A recent article published in The Economist describes Vancouver as “mind-numbingly boring.” The author, under the alias “Gulliver,” later states that the more “cities strive to become nicer places in which to live [. . . the] less interesting they become.”
Vancouver continues to score high on the Livability Index, creating a global image of Vancouver as a fantastic place to live. But has this livability come at the price of fun? The answer is that it depends on where in the city you travel — it could be argued that East Vancouver is a much more interesting area due to its economic and cultural diversity.
Firstly, Gulliver attempts to relate the diversity of individuals with an excitable urban environment. Though debatable, the connection is not to be ignored.
It is true that in the Vancouver’s downtown core, the residents of the area are among some of the wealthiest in the city, a homogenized class of business professionals making on average $10,000 more per household than the average Canadian one. This fact results from a highly controversial process: gentrification. As the rich move in to Vancouver, the less wealthy are forced to look elsewhere.
Downtown, one is bombarded with the same professional individual on their way to or from the office.
Gentrification is a global phenomenon. Those who can afford it — many of whom live a wealthy business culture frequently associated with a Western caucasian lifestyle — move into highly livable locations, and in the process create a living space where economic and cultural diversity wanes.
Due to this homogenization, these areas suffer from a lack of diversity and can be viewed as somewhat monotonous or boring. Look downtown on a Tuesday, for instance: one is bombarded with the same professional individuals on their way to or from the office, or on their way to one of the region’s high-end restaurants.
This pattern is true of many areas in Vancouver’s downtown core, and several other neighbourhoods throughout the West Side. However, as one travels elsewhere in Metro Vancouver, the vibrancy of the city’s diversity shows.
In East Vancouver, the range of cultures is astounding, and allows for many opportunities for residents. From enjoying a meal at a Jamaican restaurant, to celebrating an event at the Italian Cultural Centre, to enjoying a show at the Rickshaw Theatre, the experience created by the area’s diversity has resulted in a unique and entertaining area of the city.
Fortunately, Vancouver is touted as one of the most multicultural regions in Canada. Though due to increased gentrification, this diversity has been somewhat subdued in certain regions and exaggerated in others.
Vancouver is not “mind-numbingly boring.” The regional distinctiveness of its inhabitants makes it vibrant.