Advice for anyone moving to Vancouver:
Buy waterproof gear! Unless I’m buying sandals or running shoes, any new pair of shoes I purchase has to be waterproof, or be able to sustain a waterproofing spray. It was expensive to shell out for my first pair of waterproof shoes, but it was so worth it — it became enjoyable to walk around the city and explore new areas because my toes were dry and warm. The store Winners usually sells a good selection of winter shoes for a reduced price, and if you can hold out just past Thanksgiving, most stores will have massive sales.
Speaking about sales, stores will have sales happening at least once a month. There seems to be a sale every week in Vancouver, and if you get the SPC Student card ($10) you can also get a discount at a lot of places, including coffee shops.
Lastly, if you study at the SFU Vancouver campus, get a bike and a fob for the bike room. I hadn’t ridden a bike in 15 years, so I was scared to death at the thought of cycling in city traffic. I was pleasantly surprised, however, at the number of bike lanes in town. If you are new to cycling, I recommend looking at Hub’s website, a great community organization that puts on Bike to Work Week every season.
You don’t need to fork out a lot on a bike; places like Our Community Bikes or Craiglist usually have a good selection to pick from (just make sure it’s not a stolen bike — eek!). The Bike Doctor on Broadway was a great place to ask questions and not feel pressured into buying products immediately. Momentum Magazine, based here in our city, also has great guides for beginners and advanced cyclists.