Thursday, April 18, 2024

Exploring the Worst Places to Live in BC (British Columbia) 2023

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
"Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate."

British Columbia, known for its awe-inspiring landscapes, offers a myriad of breathtaking sights from the bustling city of Vancouver to the scenic vistas of Victoria. The province, however, also contains locations that may not live up to the idyllic image usually associated with Canada’s westernmost province. As a seasoned travel writer, it is my duty to present an unbiased view of the various locales, including those less pleasing.

British Columbia, despite its overall charm, has areas that may not be ideal for living due to issues like high crime rates, cost of living, unemployment, or lack of amenities. This article will delve into some of those less inviting destinations in British Columbia.

Worst Places to Live in BC (British Columbia)


While Surrey is one of the fastest-growing cities in the province, it also struggles with a significant crime issue. Over the years, it has earned a rather notorious reputation due to the high incidence of violent crimes and drug offenses. Additionally, Surrey’s rapid expansion hasn’t come with sufficient investment in infrastructure and public services. Although its cultural diversity and affordable housing attract many, the city’s safety concerns can be a significant deterrent for potential residents.

Downtown Eastside, Vancouver

Despite being part of one of the most attractive cities in British Columbia, Downtown Eastside stands in stark contrast to the upscale image of Vancouver. Known for its drug issues and homeless population, this neighborhood faces numerous socio-economic challenges. High crime rates and poverty levels overshadow its rich history and cultural potential. Despite the ongoing revitalization efforts, the area remains far from an ideal living destination.

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Port Alberni

Often dubbed the ‘Detroit of British Columbia,’ Port Alberni faces a similar fate to the Michigan city. Economic decline, unemployment, and a struggling housing market plague the town, located on Vancouver Island. Its isolation from larger, thriving cities compounds these issues, making it one of the less appealing places to live. However, it does boast a scenic backdrop with its location on the Alberni Inlet, making it a potential spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

Prince George

While the city serves as a hub for Northern British Columbia, Prince George grapples with the issue of air pollution due to industrial activities. Its relatively high crime rate, coupled with long, harsh winters, further detract from its appeal. However, it’s worth mentioning that Prince George offers some of the most affordable housing in British Columbia, and its burgeoning arts scene and proximity to nature make it a viable choice for some.

Williams Lake

Despite its charming small-town appeal, Williams Lake struggles with crime, specifically violent crime, outpacing the national average. The city, located in the Cariboo region, has been battling these issues for years, putting a damper on its potential. However, for those seeking an authentic cowboy experience, its annual Stampede rodeo event could be a draw.


Like Williams Lake, Quesnel, another town in the Cariboo region, suffers from a high crime rate. The economic downturn, especially in the forestry sector, has adversely affected the area, leading to job losses and stagnation. While it may not be the most enticing place to settle down, its surrounding natural beauty and recreational activities may appeal to outdoor lovers.

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Although it’s nestled amidst the natural beauty of the Skeena River valley, Terrace faces challenges that make it less desirable as a place to live. Its isolation, relatively high cost of living compared to wages, and above-average crime rates detract from its appeal. Yet, the lure of outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking may still attract some individuals.

It’s essential to note that every location has its pros and cons, and what might seem like the ‘worst’ to some might be a perfect fit for others. This list is not exhaustive or definitive. It’s always wise to conduct extensive research and consider personal preferences before choosing a place to live. Despite the issues discussed, each of these locations offers unique qualities and attractions that might appeal to the right individual. British Columbia, in all its diversity and complexity, remains one of Canada’s most fascinating provinces.

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