Some differences between Vancouver and Melbourne – Part 1

Since we’ve been here, we’ve noticed lots of differences between Vancouver and Melbourne. At the start, some of these seemed big and others small, but as time goes on, it just seems pretty normal. So I thought I had better write the first of these posts, before I can no longer remember the differences!

The most obvious one to us, was driving on the right (wrong?) side of the road. Chris did the hard yards when we first arrived in the country, and I was able to ease myself into it once I felt comfortable being a passenger! Another little one is that a red light does not mean you cannot go, as long as you are turning right. In theory, you are meant to stop at the red light, then give way to oncoming traffic. In practice, you slow down a bit, then go even if you almost get hit by a car with a green light… I can see how the rule helps with traffic flow, but people aren’t great with the giving-way part!

Driving on the right side of the road

Medicinal marijuana is legal in Canada. There are shops dotted around the city. It is not uncommon for me to walk past someone smoking and notice a sweet aroma, so I suspect ‘medicinal’ is loosely applied.

Bins. Why do these bins look so hard to get into? Bears. Real live bears. And these bins are at parks nearby to where I live, suggesting bears live there too. Hmmmm…. The handle has a latch inside it.

BinsFree newspapers: Free newspapers are everywhere. There are two newspaper dispensers on our block, although we don’t have quite the number of newspapers available to us as in this picture. And there are recycling bins everywhere. Sometimes mixed, sometimes separated and sometimes separating food scraps.

North Van-3There are random buckets of salt. Sometimes there is salt on the paths. There has been no snow since we’ve been here and snow is generally pretty rare in Vancouver, so I guess this must be for ice / frosts.

Salt tub

In North Vancouver, if not elsewhere, the electrical boxes and post-boxes are often decorated with nice photos. Much nicer than big ugly grey boxes! They seem to have less graffiti on them too – I am not sure if this is to do with the graffitists or regular cleaning by the City of North Van.

Electical box

The next one is a regular source of frustration to me!! When you buy veggies, the price is per lb. When you buy deli meats and fish, the price is per 100g. When you buy meat, the price is either by kg or lb depending on where you are. Canada is officially metric, but in reality, a strange mix of the old and the new. At the gym, I run kilometres, but I lift pounds.

North Van-2

I did not know that seagulls came in different colours and sizes. Apparently they don’t all look like this:

Its a bit hard to get perspective from the photo, but these seagulls are large!

North Van seagul

Lastly, the forests really are amazing. Very different from the bush that we are used to (which is beautiful too, but different).

"Australian bush" by Taken byfir0002 | 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons -

“Australian bush” by Taken byfir0002 | 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 – Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons –

I love the moss covered trees!

The forests

I’d love to hear your thoughts – What have I missed? Which ones aren’t too different to Melbourne at all?


5 thoughts on “Some differences between Vancouver and Melbourne – Part 1

  1. Love your photos!! I remember seeing those bins in the parks we visited in the States, bit scary thinking of the bears that might visit them! How annoying that they switch between metric and lbs all the time! Overall I get the feeling it’s very clean there? As well as being beautiful! 🙂


    • A friend has recently seen a bear near their place, so they are nearby! I’m looking forward to seeing one…. from a distance.
      In the city it feels similar in terms of cleanliness compared to Melbourne. The the beautiful parts come right up to the edge of the city though.


  2. Pingback: Some differences between Vancouver and Melbourne – Part 2 | Canadian adventure

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