Live The Dream In Vancouver, Canada

December 16, 2008

Davina Haisell moved from Ontario, to Vancouver in British Columbia, to live the dream. After a few years, she launched a specialist diet consultancy business. Then she realised that she was far more interested in helping people improve their lives, rather than just focusing on diet.

So Davina trained to become a professional life coach and now she’s living the dream in Vancouver and running Crimson Compass, her life coaching business, from home.

Cath: How long have you been living the dream in Vancouver and what made you move there?

Davina: I’ve lived in Vancouver for 8.5 years. I took a holiday here and after the first day I knew I wanted to live here. The mountains, the fresh air, the ocean being practically at your doorstep, and the warmer temperatures certainly helped me decide.

Cath: Once you decided you wanted to live in Vancouver, you went through an interesting process to achieve your goal. Can you describe it?

Davina: I knew in my heart, after visiting Vancouver that this was where I wanted to live. It “felt” right somehow. I journaled every day, using the Morning Pages from Julia Cameron’s – The Artists Way. I wrote about the people I would meet, how I would feel living there and the job I would have.

Basically I wrote my dream down and it manifested within 9 months. I was supported in many ways, through interesting “coincidences”. It was an amazing experience and one I reflect on with gratitude.

Cath: How long does it take to drive back to where you used to live?

Davina: A person can drive from Vancouver to Toronto in 3 days, but a more comfortable trip would take 5 days.

Live The Dream In Vancouver – Slideshow

Cath: What are some of your favourite things to do in the Vancouver area?

Davina: I like visiting the art shops on Granville Island and walking around the Stanley Park Seawall. When I worked downtown I liked to take a walk through Stanley Park on my lunch hour. I also enjoy just sitting outside having a coffee at a café, admiring the view. There is no shortage of restaurants to try out either.

Quite often during the summer I will take a short 20-minute ferry ride over to Bowen Island and go hiking. Every summer in Vancouver a Shakespeare Festival called Bard On The Beach runs from May until September. The stage and tents are set up near the beach. It is a real treat to take in a live show.

Cath: What is your least favourite thing about living in Vancouver?

Davina: I’d have to say the weather in November and December. The daylight hours are short and dull, and that is when we get the most rainfall.

Cath: Housing costs in Vancouver seem high. Are there more reasonable places to live in the surrounding areas and which ones are the nicest?

Davina: Costs do seem to be higher. I don’t notice too much of a difference because I rent and those costs seem comparable to Toronto.

As far as I know, housing may be a bit more reasonable in places like Port Moody, Chilliwack, Port Coquitlam, Mission and Mapleridge, but you’re looking at about an hour’s drive to downtown Vancouver.

Other options would be places such as Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton; known as the Okanagan. These cities are about 4-5 hours drive from Vancouver and their climate is much different. The summers are hotter and drier and the winters are colder with snow, rather than rain.

Housing can be more affordable on some of the Gulf Islands such as Pender and Saturna, but again you would have to depend on the ferries to get to the mainland. You can find out more about the Gulf Islands at Gulf Islands Guide.

Cath: What is it like running a business in Vancouver? Do you find most of your clients online, or do you also get folk who live nearby?

Davina: It’s difficult for me to answer that because I’m just starting out. It depends on the business and the marketing efforts, but I honestly believe both methods could work equally well. I know someone who opened up a specialty rain gear store and she has been successful :) .

Cath: Have you been to Vancouver Island? Is it nice? Is that a good place to live, or are some parts of it too far from the mainland?

Davina: I’ve been to Vancouver Island a few times. It is nice to visit but not my favourite spot. Most people like it though. It takes about 90 minutes on the ferry to reach the Island, and depending on where you live in Vancouver it can take up to 4 hours when you factor in the commute to the ferry terminal and from the ferry terminal to your destination on the Island.

Victoria draws more retired folk and the rest of the Island, from my understanding has a pretty slow pace of life. The cities are spaced farther apart and there seems to be less to do than on the mainland. It is a beautiful spot though, especially the west coast near Tofino. You can learn more at Tourism BC.

Cath: Is the public transport system good? Do they have cycle paths, or do most people drive?

Davina: I think the transit system is good, but then again, I hear a lot of complaints too. It is less convenient to take transit in North Vancouver as the buses run less frequently.

Most people drive. There are a lot of cycle paths; I live on one of them. A lot of people do cycle and walk to work. When I worked downtown I could walk to work in 45 minutes.

Cath: What advice would you give people who want to live the dream in Vancouver?

Davina: As was the case with myself, most people that come to visit end up moving here. A large percentage of Vancouverites are “implants” from Ontario.

I would recommend a person come and stay for a period to see what it’s like and to explore the surrounding areas. I have friend from Alabama who comes to stay every summer from July to October. She finds places to stay by searching online. A lot of folk leave the city for business or personal reasons and look for renters, so a person can find a nice place to stay for a couple of months if they are inclined.

Cath: As a life coach, what steps would you recommend folk to take, in deciding where they would like to live?

Davina: What I would suggest if a person were trying make a decision about where to live, is to focus on what location inspires them the most. Where are they drawn to be. That is their intuition guiding them.

What is their dream and why? It should inspire them from the heart in order to have it manifest.

Knowing why a person wants something is key because it carries more weight than knowing what they want.

They should ask very clear questions of themselves: Why do they want to move? Are they escaping or moving forward? If they are escaping their problems will just follow…

I’d like to thank Davina Haisell for agreeing to this interesting and inspiring interview.
Davina is a life coach based in Vancouver and she coaches clients from all over the world.

She specializes in coaching writers and artists exploring new avenues of inspiration; entrepreneurs with intent to clarify their business vision; those curious to explore and deepen the connection with their spiritual side and retirees who are expanding their lives in new directions.

You can read more about Davina’s life coaching services here.

Davina blogs at Loving Pulse and she also offers freelance copywriting, proofreading and editing services at Writer Sense.

Facts And Resources For Moving To & Living In Vancouver & The Rest Of Canada

My Immigration Consultant – Live The Dream – Step By Step Guide To Immigrating To Canada

1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die
Canadian Immigration Made Easy: How to Immigrate into Canada (All Classes) with Employment Search Strategies for Skilled Workers
Official Canada Immigration Site
Live The Dream – Starting A Business In Vancouver
Government of Canada Official Website
Living and Working in Canada, A Survival Handbook
The American in Canada: Real-Life Tax and Financial Insights into Moving and Living in Canada
Haunted: The Incredible True Story of a Canadian Family’s Experience Living in a Haunted House
Frommer’s Vancouver & Victoria 2008: with coverage of Whistler
Vancouver City Guide
Frommer’s Vancouver & Victoria 2009
The Essential Vancouver Island Outdoor Recreation Guide
Greater Vancouver Real Estate
Vancouver Tourism Official Site
Things To Do In Vancouver
Vancouver Facts
Vancouver on Wikipedia
Stuck In Canada – Raves & Rants Of An Immigrant
British Expats Forum – Canada Immigration
The Ultimate Adventure Guide To Vancouver Island
Average House Prices – Vancouver 2007 – $795,250
Average Salaries in Vancouver: Software Engineer – $54,046; Executive Assistant – $44, 331; Financial Controller – $80, 387.
Average Cost of Living Per Household in Vancouver 2006: Average rent – 2 bed apartment – $1084; Food – $7685 per annum; Transport – $10, 586.

Live The Dream In Beautiful British Columbia

More Live The Dream Interviews

Live The Dream In Silicon Valley

Related Reading

Entrepreneur Interview With Davina Haisell of Crimson Compass
Immigrating To Canada Or Australia – Pros and Cons
Immigrating – Choosing Where To Go
Is This The Ultimate Entrepreneurial Dream?

Image Credits

Vancouver: Jon Eben Field
View Of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain: Andrea
West Coast Vancouver Island: Gerry Thomasen

Would you like to live the dream in Vancouver, or anywhere else in the world? Or are you already living the dream somewhere?

If you’d like to be interviewed for the live the dream series, please email me at cath at with “Live The Dream” in the subject heading.

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30 Responses to “Live The Dream In Vancouver, Canada”

  1. Mike Goad on December 16th, 2008 4:39 am

    Good interview with Davina. We’ve “talked” a little bit in comments about Vancouver.

    The one downside about Vancouver, for me, is that it is a city. On the other hand, it is a very unique city — thinking about it now, I can hear the roar of the engine of a float-plane as it takes off from the harbor, heading to some place in the interior or up the coast.

    If I were going to live in a city, Vancouver would be high on my list.

  2. Davina on December 16th, 2008 6:15 am

    Hi Cath. You’ve done an excellent job choosing these photographs. That last one isn’t too far off the mark, as we’ve just had a huge snowfall over the weekend. You know it’s funny because when my friend from Alabama comes here to stay for the summer, she ends up showing me Vancouver :-) It’s kind of sad how wrapped up a person can get in their life to miss exploring the place where they live.

    @ Mike, You’d enjoy The Sunshine Coast just north of Vancouver. Less city up there…. a photographer’s paradise *smile*. I’m reminded of the television show the Beachcomers. It was shot in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve visited the actual Molly’s Reach restaurant that was used for filming; neat, since I grew up watching that show.

    Davina’s last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  3. Lance on December 16th, 2008 10:30 am

    Very cool Cath and Davina!

    I’ve never been to Vancouver. However, I was to the Seattle area this past summer – and really just loved the proximity to both the ocean and to the mountains. The west coast of North America is quite a place! It’s fun to hear about where people live, and what it is that makes their place special – thanks for doing this, you two!

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  4. Kelly@SHE-POWER on December 16th, 2008 12:31 pm

    Loved this post, Cath. Vancouver looks gorgeous; now i know why a couple of my friends ended up living there for a few years. I haven’t been to Canada yet, but it;s high in my list. Also enjoyed hearing more about Davina and how she came to Vancouver. I agree that some places just have some kind of cosmic pull on you as soon as you get there. It’s more than being in holiday mode (if that’s how you find it), you just feel like you belong there.

    Is Vancouver high on your list of places to emigrate to, Cath?

    Looking forward to the next post in this series, it;s a fabulous idea. Very inspiring.


    Kelly@SHE-POWER’s last blog post..Slow Down. Breathe. Enjoy the Moment

  5. cathlawson on December 16th, 2008 1:25 pm

    Hi Mike – I must admit, I’m not used to living in a big city either. But Vancouver is unique being by the water and surrounded by mountains.

    Hi Davina – Thank you – you gave some great answers to the questions too. It’s a shame when we get too busy to notice what’s going on around us. Your friend is lucky to have so much spare time that she can stay so long during the summer.

    Hi Lance – you’re welcome. Vancouver looks awesome doesn’t it.

    Hi Kelly – thanks. I’m enjoying this series too. If I had the time, I would have set up a new website just for these interviews.

    Vancouver is high on my list. I like the location and the fact that it has a milder climate than other parts of Canada. Australia is still on my list too – I just wish the flights home weren’t so expensive. But, at the moment, we may have more chance of moving to the states, which would be great too.

  6. Betsy on December 16th, 2008 1:53 pm

    Hi Cath and Davina – How fascinating that your journal exercise manifested in your dream, Davina! I’m inspired to do one of my own!

    Vancouver seems like such a lovely city. Three of my favorite colleagues in our franchise system work from there, and I always enjoy seeing them on company junkets. We were set to take an Alaskan cruise out of Vancouver, but that has been cancelled. :(

    I know I’ll get there someday, perhaps on our way to live in Alaska. Thanks, Cath, for choosing Davina. It’s fun to get to know her better.

    Betsy’s last blog post..WING YOUR FLIGHT O?ER ALL THE EARTH?

  7. cathlawson on December 16th, 2008 2:11 pm

    Hi Betsy – It was an amazing story wasn’t it? Davina restored my faith in using Morning Pages for positive things. I used to use them for getting all the crap in my life out of my system.

    Betsy – you should check out the Artists Way book – you would love the exercises in it.

    I want to do that Vancouver to Alaska cruise too. Why was it cancelled? Will you get a chance to go another time?

  8. Betsy on December 16th, 2008 3:01 pm

    Hi Cath – It was cancelled because our company didn’t get enough participants. :( Thanks for the recommendations – I will check into those. They sound like a great way to start the new year!

    Betsy’s last blog post..WING YOUR FLIGHT O?ER ALL THE EARTH?

  9. Rita on December 16th, 2008 5:02 pm

    Davina and Cath,

    What an enlightening interview! Until I started blogging, I had no idea what a “Life Coach” was. After having “met” a few, I see that so many coaches have different approaches and methods.

    Can you explain what, exactly, a life coach is? Do you have to train to be one? Is there a certification process involved? Is life coaching akin to psychotherapy, where the coach helps identify stumbling blocks so that a client can help to reach – or develop – specific goals? I’m very curious

  10. Rita on December 16th, 2008 5:07 pm


    about the process as to how one becomes a life coach.

    Davina, I have no doubt that you will succeed, and Vancouver is a beautiful city. I wish you much luck in your chosen profession.

    Cath, this was a terrific interview. You certainly did your research well!


  11. Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog on December 16th, 2008 5:37 pm

    Hi Catherine and Davina – Fabulous interview.

    I, too, love Davina’s story of how she used journaling to manifest her dream. Although I’ve been to Vancouver it’s been quite a few years. It is a beautiful city and I can certainly understand why Davina loves living there. It sounds like there are tons of things to do and see.

    I’m guessing Davina will do fabulous with her life coaching business. She not only has a good size population to draw from in Vancouver, but with the internet, she can help people world wide.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..NBOTW – It’s More Than A Funhouse

  12. Brian on December 16th, 2008 5:56 pm

    I live on the east coast but Vancouver is a place that I definitely have to visit . It just looks so beautiful.

  13. Davina on December 16th, 2008 6:40 pm

    @ Lance and Kelly. Glad you enjoyed the trip. The 2 presentations that Cath chose were amazing.

    @ Betsy. Yes the Morning Page experience was neat. I had to keep pinching myself because it was all hard to believe. That’s too bad about your cruise being cancelled. I hope it happens for you.

    Davina’s last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  14. Mike Goad on December 16th, 2008 7:00 pm

    The first time we were in Vancouver was in 1995. We were there for 11 days, the first 4 without a rental car. It was really great.

    The next time was 2002. We went from Canadian customs at the airport straight to a bus, then through the city to a cruise ship terminal — not Canada Place — where we went through US customs. I guess it was because all of our stops were going to be in the US.

    I really didn’t recognize anything on the bus ride from the airport to the terminal. However, once on the ship, it was pretty neat seeing the city as the ship left, passing Stanley Park and going under the Lion’s Gate Bridge. (I’ve got some pictures somewhere.)

  15. Davina on December 16th, 2008 7:14 pm

    Hi Rita. Good question. Yes there is training to become a life coach. I trained with The Coaches Training Institute and am a member of the International Coaches Federation.

    Life coaching is different than psychotherapy. A person would go to psychotherapy to heal past trauma or emotional issues. You are correct about clients setting goals in life coaching.

    The stumbling block is usually on account of the inner critic that doesn’t like change to happen. It’s difficult to see that in your life because you are so close to it. A coach can be more objective.

    A coaching session is similar to a brainstorming session and encourages the client to step past their comfort zone and not be afraid to make mistakes.

    The real development happens between the sessions while the client gets on with their life and their goals. Through this process a life coach holds their client accountable to their goals when they hit those stumbling blocks.

    Davina’s last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  16. Rita on December 16th, 2008 7:45 pm


    Thanks. That was an excellent response that clarified so much for me! The fact that the life coach “holds their client accountable to their goals…” is too often different from psychotherapy. I believe that many psychotherapists lack that very skill…and keep people coming back at a large cost…because there is little accountability on the patient’s/client’s part until (or if) they make those breakthroughs on their own.

    You are a compassionate – yet direct – person, and I have no doubt that you will succeed. Best of luck to you!


  17. Davina on December 16th, 2008 9:34 pm

    @ Barbara, thanks for your vote of confidence.

    @ Rita, you are welcome. Thank you.

    Davina’s last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  18. cathlawson on December 17th, 2008 12:13 am

    Thanks Rita – Vancouver sounds great. Like you – I had no idea what a life coach was until recently. It seems like a good idea though – they seem to guide you towards the positive. Some psychotherapists are hell bent on dragging over the negative stuff.

    I had one guy try to get me to tape myself talking about “my experience” and play it back to myself over and over. Talk about Japanese torture.

    And I hear what you’re saying about accountability. Like you say – some of them would rather drag things out to make more money.

    Hi Barbara – thanks. I really want to see Vancouver.

    As you say, folk with businesses like Davina’s are no longer limited to their own geography. The Internet has made it possible for us to reach far more people.

    Hi Mike – That’s good that you like Vancouver too – as I know you like the natural countryside same as me. It sounds like you went on the Alaska cruise then. How was it? Which cruiseline did you go with?

  19. cathlawson on December 17th, 2008 12:14 am

    Hi Brian – sorry – you got caught in moderation. It looks amazing doesn’t it.

  20. Vered - MomGrind on December 17th, 2008 1:00 am

    It’s so nice to get to know Davina better.

    It’s funny that Mike says the fact Vancouver is a city is a turnoff. I love cities. Vancouver is definitely on my list of places to visit.

    Vered – MomGrind’s last blog post..Ageism Is The Last Acceptable Form Of Discrimination

  21. cathlawson on December 17th, 2008 1:10 am

    Hi Vered – Vancouver looks fab. I’m guessing the flight won’t be too far for you.

    I guess Mike is used to smaller places. Where I live it is kind of quiet. I’ve lived in small towns before and I found it too noisy. I love the look of Vancouver but I don’t know how I’d cope with the busyness of a city.

    Maybe there would be places on the outskirts that would be quieter? We barely have any street lights here. There was one sort of opposite the house but I think some kind person must have popped it with a stone – I hated the light from it at night.

  22. Patricia on December 17th, 2008 2:31 am

    Cath and Davina this was a terrifc post to read today. I have had over the years lots of family who lived in the Vancouver area and my Mother drilled into my head that Canadians were superior people in so many ways! My cousin says when I travel I should tell them I am Canadian instead of US…because of the Bush factor! ( my brother and sister have duel citizenship) not me! He also said they will know it is true that I am Canadian if I apologize all the time and carry a bit cheese?…He now lives in Australia maybe because of the big cheese?
    My oldest daughter went to the Vancouver Film School for 15 months and got certified as an Animator and loved her loft apartment and life in the city…now she is in SF, CA

    Davina it was nice to hear more of your story and read about another person who journals and then finds their success. I am sure you will do well – even if you did not see my cousin out on the streets celebrating her birthday…

    I love to visit Vancouver – we seem to get trapped by family on most visits, but do explore.

    Betsy – try Cruise West out of Seattle to Alaska – go right to Vancouver and Vancouver Island – smaller ships with about 80 passengers and hikes and environmentalist educators – one of my kids was a waitress/ room cleaner on board…They are smaller so don’t have such a hard time filling ships and they go into all the nooks and crannies!

    Wow Cath and Davina this just brought up so many things for me to ramble on about…I loved the videos too..Wow a great post

    Thank you both

    Patricia’s last blog post..Waiting

  23. cathlawson on December 17th, 2008 4:24 am

    Hi Patricia – I’m glad you like it. We don’t all expect the American’s to be like Bush – but I must admit, I did think that stupid Americans video was hilarious:

    But it would have been just as funny if it was British people they were interviewing.

    I did not know there was a film school in Vancouver. My daughter is also considering becoming an animator, so it’s useful to know that.

  24. Patricia on December 17th, 2008 4:51 am

    the Vancouver Film School is one of the best in the world but they only help Canadians get jobs (They do most of Disney’s work now in Animation)

    There are several good ones in California and then another Superb one in England that my daughter wanted to attend too..she could not get in the door…..FYI

  25. Robin on December 17th, 2008 5:03 am

    Wow – what a treat, Cath! One of my favourite bloggers being interviewed! (by another one)

    Since I started blogging I have been curious about the places where other bloggers live. I’ve had the map of North America out, puzzling over strangely named states and cities. British Columbia has come up quite a lot – especially in my early blogging days – so it is great to see those beautiful photos.

    It;’s interesting the way Davina felt inspired to live in Vancouver, made the move, and then found things fell into place. That does seem to be the way to do it!

    Robin’s last blog post..What If? The Movie – Clip 2

  26. Davina on December 17th, 2008 5:43 am

    Hi Patricia. We say “eh” a lot up here, eh? I haven’t heard about the cheese factor though. I hope your cousin enjoyed her celebration.

    Davina’s last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  27. Davina on December 17th, 2008 5:48 am

    Hi Robin. You’re not so bad yourself :-)

    Davina’s last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  28. Jannie on December 18th, 2008 4:01 pm

    Wow, what an amazingly thorough post.

    Are you moving there, Cath? : )

    I spent 6 weeks in Vancuver in the summer of 1986, for the World’s Fair. I’d love to go back.

    Funny, someone mentioned the other day Vancouver has a really big drug, thus crime problem. I wonder if Davinia has had to encounter any of that less-than-great side of the city?

    (P.S. My passport is Canadian, lucky eh?)

    Jannie’s last blog post..Yeah, Cindy Lou Who?

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