Amazing Canada

canada

Canada is a vast and beautiful country. I was slightly pessimistic, whilst on my way here, …and oh how wrong my initial feelings were! In this new big release we will fly from West to East, we’ll check out Toronto and Vancouver, visit extremely beautiful national parks, Banff and Jasper, touch base at Niagara falls, this machine will take us up the Athabasca glacier and then drop by some killer whales, We will pay a visit to a newly opened cannabis shop, and try to figure the legal side of things, We’ll talk to some people who moved here, and see how they settled down.

There are casinos, that are legal in Canada, restaurants, parks and a large observation tower. But, let’s not waste time as there is so much more to see. I don’t want to stay long in this city so now I have a 4-hour flight to Calgary, since it’s home to Canada’s main attraction. Not one, but two national parks Banff and Jasper. Let’s see what it’s all about.

It’s the first time that I was asked, what kind of car do I want, bigger or smaller… a bigger one is more thirsty, so this one is just right for me! Nice. So, we’re in Alberta. Home to the most popular national parks, not only in Canada, but in the whole world.

After a hydro-plane takes us over Vancouver, I’ll show you various cool places, and other things that simply won’t fit in a short brief. …So pack your things up, and let’s go! Yep, it would have been amazing to have such teleport, but since it doesn’t exist, we have to rely on planes. Resultantly, here comes your favourite topic ‘How much are the tickets, munchkin?’ A return flight cost me 850$, roughly 300$ for domestic flights, bringing us to a total of 1150$.

Keep in mind that this is Canada, second largest country in the world, and travel distances aren’t tiny here. As always I booked my flight only 3 weeks in advance, and if you are more prudent than I, and plan your trip upfront, Aviasales app has a feature that will ease your life as a traveller by a great extent! It’s called ‘Advanced Subscription’ (he’s definitely not using Advanced Subscription) Once you launch Aviasales, click on Trips, select your destination, mind you you can alter the price of a ticket here also, finally, you save your subscription! That’s it! Once new cheapest flights become available, the app will immediately notify you, and if you are not convinced, check for yourself via a link below! We start our Canadian trip at a well know city with a spire.

Alright everyone, before we begin, as a good tradition of ours, let’s see how much you know about Canada. Answer me this one simple question… The capital of Canada is: Vancouver, Montreal, I won’t fool around with you like I did in Australia, so I ll add just one more option. Is it Toronto? I hope you all know the answer because it is not Vancouver, not Montreal, and not Toronto either.

It’s Ottawa! How do you trust people after this? Toronto is not the capital, although it is the largest city in Canada, aglomerating 6 million people. Time to go and check this city out… First that comes to mind is that it looks a lot like NY. Judge by yourself, same police cars, same signs, yellow traffic lights, same school busses, public transport, hot-dog food trucks, Architecture is pretty much 1:1. A skyscraper… and a homeless sleeping tight just below …definitely NY like!

For this reason you often find Toronto, serving as film grounds for Holywood, instead of NY. It is cheaper to film here, and most importantly the scenes are ready made! All you have to change is the street names, and underground signs. That’s all, every inch NY for you! There is even a square that substitutes Times Square, called Dundas Square, it has the same number of screens and lots of people!

Another popular film set is this place… Whilst filming around the Harvard grounds is banned, University of Toronto acts the part. This amazing campus will turn any bad student into a medalist! All in all, a trip to Toronto may well turn into a trip to NY, if you select the pics right.

No one will notice! Toronto of course has its symbols, the CN Tower, having a height of 550m, it is the tallest structure in Western hemisphere. Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, boasting an array of truly Canadia surnames.

Hockey is the main sport here, although Canadian basketball team Raptors, became the NBA champion this year. Inspite beavers also being Canada’s symbol, I’d add squirrels to the plate also! There are thousands of them here, if not tens of thousands, they are the main animals on the streets here, whilst so relaxed that they even eat laying down. Back in school we used to study geography by books and maps, Now though, there is a new take on it, a more true and modern way to learn it. MEMES Yes people, it’s the memes.

and let’s get to it! (local stereotypes in memes) Canada is the leading country in the memes industry, and Google doesn’t even break a sweat whilst looking up the results. Main meme being…

Meanwhile in Canada Most discussed theme is weather, specifically, how cold it gets here. Most jokes float around this same subject, Yep, it gets extremely cold here, and seasons are nominal, It’s winter, winter, winter, then boom, Summer. Heat resistace of locals is greatly varied from fur coats and hats, to shorts. That’s why weather is most discussed here, Unlike politics.

Politics only bothers Canadians in two cases, concerning tax and minimum wages, which in turn gets you back to tax, which then comes down to money. Nevertheless, politics doesn’t affect money much, and hence people don’t talk about it. Everyone talks about weather.

Next troll theme is Canadian politeness in all possible scenarious. Someone stood on my foot and I forgot to say sorry, I don’t always say sorry …Sorry! Remember how I told you that Americans always say sorry, well, forget about it, it’s the Canadians who are always sorry! Americans in comparison, are half sorry, whilst Canadians are full on ‘I am terribly sorry’ These guys are so polite that even wall graffiti should be left as is. Sometimes locals here behave in such way, that our natives would never understand… As an example, a story of a typical grocery store in 2019. Mother’s day is celebrated in February and most shops are closed throughout on that day.

Still, in a small town of Kingston, the doors of a similar store were open for the whole day since an employee forgot to lock them. there was no security, no employees. A day after, when everyone returned, they realised that nothing has gone missing, visitors came and left, whilst some, took food but left money at the till. Oh and Kingston has a population of 120k, not a village where everyone knows each other.

I mean, let’s be real about this… Can you imagine this type of behaviour in your own town? I can’t! That’s the Canadians for you Like Australia, Canada is the land of immigrants. Around 300000 people move here on yearly basis, and people speak 180 different languages in Toronto alone. So if you just stand on the street, you’ll definitely hear your own language… Just so you understand how loyal this country is to immigrants, look at this picture.

Harji Sadjan, Canada’s Minister of Defense. Yes people, he is an ethnic Sidh. Resultantly, religious structures are very diverse. There is an English church, Macedono-Bulgarian church, Ukrainian catholic, Buddist temples, Sinagogues, and more… No one is hiding their origins here, because everyone is typically from somewhere… and all these nationalities feel very secure in their dedicated districts. Take for example this chinese boy, from Chinatown Ukrainians form the biggest part of slavic diaspora, since over 1 million people can relate to Ukrainian roots. Some of them are Minister of Foreign affairs, Christia Freeland, and the General of Canadian Army Paul Vinnik.

Most people have friends in Canada, and so do I! Meet my close friend Julia. She lives in Canada for over 11 years now, together with her husband Lenny.

How long have we known each other? 20? Bit scary to think about it… I think its more than 20 years, and we were classmates.) I even made a film for her wedding) See, I were in filming long before it became mainstream.

We’ll go visit their place a little later, but for now, let’s investigate the city itself. – There is nothing to see here – Great people, but nothing to see Although there are over 1 million people visiting Toronto on yearly basis, I wouldn’t call it super touristic. But, cool places do exist here. Let me show you 2 districts that I really liked. First is Kensignton Market. It’s a big street market, based in an old immigrant quarter.

Today, it is colourful and very photogenic, with bright graffiti, omnifarious souvenir shops, and the cutest houses ever. Residents of course, look the par. The second place is called Distillery District.

Based around whiskey manufacturing groungs, the biggest in the world, 200 years ago. Today it is teeming with cafes, and restaurants, being also a great place to walk around. By the way, you can eat Pierogi in Toronto! It’s the local way of spelling Pelmeni. I really wanted to show you this city from above, but given three airports nearby this looked slightly impossible.

The only way to show you Downtown, is from the Ontario lake side. So, let’s head to the ferry and secure a ticket towards central island. Holy Squirrels! This place is amazing! Centre Island is a popular leisure part of Toronto.

It’s not just an amusement park and Victoria Era houses here, but also a huge park for picnics and walkies, as well as first row seats to the best views on Toronto. Enough with a chillout session, let’s talk about country’s critical problems and main event of last year in Canada. Last year Canada became the first country in the world and second country out of the G7, that legalised weed across the whole country. So Canada is second… What country is first?

…you may ask. You probably though of Holland, Amsterdam, coffee shops and so on… But no! Technically weed is banned in Holland, but is not a criminal offence.

Everything below 5 gramms in your pocket is not considered as crime, although police can still confiscate it of you. You can smoke in coffee shops though… The first country to ever legalise marijuana throughout its territory is Uruguay The whole legal side that concerns weed is pretty much entangled, but here is a list of countries that partially made marijuana legal for recreational purposes. Key word ‘Recreational’ as the list of countries that allow medicinal use is much longer. USA legalised weed in 8 states and Columbia although as per federal regulation, cannabis is still illegal there.

Now, let’s get back to Canada Weed can be used in recreational purposes if you are over 18 years old, you can keep up to 30g at home, and grow up to 4 plants on your premises. This has triggered an establishment of coffee shops, and I am about to visit Canada’s first, launched on the 1st of April 2019. Next few minutes will include prohibited in some countries substances. The purpose of the plot is not to serve as propaganda but to show the outcomes of weed legalisation for the government and the people. Let me repeat!

We do not advocate neither weed, nor legalisation, but we will show you an official cannabis store in Toronto. I mean, if such thing exists, it must be seen. Let’s do it! I’m actually quite surprised that there are no queues here, as during the official first day, this place was jam packed. Usually, the queue goes all the way there, and around the corner.

Everyone gets their ID checked at the entrance. Alright, they checked mine also, made sure I am over 18, ….little more actually, and I am in! The shop is called Hunny Pot, it is one of 5 stores in Toronto that won the license.

Aha, there was a lottery for that, given the overwhelming number of requests. There were all 5 of them planned to launch on the 1st, but not all made it in time, and those that didn’t, had to pay a government a fee. Nothing personal, just business. Hunny Pot is the biggest shop in Toronto resembling 3 floors, lots of employees, and a massive screen with the products and pricing. Honestly, I feel like I am in some hipster shop, that just launched a new clothing line. Design is cool, the way the idea is packaged and put to you most strikingly… this is all legal!

The product on display is nicely packaged and labelled, including description, composition and taste. This one is spicy with wooden flavours, and little bit sweet. A consultant can help you find the exact mix, sedative for better sleep or relaxation or something more uplifting. You can buy weed in all shapes and forms here. Yep, you can even get it as a pill.

Only thing missing is vapouriser oil. They do sell it, but by law you cannot put vaporisers on display as they contain nicotine… that’s right, You can display weed, and can’t display anything containing nicotine! That’s the Canadian laws for you. According to government forecasts, this move is to add 400 million USD to the treasury per year, whilst also helping to eliminate black market.

Locals state that this legalisation did not affect them much, since initial attitude towards weed has always been relaxed. As you may have noticed, the level of tolerance is quite high in Canada, being one of the most developed countries on earth. Downtown is a place where bankers clash with homeless, snoring by the road.

Same works for cafes. Toronto is full of shelters for homeless, where one can be fed, checked by a doctor for drug addiction, or talk to a phycologist. Yellow bins for needles are an obligatory part of it.

During cold winters, homeless are forced in to these shelters so they don’t die, and interestingly, they then sue the municipality, for violating their rights for freedom and constitutional rights. Reaction to a camera is usually pretty aggressive in these areas. What’s strange is that right next door, you will find cosy and clean houses, and I struggle to understand how both of these parallel worlds manage next to each other. – I went for a walk first time when I arrived, – and noticed that all street lights – are dark blue, – people looked like ghosts under these lights. – I asked around and a neighbour told me – that this is so that drug addicts – don’t come to our neighbourhood, – as they don’t see veins under such light, – hence they won’t stick around.

Theft, unfortunately, is also a common thing here. Given what we have just learnt, Toronto is reigned by a peaceful atmosphere. Look, I am at a cafe, everyone is welcoming… People are very friendly and you begin to feel it within an hour after you land in this country.

As you may have noticed, I had to speak english quite often whilst in Canada. This is why I’d like to introduce you to Cambly, that is helping me with my conversational skills. Cambly is a video chat with native english speaking tutors across the world and are our partners for this release. This time I was talking to Jasmine from Montreal. Yasmine is a co-pilot working for a small airline, helping people like me in her free time.

I honestly enjoyed chatting to her, and this goes to show that there are many interesting people on Cambly, who you can chat to whilst at the same time improving your english. There are many courses to select from on Cambly. From conversational or grammatical, to dedicated subjects like business vocab, and it will be someone who operates in business, not theories. Top news, is that you can use my promo code ‘Kasatik’ to get first 15 min free of charge. Guys, just start learning, you can thank me later!

Coming back to Toronto, it has left quite a conflicting mark on me. I cannot say I didn’t like this city. I found a cool rooftop bar on the 51 floor, during my last day in town, sat back to enjoy a brilliant view, and of course shot a time-lapse for you.

This ends our visit to Toronto, but there are some important things left. First I need to see my friends, who live in house in Canadian suburbs. The Sokol family has of two children, a car and the house itself. This is a so-called duplex, which means two houses attached to each other. The house consists of a couple of bedrooms, children rooms, plus a few more rooms on the ground floor, and a back yard.

Such house will set you back from a million, to 1.2 million CAD. Now a few words about the attributes , that are almost always present in these houses. – Babes, I found your sock! The first thing is the grill, present in each and every house, a snow machine, and it’s far from being a luxury item. Right now Lenny shows the level of snow that can fall in 5-6 hours, Now try to guess what this is…

It’s a hoover! – [Julia] You bring the hose and insert it this socket, – then you press the button and start hoovering. – Hence you don’t carry actual hoover – all around the house, – as it is fixed in the garage, behind this wall. – These holes are all over the house, – and it’s called centralised hoover.

As it usually happens, the truth comes out at family dinners… – [Lenny] Canada, in comparison to other countries, – is boring but clean. I couldn’t leave Toronto without visiting one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. It’s two and a half hours from the city, right on the border with US. – [Julia] That’s US there, – you can see their flag also. – Our part is where we’re now.

– [Anton] Our part? Where are you from darling? – [Julia] Canadian part Now, this is what Niagara Falls look like up close up. Somewhere over there, under the sea of splatter, are the Falls. North America’s most powerful waterfall!

It turns out, that Niagara Falls is not one, but 3 waterfalls! Yep! That big one is American, the Bridal Veil Fall is a little smaller, and the Horseshoe Fall is probably the largest. Usually, it’s particularly this waterfall that’s regarded as Niagara Falls. Its height is 53 meters and width is almost 800. Despite the frequent messages, the Falls froze only twice in modern history, in 1848 and 1912.

Honestly, after Iceland I’m not really amazed by waterfalls, but Niagara is quite a bombastic thing. The question that sooner or later arises when looking at this colossus: Is it possible to float down a waterfall and stay alive? The answer is YES! Attempts to descend from the waterfall began two centuries ago. Meet Bobby Lynch, he descended Niagara Falls in a steel barrel.

Englishman Charles Stephens, took on the waterfall in a wooden barrel with an anvil ballast. But the only thing left after his descent was his right hand. Charles has never been found. This man is Kirk Jones.

On October 20, 2003, he became the first man in history, to go down the waterfall without any equipment! Later he admitted that he just wanted to commit suicide. Ironically, in 2017, he decided to repeat the stunt. inside of a baloon This time, luck was not on his side and his body was found 19 kilometers down from the falls. Generally, you can survive such jump, but you better not to try it. Niagara Falls is an entertainment center both from the American and Canadian side.

They are gifted with absolutely everything: mountains, lakes, glaciers, unreal wildlife. In short, it is real natural amphitheater. It’s a jem for a photographer! Once you pay to enter the Park, you get a pass, guide to the sights, excellent roads with overpasses for animals, and access roads to all, the most amazing places on your way.

A huge plus is the absence of buildings along the roads, no voltage power lines, so even behind the wheel, you have a complete sense of unity with nature. We start with Banff the oldest national park in Canada. It’s well-known in both Canada and the whole world for the famous Rocky Mountains, and its lakes with phenomenal water colour. I decided to go directly to one of those, called Lake Louise. As you can see, people come here not only on campers… Isn’t it awesome?

…to take your Lambo to the mountains? First fiasco is upon us guys! This is what the lake looks like in pictures, and here it is now) The lake is 1.5km above sea level. So when it’s May in Canada, this place only enters beginning of March. However, it is not a big deal, as there is another lake nearby, perhaps the most beautiful lake in Canada called Moraine.

Damn It is middle of May in Canada, which is too early for these places. Some lakes that aren’t too high in the mountains already thawed, unlike the ones on the top. This lake can be reached on foot in 3 hours, the road has already been cleared, with cyclists all over the place, But the lake itself is right there high over the hill and it’s still frozen.

So I have no other option, but to show you how the Moraine lake looks like during summer. My friend Lesha Gorohov shot this a month after, on June 15th, This vid is not colour corrected, and these colours are all real. This has just brightened my day!

Out of nowhere some nice people from Phillipines, who were also disappointed by the icy lake, shared their lunch with me. This is so nice! People!

Are the coolest thing about travelling. Now let’s get back to Banff! You know, we all have a place we escape to, to regenerate ourselves. For some it’s a cottage, for others it’s Fiji.

My place, is a Park like this one! I really rest my soul in such places. There is everything you need for a good reboot, mountains and rivers, waterfalls and mountain trails, unreal beauty of nature, and the roads of course! The town of Banff is the tourist centre of this national park.

Banff is a small town located at the feet of the rocky mountains. It has aIways been of interest to me how people live in such towns… Do they stay in love with this beauty or get accustomed to it? Just imagine living in a place like this… I’d probably go crazy over time! As you may have noticed, there is a railroad that passes through Rocky Mountains and I’d like to investigate it further.

I absolutely love trains, not typical trains, but trains in other countries, that differ from ours by a great extent. Here in Canada, more specifically in Banf, there is also one very very special train. This is what a local train station looks like…

Inside though, it is much more interesting! This is how all train stations should be like A train station for the wealthy to say the least. Typically, this train station services an expensive train, called Rocky Mountaineer. Most expensive ticket for a seven day trip costs over 7000CAD, roughly… this much! The train operates between Calgary and Vancouver, winding its way through most beautiful parts of Banff and Jasper.

Passengers are greeted by red carpets and busses that take them to hotels. You don’t sleep on the train, so it’s like a cruise on a ship. Now to the most interesting part, there are around 500 passengers on this train right now, but it’s low demand season. By August, this number will go up to 1000, on one single train!

I’ll let you to calculate company’s profitability. By popular demand: 180USD for 2 nights. Before I unpack, let me go through the traditional… Just before I left Jasper, I managed to film a couple of crystal clear lakes that are yet to freeze. Check this water out!!! It’s like glass!!!

Remember how I showed you the glaciers in Iceland… but from afar? I couldn’t reach them in New Zealand, Canada, is where it is going down! More specifically, here. The Athabasca Glacier. Let’s get to it, shall we?!

You can get up the glacier in this huge thing called Ice Explorer, boasting low pressure tyres that cost 5000USD each. Here is a teenager next to it, for size comparison. There were only 24 of these built, 2 operate at Arctic stations, the rest 22 are on Athabasca glacier. Super hard to drive… just look how much strength you need to just make that next corner… Weighing 25 tonnes, it’s top speed is 18km/h One thing it does well though, is go down the slopes, at times over 30/40 degrees angles.

Our destination is a few metres away from the parking lot, so 20 minutes at top speed, and you are on Anthabasca glacier. One small step for a man, one giant leap for this Big Release! We are on the glacier guys! Glaciers cover over 5% of our our planet.

Moreover, they contain 2/3 of all fresh water on the planet! The best part about these, is that they are amazing architects. Glacier is like a giant bulldozer, that slowly forms the landscape around it. These rocks, drops and valleys, are all made by the glacier. Glacier melts and decreases in size. It is now two times smaller than 125 years ago.

This is what it looked like 100 years ago… and this is it now! To better understand the sheer size of glacier, and scale of melting, just look at the mountain there… That small piece on top used to be part of one big glacier, just look at the distance, this glacier used to be over 700 or 800 metres high. Regarding safety, it is a known fact that glaciers are extremely dangerous. We all know what happened in Karmadon Valley, when Sergei Bodrov Jr. died, and it’s not the only case. Couple of years ago in New zealand for example, a group of tourists fell through the glacier and died.

This is why there is only a small square that you are allowed to be on, and it’s managed by professionals, who monitor the state of it and possible dangers. Apart from glacier, a bridge, 280m above the valley is another great thing to see. Not only to see, but to walk on also. The bridge has a glass transparent floor, so it’s not an easy walk for some. There are also weirdly shaped clouds, hovering over the glacier, never seen anything like this.

It’s not only the glacier that Banff is known for. Wild animals that you randomly meet by the roads are also big part of it. You just drive to your destination, and wild life is all around you. Next to wild life, it is cars and tourists with cameras.

If you see parked parks, it guarantees that you need to stop, as it is a sign that there is wild life in the radius of 15-20 metres. Nevertheless, it’s not deers that photographers usually hunt for. It’s this guy!

The Canadian Grizzly. Because of the bears, some tourist trails are closed during springs by these kind of signs. Just so you understand the grade of the issue, you see additional memos scattered across the area, explaining how to behave if there is a bear close by. Don’t run, walk slowly to the car, take some dry underwear, and better not be alone. Dry underwear is my personal advice, but the rest are real rules.

So, bears do exist here, all we have to do is find them and I am very very keen on this Alright, however strange this may sound, i am on my way to find the bears! ‘All me’ Production Presents The Bear Hunt 3 hours of search and 0 result, so I’ve decided to re-plan and start at sunrise. I’ve stopped at the nearby town, checked in at the ‘Sleeping Bear’, and spent the rest of the time preparing for tomorrow. 30 minutes later, my first catch!

It’s the bear, guys! 10 metres away from me, in wild habitat, real Canadian grizzly. The name grizzly appeared due to the colour of these bears, in english though it also stands for Fearsome.

It’s reputation of hunting people is a myth. These bears are mainly vegetarians and scavengers. You can come pretty close to them, especially in Canada but make sure you are not on their way. The best explanation of what people are to the bears, was given by I writer I forgot the name of, but it stated that we are like skunks to them. We can iritate them, but are not of great interest.

So, if he’s not hungry and you don’t distract him, there shouln’t be a problem. I am not keen to check this, so let’s just leave it at that. Memory shot Misha and I in Canada …and after this short photoshoot, grizzly took off to the forest.

Guys, this is amazing! This is what a happy man’s face looks like! I met some more of them further down the road, they were peacefully munching on grass, accompanied by photographers.

Oh and there was one more, who caused a little traffic jam… To summarise Banff and Jasper, If you are into wild life and nature, these places are a must for you. Just take note of the season, so you don’t end up looking at frozen lakes. The time has come to see Vancouver! My way of exploring new places is to walk it out during your first day in the city, soak every little detail of it, so to get an initial impression.

Let’s do it together this time! The city has a soul, lots of teens on the streets, musicians, everyone is relaxed, …very cool sight seeing busses, very oldschool. Vancouver has many faces, It is sometimes Victorian, sometimes it is like Amsterdam, or New-York of course. Nevertheless, it’s LA that affected it the most. Local version of Hollywood Blvd for e.g, with attributes like homeless people with funny notes. My first impression… this place is next level!

Very neat and cool place. Buuuut, it comes at a price… The prices!

I have stayed in many expensive hotels, where rooms where over 20k USD, and my only conclusion is that there is no need for it when you travel alone. I always go for budget options, since it is only a place to sleep at. Vancouver on the other hand, is not acquainted with the term Budget! I looked up the most budget place in the central area, and that’s the price for it. Mind you, it’s CAD and includes a 200CAD deposit, but still, this is too much! Let me show you what you get for this amount.

Overall, it’s not bad, apart from one thing, there is no shower, nor the loo, as it is a guest house. So 400USD in Vancouver gets you… a guest house. I’d be swimming in gold if it was Poland. It’s not solely down to hotels, but the prices on real estate.

Welcome to the Global Living report 2019, it mentions cities with most expensive real estate in the world. First as per usual is HK, then Singapore, third is Shanghai, 4th, is Vancouver! …being more expensive than London, Paris, LA and even NY. Average property price here is… and there are memes devoted to this too… Do you plan to buy a house? I live in Vancouver.

Number of expensive cars is crazy here, compared to Dubai, as within just 5 min I saw 5 different Lamborghinis. Same goes for uptown districts. Apart from cars, it’s skyscrapers, lots of greenery, yachts, even this duck not only has a house, but a personal fountain too.

Fountains are everywhere, not only in up market districts, but across the whole city. An interesting fact is that it is forbidden to build buildings higher than a set level, being part of a special municipality programme, to protect the views. The rule is that you must see the mountains, from any point in the city, including the Downtown district.

This exact spot is a bad example… but here is always a way! An incredibly beautiful city! It’s time to share some more facts about this city. Frequently called Northern Hollywood, Vancouver is the second city in North America after Los Angeles by TV shows production, and third after LA and NY by the production of feature films. It’s jam packed with acting schools, film studios and casting announcements.

The are several reasons why so many movies are shot in Vancouver. First, it’s the tax breaks, municipality returns up to 30% of filming taxes. Plus, it assists with organisational bits Secondly, Vancouver is right next to LA, sharing the same time zone and is a one-hour flight away.

To justify it all, let me show you some sights in Vancouver, which you surely saw in Hollywood movies. In Mission Impossible 4, Tom Cruise seemingly ran across Mumbai, when in fact, it was the square near Vancouver Convention Centre. The opening titles of 50 Shades of Grey were shot in Vancouver Marina with yachts and expensive quarters in background. And finally Dead Pool, the scene with Parachute landing was shot here, While the billboard was drawn in. for the purposes of this scene, Georgia bridge had to be shut down for 2 weeks! As for current TV shows and movies it’s: Altered Carbon a rather popular series, fourth season of Van Helsing, and finally, drumroll… the next episodes for Beverly Hills 90210.

You! You watched it in your childhood, If not… then you didn’t have a childhood. Finding a film set in Vancouver is super easy. Sometimes there are 3-4 of them on the same street First, you look for a bright sign, then somewhere next to it a string of trailers with equipment, and there you go, an actual film set. These guys didn’t say what exactly they are shooting, but apparently its something for Netflix. No idea what will it be… since it is all shot inside and we can’t get in.

There you go, it may be Brad Pitt or Pavel Dereveanko. Any information about filming is generally hard to get. Meet Lesha, he lives in Vancouver for over a year now and also works in this industry. – [Lesha] I work in Film Industry, – and produce visual effects for cinema and TV.

– My wife is also involved in VFX, – She produces effects for blockbusters – and I have no clue – what she’s working on at the moment, – as she signed an NDA, – and cannot disclose anything, – like nothing at all! – Moreover, all films are made under secret names, – so if it’s Batman for example, – they would call it Colombiana 4. Now with a help of a VFX pro i can show you how from Canadian Vancouver, American cities are born in Hollywood films. – [Lesha] Take this alley for example, – all we have to do is add a tower from Seattle, to the back ground and there you go!

– [Anton] Can you do this? – [Lesha] Yep! Here is an original video, with an ordinary Vancouver alley, and this is more like a Seattle now. – If you add a some smoke and a yellow pipe, – it will immediately turn into New York. New-York …nearly.

Vancouver is often spoken for as the city that never stars as self in films. I hope you now understand how it’s done. This city seems to almost be a dream, although life here is quite expensive.

– Let’s say mobile phone coverage is 100USD, – internet, another hundred, – generally, everything is 100USD in Vancouver. – A good thing about utilities, – is that tap water is drinkable, – we don’t pay for heating, only for electricity. – [Anton] Why is that?

– [Lesha] Because all this is included in rent, – and water is sourced from the mountains, – so we pay for the apartment, – and besides rent we only pay for electricity. – Electricity prices are very low. – Even when bitcoin mining was booming, – there were people who specifically – moved to Canada for this, – electricity prices remained very low. – We pay about 20USD pcm for the utilities. Lesha and his family rents an apartment in South Granville, 7 min drive away form downtown. This flat costs around 1500USD per month, and renting a flat in Vancouver is significantly cheaper than to buy one.

Like most, one can become nostalgic, being away from home, so we made some Pelmeni. With potatoes. Lesha’s son goes to the local school, and this class pic, perfectly describes social state of Canadian community.

– [Lesha] I fell in love with Vancouver at first sight. – once you add the whole openness of Canadians, – I quickly realised that it’s the right place for me. – Main thing I came to terms with here, – is work/life balance, – which is a norm in this community. – Best example – is that we don’t share mobile phone numbers with people I work with. – Once an employee leaves the office at 5, that’s it, – his work day is over, I can’t call him, – and tell him to come back. – Once he is gone, – he is gone – Otherwise this is regarded as private space.

Lesha has a Youtube channel on his life in Canada. Link is in the description. It is hard to figure out local way of life at first glance. Canada turned out to be much more interesting, than I ever imagined prior to this trip, and Vancouver is now one of my fav cities. There are definitely things to see here. First, it’s killer whales of course.

After you get dressed to look like a NASA austronaut, they pack you up to the boat with the rest of the group. These boats by the way are also used by Police and SpecOps. An hour and a speedy trip later, you find yourself in a bay where the whales are meant to be.

There you go, look! Like a bunch of synchronised swimmers… It is super hard to film them as you never know where would one be, but also due to the law that states that you cannot get closer to them than a set distance This explains my shots from afar. Still, sometimes you do get a cool shot.

So you are minding your business, and then hear ‘AHHH’, you turn around, and there is nothing. The whales hit water with their fins to disorientate the fish, and these fins are so strong that they can throw seals 10s of metres up in the air. You can even listen to them speak using boat’s special equipment. On that day though, they weren’t that talkative, so I didn’t hear much.

Biggest disappointment is that camera does not portray the emotions you get from watching them. To be honest, this is so cool, that I don’t really want to leave. I’d love to stay for one more hour… On our way back I managed to film an extremely rare bird, …the one on the right a Bald Eagle! A symbolic animal of US.

As for desert, I’d like to show you Vancouver from the air. Drone flights are now banned in Canada, but back when I filmed it in May, it was still allowed, but not higher than 90m. Since you can’t really film anything cool at such altitude, luckly, there is another way to go about it.

Hydro-planes! Vancouver Harbours serves as an airfield for a local airport. Well, not exactly an airfield, just a part of the bay, where ships pass, and planes take off. Harbour Air, the local airway firm, is the largest hydro plane operator in the world, owning 40 of them, it transports half a million passengers per year, and it’s not just leisure tours, but actual commercial flights to Seattle and other destinations.

Landing a hydro plane is a difficult task, since it’s not always that water is calm, so pilots here are extremely qualified. Alright, enough with the chat, Let’s get flying! On my way to Canada, I were really worried that there will be nothing to film here, and gosh how wrong I was. Banff and Jasper let a mark on my heart, whilst Vancouver became the most unexpected discovery during this trip. More so, Canada being the second largest country in the world, this big release doesn’t include even a fraction of places to see here, so do stop by!

There are many things to see, and things to enjoy! Just travel more! It’s definitely worth it!