Vancouver is a dynamic and diverse city, and the staff and faculty at Centre for Digital Media (CDM) want to help newcomers get the most out of their time living here. While Master of Digital Media (MDM) students can expect to be busy with classes, coursework and projects during their 16 months in the program, they will also have time to explore Vancouver and all it has to offer. Here are the top things we love about living in Vancouver:
1. Trying new food
From cheap, delicious sushi, a brewery on every corner and a thriving food truck scene to craft cocktails and local delicacies, the Vancouver food scene appeals to any budget and palate. It’s hard to choose, but here are a few of our favourite spots in the neighbourhood:
- The Shameful Tiki Room - “A fun place to eat and drink.” - Dave
- Carp - "The best poke." - Jason
- Earnest Ice Cream - “Locally produced and offering cones, sandwiches, and take home pints. Just around the corner from CDM as well.” - Ryan
- Craft Beer - “There’s a hub of craft beer breweries around the Vancouver core but you can go out to Port Moody or most of the surrounding cities and find a stretch of great local breweries as well.” - Ryan
2. Getting outside
Vancouver is known for its year-round outdoor lifestyle, and has activities to suit any fitness level. Some of the best ways to enjoy nature are:
- Stanley Park Seawall - Walk, run or bike around Vancouver’s iconic park.
- Grouse Mountain - Tackle the Grouse Grind (not for the faint of heart) or take the gondola up to enjoy panoramic views of Vancouver.
- Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension bridge - Wander through the forest, then cross the 50 meter suspension bridge that swings over the canyon.
- Kayaking in Deep Cove - Rent a kayak and enjoy Vancouver from the water.
- Rocky Point in Port Moody - Get outside the city and visit one of the many spectacular parks in the Lower Mainland (the geographic area surrounding the city of Vancouver).
3. Exploring new neighbourhoods
There are a lot of things to love about Mount Pleasant, CDM's neighbourhood. But we’re also surrounded by several other vibrant neighbourhoods that showcase Vancouver’s multiculturalism. Take a stroll through these neighbourhoods:
- Commercial Drive - “The Drive” has an eclectic collection of restaurants, great spots for live music and many small, one-of-a-kind boutiques and shops.
- Kitsilano - “Kits” is the place to be in the summer with lots of beaches, pools, open-air patios and street festivals.
- North Vancouver - “North Van” is one half of Vancouver’s “North Shore,” and is an outdoor-lover’s paradise with access to hiking and biking trails, dozens of parks and local mountains that offer skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the winter.
4. Celebrating the seasons
While it may not be as pronounced as other places in Canada, Vancouver still experiences a shift each season, from colourful fall leaves, a dusting of snow on the local mountains, and cherry blossoms in the spring. There are hundreds of events to celebrate each season, but here are some of our top suggestions:
Vancouver Farmers Markets - Find fresh, local produce and other products at the year-round farmers markets.
- Richmond Night Market - The highlight of this event is the food fair, where you can try dozens of different dishes from around the world.
- North Vancouver Summer Night Market - Food trucks, live music and wares from local vendors - all right next to the ocean.
- Playland @ the PNE - BC’s iconic amusement park with rides, attractions, feature exhibits and fair food.
- Vancouver Pride Festival - A whole slate of events to celebrate the LGBTQAI2S+ communities that traditionally kicks off with a parade.
- UBC Apple Festival - Try over 70 different types of apples!
- Ghost Train in Stanley Park - Go on a journey through a mystical and magical world, inspired by Halloween and other spooky tales.
- Fright Nights at the PNE - A Halloween tradition featuring multiple haunted houses and amusement rides.
- Visit a pumpkin patch - Another quintessential Vancouver fall activity to celebrate the changing seasons.
- Festival of Lights - VanDusen Botanical Garden comes alive with one million twinkling lights.
- Vancouver Christmas Market - A unique market featuring local artisans and festive regional refreshments, including mulled wine.
- Canyon Lights @ Capilano Suspension Bridge - “Lights with heights” - Cross the suspension bridge, with the canyon and Capilano River illuminated with lights below.
- Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival - An annual celebration of the beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom in the city.
- Visit a garden - Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden; Bloedel Conservatory; Stanley Park Gardens; VanDusen Botanical Garden
5. Making connections
Vancouver’s tech scene is unique. Although it supports hundreds of companies and thousands of workers, it still maintains a close environment where you can meet and network with folks in a variety of roles. Take advantage of joining the greater digital media community when you arrive, connect with the MDM alumni network, join a meet-up group and volunteer with or check out one of the many local events or organizations, such as:
- Vancouver International Film Festival - Showcasing a vibrant program of films and events.
- BC Tech Association - Hosts events that make BC the best place to grow and scale a tech company.
- DigiBC - Hosts activities to help students understand the range of career opportunities that a world-leading creative tech sector on their doorstep represents.
- VanWIT - Provides mentorship, networking and educational opportunities to help women thrive in Vancouver’s technology community.
6. Learning new things
There is a lot to learn outside the MDM classroom, and Vancouver has plenty of museums, art galleries and educational attractions to explore. There are so many to choose from, but we recommend starting with some of these places:
- Vancouver Art Gallery - One of MDM’s industry project partners with several permanent and rotating exhibits that highlight historical and contemporary art in British Columbia.
- Museum of Vancouver - Another one of MDM’s industry project partners focused on helping visitors achieve a deeper understanding of Vancouver through stories, objects and shared experiences.
- Science World - A short distance from MDM, Science World features an IMAX theatre, and interactive exhibits that inspire a move to sustainable communities rooted in science, innovation and a deep connection to nature.
- Museum of Anthropology - A place of world arts and cultures with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia.
- Vancouver Maritime Museum - Another MDM industry partner who shares stories about the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic and creates experiences that build bridges between the past and future.
7. Appreciating diverse perspectives
We’re fortunate to live, learn and work in a city that celebrates diversity and provides a variety of opportunities to learn and appreciate the value of different experiences. It’s difficult to cover all of the amazing ways the city celebrates diversity, but here are a few things to check out:
- Vancouver Mural Festival - A celebration of public art in the city.
- Vancouver’s Chinatown - One of the largest Chinatowns in the world!
- Music festival & venues - Vancouver Folk Music Festival; Vancouver International Jazz Festival; Commodore Ballroom; Orpheum Theatre
- Theatre & comedy shows - Bard on the Beach; Vancouver Fringe Festival; Vogue Theatre; The Cultch
- Cultural celebrations - Italian Day; Greek Day; Caribbean Days; Carnaval del Sol; National Indigenous Peoples Day; explorASIAN Festival; Powell Street Festival
Every visitor and resident has their own list of things they love about Vancouver. What did we miss off your list? Let us know!