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When Patrick Chan Moves: A Cost of Living Comparison

Google map with route from Detroit to Vancouver. Icon of Patrick Chan added to the map.
Destination Vancouver: Patrick’s Trip. (Map by Google Maps / Photo © Alamy)

When Patrick announced to the world that he would be moving to Vancouver in July, I was not very surprised because one of his sponsors (ASPAC) is located there, and he frequently visits the city. Now that July is almost upon us, I was curious about the cost of living differences between Detroit and Vancouver. My guess is that it will cost Patrick significantly more money to live in Vancouver than in Detroit. Am I right?

From Detroit to Vancouver

According to Numbeo‘s Cost of Living Comparison Tool, in general, Vancouver residents pay more for rent and eating out, and a little less for food and consumer goods than the residents of Detroit. Milk costs 181% (!) more in Vancouver and eggs are 48% extra. Chicken (a food Patrick mentioned that he eats regularly) costs 32% more and beef costs an added 12%. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, tomatoes, and onions are less expensive. I wonder if it’s the same for corn, one of Patrick’s favorite foods?

Detroit vs. Vancouver Cost of Living. Source: Numbeo.com
Detroit vs. Vancouver Cost of Living. (Source: Numbeo.com)

Housing will be costlier as rents are generally one-third higher in Vancouver, and since Patrick plans to buy a house, he can expect to pay anywhere from 380% to 530% more per square foot or meter than in Detroit. The good news is that utilities (electricity, heating, water, and garbage) bills are much lower in Vancouver.

One of the biggest advantages Patrick will have is full-time coaching from Kathy, which will help him as he looks forward to the 2018 Olympics.

Transportation may be costlier for Patrick, as gasoline sells for 57% more in Vancouver. But he may also be able to get a new car for less. If he wants to take public transportation, a monthly pass for Burnaby costs almost twice as much as in Detroit.

Local purchasing power is a third lower in Vancouver than in Detroit, which means in general Patrick will be able to buy one-third less goods or services per unit of currency there. To see the entire cost of living comparison between Vancouver and Detroit, click here.

Coach Kathy Relocates from Kansas City to Vancouver
Google Map of route from Kansas City to Vancouver.
Destination Vancouver: Kathy’s Trip. (Map: Google Maps)

But the person who may suffer greater stick shock is Patrick’s coach, Kathy Johnson, who is moving from Kansas City to Vancouver. In almost every broad category, things cost more in Vancouver except for restaurant meals, some produce items, and utilities. Kathy’s purchasing power in Vancouver will be reduced to 41% less than in Kansas City. See the entire cost of living comparison here.

Kansas City vs. Vancouver Cost of Living. Source: Numbeo.com
Kansas City vs. Vancouver Cost of Living. (Source: Numbeo.com)

Besides the higher prices, Kathy will need to get used to using the Canadian dollar on a daily basis. On the up side, right now 1 U.S. dollar equals approximately 1.29 CAD, so that will help. I wish her a smooth transition to her new home.

Relocation Advantages

Although the cost of living will go up, I agree that relocating to Vancouver is a good decision for Patrick, because he will be able to train with other elite-level skaters like Kevin Reynolds. As Patrick said last month, “Seeing their work ethic, that’s what I need. I just need to be around people with a good work ethic. That’s an environment Kathy and I thrive in.”

Besides having fellow skaters to interact with, one of the biggest advantages Patrick will have is full-time coaching from Kathy, which will greatly help him for the next two years as he looks forward to the 2018 Olympics. Whereas before, Kathy flew to Detroit twice a week to coach Patrick (so he was often on the ice alone), now she can watch everything he does every day.

Fall in Vancouver, by JMV. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.
Fall in Vancouver. (by JMV / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Of course, Vancouver’s great outdoors affords Patrick more opportunities to get fit through the activities he loves such as skiing, mountain biking, surfing, and I’m sure, a daily run along the beach if he desires.

Will there be any challenges? Patrick and Kathy will need to adjust to a new city, new home, and any cultural differences that comes with the move. For example, I don’t know if Patrick ever shopped for groceries at the Trader Joe’s in Bloomfield Hills, but since there are no TJ’s in Canada, he will have to take a trip over the border or go elsewhere.

“It’s a bit scary to think about moving there… I’ve been training in the U.S. for so long, I don’t even know what it’s going to be like. It’s going to be a whole new experience, which will be a good thing…” —Patrick Chan

Since I live in the U.S., I will be sorry to see Patrick leave. But at the same time, I do wish him the best as he returns home to Canada, and I hope he will come back to visit often!

What do you think of Patrick’s decision to move to Vancouver? Please leave a comment below!

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