The City of Vancouver is a highly diverse and multicultural city with people from all around the world. As such, it is a popular tourist destination and has been regarded as one of the most outstanding convention cities in the world.
Vancouver has been ranked one of the most livable cities in the world for the past decade and was ranked as having the 4th highest quality of living in the world as of 2010, on par with cities such as Melbourne, Vienna, and Toronto. The city offers plenty of fine dining and shopping, but it is also an excellent place for more outdoor pursuits such as hiking, golfing, boating, and surfing.
Vancouver has a moderate, oceanic climate. Protected by the mountains and warmed by the Pacific ocean currents, Vancouver is one of the warmest cities in Canada. Although Vancouver has a reputation for rain, it actually ranks as the 9th rainiest location in Canada. Vancouver’s wettest months are November and December with an average precipitation of 182mm. July and August are the driest months in Vancouver, with an average of just 41mm of precipitation.
Learn more about Vancouver’s diverse marine life at the Vancouver Aquarium, see unique artwork at numerous art galleries (including the Vancouver Art Gallery), or catch a Vancouver Canucks hockey game at BC Place Stadium. There is something to do for everybody!
- The Vancouver Metropolitan Area has a population of 2.4 million as of 2010, which is approximately half of the entire population of British Columbia; the city of Vancouver proper has over 600,000 people (census data from 2011)
- Vancouver was ranked as the third most livable city by the EIU in 2013 and fifth most livable city by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey
- Vancouver boasts one of the most diverse multicultural populations in Canada—alongside English and Chinese, you may also hear Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish as you walk around the city
- Through various initiatives, Vancouver is on track to its goal of being the greenest city in the world by 2020—currently 93% of the electricity used in Vancouver is generated from sustainable sources such as hydroelectricity
- Stanley Park, just northwest of downtown Vancouver, is one of the largest urban parks in North America
By Public Transit
TransLink provides city transit for tourists and residents seven days a week via buses through its rapid transit system, SkyTrain, including the Canada Line with direct access to Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
Vancouver is one of the most walkable cities in the world! With easy access to more than 13,000 hotel rooms, the Vancouver Convention Centre is no more than four blocks away from the furthest downtown hotel.
SeaBus ferries connect downtown Vancouver to the North Shore with a scenic 12-minute regular ferry service every day.
Vancouver is an easy city to drive in, and traveling by car can be a great way to explore the city.
At every curb, there are taxi-cabs and limousines at your service. From YVR, it’s a simple 20-minute connection to your downtown hotel.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Canada has introduced a new entry requirement, known as an eTA, for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. Entry requirements for other methods of travel (land, sea) have not changed.
Starting August 1, 2015, eligible travellers can apply online for an eTA. On March 15, 2016, this entry requirement will become mandatory and travellers will need an eTA before they can board a flight to Canada.
Find out more about Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Countries that are not eligible under eTA may need to apply for a Visitors Visa. Check online for more information.
Attendees from the USA may check entry / exit requirements to Canada outlined in the U.S. Department of State Consular Information website. Proof of citizenship must be provided.
The currency used in Vancouver is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Almost all businesses in Vancouver accept major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
If you prefer to use cash, most banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9am–5pm, though specific branches may vary. Some banks are open on the weekends with shorter hours. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available at many branches 24 hours a day.
There are many places to shop in Vancouver, from small boutiques to large malls. Major shopping streets include Robson Street, Granville Street, and Burrard Street. Along with typical weekday hours, most shopping locations are also open on weekends and public holidays, typically around 12pm–5pm.
Restaurant tipping is left to the customer’s discretion, but the customary amount is 15%. Many restaurants automatically add a tip or gratuity to the bill for groups larger than 6 or 8 people. It is also customary to tip bellhops, luggage handlers and taxi drivers, at your discretion.
Electricity & Power
The standard Canadian AC power supply comes at 110V (60Hz) and utilizes the NEMA 1-15p and NEMA 5-15p outlet standard (pictured above). Please bring a travel adapter and/or transformer for your electronic devices (such as laptops and smartphones) and small appliances (such as electric razors, hair dryers, and irons) if you require them.
Emergency & Safety
Vancouver remains one of the safest cities in Canada. However, it is always advisable to know about local safety services in the unlikely event of an emergency. In the event of a health, safety, or criminal emergency, dial 9-1-1. It is also advised to know the location and contact number of your country’s embassy in the event that your travel documents are lost.
Canada officially adopted the metric system in the 1970s. However, Canadians typically use a hybrid of metric and Imperial units in day-to-day life, depending on the situation.
Temperatures are measured almost exclusively in degrees Celsius. Speed limits in Canada are listed as kilometres per hour (km/h). Volumes are typically measured in millilitres and litres. Distances are typically measured in centimetres, metres, and kilometres, but also as inches and feet. Weights are typically measured in both kilograms and pounds.