Travel Tips for Vancouver

Climate  (What to Wear!)

Vancouver enjoys warm, comfortable summers with moderate temperatures that are tempered by sea breezes. June daytime temperatures linger around 20º Celsius (70º Fahrenheit) with lows of 12º Celsius (53º Fahrenheit). Evenings, especially in the surrounding mountains, can be cool, so it’s best to pack a light jacket and sweater. While June is one of the least rainy months in a city famous for its rain, it is still advisable to pack an umbrella or light rain jacket.

Accessibility

Vancouver enjoys a reputation as being one of the most accessible cities in the world among travelers with special needs. Whether using wheelchairs, white canes, seeing eye dogs or hearing aids, Vancouver leads the way in making the area a more livable place for people with disabilities through its progressive transportation systems, innovative housing and recreational opportunities.

Languages

English is the predominant language in Vancouver, and is one of Canada’s two official languages, French being the other. Other commonly spoken languages in Vancouver are Punjabi, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

Time Zone

Vancouver is on Pacific Standard Time, three hours behind Eastern Standard Time and eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight savings time is in effect from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.

Metric Measures

Canada follows the International Metric System. Temperatures, rainfall measures, distance, weights, and velocity are expressed in metric units.

Electricity

Outlets and voltage (120 volts) are the same as in the United States. Small appliances such as hair dryers, irons, razors, etc. can be used in Canada. For those from other countries, adapters are required for electrical appliances. The frequency of electrical current in Canada is 60 Hz.

Personal & Medical Insurance

Individual travelers are strongly advised to obtain their own personal health or travel insurance as desired. Liability insurance is the responsibility of each individual delegate. The Canadian Medical Health Insurance Plan does not cover visitors to Canada and delegates should therefore have their own medical coverage.

Tipping

Tipping in Vancouver is normal and is around 15%-20% of the bill.

Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking is restricted in many places in Vancouver, including public transportation, restaurants, places of work, enclosed public areas, and within 3 meters of any door or air intake, and within 6 meters of any food service areas and patios. The legal drinking age in B.C. is 19 years of age.

Currency/Money Matters

The currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar (sign: $ or C$; code: CAD). It is recommended that all visitors use Canadian currency when traveling within Canada. Visitors can exchange currency at Canadian chartered banks, trust companies, credit unions, or at offices of foreign exchange brokers, but it is advised to have local currency on hand prior to arriving.

Money

Paper bills: $5 (blue), $10 (purple), $20 (green), $50 (red), and $100 (brown) denominations.

Coins include the nickel (5¢), dime (10¢), quarter (25¢), loonie ($1) and toonie ($2).

Electronic transactions

Credit cards, ATMs, and direct-debit cards are commonly used in Canada.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted in most stores and restaurants.

Banks

YVR offers Currency Exchange Services, and has a Royal Bank of Canada, as well as several ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) throughout the airport.

There are various banks on the UBC Campus. The Bank of Montreal (MasterCard), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (VISA) and Scotiabank are located within walking distance of accommodation and conference venues, and have 24-hour ATMs. ATMS are also available in the lobby of Walter Gage Residence, in the Student Union Building (SUB), and in the University Village.

Sustainability

For the fifth-straight year, Vancouver has been ranked the “most livable city in the world”.  Surrounded by sparkling water on three sides and nestled alongside majestic coastal mountain ranges, Vancouver is situated in an exceptional natural and picturesque environment. In 2010, Vancouver was the host city for the XXI Olympic Winter Games and Paralympics.

Vancouver has the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America and is a leader in green building planning and technology. Vancouver is not only rated for tangible infrastructures, but has a natural beauty and a rich multicultural heritage. Its beauty, sophistication, people-friendliness makes it a popular meeting place and tourist destination.