It's a complaint we've heard time and time again: Vancouver is a difficult place to make friends. Transplants from across the country and indeed the world have said they struggle to meet new people and make friends here and many have launched projects to combat the problem.
Laura Wong-Thompson, founder of The RSVPlist, is another such person.
Wong-Thompson moved to Vancouver last year had has been organizing get-togethers, including the Vancouver Croissant Crawl, to help her meet new people and "help others get connected," she tells V.I.A. in an email.
"I was amazed by how many others are looking for friends to enjoy the city with. We're all around, and yet not connecting," she says. "I started getting requests for more events in more locations and for more age groups/identities."
Thus, the concept of a community-led membership social club was born.
Members or interested participants can browse upcoming events and activities on their website and book in to attend as part of a group. Once small groups have formed, participants receive an introductory email and an optional WhatsApp group link to keep in touch. The groups are not hosted (unless otherwise specified) and are peer-led by people looking to make friends.
People can pay per event or sign up for monthly and yearly memberships. Groups are in the works for different ages, genders and interests, including book and supper clubs.
"I want to include the latest restaurants, and also include local staples," she explains. "Supper Club is about exploring the city through food and sharing that experience with new friends. It's about waiting in line at Jam Cafe to see if it lives up to its hype, or checking out that new speakeasy you just read about."
Through her events, Wong-Thompson says she's found a group of women she runs with weekly and a small group of moms she sees every other week to catch up.
"I do meet more transplants than locals, but it's probably because we tend to run in the same circles and share the same resources with each other," she says. "The locals I tend to meet may have moved away and have since moved back home. With The RSVPlist I hope to reach both. It's not a bad or embarrassing thing to want to meet new people, pursue new interests, and gain new perspectives."
The RSVPlist is launching with a lineup of platonic Valentine's Day-themed events.
Hot Chocolate Fest - Granville Island Crawl
Join a foodie group for hot chocolate and to make new friends. Check out three stops from the Hot Chocolate Festival at Granville Island.
Where: Meet at Blue Hat Bakery-Café at PICA (1505 W 2nd Ave.), walk to À La Mode Pie Café (1689 Johnston St.), walk to Kasama Chocolate (1244 Cartwright St.)
When: Saturday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m. all identities in their 30s or 40s, 11 a.m. all identities in their 20s and 30s
Cost: $3.99 to attend.
Galentine's Day Self-Love Boxing Mixer (Lizzo Playlist)
Enjoy a 50-minute self-love workout to the sounds of Lizzo and a post-workout mingle session. Samantha from McKays Boudoir will be on site for event photography. This event is for all identities and fitness levels ages 19+. It does not include a group email or WhatsApp group.
Where: Rumble Boxing's Mount Pleasant Studio (168 Kingsway)
When: Sunday, Feb. 12, 12:30 - 2 p.m.
Cost: $32 ticket includes glove rental, workout and beverages
Anti-Valentine's Day Axe Throwing Mixer
This small group will show Valentine's Day who's boss with an hour-long axe-throwing class. This event is for all identities in their 20s, 30s or 40s.
Where: Academie Duello, 412 West Hastings St.
When: Monday, Feb. 13, 5:45 - 7 p.m.
Valentine's Day Cat Snuggles
Nothing says love like cat snuggles. This small group is having a 50-minute therapeutic visit to Catoro Cafe on Valentine's Day. Open to all identities in their 20s and 30s.
Where: Catoro Cafe, 666 E Broadway
When: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 7 - 8 p.m.