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Vancouver

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Travel Guide North America Canada British Columbia Vancouver

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Introduction

Vancouver

Vancouver

© All Rights Reserved Degolasse

Vancouver is Canada's west coast gem and is a glimmering city of shiny skyscrapers with amazing backdrops of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Ocean. A laid back, liberal lifestyle mixed with an outdoorsy attitude makes this a favourite for skiers, boarders, kayakers and mountain bikers. It is often in the top 10 of most livable cities in the world, currently (2011) ranked number 3. In February 2010, Vancouver was the host city of the Winter Olympic Games.

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Neighbourhoods

  • North Vancouver
  • West Vancouver
  • Coquitlam
  • Surrey
  • Vancouver
  • Maple Ridge
  • Richmond
  • Burnaby
  • New Westminster
  • Langley
  • Port Moody

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Sights and Activities

Outdoor Activities

  • Hiking - Vancouver is also a haven for outdoor sports enthusiasts. The North Shore mountains are an amazing place for hiking. Some of the best areas include Lynn Valley, Capilano Regional Park and the old-growth forest filled Lighthouse Park. The famous Badden-Powell Trail traverses most of the North Shore mountains, travelling 48 kilometres from Deep Cove to Horseshoe bay - not for the faint of heart!
  • Biking - The North Shore is also famous for its mountain biking. Well maintained single-track trails are cut through many of the areas mountains. Check out The North Shore Mountain Biking Association for maps and information.
  • Skiing - During the winter, skiing at local resorts such as Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, Mount Seymour and Hemlock is popular. Of course, world famous Whistler is within driving distance as well.

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Events and Festivals

  • Dine Out Vancouver (Late January/Early February) - 17 days of thousands of locals, thousands of food lovers and a load of tasty food. It's Canada's largest restaurant festival where over 200 participating restaurants offer discounted lunch and dinner menus for all to try. Sample Vancouver's regional and international eateries for cheap! Price: 0&submit=Search#searchBr
  • Celtic Fest and St Patrick's Day - During March, Vancouver celebrates Celtic Fest which includes the parade celebrations for St. Patrick's Day. The Celtic festival showcases the best of Celtic music, dance, spoken word as well as film, food and fare. The five day festival features a lot of free entertainment and has become an annual springtime tradition in downtown Vancouver. The St. Patrick's Parade runs every year starting at beginning on Howe and Drake, proceeding north along Howe to Georgia, and ending at Georgia & Granville Streets. Almost 2,000 people join in and there are Celtic music groups, Scottish and Irish dances, drumming bands, acrobats and much more!
  • Cherry Blossom Festival - This festival runs from the end of March to the end of April to honour the 37,000 ornamental cherry trees that were generously given from Japan in the 1930's. It is a city-wide celebration where you're encouraged to explore Vancouver's beautiful natural park settings. Watch out for a Cherry Blossom Umbrella Flash Mob Dance!
  • Vaisakhi Parade - Every April hundreds of thousands turn out for the traditional Indian celebration of the harvest. There are two seperate events - one in Surrey and one in South Vancouver. The Surrey event is the largest Vaisakhi celebration outside of India. The streets are lined with people giving away home cooked food - a traditional part of the celebration of the harvest - so it is a great place to sample authentic Indian cuisine.
  • BMO Vancouver International Marathon - Participants from over 38 countries join this event! Held at the Concord Pacific Place; the BMO Vancouver Marathon is one of Canada's largest marathons and has an extensive history since its inaugural year in 1972.
  • HSBC Celebration of Light Festival - With great weather, great music, and great fireworks, this is Vancouver's largest festival. Held in English Bay, this international fireworks display attracts literally millions of onlookers annually. Note that this festival has had trouble with sponsorship the past couple of years, but has remained open every year and a staple of Vancouver's summer!
  • Pride Festival Vancouver - A celebration of Vancouver's diverse Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community. Each year, the annual Pride Parade attracts a crowd of more than 600,000 people to the West End. During the Festival, a load of concerts, parties, lectures, boat cruises, art exhibitions and more occur making it a fun time of festivities.
  • The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (Late Jan/Early Feb) - The famous Vancouver event is spread over three weeks and features live performing arts by international, Canadian and local artists. The Festival looks to inspire and stimulate the audience, and is artistically respected in Canada. Over the weeks, 160 performances and events are held, which attracts over 23,000 and many event sell-outs, so book in advance!
  • Vancouver International Wine Festival (Late Feb - Early March) - Formerly known as The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, the Wine Festival began in the late 1970's but has grown massively with wineries from all over Canada and the World participating.
  • Vancouver ComedyFest (February) - Some of the best comedians from around the globe flock to Vancouver to work the stage. This city has become respected on the comedy circuit with both international acts and home grown talent. Heavy-hitting comedy lengends have been known to appear so it's well worth a look!
  • Vancouver International Jazz Festival (Late June - Early July) - It's the largest music ffestival in British Columbia with over 300 concerts, many of which are free! Performances are held in parks, public plazas, concert halls, clubs and streets of various neighbourhoods. Jazz, blues, world, creative and improvised music are featured and attracts over half a million to Vancouver.
  • Carnaval Del Sol (End of June) - This day festival celebrates Vancouver's Latin American art and culture, completely free and fun! Latin food vendors serve exotic food with the spices and culinary styles of their cultures, street soccer tournaments are kicked off, performances and shows, market places, dance troupes, musical artists... it's a real celebration to being communities together.
  • Canada Day at Canada Place (02 Jun 2013) - The Canada Day Parade is at 7:00pm and then the Canada Day Fireworks Show kicks off at 10:30pm. The festivities for the country's birthday are held at Canada Place, Jack Poole Plaza, Harbour Green Park and the surrounding streets. There's buskers and roaming entertainment, food vendors, the citizenship ceremony, plenty of music, the West Coast Lumberjack Show and street hockey. Guaranteed for a fun action-packed day! Hours: 10:00am - 7:00pm
  • Chinatown Festival (11 Aug 2013 - 12 Aug 2013) - Come together on the streets of Columbia and Keefer to experience the biggest multicultural summer celebration. Festival activities included day markets, "Historical & Food Tasting Walking tour", multicultural stage performances, Cultural Corner, TD Youth Talent Showdown, activities and Streetfest.
  • Vancouver International Fringe Festival - It is British Columbia's largest theatre festival and the most international Fringe Festival in North America. Over 700 performances attract over 30,000 to the city. It supports emerging and established artists and cultivates creativity. Some artists even BYOV (Bring Their Own Venue) which means some performances are in quite unconventional locations, such as, a boat, a tree or a fire escape!

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Weather

Sunset in Vancouver

Sunset in Vancouver

© All Rights Reserved shinenyc

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max6.1 °C8 °C10.1 °C13.1 °C16.5 °C19.2 °C21.7 °C21.9 °C18.7 °C13.5 °C9 °C6.2 °C
Avg Min0.5 °C1.5 °C3.1 °C5.3 °C8.4 °C11.2 °C13.2 °C13.4 °C10.5 °C6.6 °C3.1 °C0.8 °C
Rainfall153.6 mm123.1 mm114.3 mm84 mm67.9 mm54.8 mm39.6 mm39.1 mm53.5 mm112.6 mm181 mm175.7 mm
Rain Days18.516.31713.91311.26.96.88.614.319.719.8

The average maximum temperatures by month in Vancouver are:

  • January - 5 °C
  • February - 7 °C
  • March - 10 °C
  • April - 14 °C
  • May - 18 °C
  • June - 21 °C
  • July - 23 °C
  • August - 23 °C
  • September - 18 °C
  • October - 14 °C
  • November - 9 °C
  • December - 5 °C

Nights average between 0 °C in January and 12 °C in July and August. Records are -17 °C in winter and 33 °C in summer.

Good to visit year round, Vancouver is never too cold, but can be quite rainy, with an average annual rainfall of 1,117.2 mm. The most rain falls in winter - November through March. This is still an excellent time of year to visit, though, with Vancouver providing close by skiing opportunities and being the gateway to Rocky Mountain skiing, for example in Whistler, where parts of the Winter Olympics 2010 were held.

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Getting There

By Plane

Vancouver International Airport (international airport code: YVR) is in Richmond, British Columbia, approximately 15 kilometres from downtown Vancouver. The airport has service from a number of international airlines, and an extensive network of flights to Asia and the Pacific.

Vancouver International Airport has three terminals:

  • The domestic terminal for flights within Canada;
  • The international terminal for incoming international flights;
  • The south terminal is located in a remote part of the airport, serving regional airlines which fly mostly within British Columbia.

The international and domestic terminals are connected by a walkway, taking about 10 minutes to transfer between the two.

The airport has stunning architecture and the extensive collections of North West Coast Native art (the largest collection in the world. A colour palate of blues and greens to reflect the colours of the land, sea and sky, with vast expanses of glass to let in large amounts of natural light. The airport is ranked highly among international airports, placing 6th overall in the world in international passenger satisfaction.[1]

To/from the airport

  • Bus service to Vancouver, Richmond and beyond originate at the Airport Station Bus Terminal, located near the Delta Hotel. Airport Station and the airport are connected by Bus Route #424, which picks up and drops off passengers at the ground level of the domestic terminal. The 98 B Line and Route #496 connect to downtown Vancouver. Fares vary depending on the destination and time of day. When boarding the bus cash fares must be paid in exact change. A change machine is available in the domestic terminal located near the exit doors closest to the transit area. Bus tickets may also be purchased at the 7-eleven convenience store and the Pharmasave pharmacy, both located in the domestic terminal. Bus service frequency and times vary depending on time of day, day of the week or season.
  • Newly completed is the Rapid Transit Line (operated by Translink) that connects downtown Vancouver with Richmond and the airport. Completed on August 17, 2009, the new transit line has been a great addition to the city. The rapid service has now created connections from downtown to the airport in a mere 26 minutes and the fare is just Cdn$5.00 for peak periods (running from 4:50am to 6:30pm on weekdays) and during off peak hours (weekdays after 6:30pm and all day weekends) it's even less: Cdn$2.50. The new rapid transit line has added 16 stations and 19 kilometres to the Skytrain network. The new skytrain line runs through the main part of downtown and all downtown hotels are accessible generally by a short walk.
  • Other possibilities to get to/from the airport include taxis or renting a car.

By Train

Domestic
The Canadian operates by ViaRail travels between Vancouver and Toronto.

International
The Amtrak Cascades travels between Vancouver and Seattle, Portland and Eugene in the United States.

By Car

Vancouver has a pre-existing road structure that is fairly easy to follow and local maps are usually up-to-date. Keep in mind during peak hours (7:00am-9:30am & 4:00pm-6:00pm), roads can be quite congested. Your best bet is local transit (including skytrain), or taking advantage of the many bike routes.

Cars can be rented from any local rental agency, such as Avis, Budget, National, Sixt, Hertz, Alamo or many others. All rental places require a credit card deposit and will not take cash.

An alternative to rental car agencies is a local company called "Zipcar", in which members pay a monthly fee and can take short trips around the city from pickup and drop off points that are located in every major neighbourhood.

Taxis are also available but you will have to look for them at designated stops. If you cannot find the designated stops in your neighbourhood, you can easily call a local taxi company and then will pick you up at your door. Keep in mind you will have to speak fairly good English to order your taxi. There is no additional charge for the taxi to pick you up at your door, but you must call the taxi company that corresponds to your local area. (i.e. if you are leaving from Burnaby, you must choose a taxi company from Burnaby. If you are leaving from North Vancouver, you must call a North Vancouver company).

By Bus

Greyhound and Pacific Coach Canada both offer bus connections within Canada or the regional area of British Columbia. Greyhound offers daily or better service to almost all local communities throughout British Columbia, but you will not require Greyhound, unless you go further than Langley, British Columbia. All cities within the "GVRD" or Greater Vancouver Regional District, which includes Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Langley, Delta, Richmond, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge can all easily be accessed by local transit.

By Boat

Check Ferries British Columbia for routes, schedules and prices. They offer daily scheduled routes to Vancouver Island (Victoria, Naniamo), the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and as far north as Prince Rupert. Keep in mind it is cheaper to board as a passenger than a vehicle if you intend to travel alone, as the cost per vehicle on the ferry can be quite expensive. Alternatively local transit can be used to get to and from the ferry terminals when leaving from Vancouver to go to Victoria or Nanaimo.

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Getting Around

By Car

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Public Transport

Local transit is commonly used, and much cheaper than by car. Local maps and timetables can be found inside stations, on buses, and in local libraries (your best best for time tables is the libraries).
Online information can be found at the Translink website.

By Foot

Vancouver is a beautiful city to see by foot, with sidewalks and walking trails established all over the city including the famous "Seawall" which runs from Point Grey (near UBC) all the way to Canada Place. It offers a scenic view of the city along the sea that runs through many of Vancouver's most desirable neighbourhoods.

By Bike

In recent years, Vancouver has begun to upgrade its' existing network of bike accessible roads. Although it is legal to bike on all local streets (minus the major highways that require a minimum of 60km/hr), it isn't always recommended to go biking without a local bike map (Cycling Routes) as some roads can leave little to no room to bike. The good news is that there are many local roads that have bike trails or are dedicated bike routes that offer a scenic way to experience Vancouver.

Bikes can be rented from local shops (mostly found in the bike store districts of Denman/Stanley Park, North Vancouver, Broadway/Vancouver) and generally offer rentals from 2 hours to multiple days. The same stores also rent rollerblades but be warned, they are not to be tried without some sort of skating experience!

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Eat

The best part of Vancouver is the multicultural atomosphere. Anything and everything you could ever think of is available to you. Anything from sushi (which Vancouver happens to be famous for), to Korean, Brazillian Steak Houses, Gelato, Malaysian, Greek, Italian, Mongolian, Chinese, Persian, Indian, etc. can be found in Vancouver if you know where to look. Downtown and the local neighbourhood hubs offers your best chance to experience as many flavors as possible within a very short distance of each other. Coffee is also a big part of the Vancouver lifestyle, with a coffee shop within every block or less.

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Drink

Vancouver is all about choices! Although Vancouver is home to some great local breweries, it is known more for the choices. Home to many Tapas Bars, Martini Bars, local pubs and restuarants, you can generally find any type of beer, cocktail or martini you could think of. Outside of restaurants, you can only find alcohol in Beer & Wine stores, or Liquor stores. Supermarkets under law, are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, but they can however sell 'non-beer' or non-alcoholic beer. Prices vary considerably, but a "Signature Liquor store" or a government owned liquor store will generally get you the best bang for your buck, then the local liquor stores (depending on the location), and then the Beer & Wine stores.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
401 Motor Inn2950 Boundary Roadhotel-
AWA Hotel Vancouver English Bay1150 Denman StreetHotel80
AWA Waldorf Vancouver1489 East Hastings StreetGuesthouse-
Budget Inn Patricia Hotel403 east Hastings StreetHotel75
C&N Backpackers Hostel927 Main StreetHostel79
C&N Central Station Hostel1038 Main Street VancouverHostel74
Cambie Hostel - Gastown300 Cambie St. VancouverHostel77
Cambie Hostel - Seymour515 Seymour St. V6B 3H6 VancouverHostel83
Ellison House542 East 1st Street North VancouverGuesthouse77
Granville Grand Hotel1212 Granville Street, vancouver, BC V6Z1M4Hotel79
HI-Vancouver Central1025 Granville Street VancouverHostel84
HI-Vancouver Downtown1114 Burnaby StreetHostel84
HI-Vancouver Jericho Beach1515 Discovery Street VancouverHostel81
Little Retreat5228 Frances StreetGuesthouse81
SameSun Backpacker Lodge - Vancouver1018 Granville St VancouverHostel87
St. Clair Hotel577 Richards St. VancouverHotel80
Urban Hideaway Guesthouse581 Richards StreetGuesthouse86
Vancouver Backpacker Guesthouse7020 Gray Ave Burnaby BCGuesthouse77
YWCA Hotel733 Beatty Street VancouverHotel82
Grouse Inn Vancouver1633 Capilano Rd. North Vancouver VancouverHotel-
Days Inn Hotel Downtown Vancouver921 West Pender Street VancouverHotel-
Best Western Hotel Downtown Vancouver718 Drake St VancouverHotel81
Super 8 Vancouver725 South East Marine DriveHotel-
Best Western Peace Arch Inn White Rock Hotel2293 King George Highway SurreyHotel-
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites RiverportNo.6 RoadHotel-
Landis Hotel & Suites1200 Hornby Street VancouverHOTEL-
Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel395 KingswayHotel-
Lions Gate Travelodge2060 Marine DrHotel-
Ramada Vancouver Exhibition Park Hotel3475 E Hastings StreetHotel-
Best Western Plus Vancouver Uptown Hotel205 KingswayHotel-
The Sylvia Hotel1154 Gilford StHotel-
City Centre Motor Hotel2111 Main StreetHotel-
Days Inn Vancouver Metro2075 KingswayHotel-
Ramada Vancouver Airport Hotel7188 Westminster Hwy RichmondHotel-
North Vancouver Hotel1800 Capilano RoadHotel-
Abbott Hills Bed and Breakfast Vancouver Airport10920 Ashcroft AvenueGUESTHOUSE-
2400 Motel2400 KingswayHOTEL-
AAE Vancouver Ramada7188 Westminister HWY Canada Sky Train LineHOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all local coffee shops offer WI-FI service. Most offer this service free of charge (with your order of course), but some do charge a small fee by credit card that you will only notice once you have sat down and tried to log onto the internet with your computer (this is usually Starbucks). Hotels, hostels, and even budget motels for the most part offer WI-FI or internet free of charge. If you do not carry a computer with you, there are also local internet cafes that offer internet on their computers for a fee of usually $1.50+ per hour.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Canada is: 1. To make an international call from Canada, the code is: 011. Emergency services can be reached by dialling 911. This number will give you free access to Police, Fire and Ambulance services and can be used from landlines, phone booths and cell phones.

The populous areas of Canada along the border with the USA have excellent cellular and wired telecommunications, meaning that travellers are never fair from an international phone call home, a WIFI connection or an internet cafe. Depending on the mobile phone provider, coverage could be either CDMA and GSM coverage. Travellers wishing to purchase SIM cards for GSM phones should look for Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility, which all offer nationwide availability.

Post

Postal service is provided by Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the government but run as an independent business. Most post offices keep hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm though in bigger places longer hourse might be available.

To format the envelope of a letter sent within Canada, put the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

The lettermail service allows the mailing of a letter. The basic rate is currently set at $0.63 for one standard letter (30 grams or less). The rates for lettermail are based or weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one. The rate is the same for a postcard. Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents. The rate for a standard letter is of $1.10 if sent to the United States, and $1.85 if sent to any other destination. Oversize or overweight letters may be charged a higher fee. Larger parcels can be shipped via Canada post both domestically and internationally, the rate is dependent on the weight and destination. [2]

Federal Express, TNT, UPS or DHL also provide interntional shipping from Canada and are usually very quick and reliable though might cost a little more compared to Canada Post.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 49.263588
  • Longitude: -123.138565

Contributors

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Vancouver Travel Helpers

  • Sander

    I spent a week in Vancouver and got to know the city reasonably well. Might be able to help out with suggestions on what to do over there.

    Ask Sander a question about Vancouver
  • Ziegfried77

    I have travelled to Vancouver more than 23 times within one year and I do plan to move there soon someday so I know the city like the back of my hand, i know some of the best places to go, things to do, where streets are, best ways of getting to Vancouver depending on your budget and if you love to eat I can tell you the most fantastic places to go!

    Ask Ziegfried77 a question about Vancouver

This is version 70. Last edited at 12:43 on Jul 18, 13 by Utrecht. 85 articles link to this page.

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