Ten years ago, I was enjoying the 20-something life in downtown Vancouver. I was living in a Yaletown condo with a friend. Then I met my wife, and we eventually left our city life for a condo on a greenbelt in Burnaby. Fast forward to now—one big dog and two daughters later, and we needed a detached house with a bigger yard.
And so, we’re headed a bit further east to New Westminster, where the housing market is hot but still “reasonable” enough that we can trade up. Some of our friends have already made the jump for the same reasons.
New Westminster has had a major revitalization over the years, and is now a touch more polished than in recent history. But it still has a very diverse population and remains centrally located to many areas of the Lower Mainland.
Here are the top 5 reasons we are happy to live in New Westminster:
Eat & Drink
The Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest, held annually in late July or early August, is now the biggest one day food truck festival in Canada. Hit up Columbia Street on a regular day for amazing Mexican eats at El Santo, or all-star sandwiches at Big Star Sandwich. The River Market at the New Westminster Quay is a total food jackpot – Re-Up BBQ, Longtail Kitchen and Freebird Chicken Shack (both owned by award-winning restauranteur Angus An, who also owns Maenam in Vancouver), and Wild Rice are all literally steps from each other. And while I mostly brew my own beer, I never turn down a cold one from Steel & Oak.
I read an article recently that referred to Vancouver as a western suburb of New Westminster. And it’s true! New Westminster was the first incorporated city in British Columbia. Heritage homes are everywhere, and neighbourhoods are highly walkable and full of character.
Apparently New Westminster has over 45 parks. For a city that’s only 16 square kilometres, that’s a lot of greenery. Our favourites? Queen’s Park has a seasonal petting zoo and spray park, and a giant playground. Grimston Park has one of the few remaining wading pools in Metro Vancouver. And Pier Park is New West’s answer to the Seawall; it features a waterfront boardwalk, two playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, and an urban beach!
Having two little ones is the main reason that we made the move to New Westminster. Did you know that the Quay is the home of the Vancouver Circus School? Or that the VSO offers its Tiny Tots performances at the Anvil Centre? (oh and see parks info above).
City Life in the ‘Burbs
We have a quick commute to downtown, the Royal City Farmer’s Market, a Landmark Movie Theatre and are close to the water with great views of the Fraser.