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I have lived in or around Vancouver for my entire life of 57 years so. I have visited literally hundreds of places around the world, from India to China to Australia to Europe, but Vancouver is the only place that I have ever called home.
The answer to that simple question is as complex as any I have contemplated. The only way I can think to begin to answer it is to look at the various aspects of what makes up a life; what motivates a person to do and be what they are?
At the core is family. While I was born in Abbotsford, my parents moved to Vancouver in 1959. My entire childhood memories are centered around Killarney Park as we lived in that area for more than 20 years. The vast majority of my aunts, uncles, and cousins lived (and still live) in the Fraser Valley. I was married in Vancouver. My family roots here run very deep. I’ve lived in Vancouver long enough to remember when you gave your phone number by starting with the name of the exchange; mine was Hemlock!
After family comes community. If you peel it apart, every city is really a montage of communities interchanging with each other. And every community is both dynamic and static at the same time; it establishes (at least initially), “what” it is and “who” it’s for, but then over time changes as people come and go. Probably the most classic example I can think of is the community between 70th Avenue and 41st Avenue along Fraser street. When I was young in the 1960’s, that area was predominantly populated by a German-speaking population attending the various Mennonite churches that had sprung up. Today, it is predominantly East Asian with many specialty shops and ethnic stores servicing an entirely different population. Vancouver’s various communities are among the most diverse of any city in the world, leading to an incredibly array of vibrancy, opportunity, and experiences. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!
Along with community comes friends. Over the years, I have had the privilege of making and having friends from every corner of the Vancouver area. Some are mere “acquaintances”; some are close confidants. Regardless, Vancouverites are classically “Canadian”; we help each other, we talk to each other, and we’ll even help tourists with directions, trivia, or just plain bragging about the paradise we live in!
What about the weather? Well, aside from the rain (which every true-blooded Vancouverite has long since learned to cope with), the weather is the best in Canada at any time of the year. Spring is resplendent and early, summer is warm and seldom humid, fall is often an extension of warm summer days with the addition of autumn colours, and it’s not unusual to have an entire winter without any snow in the city. What more could you ask for?
My children were born in Metro Vancouver, raised in Metro Vancouver, and married in Metro Vancouver. My grandson was born in Metro Vancouver.
My roots are deep.
Why Vancouver? Why me? Because this is HOME! And as Dorothy in the “Wizard of OZ” said “There’s no place like home!”