This post is a shout-out to all of the other awesome people who boldly face the possibility of Vancouverites’ derision by living in Burnaby.
I grew up in North Vancouver and lived in Vancouver for many years and never thought living in Burnaby would be much different than anywhere in the region. But as soon as I moved to the Metrotown area last winter I noticed a weird attitude from hard-core Vancouverites: scorn. I guess I first noticed it when a job I was working at decided to hold a party near Metrotown. I cannot count the number of times I heard people complain about having to go to Burnaby. Keep in mind I was coming in to Vancouver from Burnaby every day.
“I am NOT going to Burnaby!” exclaimed one.
“Oh my God. It’s like going to Hope,” sneered another.
Ok, it’s really not. For the record, it takes about 1hr and 48 minutes to get to Hope (154 km) – that’s 10 times as far as going from Granville and Broadway to the middle of Burnaby.
To put the distance in perspective, to go from UBC to Renfrew is almost exactly the same distance. I live 1.1 km East of Boundary. How much different can it be on this side of the line?
But apparently it’s not just the distance that bothers those West of Boundary. A friend knows people who use the nickname “Burna-blah” as in, “Ugh. I have to go to Burna-blah this weekend.”
Are you in highschool?
So apparently it’s also really boring.
It’s getting to the point where I can’t go a week without someone commenting, “You live in Burnaby? Why would you choose to live out there?”
I don’t get it. This isn’t a competition with Vancouver. Vancouver is great, but Burnaby is awesome too and me and my Burna-buddies don’t deserve the flak we get for living here.
Here are some reasons why Burnaby isn’t Burna-blah, it’s Burna-boss (ok, had to use a thesaurus for that one.
In no particular order:
1. Kick ass parks
I live two blocks from Central Park, which is a really beautiful and well-maintained park with over 8 km of trails, an outdoor pool, a pitch and putt, fitness circuit, and picnic areas and ponds with friendly animals.
How cool is it to be able to go into a park like that whenever you want?
And Burnaby also has other great parks and outdoor areas like Deer Lake Park, Burnaby Lake Regional Nature Park, and the Barnet Marine Park.
2. Arts and Culture
Burnaby is home to a great library system, Simon Fraser University and BCIT, the Burnaby Village Museum, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, the Burnaby Art Gallery, and some really cool installations of public art. Every weekend the library and the Civic Square gardens near my place at Metrotown provides a gathering place for families and individuals from diverse backgrounds to get out and enjoy the community.
3. Burnaby is the Best Run City in Canada
According to Maclean’s Magazine in their first ranking of Canadian cities this year, Burnaby is the best run. According to the City of Burnaby website, we received top marks for economic development, environmental health, culture and recreation. Surrey got 3rd and Vancouver got 4th, but Burnaby is number one.
Also it’s cheaper to live here, and that’s a pretty big bonus.
4. The Metrotown Area
I have a love/hate relationship with Metrotown. Yes it can be kinda crazy. As my brother puts it, “everytime you turn around there’s a miniature train behind you!” And I never want to go there on Christmas Eve again. But it also means that it’s only a 5-minute walk from my house to the library, 4 major grocery stores, the wicked Bonsor recreation centre, two movie theatres, and countless other restaurants and stores. I will never have to worry that I will desperately need something and can’t get it within walking distance.
5. Anton’s Pasta Bar
Ok there are many awesome restaurants in Burnaby, but Anton’s by itself it worth a mention. Open since 1989 and still featuring nightly lines for its huge portions of delicious pasta, Anton’s is reason enough to love Burnaby.
So let’s stop the Burna-bashing. You’re better than that, Vancouver.
And if this article doesn’t convince you, we may just have to start withholding the pasta.
Comment below if there’s something you love about Burnaby that I’ve missed!