New Feature – In Between Rains, Vancouver

Construction site of the Olympic Villages for the 2010 Winter Olympics

I’ve recently edited images I photographed in Vancouver for the past three years, which I’m showcasing them in the portfolio section entitled ‘In Between Rains, Vancouver’. As the title reflects most of the shots were captured in between rains, which rarely occurred there.
I moved to Vancouver with my family in 2005 after failed attempt to have immigration status granted by the US, which I lived between 1993 – 2005. Not knowing so much about the city I relied on family friend’s experience at first. But it turned out to be quite a contrary than what I sensed since her social life does not really extend beyond Chinese communities. So I started to wondering around the street trying to understand more about the city which eventually became a series which I worked on unintentionally.
I guess for many tourist the impression they perceive of Vancouver is a city surrounded by beautiful scenery and lots of outdoor activities. Though it is not quite the case since many of the tourists came to the city in the summer, which is the only time of year the city received a clear weather. Like Seattle Vancouver is under the grey sky for the most part and the weather affects many of the residents’ emotion. It is a culturally well integrated city yet at the same time there’s a distinct social divide between communities. It has voted as the most liveable city on the planet yet the sudden increase of housing price has driving a lot of people out. Then there The Rockies which separates Vancouver from rest of Canada and acts as both physical and psychological barrier. The barrier provides a sense of isolation that reflects on the city and its residents.
It is a city with lots of contradictions. Yet this is what made Vancouver so intriguing…..and depressing.

Leaving Vancouver…..

View from my balcony onto downtown Toronto.
It was a decision that was made about a year ago when I attended the workshop here in Toronto. Though couldn’t materialize until about a month ago after worked countless overtime on a half decent job that gave me enough saving to be here.
Several reasons why I decide to come here instead of staying in Vancouver. Top them all would be cost of living. I’ve lived quite a few places in the past 20 years and I have never seen commodity and housing prices as high as Vancouver. Of course one could argue that it is on the cheap side compare to cities like Tokyo or London. But then I would never consider to settle in those two cities since I’m not Japanese and I have no interest to settle in Europe. Then there’s the fact which high cost of living in those two cities were compensated by high wages which in some way balanced out itself, even it’s just barely. It is not really the case in Vancouver which wages could not catch up with cost. Take my friend’s case for example she made about $30,000 a year but a studio apartment already swallowed half of her income annually. Then there is the grocery which cost 2-3 times as much compare to Toronto. Add all these up and put tax deduction into the consideration then you get a general picture of how difficult it is to live in Vancouver, specially for people who’d like to start a career or a family.
Of course there’s other factors I decide to move to Toronto like lack of support for the arts, weather, attitude issues with the locals…..etc. But then they’re just personal opinions for the most part and I’m pretty sure if you’re coming from different neighbourhood in Vancouver experiences are not the same. But most importantly is that I’m not the resident there anymore so I won’t have to deal with these issues on every day basis. Which means I’ll leave all these behind and starts a fresh new life herein Toronto.