Price Match: Five things that are cheaper in Vancouver
Here comes Part Two of my Price Match observations, and just for you I decided to save the good news until last. And there is good news. Although the cost of living is most definitely higher in Vancouver than the UK (yes, even London), there are a few saving graces in a city of soaring prices. See below for my list of five things that are cheaper in Vancouver than the UK:
The price of fuel is a much talked about topic in both the UK and Vancouver, though there is one clear winner in the cost-per-litre battle. The average price of regular petrol in the UK is currently £1.34 ($2.09), but you’ll only pay the same amount in dollars in Vancouver as the latest average is $1.34 (85p). The price is rising on an almost daily basis in Vancouver, but still – can you remember the last time petrol was 85p a litre in the UK?
Sushi and Starbucks are well known as Vancouver’s staples. Starbucks is comparable in price and hasn’t made it onto either of my Price Match lists (though we do have Wi-Fi in all stores over here), but I’m delighted that sushi is most definitely cheaper in Vancouver than the UK. A particularly great lunchtime deal on our local high street is 16 pieces of California Roll for $4.99 (£3.20), but elsewhere the average price per 6-8 piece roll usually weighs in at $5 (£3.20) compared to £7 ($10) in Southampton. With great quality, variety and original creations including my favourite prosciutto and cream cheese roll, Vancouver definitely wins the sushi battle.
Live Music Tickets
Tickets to gigs, concerts and live music in general is another surprising addition to the list, particularly as this seems to include both larger, mainstream concerts as well as smaller, local gigs. Tickets to Rhianna’s Loud Tour start at only $32 (£20.44) incl. fees at the Rogers Arena, Vancouver, with the cheapest tickets for the same show at The O2 in London costing £40 ($62.50). I could catch Ellie Goulding in Vancouver this month for $20 (£12), or in London in July for £28 ($43). Canadian Bryan Adams is at the Paramount Theatre in May for $46.50 (£30) and at the Manchester Evening News Arena in November for £45.50 ($70). The list goes on, suffice to say that going to gigs has gone up on my list of things to do this year after clocking the price.
In a city where entertainment often comes at a premium, I was excited to discover that Blockbuster DVD rentals fall into the ‘cheaper’ category. In Canada it costs $3.99 (£2.54) to rent a new release for one night or $4.99 (£3.18) for 2 nights, which is a bargain compared to £3.99 ($6.24) for one night in the UK (though the internet suggests that Blockbuster UK may be rolling out 2 night rentals as standard). I also purchased a membership add-on for $15 (£10), which includes a free rental every month and countless other money-off discounts. Great news for movie lovers, especially at Netflix Canada is somewhat disappointing compared to the US version. But that’s a whole other blog post…
This is somewhat of a controversial one, as the value of Vancouver’s public transit system varies widely depending how often you use it and how far you go. Personally, I’m far better off in Vancouver than I was in Southampton, and that is solely due to the fact that across the pond a single ticket is transferrable in multiple journeys up to 90 minutes and is valid on bus, skytrain and seabus routes. My journey home from work would cost me £2 for a single trip ticket, but if I wanted to stop off at the supermarket, or dash into Blockbuster, my ticket would be void as soon as I stepped off the bus so I would have to buy a day ticket £3 ($4.69) instead. In Vancouver my $2.50 (£1.56) single ticket allows me to jump off an off as many times as I like, as long as I get on my final bus within 90 minutes. Evening and weekends are the best time to travel on transit, as the weekday fares that are tiered by zone are lifted meaning you can travel to further afield destinations such as Grouse Mountain for just $2.50 (£1.56).
Although this list might not be enough to convince you to pack your bags right away, it’s nice to know that there are some financial bonuses for those who take the plunge and head over to join the Canucks. The real value is of course in the laid back, outdoor lifestyle, but a saving here and there doesn’t go amiss either.