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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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|Avg Max||6.1 °C||8 °C||10.1 °C||13.1 °C||16.5 °C||19.2 °C||21.7 °C||21.9 °C||18.7 °C||13.5 °C||9 °C||6.2 °C|
|Avg Min||0.5 °C||1.5 °C||3.1 °C||5.3 °C||8.4 °C||11.2 °C||13.2 °C||13.4 °C||10.5 °C||6.6 °C||3.1 °C||0.8 °C|
|Rainfall||153.6 mm||123.1 mm||114.3 mm||84 mm||67.9 mm||54.8 mm||39.6 mm||39.1 mm||53.5 mm||112.6 mm||181 mm||175.7 mm|
The average maximum temperatures by month in Vancouver are:
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.
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 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.
To/from the airport
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).
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.
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.
Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
|401 Motor Inn||2950 Boundary Road||hotel||-|
|AWA Hotel Vancouver English Bay||1150 Denman Street||Hotel||78|
|AWA Waldorf Vancouver||1489 East Hastings Street||Guesthouse||-|
|Budget Inn Patricia Hotel||403 east Hastings Street||Hotel||74|
|C&N Backpackers Hostel||927 Main Street||Hostel||74|
|C&N Central Station Hostel||1038 Main Street Vancouver||Hostel||75|
|Cambie Hostel - Gastown||300 Cambie St. Vancouver||Hostel||75|
|Cambie Hostel - Seymour||515 Seymour St. V6B 3H6 Vancouver||Hostel||76|
|Ellison House||542 East 1st Street North Vancouver||Guesthouse||77|
|Granville Grand Hotel||1212 Granville Street, vancouver, BC V6Z1M4||Hotel||78|
|HI-Vancouver Central||1025 Granville Street Vancouver||Hostel||81|
|HI-Vancouver Downtown||1114 Burnaby Street||Hostel||84|
|HI-Vancouver Jericho Beach||1515 Discovery Street Vancouver||Hostel||80|
|Little Retreat||5228 Frances Street||Guesthouse||80|
|SameSun Backpacker Lodge - Vancouver||1018 Granville St Vancouver||Hostel||85|
|St. Clair Hotel||577 Richards St. Vancouver||Hotel||76|
|Urban Hideaway Guesthouse||581 Richards Street||Guesthouse||83|
|Vancouver Backpacker Guesthouse||7020 Gray Ave Burnaby BC||Guesthouse||77|
|YWCA Hotel||733 Beatty Street Vancouver||Hotel||79|
|Grouse Inn Vancouver||1633 Capilano Rd. North Vancouver Vancouver||Hotel||-|
|Days Inn Hotel Downtown Vancouver||921 West Pender Street Vancouver||Hotel||-|
|Best Western Hotel Downtown Vancouver||718 Drake St Vancouver||Hotel||78|
|Super 8 Vancouver||725 South East Marine Drive||Hotel||-|
|Best Western Peace Arch Inn White Rock Hotel||2293 King George Highway Surrey||Hotel||-|
|Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Riverport||No.6 Road||Hotel||-|
|Landis Hotel & Suites||1200 Hornby Street Vancouver||HOTEL||-|
|Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel||395 Kingsway||Hotel||-|
|Lions Gate Travelodge||2060 Marine Dr||Hotel||-|
|Ramada Vancouver Exhibition Park Hotel||3475 E Hastings Street||Hotel||-|
|Best Western Plus Vancouver Uptown Hotel||205 Kingsway||Hotel||-|
|The Sylvia Hotel||1154 Gilford St||Hotel||-|
|City Centre Motor Hotel||2111 Main Street||Hotel||-|
|Days Inn Vancouver Metro||2075 Kingsway||Hotel||-|
|Ramada Vancouver Airport Hotel||7188 Westminster Hwy Richmond||Hotel||-|
|North Vancouver Hotel||1800 Capilano Road||Hotel||-|
|Abbott Hills Bed and Breakfast Vancouver Airport||10920 Ashcroft Avenue||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|2400 Motel||2400 Kingsway||HOTEL||-|
|AAE Vancouver Ramada||7188 Westminister HWY Canada Sky Train Line||HOTEL||-|
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.
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.
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. 
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Ask Sander a question about Vancouver
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 Ziegfried77 a question about Vancouver
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!
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