5 things everyone asks about the Sunshine Coast

These are the questions we're most frequently asked.

PAUL: We get specific questions about what it's like to be on the Sunshine Coast, and sometimes those topics don't really need a full video. Instead, we’ve grouped five of these frequently asked questions together and this week, we’re answering them.

This post was written using a transcript from the above video. It’s been edited for clarity.

Can you live without a car on the Sunshine Coast?

PAUL: Technically, yes you could, but your whole life would revolve around not owning a car.

VAL: It depends what you do. Because we do have public transit and we do have Coast Car Co-op, so you could be part of that co-op and sign out a car from time to time. They have different vehicles to choose from, including a truck. But it all depends on how often you'll need a vehicle. As far as transit, it does cover most of the Sunshine Coast but it doesn't go to every little nook and cranny along the way. So transit could work but it’d really depend on your specific commute. If you have a really early morning shift, transit probably isn’t a great option.

PAUL: Our transit isn’t like in the city where a bus arrives every 10 or 15 minutes. I think it's an hour or two hours between buses, so that's a long wait. There are taxi cabs. We don't have Uber or Lyft, but we do have our own local version called Coastal Rides. So, we do have a lot of the things that you would have in a big city (minus something like the a SkyTrain) but it’s not quite as robust.

VAL: You could make friends and carpool. Bug your friends about car pooling.

PAUL: If you’re on the coast without a car and wanted to rely on walking everywhere, that means you're pretty much going live in one of Gibsons or Sechelt.

VAL: I guess there's biking as well, or cycling. So you could have an e-bike and that would help you get around to different locations on the coast.

How safe is the Sunshine Coast?

VAL: We came from Edmonton, in a little neighbourhood just north of downtown. And when we moved here, we thought this was the safest place in the world! I got my garage broken into in Edmonton…

PAUL: We had cars broken into, windows broken, that kind of thing. I don't know that I ever feared for my life in our neighborhood, but everything we owned had to be nailed down or it was going to walk off. We don't really experience that here. Every once in a while, there's a rash of thefts. Something gets stolen out of somebody's shed or their yard or something like that.

VAL: I think the frequency has increased since we’ve lived here. When we first moved here, there was less talk about it. I think more and more, the rate of petty theft has increased and people are starting to install security cameras. It's not a fearful thing, It's more of an annoyance. Remember to lock up your stuff. Tuck it away. Don't leave a bike on your front porch. Hide stuff like that...

PAUL: It’s the same advice you'd give to someone else living somewhere else. Lock your doors. Lock your car. Put your stuff away. You'll probably be fine.

Are there young people on the Sunshine Coast?

VAL: We're young compared to the average age on the Sunshine Coast. We actually felt pretty young when we moved out here. In Edmonton, we were more or less the average age. And then we moved out here, Paul looked around and said, "Oh! It’s like we’re 17 again!”

PAUL: Yeah, it was a pretty big disparity between Alberta and the Sunshine Coast as Alberta has the youngest average age in Canada.

VAL: The BC average is 42.5 years old. And the Sunshine Coast average is 55 years old, so we do have a little bit of an older population here. But if even if you’re not retirement age, you'll be able to find friends your age here on the Sunshine Coast.

PAUL: If you move to the coast from someplace else and you have kids, then you'll make friends because you’ll get to meet other parents. And the other parents are generally going to be around your age. If you're single or don't have kids, then there are activities that you can sign up for.

What are the activities on the Sunshine Coast?

VAL: There's drop-in badminton, there's drop-in volleyball, I think basketball too. There are people that get together and play the Frisbee thing...

PAUL: Frisbee golf, I think it is, or Ultimate Frisbee, or whatever it's called.

VAL: There are golf courses. There are tennis courts. There's pickleball.

PAUL: Paddling.

VAL: Paddling. Yeah, outrigger canoes at the Gibsons Paddle Club.

PAUL: Pretty much anything that you would have in a big city, we have some version of it here. In a city, you have such a big population base that all of the different hobbies and clubs would be separated by age and each age would maybe play in a different location or on a different night. But here, all the ages more or less get lumped together.

VAL: For some of them, yeah, but not all. Drop-in badminton is kind of all ages. Sometimes the drop-in night starts with younger kids coming earlier in the evening, and then by the later part in the evening, it's the adults that are sticking around. During COVID, a lot of those indoor sports have been stopped and put on pause. We'll see if some of them open up in the fall again, because a lot of these sports use the gyms in our community schools. The schools haven't been allowing those kinds of activities to happen (for good reason). There's the Rec Center with stuff like racquetball and hockey. In the summer, lots of people play baseball, too.

PAUL: Pretty much anything you want to do, you can do.

VAL: It's really important that when you move to a new community, you’re able to make those connections and make new friends. I found it lonely for the first three months we were here. I was looking for drop-in volleyball and I couldn't find it (but I think there is one since). Instead, I found drop-in badminton and then right away, I started to make friends. So that was great.

Which is better? Gibsons or Sechelt?

PAUL: It really depends. There are lots of similarities between the two, but also some differences. Sechelt has a larger population, so there are more things and services in Sechelt. But Gibsons is geographically closer to Vancouver, which means it’s closer to the ferry. If you’re going to rely on the ferry a lot - maybe you're commuting or you travel frequently - then Gibsons would probably be a good choice for you, if for no other reason that its proximity to the BC Ferries Langdale terminal.

VAL: They're very different communities. There ARE similarities, but I would advise you to come out and visit both Gibsons and Sechelt and spend some time in each. Which one is better is very subjective and you need to make the decision yourself. We did pick Gibsons after our sleuthing, so it really depends on each person.

This post was written using a transcript from the above video. It’s been edited for clarity.

Connect with Val & Paul

We're Val and Paul and we're a married couple who live on BC's Sunshine Coast! We moved from Alberta to Gibsons in 2014 and love our life on Canada's West Coast! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and email newsletter and you'll learn what it's like to live in the most beautiful place in Canada.