3 things for a wannabe Vancouverite

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last post. There’s a good reason for that: life has been more than a little hectic.

For the benefit of anyone reading this to glean a little helpfulness about moving to BC, here are 3 things I have learned that you should know too:

– ‘Double dip’ tax. If you buy a car 2nd hand, when you go to insure it you will be charged the full 12% sales tax. Grr!

– Health insurance. Get some. The bog-standard MSP health insurance package is exactly what you need. But you don’t get it until you’ve been in the country for 90 days. Normal travel insurance won’t cover one way trips or those longer than a month. We looked at this before we left and thought the cost of a 3 month plan was horrendous. We got a very short plan and then updated it from out here. By luck, that has worked out cheaper.

– Cheques. Bloody cheques! Everyone wants one just as you land with no bank account (it’s nigh on impossible to set one up outside the country). Yes the Canadians still use them. They also use voided cheques as a way of storing your account details. Work really did ask me to write them a blank cheque before they’d pay me! Get a bank account set up fast.

For us the last couple of weeks have centred around the 3 lessons above. We still don’t have a car. This is a good thing in many ways: it forces you out of your insulated box and into the real world.

Our health insurance is about to come up trumps. Finn fell off his bike last Wednesday, landing himself in hospital for stitches and the dentist’s chair after smashing his teeth to bits. $800 for a trip to A&E? We need that health insurance!

And finally… The ancient banking system. Never in my life have I been asked for so many cheques. And trying to work around them is not easy. My favourite has to be BC Hydro. The bank flatly refused to pay the bill over the phone because my Hydro account number didn’t have enough digits. I joked that I probably just needed to put a few 000s on the start of it. The bank did not find this funny, and suggested we should ‘just’ pay by cheque, thank you very much. A week down the line and guess what? I have a new account number…. with extra 000s on the front…


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