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6 Things I Didn't See Coming When I Spent A Summer In British Columbia As A Montrealer

Mount Royal hikes will NOT prepare you for hikes in BC.

Contributing Writer
Woman on rocks in British Columbia.

Woman on rocks in British Columbia.

This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

It's so easy to get used to a certain way of life that sometimes you don't even notice how comfortable you are — until you move cities. There's no better way to shock your entire system than by spending time in a different place.

On that note, here are a few things that surprised me when I spent a summer in British Colombia as a Montrealer.

Keep in mind that I spent the majority of my summer living in a tent, waking up every morning at 5 a.m. to go cherry-picking, so it may not be the exact same experience one would get if they were living in an Airbnb or apartment in Vancouver, although I later spent a few weeks there.

British Columbians are so damn active

Listen, hiking up Mount Royal every Saturday simply will not prepare one for spending time in British Columbia.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

And forget the Montreal way of life of being hungover from the night before and spending your day in bed until it's time for terrasses to open. Oh no.

To fit in with the crowd, you've got to get your booty out of bed nice and early to go either hiking or cliff jumping. Seriously, it seems like there are more hours in a day in British Columbia than in Quebec. Like they just don’t stop…or sleep in.

It rains... a lot

Honestly, Vancouver seemed like a dream city to live in until I started to realize just how often it rained.

As someone who's heavily affected by weather, I just could not get used to all the rain.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

But then again, all the precipitation definitely does make you appreciate sunny days more than before, so it's not all bad.

You should make friends with someone who has a boat

Listen, I can't tell you how to live your life or who to be friends with, but I feel as though this one is some pretty sound advice for anyone who loves the water or is a sucker for good views.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

If you're not rolling in enough cash to rent a boat every week, you're going to want to make friends with someone who has one — especially for anyone living in Vancouver. Just call it networking.

Time spent in BC would simply feel incomplete without at least one boat tour.

You can always just ride the ferry to get some good views in, too.

Tofino is basically a tiny version of Quebec

This town in BC is an absolute must-see for any nature or surf lovers. It was even voted one of the best small towns in Canada by Travel + Leisure.

But after spending an hour or two there, you'll notice that Tofino is basically la petite Quebec of British Columbia — at least it was in summer 2019 when I was there.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

Almost every person I met that was living there was French Canadian.

I found this confusing at first until I remembered that Quebecers are literally everywhere...No matter where you go.

But besides Tofino, everywhere I went, people spoke English, which was constantly a surprise coming from a bilingual city like Montreal.

If you plan on going camping, prepare for earwigs

Montreal city-folk have all seen a cockroach or ten in our lifetime, but how often have y'all seen earwigs?

Living in a tent in BC, even though I was staying on a farm that used pesticides, I saw earwigs absolutely everywhere.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

During my first few nights, I'd toss and turn because I was imagining them all over me — but like most things in life, you slowly get over it.

Eventually, I just decided to become one with the earwigs, since realistically, I was the one infringing on their territory, not the other way around.

But if you're throwing up at the thought of seeing an earwig, let alone having one crawl on you, here's a little advice: Make sure not to leave any wet clothes in your tent while you're sleeping, because that's one of their favourite spots to camp out.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

And for those who aren't camping on a pesticide farm, get ready for all kinds of other bugs, maybe even some animals, too.

It can get extremely cold at night

Like cold cold, especially when you're camping.

You know how Montreal weather can somehow drop a whole 20 degrees Celcius in the span of 24 hours? Well, if you're spending the night outside anywhere in Lake Country, or other common camping areas, you'll likely notice that the same thing can happen.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

You may be able to spend all day in a bathing suit, but you're going to want to make sure to pack some flannels or sweatpants.

I felt a similar cold when I was in Tofino too, so prepare for Montreal winter weather if you plan on spending the night in a tent — no matter where in the province you are.

Luckily, since we Montrealers are used to wild drops in temperatures, it's nothing we can't handle. And I promise, getting to spend time surrounded by nature is absolutely worth every second of feeling a little chill run through your body.

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