Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vancouver - rated the world's most liveable city!

For the fifth straight year, Vancouver has topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey of the world’s most livable cities. To do so - Vancouver scored 98% on a combination of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

The report's editor Jon Copestake explained that, "Mid-sized cities in developed countries with relatively low population densities tend to score well by having all the cultural and infrastructural benefits on offer with fewer problems related to crime or congestion."

The Top Ten of 140 cities rated is as follows:

1.Vancouver, Canada
2.Melbourne, Australia
3.Vienna, Austria
4.Toronto, Canada
5.Calgary, Canada
6.Helsinki, Finland
7.Sydney, Australia
8.Perth, Australia
9.Adelaide, Australia
10.Auckland, New Zealand

While online commentary is buzzing over the rights and wrongs of these placements, it should be remembered that The Economist was not ranking the weather! Hometown pride is one thing but this is designed to be an objective, fact-based report, sold at $500 a pop, to multinationals that post their executives around the world.

On Huffington Post and elsewhere many Americans were surprised to learn that the top US city this year was Pittsburgh, at 29th place. In terms of "world cities", London placed 53rd and New York 56th. They were apparently let down by low "stability scores" for the perceived threat of terror and rates of petty and violent crime. The top Asian city was Osaka at 12th. At 140th, the bottom of the list, was Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

As a Vancouverite, I submit my two "thousand words worth" - these two photos, both taken from the same downtown viewpoint today. Enough said.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home...

I am back in Vancouver just in time for Valentine's Day. I am wondering if the B & B still has rooms for the big weekend.

Arriving at the airport at midnight, o-so-relaxed from a month in the Mexican sun, I meet the slap in the face culture shock of returning home. Canada Customs puts their most surly(I hate my job) agent out to welcome me back. She never meets my eye, no smile, but she is full of mumbly irrelevant questions like "Did I travel to Puerto Vallarta to meet anyone?" This girl has just too much imagination and too little sense to be wearing a badge.

Waiting at the luggage carousel, I look up at TV carrying the late night local sports. This is strange because the local TV Sports Guy was actually on the flight from Phoenix with me. Of course, the big-screen is filled with a slam-bang hockey fist-fight, where nobody can land a punch as they grip each other's sweaters and swing around in circles on the ice. A real Canadian Waltz.

Someone just hardly bumps me with their luggage cart and I hear my first Canadian "Sorry!" Regrettably, we seem to use this word as much as Mexicans say "Hola!" Minus the smiles and eye contact.

I make it out to the Airport's Meet & Greet area. I told my husband to go to bed as he had work early the next day. Just warm up the sheets for me, please. I glance around not really expecting to see my Valentine. And no, he is not there. Instead, I meet the eye of BC.'s Premier Gordon Campbell, standing alone, very much by himself in the busy crowd. Like most locals, when he sees me looking, he suddenly has to check his Blackberry. Most of the world doesn't even know Blackberry is Canadian.

I am home.