835
<18> Anmore, BC – Population: 2,210
<19> Bowen Island, BC – Population: 3,680
<20> Lions Bay, BC – Population: 1,334
<21> Belcarra, BC – Population: 643
Electoral Area in Metro Vancouver:
<1> Electoral Area A – Population: 16,182 (Also known as UBC – University of British Columbia and the UEL – University Endowment Lands. Comprises of up-and-coming/newer/bustling residential villages like Wesbrook Village and University Village along with big waterfront houses adjacent to Point Grey neighbourhood. One thing to note that most property on UEL is leasehold than freehold.)
Treaty First Nation in Metro Vancouver:
<1> Tsawwassen First Nation – Population: 816 (Note, First Nations receive special privileges in Canada including exception from fishery laws as well as certain taxes.)
Total Population of Metro Vancouver Region:
All in all, this makes for 3,203,502 residents living in the Metro Vancouver region, that is rapidly growing. Many people immigrate to the East or middle of Canada where immigration laws are less stringent and then move to BC, after with the freedom of mobility charter. Note that PR and Citizenship process is a lengthy wait in Canada – except when Justin Trudeau invites illegal immigrants to come to Canada from US. (making the wait longer for legitimate applicants who followed due process)
2) Metro Vancouver works to make the region a better place with regional services.
3) Metro Vancouver is responsible for some local housing initiatives and regional parks.
4) Metro Vancouver leadership is comprised of elected officials from each municipality.
5) Metro Vancouver does some incredible work in the region beyond their official duties/purpose.
Metro Vancouver used in Colloquial terms:
Further, the term Metro Vancouver often refers to the greater Vancouver area much like the GTA. While it is an actual official governing body or corporate entity, in colloquial terms many local Vancouverites and Metro Vancouver residents refer to Metro Vancouver as the region around the City of Vancouver than the official definition of 22 municipalities, one Electoral Area, and one Treaty First Nations.
It is not uncommon for individuals to refer to Metro Vancouver as meaning Vancouver plus etc. as the City of Vancouver is like the anchor tenant in the region just as Toronto is often referred to for the region with suburb cities as Mississauga, Scarborough, Oakville, and Milton in its shadows. (Using metaphors of the East, as I know… and you will find, many Vancouverites are recovering Torontonians. LOL Joking. But #WestCoastBestCoast. Truthfully however, many Torontonians do move to Vancouver if you talk with locals in Vancouver.)
Each city is unique and important in its own especially with supporting affordable housing and space/land to raise children for families who work in the City of Vancouver. Especially useful to know, if you’re looking to relocate to the City of Vancouver but find the housing prices a little too scary for liking, you can look to real estate in Coquitlam, BC or even cheaper real estate in Port Coquitlam, BC… the region is very connected such that you can drive to downtown Vancouver in under an hour (much like getting from Santa Monica to DTLA) or take the public transit with the West Coast Express bringing you Downtown Vancouver in about 30 minutes from Port Coquitlam. Alternatively, the Metro Vancouver region has an extensive mass rapid transport system (known as the SkyTrain) that connects Downtown Vancouver south to Richmond and Vancouver International Airport or East towards Burnaby, New Westminister, Port Moody, and Coquitlam. As well as an Expo line to Surrey and towards SFU at Production Way-University. There are plans for expansion of the SkyTrain network to Langley and to UBC (University of British Columbia) which will further increase connectivity and unlock access to affordable housing in Langley, BC.
Most people are not referring to Bowen Island or Lions Bay (as cool as it sounds) when mentioning Metro Vancouver; locals refer to it like you might to the GTA for Toronto.
Looking for real estate in Metro Vancouver for relocating:
One of the biggest complaint about living or relocating to the City of Vancouver is affordability of housing (unless you want to rent – which rentals are relatively expensive as well compared to other cities in Canada, US, or Asia). You should expect to pay around $1650 to $2000 for a one bedroom apartment in City of Vancouver while Richmond has opportunities around $1400 to $1600 especially for some older buildings with one-bedroom rentals around $1000 to $1400. It’s often more recommendable to buy some real estate as prices tend to increase overtime with population growth and scarcity principles. Renting will simply help the landlord pay his/her mortgages while you are left with nothing of worth in regards to assets at the end. I would recommend renting in downtown regions and buying in suburbs.
If you’re looking to relocate to Metro Vancouver however, I would recommend taking a look at New Westminister Real Estate, it’s nestled between Burnaby and Port Moody/Coquitlam with some of the most under-valued real estate in the region. You would benefit from the connectivity and relative proximity to City of Vancouver with housing prices as low as 30% cheaper what you’ll find in City of Vancouver proper. Especially some older buildings in Port Coquitlam or New Westminister are VERY VERY affordable – but often not talked about for some reason. (Complaining is more fun I suppose.)
Anyways, we hope this might be some useful tips if you’re looking to relocate to the Metro Vancouver region. If you’re looking to work in City of Vancouver, do keep in mind that you can very comfortably, quickly, and even greenly (We’re Vancouver, we care about the environment with our pristine beauty of mountains and sea) commute to your work from many of these Metro Vancouver municipalities. Just keep in mind, you probably don’t want to be living in Surrey, BC. Lol
Further, some of these Metro Vancouver entities are not very accessible such as when you get out to Tsawwassen, White Rock (beautiful place however – waterfront and beach-side relax atmosphere), or Bowen Island. Tsawwassen which is south of Richmond is connected by a bottle neck underpass so your commute will be horrible with traffic jams.
If you’re looking for somewhere convenient to the City of Vancouver without the cost of living in City of Vancouver proper (not much different from the region except where real estate prices differ slightly) you should consider in priority (1) Richmond, BC real estate – coastal city, close to airport, cheap housing prices for apartments because more lax redevelopment process providing more housing supply (2) Burnaby, BC real estate – very large city with many different neighbourhoods in the city with varying characteristics and prices… much like Vancouver. (3) New Westminister, BC real estate – great location, cheap real estate prices, nice city, older heritage city (4) Port Moody, BC real estate – great place, but slightly pricier than surrounding areas (5) Coquitlam, BC real estate – very much inflated in pricing now for a suburb city (6) Port Coquitlam, BC real estate – much rural area but houses are still very affordable and cheap though less connectivity but there is the WCE (West Coast Express) and a car is probably needed (7) North Vancouver City – more expensive relatively to other municipalities in Metro Vancouver but relax resort-like vibe.
Cities to avoid might be Surrey, BC with higher crime rates but VERY cheap housing. (probably due to its reputation but also its redevelopment plan calls for substantial increase in housing alongside University campuses to attract young talent and change its reputation or crime rates… it’s still notorious region in Metro Vancouver to be careful. Many gang activities, drugs, and other crimes. Not pleasant.)
So, that’s pretty much it! A local look at Metro Vancouver. Hope it helps and please feel free to contact us or comment bellow! (We’ll get some heat for our description of Surrey, BC but we hope to share with you the local’s view of things that you may not find elsewhere.)
Port Coquitlam, BC is a city with a lot of potential but especially Langley when the SkyTrain comes. Within the City of Vancouver, East Hastings is a less desirable place. (Plenty of news articles you can find about East Hastings.) We’re not a news site; we hope to help locals rediscover their amazing city and to help tourists experience the best of Vancouver through our local recommendations and answers to questions about the Metro Vancouver region, without bias of sponsored content. (So take a good look at the ads if you find this content helpful! And please remove your ad blocker for when visiting VancityAsks.com)