What’s Out There?

A city­phile’s guide to the ’burbs.

Vancouver Magazine - - ED NOTE -

: though I’ve lived in Van­cou­ver for al­most 20 years, I’m not born and bred. I grew up in Ajax, a sleep-town for Toronto (named af­ter a war­ship, rather than the house­hold cleaner—the town was built around a mu­ni­tions fac­tory dur­ing the First World War, though the seem­ing ref­er­ence to the lat­ter pos­si­ble name­sake does make it more mem­o­rable). My teenage years had many of the marks of a clas­sic subur­ban up­bring­ing: I got my driver’s li­cence just a few months af­ter turn­ing 16 (ah, those sweet, very unsafe pre-grad­u­ated li­cence days), my friends and I had both bush par­ties and base­ment han­gouts, and I ed for the city as soon as I could.

But I look back now at my child­hood and re­al­ize there was a lot of sweet­ness to it, too: we lived near the lake and spent week­ends comb­ing the wet­lands. I re­cently rem­i­nisced with friends about our last sum­mer be­fore we all left for univer­sity, when we hung out in my par­ents’ back­yard and tie-dyed our sheets for our dorm rooms. My dad and I would clean his kayak there, too. We had plenty of room for it then—un­like where I live now in the West End, where nd­ing a spot to wash down my kayak is ex­po­nen­tially more chal­leng­ing.

Of course, I’ve been re ect­ing on this be­cause of our rst o cial Sub­urbs Is­sue. As we started to con­sider the sub­ject, a poll around the ta­ble at our editorial meet­ing clearly in­di­cated we were all strug­gling to gure out ex­actly what de ned each sub­urb, let alone pre­cisely how they were ar­ranged ge­o­graph­i­cally. We’d heard of the cool brew­ery district in Port Moody, great restau­rants pop­ping up in New West and Lan­g­ley, a leg­endary ad­ven­ture park in Rich­mond, be­yond-beau­ti­ful beaches in Sur­rey—was it time for us to gure out what lies be­yond Van­cou­ver’s o cial bor­ders?

And so, in this is­sue, writer Tyee Bridge shares his take on how he’s learned to love his new home­town of New West­min­ster, and Jen­nifer Van Evra tack­les the task of nd­ing out what makes each ’burb worth its while. And, for those of you who are con­sid­er­ing a move out there, we’ve ze­roed in on what ex­actly the all-dreaded com­mute times are, too—along with a gen­eral idea of real es­tate op­tions.

While I’m a self-de­scribed city­phile, I rec­og­nize that there’s a shift hap­pen­ing. Some of what makes the sub­urbs work has al­ways been there—see: my child­hood— but some of it is part of a new world and worth some new ex­plo­ration and con­sid­er­a­tion. (Per­haps over a beer or two at Steel and Oak in New West. I’ll see you there.)

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