Edmonton To Vancouver, And Then Back Again

We see it in the movies, and we see it in real life. For years, it has always been a “thing” to move to a big city for more opportunity and to make a name for yourself. Why? Because those big cities are intriguing. There are more people, more things to do, head offices, big names, celebrities, the ocean, and better agents. It is “easier” to climb up the corporate ladder, there is great potential for more financial security, and of course, the tall buildings, anonymity, the hustle and bustle of city life, 50% more males and females in business casual clothing, big parks, louder concerts, better theatre, and late night food vendors. 

A city such as Vancouver is one of those cities that people may say is the perfect place to make a name for yourself. It has everything aforementioned and more. After moving from a city such as Edmonton to Vancouver and living there for a few years, awkwardly sitting on the fence post for months to decide whether or not to move back is not uncommon. The longer you live there, the more intriguing the move back becomes. Why? Expensive rent for poor living conditions, ridiculously high prices for groceries, difficult job market, pretentious and cliquey attitudes, depressing weather, cat-size seagulls trying to steal your lunch, and last call for alcohol at 12:45 a.m. on a Saturday night. Yes, Vancouver IS probably the most beautiful city in North America and it has a lot to offer, but the cover of the book can be quickly judged for some. 

Edmonton has grown exceptionally in the past three years, and it is absolutely refreshing to see how much this city is expanding.  The city has discovered ways to provide more options for young entrepreneurs, artists, families, and the fun loving “I want to do awesome things all the time” kind of people.

Networking events are ACTUALLY networking events as opposed to a production or a show. You can give your business card to a stranger that you’ve only known for 10 minutes without it feeling awkward or forced. When you have the conversation of “What do you do?”, the majority of the time it will lead to “YES! I can help you!” or “OK, I can’t help you right now, but here is someone that can!” Instead of the “I’ll use you one day, thanks for being another Twitter follower!” networking mentality. 

Anyone in the early stages of their new business, students or the young blood leaving the nest to adventure out on their own don’t necessarily have to live off of peanut butter, rice and beans for months at a time. Living in a one-bedroom apartment for $1,500 a month in a 100-year-old building with molding carpets and bedbugs isn’t the only option. Beer, wine, and food is priced appropriately, and you CAN enjoy an yummy adult bevie past last call at 12:45 a.m. And if you’re one to live life on the wild side, you can even pick up a bottle of wine at 2 a.m! 

Opportunity is everywhere because there is so much initiative to put Edmonton on the map thanks to some kick-ass Edmontonians, including city council. Make Something Edmonton is one of those initiatives where over 200 local projects are featured. The buzz and events on 104 Street, more exposure of summer festivals through social media, new delicious restaurants, trendy retail store pop ups and organic markets are some of the things that this city is growing. This is giving more opportunity to anyone and everyone.

The power of the collective arts scene in Edmonton is also thriving, allowing musicians, artists and fans to stay alive and create a true bond within the community. The entertainment business today is dominated by huge record companies dictating what “good music,” “good film,” or “good theatre” is and who the general population should listen to or go see. Through the vibrant support of the Edmonton entertainment scene there is an opportunity for the underdogs in Edmonton to show what can be done without the backing of a big label. The community creates a platform for success, where as in a bigger entertainment scene those underdogs may be lost.

Not only in the entertainment scene, this also speaks to small- or medium-sized businesses. The business community is welcoming, supportive and helpful. With Capital Ideas EdmontonNextGen and the Junior Chamber International Edmonton available, there is opportunity for young business owners to quickly connect and build long lasting relationships with many different faces in Edmonton. You can quickly and easily connect with anyone, from the Global News 6 o’clock news anchor, to Mr Stephen Mandel. Almost everyone will gladly sit down with you to figure out how they can help you. Whatever you do in your life, this city can and will help you grow in ways you never thought possible. Edmonton is not just a cheap beer, beef, white collar, “nothing to do on a weekend” kind of city anymore — if that’s your perception of what it was.

Yes it’s cold, yes it’s dry, and no there isn’t an ocean or a Whole Foods. But we’re friendly, growing, motivated, passionate, culturally unique and ridiculously awesome. We’re open and inviting, and a face is always recognized. We are Edmonton. 

If you’re new-comer, never left, or came back, what are some of your favorite things about Edmonton? What have you noticed is different when compared to the city you lived in before? Why do you love Edmonton? Why not? How do you want to change it? 

Let us know! 

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