A recent article in Our City San Diego called San Diego the “Vancouver of the Southwest” in a review of urban developments led by Vancouver natives like Nat Bosa and AJ Tangsoc.

“Vancouverism” describes an urban planning model based on broad, low commercial buildings for easy walkability, upscale townhouses and slim residential skyscrapers. San Diego and Vancouver have more in common than just similar architectural styles and urban planning ideologies. Both are refuges for residents of an unforgiving interior.

San Diego’s cool ocean breezes offer a respite from the desert clime that dominates Southern California, while Vancouver’s relatively mild, if moist, weather offers an escape from the bitter subarctic clime that dominates much of Canada’s interior. San Diego and Vancouver may draw comparisons, but the differences between the weather are too big to go unobserved. Vancouver often sees rain for 40 days at a stretch, while in California’s current drought, one day of rain out of 40 something is a miracle.

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And while both San Diego and Vancouver have beautiful shorelines, taking a dip is a bit bracing up north. Vancouver’s shore is mostly known for its fishing industry than tanned surfers and beachgoers. But both cities are built around great central parks, Stanley in San Diego and Balboa in Vancouver.

The similarities do not end there. As if by coincidence, both San Diego and Vancouver are both the eighth-largest cities of the United States and Canada. The two cities’ vintage districts are also very similarly named. In Vancouver, it’s the Gastown district. In San Diego, it’s the Gaslamp district. Tastes in ethnic food may differ between north and south, however. San Diego has about as many taco trucks as Vancouver has sushi restaurants.

Both cities have also lost NBA teams. The Grizzlies left Vancouver years ago, while the Clippers abandoned San Diego, never to return. “American” football, while not the biggest sport in the north, is holding on to its fans in Vancouver. Vancouver’s football team, the Lions, has kept the city as its home since and has no plans to leave anytime soon. The San Diego Chargers, on the other hand, are threatening to pull up cleats and move to Los Angeles or elsewhere if the city does not replace the aging Qualcomm Stadium. And while Vancouver may have hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, San Diego gets the Comic-Con every year.

When it comes to baseball, the Vancouver Canadians are a minor league team, barely ranking in the MLB, and serve mostly as a proving grounds for potential picks for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Sand Diego Padres, on the other hand, is a nationally-ranked team with an excellent track record and good prospects, looking forward to its next victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. No such glory in the MLB for the Vancouver Canadians, sadly.

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