There isn't very much of an "in between" in Vancouver... Either you're paying through the nose or you are forced to live an hour + commute into the suburbs like Surrey or Langley (and still paying relatively high prices compared to other cities). The only reason Surrey and Langley (and others like Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge) are cheaper is because they're stuck on the opposite side of the Fraser and the Pitt rivers from the rest of the city and there are not very many crossings so traffic bottlenecks and makes for a horrible commute.
Vancouver is not as expensive as people think. I lived there for 33 years. Of courses, real estate is VERY expensive. For a family of 3, your rent or mortgage is going to cost the most. Everything else is average for a typical Canadian city. Decide where you want to live first, and go from there. If you want a house, prepare to start at 300,000.