canadian flag on a BC ferry travelling to Vancouver Island

Moving to Vancouver Island

Everyone who visits Vancouver Island, is wowed by the beauty of the Island. With charming towns and gorgeous cities, stunning forests, wildlife, culture and adventure, Vancouver Island is a special place. It’s so special, that between 2014 and 2021, over 89,000 people decided to permanently call Vancouver Island home! There’s a lot to consider when thinking about moving but if a relocation to Vancouver Island has been on your mind, we’re here to give you a better idea if the move is right for you! Whether you’re thinking about just trying out the Vancouver Island lifestyle or you need a rental before moving to your permanent Vancouver Island address, EMR is the best place to start! Not only does EMR offer short term and long term rentals, but you can find an incredible selection of family homes, downtown condos, waterfront properties and more to choose from all over Vancouver Island. With EMR you’re sure to find exactly the kind of property you need to make your relocation easy and fun! 

About Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is a large Island at approximately 31,000 km² with a population of almost 800,000 people off the coast of British Columbia. There are around 500 communities all across the Island that vary greatly in size, amenities, and location so it’s important to decide what kind of Island lifestyle you’re looking for. No matter where you live on the Island one thing is for sure: with the mildest climate in all of Canada, Vancouver Islanders enjoy warm summers and mild winters – which means incredible outdoor activities year-round! Here, you really can ski, golf and surf all in the same day! For more in depth information about moving to and living on the wild West Coast, check out these resources! 

A Government of BC website that provides helpful information for anyone looking to relocate to B.C., including an excellent page exclusively for information about working on Vancouver Island.

A registered non-government, non-profit society that promotes regional economic development through collaborative partnerships with members. This website provides detailed maps and regional information about the various communities on Vancouver Island. 

Is Vancouver Island Affordable?

This is an important question when you’re considering a move. Generally speaking, the cost of living on Vancouver Island is high compared to cities in Alberta and Manitoba but people coming from the Lower Mainland BC or Ontario especially Metro Vancouver and Toronto will find that the cost of living on the Island is relatively similar. It also depends on where on the Island you choose to live – are you hoping to live in the heart of Victoria, in the countryside of the Cowichan Valley or are you looking for an oasis on one of the stunning Gulf Islands? This cost of living calculator is an incredibly helpful tool to make an informed decision about how much it’ll cost to live in various regions on the Island. 

Vancouver Island Housing Options and Resources

There are many types of housing options on Vancouver Island from large family homes to chic condos and everything in between but the housing available will vary largely by the area you’re in. In the cities you’re more likely to find a wide variety of housing and in the country and near small towns, you may have a harder time finding condos and townhouses. The first step is to figure out where you want to live on Vancouver Island and what type of housing you’ll need to create a search with your criteria. The one thing that is important to note is that housing on Vancouver Island can be very expensive, especially in Greater Victoria and Nanaimo. For more information about renting, check the Find a Place to Live page or download the Newcomer’s Guide on the Welcome BC website and check the links below! If you’re looking for real estate on Vancouver Island, there’s no getting around it: it can take time! You have to be willing to go to showings and open houses and be prepared to put in offers that don’t always pan out. It’s an adventure and can be stressful but there’s a silver lining! EMR has lovely short term and long term homes of every type all over Vancouver Island so you can settle in and start living the Island lifestyle right away while you look! Below, there are some incredible resources linked that will help you find your new home on Vancouver Island! 

Vancouver Island Real Estate Resources:

Vancouver Island Real Estate Listings – Search for real estate listings across Vancouver Island.

More Vancouver Island Real Estate Listings – Search for real estate listings across Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Rental Listings – Search for rental listings across Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board – Search for real estate listings across Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Open Houses – Search for open houses across Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Rental Resources:

Rent BC


Kijiji Home Rentals

Job Opportunities on Vancouver Island

Whether you’re moving to Vancouver Island for a current job or looking for a new position, you’re sure to find lots of opportunities on Vancouver Island. In fact, a 2021 Labour Market Outlook predicted that between 2021 and 2031 there would be over 160,000 job openings in the Vancouver Island/Coastal region alone! While this report indicates that the opportunities on Vancouver Island will be mainly in healthcare, social assistance, retail and construction, there are also two unique industries on Vancouver Island that attract job seekers from every professional stratum: Provincial Government and tourism. There are 30,000 employees in the Provincial Government who live and work in the capital region around Victoria. This industry attracts professionals with a variety of skills and is a great jumping off point for anyone looking to relocate to the Victoria area. Similarly, the tourism industry on Vancouver Island is massive, bringing in billions in revenue with close to 100,000 employees who serve the millions of international and domestic tourists who flock to Vancouver Island yearly. To kick off your job search on Vancouver Island check out these employment resources on the Work BC website and get one step closer to a life on the Island! 

Vancouver Island Lifestyle

So, what’s it really like living on Vancouver Island? That really depends on where you choose to live but generally, Vancouver Island, even in the cities, is a very laid-back place to call home. While you can find people dressed up for a night out or professionally for work, Vancouver Islanders are known for their casual, comfortable style and it’s not uncommon for some offices to have a very laid-back dress code. Vancouver Island is also known for its outdoor recreation. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, skiing, snowboarding, boating or  more, you’ll find pristine, natural beauty to enjoy it in and if you’re looking for people to join you, you’ll have no problem finding Vancouver Islanders who are passionate about getting outside! There is an abundance of arts and culture on the Island as well – you can find galleries, workshops, theatres, museums and many Coast Salish ancestral sites. For kids, the public and private schools are safe and provide children with important academic and social education by highly trained dedicated teachers and administrators. You can also find excellent universities and colleges in Victoria, the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Courtenay and Campbell River where older kids can start their post-secondary education and adults can grow their professional skills. There are hospitals, fire stations and police that service each community and no matter how remote your community of choice might be, there is an abundance of high-quality grocery stores, pharmacies, and other important amenities all over the Island. No matter where you choose to live on Vancouver Island, you can be sure that you’ll have all the comforts required to thrive! 

Ultimately the decision to move is a big one with many factors to consider carefully before taking the leap but if you’re determined to relocate somewhere in Canada, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better place than Vancouver Island!