Alright. I've been in Vancouver for about 2 weeks now, and I've come to a conclusion: Vancouver is weird.
People have this strange tendency to rave about it when they are not there and complain about it while they are. Everyone I spoke to who was from the West in Montreal or Toronto would get this misty look in their eyes when I told them I was moving out here, and they'd muse wistfully, "Oh, i miss the beach/tree/sea/climate/people/good restaurants etc." Talk to them here, and they say that it's hard to make friends here, that the nightlife is bad, the transit is terrible, etc. etc. My suspicion is that there are good things here and bad things. So far I like it.
One thing about Van that I've found particularly bizarre is the way the place seems to be separated out into these very different little pockets. Supposedly this is a small city, but I just took the bus from my new neighborhood to my parents' place, and it took me 1 1/4 hours. Nowhere in Montreal or Toronto would take that long by transit if they are still in the city. People don't really walk around here, and it's true the transit's not great. Hence all the BIKES.
On my trip over here to Kitsilano, aka dog- and baby-town from East Van, aka druggie- and hipster-town, I took the Hastings bus through the infamous intersection, Main and Hastings, which has the highest concentration of intravenous drug users in North America (take that, USA!). Many parts of Vancouver are full of beautiful gardens, high schools, organic food shops, and celebrity-chef owned restaurants. This strip looked a lot more like Mexico. Boarded up buildings, pubs, secondhand stores, women's drop in centres, urban native youth centres, unemployments centres and a whole lot of sad looking people. There's something wrong with the infrastructure here that this whole area is just around the corner from everything else, including, for example, that place I went to recently that was frequented by "shrivelled yacht jockeys and cougar-mistresses-in-waiting." Like I said. Weird.