Thank you to all entrants. Please visit the semifinalist page to view the top ten essays as determined by our panel and the public voting. Click here to view the top ten
I have lived in Vancouver my entire life. I didn’t have an epiphany moment when I decided to move to this beautiful city. No, I have always been here. I can see the mountains from my back porch, green with clouds skimming the top or fresh with snow. I can put my feet in the ocean whenever I want to (albeit, English Bay is a trifle cold for most). I can disappear into Stanley Park or Granville Island within hours of exploring downtown. There is nothing this city can’t give me.
I am an artist. I feel the need to create things, and I can do that here.
There was a time in my life when I felt like I wasn’t good enough to do the things I loved. I wanted to step into industries where you have to be judged, and in the small world of school the people judging me made it clear that I wasn’t what they wanted. Instead of getting discouraged I opened myself up to this city to look for something better. I found it.
I joined a choir that made me feel accepted and valued for quite possibly the first time in my life. I found my voice through other singers. We came together from around the Lower Mainland to share music and to learn how to be better. Vancouver community theatre took me in and showed me that I was right to want to perform. I got cast in pantomimes and musicals that let me be open and silly and true to what I loved. I was looking in the right places.
Finding my artistic outlet carried me through high school, and gave me the confidence and faith to keep going into university. I went to school at Capilano University in North Vancouver for Creative Writing. I got my nose out of the many books that built the library I call a bedroom, and I stuck it into a laptop. I learned how to write my own stories. The images that flowed through my head earned names, and I found the tools to give them that. I lived adventures I dreamed about and drew my own paths. I finished writing three novels and started a million more. It took me two years, but I earned my Associates Degree.
Also at Capilano, and immediately after finishing degree number one, I set my sights on the greatest form of expression. I am currently in my third year of the Musical Theatre Program. There aren’t many programs like this, and I know how lucky I am to have found one in my backyard. With my teachers and classmates I have learned more about myself than I thought possible. All the walls and fears that grew inside me and had once been controlling my life are getting thrown away. I am a better person for having been here.
I know a lot of people who have (or plan to) move away from Vancouver, especially in the industry that I am trying to find my place in, but I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to leave this city. Toronto and New York have more prestigious professional theatre, and Los Angeles is the hub for film in North America, but I want to stay here for as long as I can. I want to make my name here in beautiful British Columbia. I want to get published here, perform onstage professionally here, and take my first steps into film through our beautiful ‘Hollywood North’. I can see how much I can get out of this city, and at the end of the day, this is my home.