Seattle and Vancouver Two cities which, at first glance, seem very similar to each other. Although Seattle is an American city and Vancouver is a Canadian city, both are part of the same region, known as the Pacific Northwest, or sometimes known as Cascadia. They are 143 miles, or 230 km, apart. Both are major seaport cities near the Pacific Ocean, but also are near mountains. The Cascades, to be specific. Even more specifically, Vancouver is near the North Shore Mountains which provide a dramatic backdrop for the city. Seattle has Puget Sound to its west and Lake Washington to its east. Vancouver has the Strait of Georgia to its west. Holy crap. I forgot how scenic both were. They’re beautiful places. Both have a temperate oceanic climate known for their generally cool temperatures and rainy weather. While both have four seasons, it never gets too cold in the winter and never too hot in the summer. Both can get snow in the winter and get A LOT of precipitation from November through January. Yep, those three months are cold, dark, and rainy. I wouldn’t recommend visiting both cities during that time. Still, Vancouver has some of the mildest winters in all of Canada. Both are in the infamous Ring of Fire, an area where lots of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions tend to occur. Both have about the same population in the actual city limits. (V- 675,218, S- 724,745). However, Seattle’s metro population has about 1.5 million more people. (V- 2.5 million, S- 4 million) But you could say Vancouver is a bigger deal in its home country, as it has the 3rd largest metro in all of Canada, while Seattle has the 15th largest metro. Seattle has been the fastest growing American big city of the past decade. While both are ethnically diverse, Vancouver is more so. 40% of Vancouver’s population is made up of immigrants. Around 28% of Vancouver residents are Chinese. It’s been called the “most Asian city outside of Asia.” Both have low pollution and are environmentally friendly. Both have pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050, meaning 100% of the energy used in the two cities by then will be from renewable resources. I mean, overall both have a high quality of life, and thus…both cities are really expensive. Seattle has its famous Space Needle, an observation tower and a distinct landmark of the city’s skyline. Vancouver has its Lookout Tower, part of the Harbour Centre and also a distinct landmark of Vancouver’s skyline. So how are the cities different? Well first, let’s ask J.J. McCullough, who is actually from Vancouver. JJ? JJ: Thanks Mr. Beat So most people here in Vancouver are pretty used to Seattle. It’s very close by and easy to drive to. Culturally, it feels very familiar. It is very common in the Pacific Northwest for people to sort of self-identify with the entire Cascadia region. From Vancouver all the way to Portland maybe even San Francisco. I think what most people would say is the difference between Seattle and Vancouver is that Seattle just has a lot more big, important, famous things. In the way that most American cities have more big, important, famous things than Canadian ones. So, for example, me and my Vancouver friends will often go down to Seattle for the Emerald City Comicon. which is sort of the big American extravaganza you would just never see in Vancouver. Seattle is just the place to visit if you’re into watch a MLB or NFL game since we don’t have teams in any of those leagues up here. Vancouverites also love to go shopping in Seattle Because Seattle is full of a lot of big, chain stores we don’t have in Vancouver. Everywhere from Target to Trader Joe’s to Pac Sun, which is where I bought this shirt. As well as fast food chains, like Jack in the Box or Chick-fil-A Or my personal favorite…Jimmy John’s. Geographically, however, I would say however that Seattle feels like a city that is more based around the water. while Vancouver is a city more based around the mountains. I would say Seattle really embraces its identity as a port city. And a hub for fishing and shipping. I always think of Seattle as a city where everyone has a waterfront view from their apartment which might not be exactly true. But when you look at a map, you can very much see it is a city marbled by water. Whereas when you look at a map of Vancouver, you can see that we are a much more solid blob of land. But Vancouver is also much close to the mountains. Which I think derives much more of our city’s identity from things like its proximity to ski resorts. But overall, the cities feel like they have a lot more similarities than differences. Which is so often the case when you compare adjacent communities in Canada and the U.S. Back to you, Mr. Beat Mr. Beat: Thanks, J.J. Yeah he just made a video about Vancouver as well. And just released it over on his channel. Check it out after you’re done watching this one. Before we get to the differences between the two cities on my end this video is sponsored by Blinkist. Blinkist is an app that I recently discovered that is a great timesaver. Most people are busy. Very busy. And they don’t have time to read books. Let’s be honest here, I don’t. And this is kind of embarrassing, but I teach my students every year about Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, but I’ve never actually read the whole thing. But at least I’ve checked out Common Sense on Blinkist. You can read the big ideas about it in 7 minutes. Or even listen to it on there. It’s amazing. Another great book I’ve checked out is called the Evolution of Money. It’s like you’re reading books in 15 minutes or less. It’s amazing. So the first 100 people to go to the link on the screen right now get unlimited access for one week to try it out. You’ll also get 25% off if you want a full membership. The seven-day trial period is completely free and you can cancel any time during that period. Thanks again to Blinkist for sponsoring this video, and now here’s the rest. First of all, the cost of living is higher in Seattle. This may surprise some folks, as Vancouver is infamous for its really expensive housing. I mean, of all major cities in North America, only San Francisco has more expensive housing. But not including housing, Seattle is more expensive, but a lot of that has to do with the U.S. dollar being stronger than the Canadian dollar right now. Related to this, Vancouver has a much higher population density. It has the highest in Canada, as a matter of fact. The average salary is higher in Seattle. Seattle residents are more religious than Vancouver residents, although both cities aren’t particularly that religious. The biggest religion in Seattle is Christianity, while almost half of Vancouver residents don’t have a religion at all. Vancouver has less crime. Vancouver residents have access to universal health care since they are in, you know, Canada and Seattle residents do not since they are in, you know, the United States. Not only do Vancouver residents pay a lot less for health care, but they pay a lot less for college. Seattle has been around longer. Members of a group of American pioneers known as the Denny Party founded it 35 years before Vancouver officially became a city. However, before it was Vancouver it was a small sawmilling settlement named Granville. Seattle’s original name was New York, believe it or not, but the residents renamed it to honor a Duwamish Indian chief. Before Europeans arrived, what would later become both cities was settled by the Coast Salish peoples. Two European explorers, a Spanish dude named José María Narváez and a British dude named George Vancouver were the first Europeans to check out the area in the 1790s. And yep, the city of Vancouver and Vancouver Island were later named after George. Flash forward to the mid-1800s, and both British and American settlers moved to the area. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 split the area so that Britain controlled what would become Vancouver and the United States controlled what would become Seattle. The economy of the two cities in the early days revolved around the lumber industry. Both suffered horrible fires in their early years. When Vancouver was just 2 months old, it almost completely burned down. Only three buildings survived in what became known as the Great Fire of Vancouver. Three years later, most of downtown Seattle burned down. That was known as The Great Seattle Fire. Don’t you love how great these unoriginal names are? GREAT job, historians with the naming of things. Anyway, both cities recovered and became prosperous port cities, although Seattle was certainly more boom then bust then boom then bust. There was the lumber industry boom, the Klondike gold rush boom, the shipbuilding boom, the Boeing boom, and most recently the internet and telecom boom. Even during the busts, Seattle stayed relevant as a transportation hub. Vancouver even more so. During Prohibition in the 1920s, lots of illegal alcohol was transported from Vancouver to Seattle. Also that decade, Bertha Knight Landes became the mayor of Seattle. She was the first female mayor for a major city in American history. Vancouver has never had a female mayor, by the way. Both cities were hit hard by the Great Depression, and both played important roles in World War II. Since the 1950s, both cities have been among the fastest growing in their respective countries. Today, Seattle is home to some of the most well-known Fortune 500 companies in the world- Amazon, Microsoft, Costco, and Starbucks to name a few. Vancouver is often nicknamed “Hollywood North” due to all of the films and TV shows that are shot there. A big reason why is since all these American production companies get huge tax breaks for filming up there. Other major industries in Seattle include education and health services, manufacturing, and professional services. Other major industries in Vancouver include retail, health care, and also professional services. According to Forbes Magazine, Seattle is the best city in the United States…for business. The unemployment rate is slightly lower in Seattle. (S-3.6%, V-4.4%) But the poverty rate is lower in Vancouver (V-9%, S-11%) and the minimum wage is also higher in Vancouver. (V-$13.85, S- $12) From what I could find, Seattle residents pay less in taxes. Vancouver has hosted the Olympics. Seattle has not. Seattle has worse traffic. Vancouver has better public transportation. The average commute time in Seattle is slightly higher. (S-31 min., V- 29.7 minutes) More Seattle residents have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher. (S-46.4%, V-37.5%) Back in the 1980s, Seattle was known for grunge, a genre of music that’s kind of a mix between punk and metal, and the subculture that came with it. After the underground success of Seattle’s music scene and the record label Sub Pop, grunge went mainstream in the 1990s with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains, and suddenly Seattle was one of the hippest places on the planet. Major attractions in Vancouver include Stanley Park, Kitsilano Beach, Gastown, Granville Island, and nearby Grouse Mountain. Major attractions in Seattle include Pike Place Market, the Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and Olympic Sculpture Park. Seattle also has a wall that folks have been sticking their chewing gum on for 25 years. In 2015, the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority cleaned all the gum off since the sugar in it was literally eroding the walls. After they completely cleaned the walls, folks immediately starting sticking their chewing gum on the wall again. In fact, now it’s a gum alley. Vancouver is one of the only major cities on the entire continent where there are no freeways downtown. Sure, you can legally drink alcohol at 19 years old in Vancouver, but you can’t buy alcohol at supermarkets or convenience stores like you can in Seattle. There are more dogs living in Seattle than children. In many ways, Seattle has more in common with Vancouver than it does with the rest of the state of Washington, and Vancouver has more in common with Seattle than it does with the rest of the province of British Columbia. British Columbia residents tend to have mixed feelings about Vancouver, and Washington state residents tend to have mixed feelings about Seattle. I mean yeah they tend to realize the cities are important and they need them, but also kind of think they are overrated and hate how they think they’re better than them. I’ve been to both cities. Sure, they feel very similar, but hang out in each city long enough, it feels like you’re in a whole other country. Because you are. Don’t forget to check out J.J.’s video, a video where he dives even deeper into his home city. J.J. is amazing…has a wonderful channel. Just subscribe if you haven’t already. I think he may just be relieved that the Canadian elections are over, by the way. And if you liked this video, I have more Compared videos. I’ve linked one of them below. Cool beans!