Most popular British Columbia cities for American expats

    Lots of Americans are heading to Canada these days. Almost 80,000 Americans chose to relocate to Canada between 2015 and 2023. Unsurprisingly, British Columbia was and still is the go-to place for them. If you’re thinking about moving to BC too, get in touch with some moving companies Canada residents trust. These professionals know how to make the whole moving thing a lot easier. So, why do Americans love British Columbia so much? In this article, we will get into all that and even highlight the best British Columbia cities for American expats.

    Why Americans move to Canada

    Canada attracts Americans for various reasons:

    1. Healthcare: In Canada, public healthcare is the norm, differing from the US’s private insurance model.
    2. Safety: Noted for low crime rates, Canada offers a safer living environment.
    3. Education: Canada provides high-quality education, from primary to university levels.
    4. Cultural Diversity: Its welcoming attitude to diverse cultures stands out.
    5. Nature: The country’s beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities appeal to nature enthusiasts.
    The Canadian flag .

    There are many reasons to leave the USA.

    British Columbia is a gem on Canada’s west coast

    British Columbia is a province in western Canada. It offers a mix of city and rural living. Over 5 million people live here, enjoying a relaxed lifestyle close to nature. The economy features technology, tourism, forestry, and fishing. Living costs can be high, particularly in big cities like Vancouver, but they vary across the region. The median household income in British Columbia is around 133,000 C$, differing by location.

    Best cities in British Columbia for American expats

    If you are considering a move, British Columbia offers a range of cities that cater to different lifestyles and preferences. Here are some top choices you might find interesting:

    • Nanaimo
    • Vancouver
    • Victoria BC
    • Surrey BC
    • Oak Bay
    • Colwood
    • Cowichan Bay
    • Saanich

    Once you make a choice, long distance movers BC locals frequently rely on can provide invaluable services to ensure you reach your new home happy and satisfied. These cities offer a high quality of life and strong communities. This makes them ideal for American expats looking for a new home in Canada.

    The Parlament Building in Victoria, one of the most popular British Columbia cities for American expats.

    The best British Columbia cities for American expats have lots to offer

    Best cities in British Columbia for American expats

    Here is a detailed explanation of all the cities from the previous list. Hopefully, you will pick a good new home for yourself.


    Nanaimo is a city on Vancouver Island’s east coast. It’s pretty small, only about 90,500 people live there, but it’s got a nice balance of that small-town feel and some city perks. People really dig the relaxed, community-focused atmosphere there. Plus, you’re always close to the waterfront, parks, and trails, which is awesome.

    So, if you’re moving to Nanaimo, you’ve got Vancouver to Nanaimo movers who are pros at island moves. They make sure all your stuff gets there safely, which is a big relief.

    Living in Nanaimo is way more affordable than Vancouver. Buying a house? You’re looking at an average of C$941,000. Renting? About C$2,500 a month. And the average income is around C$101,000, so that’s pretty decent.

    Job-wise, Nanaimo’s doing well, especially in healthcare and education, with only a 3.6% unemployment rate.

    Finally, there are great schools, cool places to eat by the water, and some neat cultural events. So, it’s a pretty sweet spot if you’re thinking of moving from the hustle of Vancouver.

    Vancouver is one of the best British Columbia cities for American expats

    Vancouver is a mix of city vibes and nature. It’s bigger than Nanaimo, with over 675,000 people. The place is diverse, with lots of different cultures and plenty of job options.

    If you are moving here from afar, long distance moving companies Vancouver locals recommend are lifesavers. They offer all kinds of help to get you settled, which is highly helpful.

    On the other hand, living in Vancouver can hit the wallet pretty hard. The average household income is about C$117,000, but if you’re looking to buy a house, you’re talking over C$1 million. And renting? Not much better. You’re looking at about C$3,000 a month for a two-bedroom place.

    However, the job market’s pretty solid. It’s a hub for tech, film, tourism, and finance, and the unemployment rate is around 5.9%, just a bit above the national average.

    Vancouver is great for education with its top universities and colleges. If you want to have fun, there are loads of things to do – outdoor stuff, cool places to eat, shopping.

    Vancouver, one of the best British Columbia cities for American expats

    Vancouver is home to people from all across the globe.


    Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. It is famous for its historic architecture and lively arts scene. The city has about 92,000 residents. Victoria blends traditional charm with contemporary living and attracts those who want a cultural yet relaxed lifestyle.

    Living in Victoria can be costly, particularly in housing. However, many believe the lifestyle justifies the expense. Households typically earn around C$90,000 a year.

    Buying a house averages C$1 million, and renting a two-bedroom apartment costs about C$2,900 monthly.

    The local economy relies on technology, tourism, education, and government services. Victoria enjoys a low unemployment rate of 4.1%, reflecting a robust job market.

    For education and leisure, the city boasts several universities and colleges. It also has many museums, galleries, and theaters, offering a wealth of cultural and educational activities.

    If moving here sounds nice, long distance moving companies Victoria BC locals hire specialize in making relocations to this island city smooth. They handle logistics with expertise.

    Surrey BC

    Surrey in British Columbia is a rapidly expanding city. It has a diverse population, over 517,000 people, balancing urban and rural lifestyles.

    Living costs in Surrey are cheaper than in Vancouver. The median household income is about C$117,000. Home prices are around C$1.3 million on average and renting costs equal roughly C$3,100 monthly. The key industries here are manufacturing, tech, health, and education. Unemployment is similar to Canada’s average but there are various job openings. Finally, Surrey has many schools and entertainment choices.

    If you are thinking about making this city your home, then give a call to one of the best moving companies Surrey BC locals ask for assistance.

    Cardboard boxes ready for moving to one of the best British Columbia cities for American expats

    Surrey is one of the fastest-growing cities in this province

    Oak Bay

    Oak Bay offers a calm environment and beautiful scenery. It has a small-town feel with about 18,000 residents. Yet it’s close to Victoria’s amenities.

    The cost of living in Oak Bay is high, especially for housing. The average household income is around C$144,000. Buying a house here costs about C$2.6 million on average. Renting a two-bedroom apartment costs around C$2,800 monthly.

    The economy in Oak Bay mainly focuses on services, education, and healthcare. The area benefits from a low unemployment rate, helped by its location near Victoria’s job market.

    For education and leisure, Oak Bay has top-notch schools and various cultural and recreational options like art galleries and golf courses.


    Colwood is a neat little city that’s all about community vibes and being green. Just around 17,000 people live there. It’s got this great appeal for families and folks who work, blending that city convenience with some awesome natural scenery. And when it comes to what you pay for living there, it’s pretty reasonable.

    Now, if you’re looking to make bank, Colwood’s not bad – the average household income is like C$137,000. But heads up, buying a house can be kind of steep, with the average price hitting about C$2.3 million. Renting is not super cheap either, about C$3,300 a month for a two-bedroom.

    In terms of jobs, it’s mostly government work, education, and healthcare. Luckily, the unemployment rate is lower than in most places, so that’s good news if you’re job hunting.

    For family life, Colwood’s got it going on. There are parks, beaches, and all kinds of events. The schools are really good, and there’s plenty to do when you’re off the clock. It’s a great place if you’re after that balance of city amenities and the great outdoors, plus a strong sense of community.

    A castle.

    Colwood has a strong sense of community.


    This is a nice place where you get a bit of city life and some country vibes too. It’s pretty big for a community, with over 120,000 people living there, so you’ve got a bunch of different living options.

    When it comes to money, Saanich is pretty steady. The average family makes about C$125,000 a year. The housing scene is varied – you can buy a place for around C$1.5 million, or if you’re renting, it will cost you about C$3,100 a month for an apartment.

    In terms of jobs, Saanich has a strong presence in tech, education, and public admin. Plus, the unemployment rate is low, which is always a good sign for the job market.

    And for fun? Saanich has loads to do. There are great schools, lots of parks, heaps of recreational activities, and plenty of shopping. In other words, there’s something for everyone, no matter what you’re into.

    Cowichan Bay

    Cowichan Bay is a small seaside village known for its maritime history and active local culture. It’s home to over 3,000 people and offers a community-focused lifestyle.

    The cost of living here is moderate. Households typically earn about C$129,000. Buying a house costs around C$1 million on average, while renting a two-bedroom apartment is around C$1,500 monthly.

    The village’s economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and fishing. These sectors contribute to stable growth and sustainability. Employment opportunities are diverse, focusing on small businesses and tourism.

    Residents of Cowichan Bay enjoy various outdoor activities, local artisan shops, and community events that celebrate the village’s heritage. These features contribute to its appeal as a place to live, reflecting its maritime roots and community-focused atmosphere.

    Follow these tips for maximum success when moving to one of the best British Columbia cities for American expats

    Here are the top tips to follow when moving to one of the best British Columbia cities for American expats:

    • Firstly, sort out your visa situation. Now, this can be a bit of a maze, but the key is to find the right one that fits your situation. Whether it’s work, study, or something else, Canada’s got a bunch of options.
    • Secondly, think about healthcare. In Canada, healthcare works a bit differently than in the US. So, once you land in BC, get yourself registered for the Medical Services Plan. It’s a lifesaver, literally.
    • Banking is another thing. Setting up a Canadian bank account makes life way easier, especially for managing your day-to-day finances in your new home. And while we’re on the money, brush up on the tax system in Canada. It’s important to know how it’ll affect your income.
    • Also, driving in Canada might mean you’ll need to swap your US driver’s license for a Canadian one. Look into the specific requirements in BC, as they can vary.
    • Lastly, blend in with the locals. Canadians are super friendly, so don’t hesitate to reach out and make some connections. It can help with settling in and getting the inside scoop on your new neighborhood.
    Cowichan Bay

    This is one of the smallest British Columbia cities for American expats.

    Which of the British Columbia cities for American expats will you choose?

    If you are considering a move to Canada, know that British Columbia is an excellent choice.  Its unique charm and opportunities will make it difficult for you to decide where to settle down. Luckily, you cannot make a mistake. Each of the above-mentioned cities is a good place to call home. Finally, with affordable living costs, strong job markets, and high-quality education and entertainment options, British Columbia cities for American expats are an inviting new home for those looking to start anew in Canada.

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