On average I have an hour commute to BCIT. I’ve been raised in Surrey, spend most of my time in Langley, Pitt Meadows and Abbotsford, and at one point I was working in Chilliwack. So, when it comes to having a “local” focus for news stories, or showcasing “local” businesses, my definition is a bit different from my classmates.
My “local culture” is more eastbound than most of my classmates, so when it comes to writing about local events should I be stretching and trying to get a grasp of the Burnaby/Vancouver scene or should I stay with what I consider to be nearby? Interestingly, I’ve noticed that the closer to downtown Vancouver someone lives, the smaller their circle of “local” is. A 75-minute drive is nothing to me, but some people need to get in the right mindset for such a road trip. A quick stop in Langley? “You mean making a daytrip, right?” Honey, that’s my daily commute, are you afraid of bridges or something?
Whether a market is in Burnaby or Maple Ridge, a sale is at Cottonwood or Metrotown, a celebrity visits Fort Langley or New Westminster, I still view it as local.
My favourite thing is when people have Vancouver in their bio when they live in the Fraser Valley. Why is it that we feel like our actual city doesn’t cut it? I’ve heard some people say it’s because people know where Vancouver is and don’t know the smaller places, or that nothing happens outside of Vancouver, but that’s just straight up wrong. Why sell yourself so short? The Lower Mainland is so rich with opportunities, events and businesses that you can benefit from, take advantage of it. Branch out, people! A big chunk of the cool things to do are “in Vancouver” but in reality, they’re further out, so be real about it. Lower Mainland, Greater Vancouver, all the cities kind of blend into each other, so can we stop categorizing “local” by city name?
So, I’m not from Vancouver. I’m from Langley-ish Surrey, I’m from the Lower Mainland, I’m not exactly from the Fraser Valley, but I spend my time there. But my home, my city, my “local”, is not downtown Vancouver.