Vancouver: the world’s most liveable city – NOT!

 

There is no joy in latté land today with the news that the Economist Intelligence Unit has demoted Vancouver, for years the most liveable city atop its list, to third, behind Melbourne and Vienna.

 

Even worse news? Toronto and Calgary are 4th and 5th, hot on our heels.

 

Oddly, the stupid Stanley Cup riot played no role in the demotion, although it may hit us where we rank. The reason for this year’s demotion: a brief closure of the Malahat Highway due to a tanker spill in April led to a fractional reduction in infrastructure points, enough to allow Melbourne and Vienna to surge ahead.

 

Melbourne? Wasn’t that the place that was hit with devastating floods earlier this year?

What’s really puzzling is that the Malahat Highway is on Vancouver Island. Which is elsewhere. You have to take a ferry to get to Vancouver Island. All told, that’s about a four to four-and-a-half hour trip from Vancouver. I would wager that many of the people who live in Metro Vancouver have no idea where the Malahat Highway is and have never been on it. It’s relevant if you live in Victoria, which, like Vancouver, starts with a “V”, but that’s about it.

So you have to wonder about the Economist Intelligence Unit and its whole World’s Most Liveable City project. The problem is there was no wondering when Vancouver was on top of the list. We just sat back, relaxed, and gloated.

Even when it rained 40 days and 40 nights. Even as it took a king’s ransom to buy a rundown bungalow in Kerrisdale. Even as we rolled up the tinted windows on the SUV to avoid being tainted by the Downtown East Side. So now it’s not going to do us much good to cast aspersions on the intelligence of the Intelligence Unit.

Meanwhile, Toronto and Calgary are flexing their gloating muscles. They can hardly wait for next year’s list, when the EIU takes the riot into account. I’m not sure I’ll have the strength to carry on if Calgary turns out to be more liveable than Vancouver.

There’s one thing I do know. I’d rather live in Toronto, or even (gasp) Calgary than in one of the cities at the bottom of the list, although they say #140: last place Harare, Zimbabwe, is nice this time of year.