Vancouver, BC, Canada

  About Vancouver

With its scenic views, mild climate, and friendly people, Vancouver is known around the world as both a popular tourist attraction and one of the best places to live. It is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada. Known to be a popular filming location, it is surrounded by music, theatre, and art scenes and is considered to be one of the best cities to live in. The city is surrounded by a picturesque range of mountains making it a popular tourist destination almost all year round. Vancouver is a young city and has many attractions and points of interest to lure every type of traveller.

Catering to any interest throughout the year, you can enjoy world-class shopping, gourmet meals, outstanding live entertainment, sporting events, theatre, outdoor adventure, spectacular sights and attractions - it's all waiting for you in Vancouver.

Just as Vancouver welcomed the world in 2010 for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, they are ready to welcome you as well. A vast multicultural population, endless activities, and excellent infrastructure, Vancouver is welcoming to all. The Vancouver International Airport is rated as a top North American airport providing easy access from all over the world. The city has public transportation, but given how walkable Vancouver is, you just might never use it. You will find Vancouver a great walking city that is clean, green, safe, and easily accessible.

Vancouver's hotels, restaurants and business community offer outstanding levels of service and product quality. Meeting your needs and exceeding your expectations is a top priority of Vancouver's businesses, providing friendly assistance every step of your trip. And with a consistently advantageous exchange rate on the Canadian dollar, travellers can have a world-class experience with superior value for money.

 

  Weather

In October, the average temperature in Vancouver is 10°C / 50ºF, reaching average highs of 14°C / 57ºF in the peak of the afternoon. After dark, temperatures dip down to a low of 6°C/ 43ºF, so bring plenty of warm layers and a rain or winter coat for a visit to Vancouver this month.

It rains about half the days in the month of October. Humidity is fairly low thanks to ocean breezes and on occasional sunny days in early October the ocean might be warm enough for brave swimmers but generally, it's a chilly 10ºC / 50ºF in the ocean at that time of year.

What to pack:

  • Warm, waterproof clothing; sweaters, hoodies, light jackets, heavier jacket; closed-toe shoes; boots if heading out of the city.
  • Vancouver residents dress casually and weather appropriate, which often means comfortable shoes and rain resistant wear.

  • Umbrella

  • Sunhat, sunglasses, warm hat

Languages

Federal government departments provide service in English and French, but most of the population speaks English as either a first or second language.

The City of Vancouver is quite cosmopolitan and is a mix of many multicultural groups. Because the city is multicultural, it's also multilingual on an unofficial level. Its people speak many different languages and many follow the traditions of their native lands, sometimes moderating them with Canadian culture.

After English and Chinese, the most common mother tongue languages spoken are Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish.

Currency

Canadian dollar ($)

All amounts approximate:

$1 US = $1.33 CAN

€1 EUR = $1.50 CAN

£1 GBP = $1.74 CAN

Getting Around Vancouver

You'll be fine without a car (the city center is especially easy to explore on foot and transit routes are extensive).

Vancouver is known for being a very walkable city with a compact downtown core, so you’ll likely find many of the places you want to go are just a short walk from your hotel. Visit our Maps section to help plan your route.

For visits that incorporate the wider region's mountains and communities, however, a vehicle makes life much simpler: the further you travel from downtown, the more limited your transit options become.

Driving

  • Seat belts are mandatory, and there is also a ban on using handheld electronic devices while driving.
  • Vancouver doesn't have any expressways going through its core, which can lead to some major congestion issues. Evening rush-hour traffic can be troublesome.
  • For suggested driving routes around the region, visit hellobc.com. For route planning and driving conditions throughout the province, try drivebc.ca.

Parking

Parking is at a premium in downtown Vancouver: there are some free spots on residential side streets but many require permits, and traffic wardens are predictably predatory. Many streets also have metered parking (up to $6 per hour). Pay-parking lots (typically from $5 per hour) are a better proposition – arrive before 9am at some for early-bird, day-rate discounts.

For an interactive map of parking lot locations, check EasyPark.

Rental

Major car-rental agencies with offices around the city and at Vancouver International Airport:

Bus

  • Vancouver’s TransLink bus network is extensive. All vehicles are equipped with bike racks and all are wheelchair accessible. Exact change (or more) is required; buses use fare machines and change is not given. Fares cost adult/child $2.75/1.75 and are valid for up to 90 minutes of transfer travel. While Vancouver's transit system covers three geographic fare zones, all bus trips are regarded as one-zone fares.
  • Bus services operate from early morning to after midnight in central areas. There is also a handy night-bus system that runs every 30 minutes between 1:30am and 4am. The last night-bus leaves downtown Vancouver at 3:09am. Look for night-bus signs at designated stops.

SkyTrain

  • TransLink’s SkyTrain rapid-transit network currently consists of four routes and is a great way to move around the region, especially beyond the city center.
  • Compass tickets for SkyTrain trips can be purchased from station vending machines (change is given; machines also accept debit and credit cards) prior to boarding.
  • SkyTrain journeys cost $2.75 to $5.50 (plus $5 more if you're traveling from the airport), depending on how far you are journeying.

Transit Tickets & Passes

  • Along with trip-planning resources, the TransLink website www.translink.ca has a comprehensive section on fares and passes covering its combined bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain services.
  • Metro Vancouver's new ticketing system is called Compass.
  • DayPasses and Compass Cards allow you access to all bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain services.
  • The transit system is divided into three geographic zones. One-zone tickets cost adult/child $2.75/1.75, two-zones $4/2.75 and three-zones $5.505/3.75. All bus trips are one-zone fares.
  • Buy all-access paper DayPasses ($9.75) and plastic rechargeable Compass Cards ($6 deposit) from vending machines at SeaBus and SkyTrain stations, or from designated Compass retailers around the city, including London Drugs branches.
  • After 6:30pm, and on weekends or holidays, all transit trips are classed as one-zone fares and cost $2.75/1.75. Children under five travel for free on all transit services at all times.

Taxi

Taxis (including accessible wheelchair taxis) are plentiful and can be hailed on the street, as well as found at designated stands, and called for pick-up.

Vancouver currently does not allow Uber-type services. Try the following long-established taxi companies:

Bicycle

  • Vancouver is a relatively good cycling city, with more than 300km of designated routes crisscrossing the region
  • Cyclists can take their bikes for free on SkyTrains, SeaBuses and transit buses, which are all now fitted with bike racks.
  • Cyclists are required by law to wear helmets.
  • In recent years, dedicated bike lanes have been created downtown.
  • A new public bike-share called Mobi
  • is available for cheap rentals, with pick up/drop off locations all around the city.
  • Pick up a free Metro Vancouver Cycling Map for details on area routes and bike-friendly contacts and resources – or download it via the TransLink website www.translink.ca.
  • You can also rent wheels (often including inline skates) from businesses around the city, especially on Denman St near Stanley Park – home of Vancouver's most popular scenic cycling route.

Resources:

Boat

Waterfront Vancouver makes use of its waterways for local travel, via transit services and private providers.

Mini ferries

Operators offer day passes ($10 to $15) as well as discounted books of tickets for those making multiple water hops. Single trips cost from $3.50.

Aquabus Ferries Runs frequent mini-vessels (some big enough to carry bikes) between the foot of Hornby St and Granville Island. It also services several additional spots along the False Creek waterfront, as far as Science World.

False Creek Ferries Operates a similar Granville Island service from Sunset Beach, and has additional ports of call around False Creek.

Ferry

The iconic SeaBus shuttle is part of the TransLink transit system (regular transit fares apply) and it operates throughout the day, taking 12 minutes to cross Burrard Inlet between Waterfront Station (Downtown) and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.