Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I have recently learned the joys of commuting to work. On the subway, I have time to read so I have read one of the free papers. The latest issue for debate is as followed:
Visitors find Vancouverites cold
Vancouver's unique culture may go a long way in explaining why so many visitors see Vancouverites as uncaring.
International student co-ordinator at UBC's International House, Regina Lyakhovetska, says many students get the cold shoulder from locals.
"Students say people are very polite, but that does not mean there are a lot of people willing to help," said Lyakhovetska. "They say Vancouverites are more closed to themselves and it is hard to get to know them."
The feeling is amplified when you're new to the country and trying to adapt to life in Vancouver, she said.
Joe Fardell, president of Tourism Calgary, said Vancouver has a reputation for not being the friendliest city in the country.
"It's friendly, but at the same time it's not as friendly as other cities when it comes to tourism," he said. "Compared to smaller cities like Halifax, Vancouver and Toronto just aren't as friendly."
Fardell said people in Vancouver are so used to having tourists wandering around the city they don't go out of their way to help.
"It's just a different culture, they expect tourists to do their own thing," he said.
Not surprisingly, Fardell rates Calgary as the friendliest city in Canada, but he says it's an honest answer.
"I haven't been here that long and I've lived all over the country, but Calgary is No. 1," he said. "As for Vancouver, maybe top five."

When I first got here to Vancouver, I said to one of my girlfriends from back home, that the people were friendly but something was missing... the warmth. I don't know if I think that Vancouverites aren't friendly, but I thought that the "lack of warmth" was due to the "big city" living/mentality. One letter to the editor suggested that we keep to ourselves because we are tired of being harassed by panhandlers. I wonder if that is really it...

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