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tfalco

Life in Victoria?

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Hey guys!

I’m strongly considering UVic, and everything I hear about the program sounds amazing. I’ve scoured the 10 reasons NOT and 10 reasons TO threads, and the school seems great. I love the idea of small classes, and a social justice minded cohort appeals to me too. 
 

I’m wondering more about everyone’s experience living in Victoria. I’m from Toronto, but I’m totally down with moving to a smaller, more relaxed city. I also love spending time in nature, which is something that Toronto is definitely lacking. 
 

Anyways, I’m curious as to what the daily life in Victoria is like!

 

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Pros:

Great climate. Tons of beautiful parks and beaches. Bar and restaurant scene is bad by world standards but good by Canadian standards, especially for the size. Very progressive and social-justice conscious, which is a pro if you like that kind of thing. Cost of living is high, but not on Vancouver's level. The pace of life is more relaxed.

Cons:

It's more of a small town than you'd think. The relaxed pace of life means outside downtown everything closes at 8pm. It's notoriously cliquey and a lot of people run with the same group from middle school til death, so it can be hard to break into the social scene as an outsider. Despite its self-image as a very social-justicey place, there's actually a gaping socioeconomic divide, to the point that different neighbourhoods have noticeably different accents. The homelessness and drug problem isn't Vancouver-level but it's still pretty bad. 

 

Overall it has its issues but it's still one of the most desirable places in Canada for a reason. 

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People are really, really unfriendly here compared to anywhere else I've lived, although apparently that's even worse in Vancouver. So while it's a relative thing, you are very likely to find it a little harder to find people you click with. Of course, if you click ideologically with your law school cohort, you will obviously be able to make some friends that way. Just don't expect anyone to smile at you, or even make eye contact, on the street.

I agree with Jungkook on the socioeconomic divide. Regardless of how people vote, the rich here are very rich and keep to themselves, mostly in areas quite far from the poor. The wealth here is gaudy and off-putting to me, and I'm speaking as someone who's not particularly left leaning (by LS.ca standards, anyway!) People say they support housing-first policies, and such, but nothing in that direction ever seems to get done, so I think that sort of speech is largely performative. I don't get the impression that people here are actually particularly charitable.

The other big con in Victoria that has disappointed me is that, for a smaller urban area, it's actually quite cramped spatially. Everything is dense; the roads are narrower, the traffic is often quite bad and it can take a lot longer than you'd expect to get to a nice quieter area outside the urban core. Now, again this is relative. If you're literally from the City of Toronto, then nothing in this paragraph will bother you, comparatively speaking. But if you're actually from, say,, Newmarket, then Victoria will be surprisingly loud and cramped and unpleasant if you like peace and quiet now and then!

I am very much in the minority in my dislike of Victoria, and I don't expect you to agree with me, but I like to chip in on here with some downsides of Victoria, since most people will only sing its praises.

-GM

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Throwing on to what already was stated, a few positives of Victoria are:

 

  1. Active city: people are always out exercising, there's a gym on every corner downtown, and you can find the right for you (cardio, weightlifting, yoga, etc)
  2. Casual city: there's not a lot of pretentiousness, nor is there much effort to meet new people. If you can make friends in law school, you'll be set. If not, you'll be lonely.
  3. Bike lanes: if you bike, this is heaven. if you hate bikers getting in your way and think they shouldn't be on the road... this city will infuriate you.
  4. Lots of plant-based restaurants, to fit the Victoria cliché, if that's your thing.
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4 hours ago, GrumpyMountie said:

The other big con in Victoria that has disappointed me is that, for a smaller urban area, it's actually quite cramped spatially. Everything is dense; the roads are narrower, the traffic is often quite bad and it can take a lot longer than you'd expect to get to a nice quieter area outside the urban core. Now, again this is relative. If you're literally from the City of Toronto, then nothing in this paragraph will bother you, comparatively speaking. But if you're actually from, say,, Newmarket, then Victoria will be surprisingly loud and cramped and unpleasant if you like peace and quiet now and then!

I've spent the last few years living and working in Downtown Toronto, so I might be used to a cramped urban area, but I'm sure this would be much more noticeable and seem more out of place, considering the actual size of Victoria.

2 hours ago, DoWellAndGood said:

 

  1. Bike lanes: if you bike, this is heaven. if you hate bikers getting in your way and think they shouldn't be on the road... this city will infuriate you.

 That being said, I'm enthusiastic about the idea of biking without getting hit by a car door or streetcar, as is too often the case in TO 🙃

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I lived in Victoria for 8 years and would not agree with anything GrumpyMountie said in their first 2 paragraphs. Traffic can indeed be bad though.I have lived all over Canada and Victoria is by FAR my favourite. Id probably live in Langford though if I were you just outside vic. Id just go for a few days, and check it out. 

Edited by AJD19
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I actually lived in Victoria for a brief period and I absolutely loved it there for all the reasons listed, but I also found it incredibly isolating, which I know isn't a surprise given that it's literally on an island lol. But it's also kind of a hassle and expensive as hell to fly or take the ferry (even walk on) out to mainland civilization. I imagine it's only gotten moreso as this was many years ago. I think you have to have a really strong sense of home and an inner circle there to be happy.

Edited by legallybrunette3

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4 hours ago, AJD19 said:

Id probably live in Langford though if I were you just outside vic. 

Why Langford?

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I loved it for many reasons

its more of a small town vibe, and can easily make it to so many scenic areas in less than 5 minutes.

Thetis lake is right there, and Langford lake. Goldstream is really close. Easy access to the malahat for up island trips

Beaches are  WAY less busy than in vic. Just passed royal bay at Albert head lagoon is really cool.

Mechosen is beautiful as well and fairly close. Bear mountain is gorgeous, I lived up there on the golf course. 

Everything you need is out there, literally every big box store you could imagine.

The highlands are cool.

I think its just overall nicer as well, it kind of feels like North Van. Its nice being surrounded by forest. 

Rent is cheaper/less competition to find a place

Newer places

You avoid a lot of the congestion as noted in Victoria, traffic into the city has been a bit of a doozie from Langford though. The new Mckenzie Interchange will likely alleviate this though. I haven't been back since August 2019, so not sure if its completed yet and what impact its had. But no traffic the drive to Uvic is about 20 mins. Also as a sidenote  regarding the ferry. Its like $17 each way to walk on the ferry, and theres a direct bus from the terminal in tsawassen to Richmond where you can thnn skytrain downtown.

 

 

Edited by AJD19
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15 hours ago, AJD19 said:

The new Mckenzie Interchange will likely alleviate this though. I haven't been back since August 2019, so not sure if its completed yet and what impact its had.

It is indeed done and very helpful. I still don't like the volume on there, though, and I actually prefer to take McKenzie between campus and the West side as a result. I'm kinda weird though!

I agree that West of Victoria has a very different feel. It's not for everyone precisely because it's quieter, but if I had to choose again I would probably end up on that side (I really like View Royal lately). Instead I'm stuck in Oak Bay and I can't stand it.

On a side note, it's hard for me to believe that someone would disagree with me about how unfriendly it is here. I've spent a lot of time in 5 provinces and even Quebeckers are nicer than people here, from my perspective. ;) But we all experience the world differently, so I will take @AJD19 at their word. Maybe people here just don't like my face, or something! I would literally rather be anywhere else in Canada.

-GM

Edited by GrumpyMountie
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3 hours ago, GrumpyMountie said:

It is indeed done and very helpful. I still don't like the volume on there, though, and I actually prefer to take McKenzie between campus and the West side as a result. I'm kinda weird though!

I agree that West of Victoria has a very different feel. It's not for everyone precisely because it's quieter, but if I had to choose again I would probably end up on that side (I really like View Royal lately). Instead I'm stuck in Oak Bay and I can't stand it.

On a side note, it's hard for me to believe that someone would disagree with me about how unfriendly it is here. I've spent a lot of time in 5 provinces and even Quebeckers are nicer than people here, from my perspective. ;) But we all experience the world differently, so I will take @AJD19 at their word. Maybe people here just don't like my face, or something! I would literally rather be anywhere else in Canada.

-GM

View Royal is good too. Im sure you could sort something out to move, or go back home if classes are online? Why are you so concerned with how nice people are though, just do you, grind out the school year and apply to transfer somewhere else. Fuck what anyone thinks, just live in a bubble, do things you enjoy. Its temporary. 

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I just moved to Victoria from Toronto in August and I actually love it here so much, even though it's the middle of a pandemic, haha. Everyone I have met here has been so nice and the city is so beautiful. It is WAY smaller than Toronto, both geographically and socially. Way more of a small town, less anonymous feel compared to Toronto (not to say the Vic is a rural small town by any means, it doesn't feel like that, but I just can't believe how I keep running into people I know here, that never happens back home).

I absolutely love how you can walk the whole downtown in like ten minutes, it's so accessible and convenient, I live downtown and never get on transit ever, but also I feel like living just outside of downtown would still be pretty convenient too, everything is so close together here, especially if you drive (I don't). I take the bus sometimes and it's not much different than the TTC, depending on the bus. I just love being able to walk everywhere I want to go so quickly, vs. my regular 45 minute walks home from the bar or to my friends' places in Toronto even though I lived directly downtown. Like others mentioned, there is a serious housing issue in Victoria and plenty of people here who are very insensitive about it but coming from Toronto I am entirely unfazed. The class divide is real for sure, cannot deny that. However, that's certainly present in Toronto too, if not more dramatically so.

Obviously you miss out on the wide variety of options for literally everything that Toronto offers and it isn't even that much cheaper to live here (considering the significant drop in population), but I find the energy is so much more positive and relaxed and friendly here. This is coming from someone who grew up in Toronto and adores it too, I just needed a change. Plus, if you like nature stuff and you can drive, the island is SO beautiful. The selection of bars and restaurants is good but definitely pales in comparison to Toronto. Like post-pandemic, I feel like there are like maybe 5-10 good bars at best around, but I haven't had a proper chance to explore, obviously, given the circumstances.

Socially, I knew no one but now I am happy here and feel like I have a good social life. I did start dating someone pretty soon after I moved here though and met people through him though so I did get kind of lucky in that respect. But I just met him on Tinder lol didn't have any prior connections at all. I can definitely see how people could find it cliquey among the people who have lived here their whole lives but I've felt very welcomed and I've made good friends already in people who are also not Vic natives, they will be more willing to include you because they know how it can be. Also, if you move here, PM me and I will be your friend, seriously!

Sorry this is so long I just have a lot of positive feelings about this city already. Please feel free to PM me, I'm happy to answer any questions you have!

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