Imagine this: You're strolling along Kitsilano Beach, the sun setting over the horizon, and you strike up a conversation with a fellow beach-goer who shares your love for outdoor adventures.
It's moments like these that can make dating in Vancouver an adventure full of fascinating encounters.
But while it’s thrilling, dating in Vancouver is also really, really challenging. So, to help you navigate the dating scene in the city, we’ve got you covered with all the tools you need to make the most of the experience!
Is it hard to date in Vancouver?
While Vancouver ranks 29th best city in the world in which to find love, navigating the city’s dating scene can actually be hard.
That ranking, released by Movinga, is based on the number of singles, the ratio of marriages to incidents of divorce, and the social factors contributing to dating success. The same study found that almost half of the city’s population is single.
All seems well, then. Interestingly, in a Vancouver Sun’s article reporting these results, there’s a poll at the end asking “What do you think of Vancouver’s dating scene?”
As of July 27 2023, 61.53% of respondents find the dating scene "terrible," while only 8.05% think it's "great." The rest, about 30.42%, have "no clue."
While that’s too simple a methodology to be conclusive, the same sentiment about the city’s dating scene has suffused social media.
In many articles and social media posts, the prevalent "hookup culture" is often cited as a reason for this challenging space. Many single individuals seem to want quick and casual relationships with minimal commitment and intimacy.
A survey by Angus Reid Public Opinion in 2012 found that 12% of individuals in BC preferred not to be intimate on their first three dates, and only 28% of men and 8% of women were ready for sex on the first date.
It’s hard to say whether this data is still true about Vancouverites. But we know that the city has a fast-paced, career-driven lifestyle and the rush can make lasting connections hard to find.
And let’s face it: many "date material" places in Vancouver come with a hefty price tag. Not everyone can afford regular outings or are willing to spend for a date with someone they still feel unsure about.
Regardless of the reasons for these dating challenges, we've got your back! We’ve listed 5 ways that you can try to thrive in the city’s dating scene.
Option 1: Go through an Online Dating App
|Things you need
|A device, Internet connection, a good picture of yourself, and other social media accounts for linking if needed
While using dating apps may lead to more canceled plans or endless chatting without ever meeting up for a real date, we can’t deny that dating apps are popular among Vancouverites looking to date.
So, if people are on those dating apps, and you want to meet people, why not give it a shot, right? We’ll show you how to make the most of these apps and find great dates!
Step 1: Choose Your App
Choosing the right app is all about knowing what suits you and your dating goals, right from the get-go.
So, consider some key factors like the app’s user base – who’s hanging out there; the app’s reputation – what are people saying about it; and the types of relationships people are looking for – whether it’s casual fun or something more serious.
Here are some popular dating apps in Vancouver, each with its own unique vibe:
- Bumble: Bumble empowers ladies to initiate conversations, which makes it a hit among those seeking a refreshing twist to traditional dating dynamics.
- Tinder: The OG of dating apps, Tinder is known for its swiping game. Known for its straightforward approach and supported by a massive user base, this app is a go-to for many Vancouverites looking for casual connections.
- Hinge: If you crave more depth in your connections, Hinge focuses on getting to know you beyond just looks. It prompts you to share interesting tidbits about yourself, sparking meaningful conversations.
- OkCupid: This app has been around for a while and prides itself on its in-depth profiles and compatibility-based matching. It’s perfect for those who want to really understand potential matches and find those who jive with their interests.
- EliteSingles: As the name suggests, EliteSingles caters to the more serious daters out there. It’s ideal for professionals and individuals seeking long-term relationships with like-minded individuals.
Step 2: Set up Your Profile
We want to think dating is all about being yourself (heaven knows we want someone to take us as we are, scars, sweatpants, and all). The thing is, your profile works more like a dating resume.
So, put your best foot forward, and regardless of your preferred app, have these elements ready in order to set up an effective dating profile:
- Profile picture: Opt for a clear, well-lit photo that shows your smile. Avoid group photos or heavily filtered images – honesty is key.
- Engaging bio: Make your bio count. Showcase your interests and personality and it will attract those who resonate with you.
- Interests and hobbies: List activities you enjoy, from hiking to trying good food. Shared interests break the ice and spark exciting conversations.
- Your goals: Or put simply, what you’re looking for through the app. Be upfront about whether you’re looking for casual or serious connections and that can lead you to the right kind of people for you.
Of course, your safety should be your priority. So, aside from using reputable apps, avoid sharing sensitive info like your home address until you’ve established trust.
Step 3: Engage with Others
Don’t wait around passively after setting up your profile. Take the initiative to engage with others by sending thoughtful messages to those whose profiles are interesting to you.
Avoid generic or copy-pasted messages and make an effort to start meaningful conversations.
Step 4: Follow through
Once you’ve connected with someone and decided to go on a date, make sure to follow through on your plans.
If you’ve made plans to meet, try your best to stick to them, and communicate any changes or cancellations as early as possible.
But for the first few dates, remember to choose well-populated locations where you feel safe. Let someone you trust know about your date plans too, so they can check in on you if necessary.
Option 2: Do Speed Dating
|Things you need
|Identification, confirmation of registration, notepad
Speed dating is like going on a series of mini-dates all in one night. It’s not far from what you’ll get in Vancouver – it’s a fantastic way to meet a bunch of potential matches in a fun and structured setting.
Let’s break it down into a few steps:
Step 1: Find the Right Speed Dating Event
Look for events that match your interests and age group – something that feels just right for you.
There are a couple of trusted organizers that you can check out, like Flare Events. If you want to try it UK-style, though, without the name tags and other event trappings, check out SpeedVancouver Dating.
Once you’ve found an event that catches your eye, don’t wait! Register in advance to secure your spot as many speed dating events have limited slots..
Step 2: Prepare Conversation Starters
Before heading to the speed dating event, take some time to prepare a few light, fun, and open-ended conversation starters to kick-start those mini-dates.
When you ask about light and engaging topics like favorite weekend activities, dream travel destinations, adventurous experiences, and passions or hobbies, both you and your dates will feel at ease during the speed dating event.
These topics are not only easy to talk about but also allow the other person to share their interests and experiences, which can lead to more meaningful conversations.
Step 3: Groom Yourself Well
First impressions count, especially in speed dating.
So, pay attention to grooming yourself well, styling your hair, and dressing comfortably in an outfit that not only showcases your personality but also makes you feel your best.
Step 4: Keep the Conversation Going
Actively listen to your dates – you only have a few minutes to do so, so make it count. Nod, smile, and make eye contact to let them know you’re engaged in the conversation.
Then, ask follow-up questions based on their answers to delve deeper into shared interests or experiences.
And while you need to share about yourself, you have to be mindful of dominating the conversation. Keep your responses concise and leave room for your date to share their thoughts, too.
Option 3: Be a Regular in a Pub or Bar
|2 weeks and more
|Things you need
|Identification, cash/credit/debit card for payment
A local pub or bar can be your chill hangout spot where you can meet new people without any awkward dating event pressure.
But your chances of success in getting a date might depend on how often you go, how friendly you are, and how many cool singles are there to mingle with.
Here are the steps to hopefully get you a date:
Step 1: Choose a Great Local Spot
The Shameful Tiki Room is a great choice. It has a fantastic atmosphere, dimly lit setting, and live entertainment on certain nights which don’t drown the conversations.
There’s also LanaLou’s Restaurant, which is a hit among music lovers. If you want to strike up conversations with someone who enjoys live music and a communal atmosphere, then this is the perfect spot for you.
Step 2: Attend Their Events
Once you’ve found the perfect pub or bar, keep an eye on their event calendar and attend special events or theme nights.
Keep an eye on what they have planned. These gatherings create a laid-back and social atmosphere – you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who are just as eager to socialize as you are.
Step 3: Chat Up Other People
Don’t hesitate to chat with fellow patrons or the friendly staff. Being approachable and genuine in your interactions can lead to meaningful connections and potential dates.
So, be yourself, have fun, and who knows, you might just find that special someone While dates are not guaranteed, you can easily find a community to welcome you by being a regular.
Option 4: Join a Singles Club
|3 weeks and more
|Things you need
|Identification, cash/credit/debit card to pay for trips
Joining a singles club gives you the best of both worlds – a laid-back and social vibe like your favorite pub, and the chance to meet new people through cool events.
Plus, with all those interactions and shared interests within the club, you’ve got a better shot at finding a date. Read on to learn how:
Step 1: Apply for Membership
An interesting singles club is hosted by Events & Adventures, which also has branches in other countries.
If you’re 21 or older and legally single, you can fill out their online application form and a member of the team will orient you on what the club does and what perks are waiting for you if you decide to pursue your application.
Step 2: Meet the Club
The next step is to “meet the club” in person or via video chat. It’s only an informal meetup, so no need to be nervous or try to impress. They only need to verify your identity and assure you that the club’s team is also who they say they are.
Just take note of the details of the meeting and be there.
Step 3: Show up at Events
Once you’ve successfully joined the singles club, it’s time to check out their social calendar.
There are outdoor adventures like hiking, kayaking, and zip-lining and laid-back social gatherings like wine tastings and game nights. For the travel enthusiasts out there, the club offers exciting group trips to satisfy your wanderlust.
The most important thing here? Show up and participate on the day of the event.
Step 4: See if You Click with Anyone
Alright, so after attending events, you’ll have had the chance to connect with other members through shared interests, good conversations, and unforgettable adventures.
Take your time to see if you vibe with someone in the group. That’s the beauty of a singles club – there’s no pressure to find a match like in dating apps or speed dating; you get to enjoy the experience with other singles and simply be yourself.
But hey, if you do click with someone, don’t hesitate to grab the opportunity to take things further!
Option 5: Bring Your Dog to the Park
|4 weeks and more
|Things you need
|Dog leash, water, bowl, waste bags, and treats
With natural social settings, shared interests, and plenty of doggie stories to share, you might just fetch yourself a date while watching your pups play in the dog park.
Success isn’t guaranteed, but you’re putting yourself in the right spot to meet like-minded individuals. Let your dog be your wingman through these chill steps:
Step 1: Set up a Time for Your Dog to Visit the Park
If you frequent the same dog park regularly, you’ll likely encounter familiar faces, including other regulars with whom you can build a rapport over time.
This creates opportunities for ongoing interactions and the chance to get to know each other better.
Step 2: Sit in a Comfortable Spot
Scout out a comfy spot to hang out. It could be a shaded bench or a patch of grass where you and your pup feel relaxed and at ease.
This not only gives you a cozy spot to chill but also makes you more approachable to others who might want to strike up a chat.
Step 3: Look Around
Being observant and aware of your surroundings can help you notice other dog owners who might catch your eye or seem like someone you’d like to get to know better.
Making eye contact or giving a friendly smile can signal your openness to conversation.
Step 4: Chat Up Other Dog-Owners
Dog parks create a relaxed and casual environment, making it easier to strike up conversations with other dog owners.
As you watch your dogs play and interact, it’s natural to engage in friendly chit chat and get to know each other.
Compliment their dog, share a funny story about yours, or ask about their dog’s favorite toys. It’s an excellent icebreaker, and who knows, it might lead to future outings with or without your dogs.