First Rule: BREATHE | Second Rule: EXHALE | Third Rule: RELAX
It’s no secret that moving to Victoria is a good idea, maybe even a great idea especially if you are weary of the rat race, long hours and longer commutes. Most come here to exhale.
When you’re first here you’ll immediately notice the pace of life in Victoria is quite a bit calmer than the city’s counterpart across the straight, Vancouver. And if you’re moving from Toronto to Vancouver Island, get ready for a big adjustment. People move out here for a variety of reasons but one big draw is to get away from or minimize the “rat race” and fast paced living found in larger cities. Gone are long commutes, road rages and general frustrations of getting around a big congested city.
Everyone here is just more laid back
“Island Time” ~ yes, it’s a thing. People are relaxed and laid back for the most part and are not going to “jump to the pump” unless it’s crucial~
Don’t worry you will get used to it.
It’s a big town, not a small city and everyone thanks the bus driver when they exit the bus. Isn’t that sweet? It’s a place where you get all the world-class amenities like universities, a downtown core and great outdoor activities with the friendliness of a small town. People living here for a long time do not stress out over inconsequentials and rather go with the flow.They tend to save their energy for important things like the big one (earthquake).
Retail, restaurant, home services and trades just about any service you can think of will appear slack compared to what you are used to if you are from a larger city. Slow, inconsistent and sometimes totally inefficient this aspect of living is a source of deep frustration until you realize there is not much you can do about it except perhaps take your business elsewhere only to experience the same anyway. For example if one of your main appliances breaks down you have to find a service/repair person who specializes in your appliance brand.That can mean several calls and waiting for return calls trying to get help. If under warranty, only specific certified technicians are allowed to work on it (there’s like 4 guys certified for Warranty work) and they are usually booked well in advance.
No store stocks parts so there will be a wait of several weeks especially if the part comes from the States. Hopefully, they ordered the right part and if not expect an additional wait time and no, you will not be compensated.
You will be without the use of your appliance for that time plus the time needed to accommodate the repair-person’s schedule for appointments. You will get used to this and will learn to breathe then exhale. Although you will be inconvenienced, the world will not end. You will learn to wash dishes by hand if the dishwasher has broken down. You will rent a mini-fridge for a week or two while the fridge waits for a part and you will use the microwave or buy a hot plate if your stove goes on the fritz. You will get used to Island time. You will have to just to maintain your sanity. Meanwhile, look around you and take in the beauty of where you live. The miles of oceanfront park along Dallas Road makes up for this. Breathe/exhale/relax; it will be alright.
They hang blooming flower baskets on all the lampposts in summer. Charming isn’t it?
The Island Factor
The island factor will raise its head constantly, in ways you won’t think of. The island factor plays into more than you know and it plays into everything.
- You can’t escape.
- No one can visit.
- Real estate is crazy expensive. Rental housing, at least the affordable kind, is fairly scarce and when located, quite expensive especially with respect to average incomes.
- Ferries: If you want to get off the Island often, this is expensive and time consuming. You have to plan your travel accordingly, account for the extra costs (if you’re taking a car across) and be prepared for possible system failures. You will no be compensated when Ferry schedules change, stop or delay you.
- Pubs and bars close at odd hours, but if you aren’t crazy nightlife people, it won’t matter.
- Food costs are high because just about everything is brought over by Ferry
- You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than finding a family doctor who is accepting patients
- Living here, you won’t have the advantages of a big city where you can step out your door and be presented with a huge menu of options
- It’s an island paradise, and like paradises anywhere it can be dull and boring. A lovely small city which seems to have engulfed the population with its smallness of vision and seemingly proud of it.
- Everyone already has all the friends they need (unless they are new to the city) and although friendly enough, speaking when spoken to, don’t expect to be invited to Sunday dinner.
YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY
One of the biggest things you’ll have to adjust to is the weather. You won’t be updating your snow pants every year or buying winter boots on the regular, because it just doesn’t get that much winter in Victoria. One obvious bonus of this is not having to spend a serious amount of time warming up the car in the morning like in other provinces. Invest in water proof coats and boots for the wet days of endless drizzle but dress in layers so when the sun does pop out in the afternoon you are not overheated and overdressed.
DRIVING IN WINTER
This will be very frustrating for those used to normal winters in cities where streets are routinely cleared, everyone has winter/snow tires and most are skilled in driving in the white stuff on slippery roads. Not here. They only salt/sand the main artery roads – Victoria doesn’t even own a snow plough and the side roads connecting the rest of the city are left untouched so if there is a heavy snowfall, which on occasion we get, it can be crippling for those living in residential areas. People in Victoria do not change to winter/snow tires since snow is rare. But when it strikes it leaves a lot of hapless and inexperienced drivers on the road, slipping and sliding and ending up in ditches especially after 10 cm or more. People who should not be out driving inevitably are – very frustrating.
Some people get homesick
“The mountains and ocean will make up for anything you have left behind.”