Vancouver

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Towers and mountains - looking at the Vancouver skyline from Cambie Street
Vancouver is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
For other places with the same name, see Vancouver (disambiguation).

Vancouver [1] is the largest metropolitan area in Western Canada, and third largest in Canada, with a population of 2.6 million. Located at the southwestern corner of the coastal province of British Columbia, it is well known for its majestic natural beauty, as it is nestled between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently ranked as one of the "best cities to live in" and is certainly a beautiful destination to visit.

Districts[edit]

Vancouverites broadly split their city into three: the Westside, the Eastside (or East Van) and city centre. This split is simply geography: everything west of Ontario St is the Westside, everything east is East Vancouver and everything north of False Creek is the city centre. Each of these areas have their own attractions and neighbourhoods, so time permitting, explore as many as you can. The areas in the city of Vancouver are frequently confused with the separate cities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver. North Vancouver and West Vancouver are north of Burrard Inlet and are not part of the city of Vancouver itself.

City Centre

Vancouver districts map
City Centre
The financial, shopping and entertainment centre of the city. It has many of Vancouver's most notable landmarks and easy connections to other parts of the city and the Lower Mainland. With its multitude of accommodation and restaurant options, it is the ideal, if pricey, place to base yourself for exploring the city.
Stanley Park and the West End
One of the most popular places to hang out in the Vancouver, with its beaches, Stanley Park and lots of little shops and eateries.
Gastown-Chinatown
The original townsite of Vancouver. Gastown is a mix of kitsch, heritage and urban chic. Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns in North America.
Yaletown-False Creek
Reclaimed industrial land that is now modern trendy neighbourhoods with some fantastic views along False Creek. The district hosts Vancouver's major spectator sports and is home to the Athlete's Village from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Outside the city centre

Kitsilano & Granville Island
The very popular Kitsilano Beach, art studios, the famous Granville Island Public Market and fantastic urban style shopping - particularly 4th Avenue, 10th Avenue and Broadway where chain stores mix with unique independent shops.
UBC-Point Grey
The University of British Columbia campus has a number of attractions, including two sets of gardens and the acclaimed Museum of Anthropology. Nearby is Pacific Spirit Park, and further east in Point Grey, are two large beaches, Jericho and Spanish Banks. The UBC campus is also home to the popular clothing optional beach, Wreck Beach.
Mt Pleasant-South Main
Main Street is an up and coming artsy part of the city filled with unique shops. Nearby is Queen Elizabeth Park, which is the highest point in Vancouver and has some excellent free gardens.
Commercial Drive-Hastings Park
A mostly residential area of the city. Commercial Drive is a trendy neighbourhood containing many ethnic restaurants and unique boutiques.
Vancouver South
A mostly residential area that includes the Kerrisdale, Dunbar, Oakridge, Marpole and Shaughnessy neighbourhoods.

This list covers only the city itself. For its many suburbs, see Lower Mainland.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

While Vancouver is a comparatively young city, at just over 125 years, its history begins long before. The Coast Salish indigenous peoples (First Nations) have lived in the area for at least 6000 years, and Vancouver's namesake Captain George Vancouver sailed through the First Narrows in 1792. The first settlement on the downtown peninsula was Granville, located on the spot of today's Gastown. In the year of Canada's confederation a saloon was built on this site and gave birth to a small shantytown of bars and stores adjacent to the original mill on the south shore of what is now the city's harbour. A seemingly endless supply of high quality lumber was logged and sold through the ports of Gastown and Moodyville, across the inlet. Some of the trees were gigantic beams which were shipped to China to construct Beijing's Imperial Palace, and one account maintains that the world's windjammer fleets could not have been built without the trees of Burrard Inlet.

Vancouver proper was signed into existence in 1886. The first City Hall was little more than a hand painted sign nailed to a wooden tent post. The arrival of the transcontinental railway a few years later spurred growth even more and by 1892 the area had over 20,000 residents; eighteen years later this figure was over 100,000.

Factor in constant growth every year since (many in the double digits), and Greater Vancouver today is Canada's largest metropolitan area west of Toronto by far with more than 2,600,000 residents, more than half of British Columbia's population as a whole. It is also the fastest growing part of Canada. Greater Vancouver is one of the most ethnically diverse metropolitan areas in the world and is home to the second largest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco.

For many, Vancouver truly "arrived" in 1986 when the city hosted the Expo 86 World's Fair. Media attention from around the world was consistently positive, though many saw the resulting gentrification of poorer areas as being harmful to Vancouver's lower-class citizens, with many residents of the Downtown Eastside being evicted from their homes. Vancouver also hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, which was largely seen as another success, though it brought some similar criticisms.

Vancouver is perhaps best known for its scenic beauty, and the opportunities afforded by its natural environment. Vancouver is one of those rare places where you could theoretically ski in the mountains, windsurf in the ocean, and play a round of golf all in the same day. Surrounded by water on three sides, and crowned by the North Shore mountains, Vancouver is a great destination in itself, as well a great starting point for discovering the area's many outdoor activities.

Vancouver is a major sea port on the Pacific Ocean, and a base for many Alaska Cruise Ships in the summer. It has the same name as another city in the region, Vancouver, Washington (USA).

Climate[edit]

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 6 8 10 13 17 19 22 22 19 14 9 6
Nightly lows (°C) 1 2 3 5 8 11 13 13 11 7 3 1
Precipitation (mm) 154 123 114 84 68 55 40 39 54 113 181 176

See the Vancouver 7 day forecast at Environment Canada

With the exception of Victoria, Vancouver has the mildest climate of any major city in Canada; even palm trees can (and do) grow here. It rains a lot in Vancouver, especially during the winters, but during the summer months Vancouver gets less rain than most other Canadian cities. During the winter months it can go weeks without seeing the sun or a dry day, but the temperature rarely goes below freezing. Heavy snowfalls are common in the nearby mountains, but unusual in the city itself and lead to major traffic congestion when snow accumulates. The weather in Vancouver is similar to the southern UK, and while weather is similar to Seattle's, Vancouver frequently enjoys somewhat better weather overall. In the early summer the days often start out cloudy, due to marine air, but becomes clear by noon. Contrary to Vancouver's wet reputation, during the summer it is actually the second driest major Canadian city (after Victoria). Summer temperatures are not extreme, the typical day time high between June and August is around 24-25°C (75-77°F) away from the immediate seaside cooling effect.

Cherry blossoms in the University of British Columbia.

There is one word to describe Vancouver's weather: unpredictable. The weather can be completely different depending on what part of the region you are in. It can be pouring rain on the North Shore and sunny in White Rock.

If you are visiting the city between July and October, you will most likely have excellent weather. The rainy season often starts in the middle of October. Without warning, one day it will be nice and sunny and the next the rain will begin and continue, seemingly continuously, until early March. If you are coming to the city for a ski holiday, the best time to visit is February; the region has a great record for excellent ski conditions during this month, once you get to altitudes above the constant rain.

Literature[edit]

Vancouver is no stranger to the arts. For over 25 years, Vancouver has hosted "The Vancouver Writers Fest," a celebration of the written word. Its "Who's Who" list is packed with actors, musicians and a smattering of politicians (an art form, many would argue, in and of itself). Vancouver writers, however, tend to veer from "typical" fiction. They create gritty memoirs, otherworldly masterpieces and dark, futuristic pieces.

  • Poet and novelist Evelyn Lau was born in 1971 in Vancouver to parents who had emigrated from Hong Kong. She describes her early years as terribly unhappy. At 12, she began writing poetry as a means of helping her cope. At 14, she ran away from home. Her diary, which she kept during her years as a homeless teenager on the streets of Vancouver, was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. Today, she is a multi-award winning author and was named Vancouver's poet laureate in 2011.
  • JPod is written by Canadian author Douglas Coupland. The book is designed to provide a somewhat humorous, and fictional, look at Vancouver's emerging tech industry.
  • The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver was mostly written by Vancouver's beloved broadcaster and storyteller Chuck Davis (Davis died before he completed the work; the publisher and the Vancouver Historical Society stepped in to complete it after his death). The book is said to be a compilation of both famous and little known people and events.
  • Legends of Vancouver proudly bears the title of being Vancouver's first best-seller. Its author, Emily Pauline Johnson, was born in Ontario in 1861 to an English mother and a hereditary Mohawk chief father. After enjoying a career as a performer and poet, Johnson moved to Vancouver in 1909. There she collected and retold a number of Squamish tales. Friends helped publish these stories as a book when Johnson was ill and living in poverty. Legends of Vancouver became an overnight success.
  • Stanley Park tells the story of a modern, hip young man and his locked-in-the-past anthropologist father. The book draws its name from Vancouver's beloved natural park. Written by Canadian Timothy Taylor, the book is filled with somewhat obscure facts about Vancouver. It won the "One Book, One Vancouver" award in 2003.
  • Fans of fantasy and role-playing games will want to seek out books by author Nigel Findley. As a child, Findley and his family moved from country to country. In 1969, when Findley was 10, he and his family found a permanent home in Vancouver. In the 1980's, Findley established himself as a role-playing game author. By 1990 he had authored and co-authored over 100 books. His book Dark Alliance: Vancouver takes place in Vancouver at a time when peace reigns between werewolf and vampire.
  • Throwaway Angels is written by Canadian Nancy Richler and is inspired by the true story of Vancouver-based female sex-trade workers who were being abducted by a serial killer. The story, hailed as "oddly prophetic," was published six years before an arrest was made.

People[edit]

Over 600,000 people live in Vancouver proper, meaning it's the eighth largest municipality in Canada. It is the most densely populated city in Canada, and the fourth most densely populated city (amongst those with over 250,000 residents) in all of North America. The population is pretty evenly divided between men and women.

European Canadians (Canada did not completely legally separate from the UK until 1982) make up almost half of Vancouver’s population. Yet despite that figure, Vancouver is considered the most ethnically and linguistically diverse city in Canada.

Before Europeans learned about Vancouver in 1791, the area was home to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Archeological evidence suggests that their ancestors arrived in Vancouver approximately 8,000 years ago. Today, Vancouver has the largest Aboriginal population of any city in British Columbia, with about 2% of the city’s population identifying as being a member of an Aboriginal group.

It is Asians, however, that comprise the largest subset of Vancouver’s population. Just over 43% of metro Vancouver residents are either Asian, or have an Asian heritage. That makes Vancouver the most Asian city outside of Asia. The city’s Asian population swelled in the 1990’s when large numbers of people immigrated to Vancouver from Hong Kong, prior to the country officially returning to Chinese sovereignty.

At first glance, the religious composition of Vancouver does not seem to reflect its ethnic one. A huge number, around 49%, claim no religious affiliation. Over 36% of Vancouverites identify as Christian, with the biggest subgroup belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. Buddhists make up nearly 6% and Sikhism (an independent religion founded on the principles of oneness and love) is currently the main religion on the rise.

Vancouver has two official languages, English and French. The majority of the population speaks English, either exclusively or in conjunction with another language. Owing to the city’s racial makeup however, travelers can expect to hear conversations in Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), Punjabi, Tagalog and a variety of European languages.

Vancouverites, as they themselves admit, are a complex bunch. Outwardly, and to tourists, they are a genuinely friendly people. They’re happy to point a traveler in the right direction or recommend a good restaurant. New residents find them to be a bit cliquish, slow to accept newcomers. To paraphrase one journalist, Vancouverites will happily direct you to a coffee house, just don’t ask them to join you for a cup.

Visitor Information[edit]

  • Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre, 200 Burrard St (Plaza level, Burrard & Cordova), +1 604-683-2000 (fax: +1 604-682-6839). 9AM-5PM. Offers maps, brochures and other information for visitors.  edit

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Vancouver International Airport[edit]

Vancouver International Airport (IATA: YVR) [2]. YVR is located immediately south of the city of Vancouver. It is the second busiest airport in Canada, and serves as the hub airport for Western Canada with frequent flights to other points in British Columbia, major cities across Canada and the U.S., Asia and several to Europe. The majority of Canadian flights are with Star Alliance member Air Canada [3] and WestJet [4]. U.S. destinations are served by United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airways, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific (JFK) and WestJet. International flights are serviced by Air Canada, WestJet, Aeromexico, Air France, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Icelandair, Cathay Pacific, Air China, EVA Air, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, and Air New Zealand to name a few.

YVR, Vancouver International Airport

YVR's three terminals are: Domestic for jet flights within Canada, International for flights outside of Canada and South, which is the base for prop, small jet, and seaplane service to 'local' communities in B.C. and Yukon. The domestic and international terminals are connected and you can easily walk back and forth between them. The South Terminal is not attached and requires separate transportation to get to it.

The International Terminal has two boarding areas -- Transborder and International. The transborder area (Gate E) services all U.S. bound flights and has U.S. customs onsite. Travellers leaving Canada to fly into the U.S. must clear customs before you board the plane, so give yourself some extra time to check-in when you leave Vancouver for U.S. destinations. [Note: In the summer season when the Alaska cruises are operating to Vancouver, the afternoon flights are filled with Alaskan cruisers disembarking at Vancouver; give yourself even more extra time to get through the long customs line.] [Note 2: The exceptions are Cathay Pacific to New York City and Philippine Air to Las Vegas; due to these being continuing legs of international flights, they are serviced from the international area and US Customs clearance happens on arrival.] The remainder of the international terminal (Gate D) has all other customs and immigration services, and has a sophisticated layout complete with native scapes of the B.C. terrain and sights. Construction is currently taking place to expand the international terminal and refurbishing and expanding the domestic terminal.

There is a range of restaurants, services and shops if you are hungry or want to kill some time before or after a flight. The airport has a policy of “street pricing”, obliging retailers and restaurants to sell at the same prices in the airport as in the city to avoid customer gouging. Typical fast-food restaurants are located before the security check-ins in the departure areas. For a nice meal, a Milestone's restaurant is located in the domestic terminal just outside the security check-in. In the international terminal, the upscale Fairmont Hotel has a nice view and some reasonably priced choices on their menu. Duty-free purchases may be made both before and after you clear customs in the airport, up to your personal exemption limit. ABM machines are scattered throughout the terminals. Currency exchange counters are located on both sides of security in the international terminal.

There are a number of ways to get into town from the airport. Prices and directions below are for getting into downtown Vancouver.

  • SkyTrain - The Canada Line [5] provides the only direct rapid transit public service downtown, in 25 minutes. The fare from YVR to Vancouver is currently $9.00, which includes the two-zone base fare of $4.00 plus a $5 surcharge (the "YVR AddFare") incurred on cash fare tickets purchased from vending machines at the airport. The $5 surcharge only applies on trips starting at the airport, not on trips going to the airport. It does not apply to prepaid tickets including DayPasses, FareSavers, FareCards and transit passes. You can no longer bypass the $5 surcharge by going to 7-Eleven or Pharmasave. That is now only for airport employees.
  • Taxi - Taxis line up just outside the baggage claim areas. A taxi ride into town will cost about $25-30 and should take under half an hour. All taxis that serve the airport are required to accept credit cards.
  • Limousines - Limojet Gold [6] offers comfortable sedan and limousine options for getting into town. Rides into the city centre cost $40-55 depending on where you are going and whether you are in a sedan or limo.

Destiny Limousine LTD [7] Provide best limo services in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley with BBB A+ rating since 2003

Floatplane and heliport[edit]

There are floatplane facilities located both in the Coal Harbour area of downtown Vancouver (IATA: CXH) and at Vancouver International's South Terminal. Floatplanes operated by Harbour Air, Salt Spring Air and West Coast Air [8] fly frequently from downtown Vancouver and/or YVR to Victoria's Inner Harbour, Vancouver Island, the scenic Southern Gulf Islands, Seattle and other local destinations. Some float plane operators also offer spectacular tours of the central city and nearby attractions starting at about $80-100 per person... a great way to see a panoramic view of downtown. A quick search of Google will bring up websites for most of these float plane operators.

Finally, Helijet [9] operates helicopter service from the downtown heliport next to Waterfront Station, providing quick and convenient connections to Victoria and YVR.

Abbotsford International Airport[edit]

Abbotsford International Airport [10] (IATA: YXX), located about 60 km (37 mi) east of Vancouver in Abbotsford, is Vancouver's alternate airport. It handles mostly domestic flights and, with an arranged ride, you can be in and out of this airport in under 10 min (with no checked in baggage).

The best way to reach Vancouver from Abbotsford Airport is by car -- take the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) west. The drive will take .75-1.5 hours, depending on traffic. There is no public transit link between this airport and Vancouver, so if you don't have access to a car, it is highly recommended that you fly into YVR instead. Car rentals are available at the airport.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport[edit]

Flying in and out of Seattle, particularly for US destinations, and then using the bus, train, or car rental for travel to and from Vancouver city can be a (dramatically, and frustratingly) less expensive option than buying a direct flight from YVR or YXX. A U.S. visa may be required and could take some time to procure. For budget travelers, you may wish to consider checking flights to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The bus or train ride takes about 4+hrs one way and driving time is approximately 2.5-3 hr. Allow extra time to clear customs at the border.

Bellingham International Airport[edit]

Bellingham International Airport is much closer to the Canadian border than Seattle International Airport is and can drive to the border within less than two hours. There are connecting flights from Seattle and other US destinations (some airlines have seasonal flights to Bellingham International Airport). If you do not wish to drive to Vancouver BC, Canada from this airport, you can ride on Amtrak Cascades route to downtown Vancouver BC (see below (The customs border crossing is inside the Pacific Central Station)). Also Greyhound Lines has a stop here in Bellingham, Washington which is the first/last stop in the US destinations on interstate 5 corridor before/after the US/Canadian border.(see below).

By car[edit]

The main highway into Vancouver from the east is Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway). This road skirts the eastern edge of Vancouver, so if you want to get into the city, you will need to exit off it at Grandview Highway, 1st Avenue or Hastings Street.

Note: the Port Mann Bridge along the TCH, which crosses the Fraser River between Surrey and Coquitlam (heading west into Burnaby and Vancouver) is now a toll bridge. The toll is collected on non-resident vehicles by a camera system; you must go online within seven days to pay the toll or else be charged a service fee (that is almost equal to the cost of the toll itself) for receiving an invoice in the mail. The toll bridge can be bypassed with several alternate routes most notably the South Fraser Perimeter Road (Highway 17) in Surrey, but traffic can be heavy due to local residents using the route to avoid the toll, too, especially during the rush hours. An alternate for those who don't mind extra distance and who are coming to Vancouver from the east is to exit the TCH onto Highway 7 at Hope. It also leads to Vancouver without a toll bridge, but is a somewhat longer and slower route. Alternately, take Highway 11 north from Abbotsford, which also links to the 7, but closer in to Vancouver. Note that there is a second toll bridge, the Golden Ears, which connects from Surrey/Langley to Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge; this bridge is more used by locals and is unlikely to be of interest to tourists. Nonetheless the routes used to bypass the Port Mann also apply. Warning: Some rental car companies will add extra charges (sometimes substantial ones) to vehicles that cross the toll bridges; TReO, the agency that handles tolls for Port Mann and Golden Ears, advises renters to read their rental agreements carefully or ask the agent how tolls are handled.[11] Do not attempt to evade the toll; some have attempted to do so by covering their licence plates and by other methods; the penalty if caught may include not only fraud charges, but also the forfeiture of the vehicle to the province.[12]

From the U.S./Canada border south of the city, Highway 99, which links up with U.S. Interstate 5, runs north to Vancouver. Note that the freeway ends after the Oak Street Bridge, turning into Oak Street heading north. Drivers with a downtown destination will need to get onto Granville Street (parallel to Oak St to the west), or Cambie Street (parallel to the east), in order to get on the Granville Street or Cambie Street bridges which cross False Creek into the downtown peninsula. Needless to say during the morning rush hour these routes become very busy.

If you are coming from the North Shore or other points further north, the only way into Vancouver is by bridge. Your options are the Lions Gate Bridge (Hwy 99) which brings you into Stanley Park and Vancouver's West End or the Second Narrows Bridge/Ironworkers Memorial Bridge (Hwy 1) which brings you into the neighbourhoods of East Van. If you continue along Hwy. 1 from the north, remember that the Port Mann toll bridge lies east of Coquitlam.

Vancouver's traffic is considered notorious, especially during the rush hours. If possible try to avoid driving toward downtown in the early morning and away from downtown in the late afternoon. There is in fact a 24-hour radio station devoted entirely to traffic reports on 730AM. This station also provides reports on wait times for the Washington border crossings and also indicates remaining capacity for upcoming ferry crossings to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

By bus[edit]

Vancouver is well served by bus service. There are a number of different bus lines providing service to various cities near and far. The bus station is at the Pacific Central Station at 1150 Station St, across from the Telus Science Center dome (site of Expo 86), which is also the train station (a SkyTrain station is also nearby). Here are what's available:

  • Greyhound (USA) [13] connects Vancouver with U.S cities such Seattle, Bellingham, etc.
  • Greyhound Canada [14] connects Vancouver with many Canadian cities, including Kelowna, Calgary, Whitehorse, Edmonton and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
  • Malaspina Coach Lines [15] goes up to the Sunshine Coast communities of Gibsons, Sechelt and Powell River.
  • Quick Coach [16] connects Vancouver with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington.
  • BoltBus [17] connects Vancouver with Seattle and Portland.
  • Pacific Coach Lines[18] connects Vancouver with Victoria. Scheduled service follows the BC Ferry service from Tsawwassen to Victoria (Swartz Bay). This is hourly in the summer months, and every two hours in the off-season.
  • Perimeter Transportation[19] connects Vancouver with Whistler and Squamish.

By train[edit]

Taking the train to Vancouver is unlikely to be the cheapest option, but it is a scenic one. Rail options include:

  • VIA Rail [20] has the Canadian which runs from Toronto to Vancouver with three weekly departures.
  • The Rocky Mountaineer [21] operates routes between Vancouver and Banff, Calgary and Jasper three times a week from April to October. (Since 2005 they moved down the street (Terminal Ave) to their own station at 1755 Cotrell St).
  • Amtrak [22] runs a service between Seattle and Vancouver called Amtrak Cascades [23]. Trains depart Seattle daily at 7:40AM and 6:40PM, arriving in Vancouver at 11:35AM and 10:45PM respectively. The return trips leave Vancouver at 6:40AM and 5:45PM.

All trains arrive at Pacific Central Station, located at 1150 Station Street (east of downtown off Main St). From there, it is a short taxi ride into the central business area, or you can pick up the SkyTrain at the Main St/Science World station two blocks away.

If you have the time and money, traveling to Vancouver by train can be an excellent way to see the Canadian Rockies. This is discussed further at the Rocky Mountaineer.

By boat[edit]

There are two ferry terminals serviced by BC Ferries [24] in the area, although neither is within the city of Vancouver itself.

Both terminals are far enough from the city core that you will need to travel by car, taxi or bus to get into town from them (and vice-versa). In terms of bus transportation, the various coach services provide a more convenient service than public transit. However, public buses to and from the ferry terminals are fairly inexpensive, easy and direct.

To reach the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, take Canada Line (Skytrain) from downtown Vancouver to Bridgeport Station. From Bridgeport Station, take the 620 bus which takes you directly to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. For Horseshoe Bay, take the 250 (local) or 257 (express) bus directly from downtown Vancouver.

By cruise ship[edit]

A cruise ship passing under Lions Gate Bridge

Port Metro Vancouver/Canada Place Terminal[25] is the homeport for the popular Vancouver-Alaska cruise, which generally run between May-Sept.

  • Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal, is located on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver, adjacent to the convention centres and across the street from Tourism Vancouver. Canada Place was built originally for Expo86 and is recognized by its dramatic rooftop that looks like five white sails. A full range of ground transportation, excellent hotels, shopping, dining, entertainment, and attractions are available nearby.

US passport holders may be able to participate in "Onboard Check-in” and “US Direct" to streamline processing at the cruise ship and the airport. US Direct allows passengers arriving at Vancouver Airport (YVR) to transfer directly to a same-day-departing cruise ship by participating in expedited immigration and customs clearance process. Onboard Check-in allows passengers arriving on a cruise ship and flying out of YVR on the same day to transfer directly to YVR by participating in an expedited immigration and customs clearance process.

These programs do not apply to passengers who are planning a pre- or post-cruise stay in Vancouver. Not all cruise lines participate, so check with your cruise line to see if you can take advantage of the Onboard Check-in/US Direct program.

Get around[edit]

Vancouver is one of the few major cities in North America without a freeway leading directly into the downtown core (freeway proposals in the 1960s and 1970s were defeated by community opposition). As a result, development has taken a different course than in most other major North American cities resulting in a relatively high use of transit and cycling, a dense, walkable core and a development model that is studied and emulated elsewhere.

By public transit[edit]

Skytrain at Main St./Scienceworld

Vancouver's public transit is run by the regional transportation authority, TransLink [26] as an integrated system of buses, rapid transit (SkyTrain) and passenger ferry (SeaBus) . The transit system connects Vancouver with its neighbouring municipalities, stretching as far north as Lions Bay, south to the U.S. border and east to Langley and Maple Ridge. The bus stops about a mile from the border, then you must walk to it.

Adult fares for travel within the city of Vancouver cost $2.75. Travel from Vancouver to nearby places like North Vancouver, Burnaby, and Richmond costs from $4.00-5.50 depending on the time of day and number of transit zones you cross. Travel on Monday-Friday after 6:30pm and all day on weekends and holidays is always $2.75 regardless of the destination. The ticket you receive is valid for 1.5 hours from the time of purchase and can be used to transfer to any bus, SkyTrain or the SeaBus during that time. TransLink's website and customer information line (+1 604-953-3333) both offer complete trip planning. A regional system map is widely available at convenience stores and on TransLink's website.

A more convenient option for the traveler may be the Daypass, which offers unlimited travel for a single day at the cost of $9.75. It covers all bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus routes but not the West Coast Express (a commuter train that runs from downtown Vancouver east to Mission). It is valid in all zones so that avoids having to worry about that and is available from fare machines at SkyTrain stations.

Books of 10 prepaid tickets (FareSaver tickets) are available for $21.00 -$42.00 from many convenience stores. Concession fares are available for Vancouver grade-school students and BC seniors and cost between $1.75-$3.50. If you're a student or a senior, you must be carrying a TransLink GoCard or BC Gold CareCard to receive the reduced concession fare. Monthly passes are also available, which can cost $91-170. All these prices depend on how many zones are covered.

The bus service covers the widest area and travels along most major streets in the city. Passengers must either buy a ticket or present their ticket immediately upon entering a TransLink bus. Buses accept coins only and will not give change. Tickets can also be purchased from vending machines in SkyTrain stations that accept coins, bills, debit and credit cards. In addition, several bus rapid transit lines named B Lines crisscross the city.

While at any bus stop in Metro Vancouver you can text the 5-digit bus stop number (the yellow number at the top of every bus stop sign) to 33333 and you'll get a text (it usually only takes a couple seconds) that tells you when the next 6 scheduled buses will arrive. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Skytrain system map
New faregates at Commercial-Broadway Station

SkyTrain is the mostly elevated rapid transit system that connects Vancouver's downtown with some of its southern and eastern suburbs. The Expo line runs out through Burnaby and New Westminster to King George station in Surrey. The Millennium line follows the Expo line to New Westminster and then loops back through Burnaby and into Vancouver again ending at VCC/Clark. The new (2009) Canada Line connects downtown with Richmond and Vancouver Airport. Another line, the Evergreen Line will link to the neighboring cities of Coquitlam and Port Moody when it opens in 2016. As of late 2015 several other SkyTrain routes are in the planning stages.

Notable SkyTrain stations in Vancouver include:

  • Broadway/Commercial Drive - Accesses the restaurants of Commercial Dr in East Vancouver
  • Burrard and Granville - Most convenient for accessing the shopping areas in the central business district
  • Waterfront Station - Meeting point of the SkyTrain, SeaBus, numerous commuter and rapid bus routes and the commuter rail West Coast Express. It is also at the entrance to Gastown and is right next to the Canada Place Convention Centre/Cruise Ship Terminal facilities.
  • Metrotown - Although actually in neighboring Burnaby, this station is next to the region's largest shopping mall.

The SeaBus is a passenger ferry that connects Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. It generally runs every 15 min except in the evening and on Sundays. The exact schedule is available on TransLink's website. From a tourist's perspective, a ride on the SeaBus is worth it as it allows an excellent view of the Vancouver skyline and close-up views of the huge ocean-going tankers that are often parked in Burrard Inlet. It also offers a great view of the Canada Place facility which is the city's cruise ship port of call. Lonsdale Quay is a boutique shopping centre featuring an international-themed food court, making it a worthwhile destination before starting the round trip (see North Vancouver's article for other activities in the vicinity).

Purchasing tickets for the SkyTrain and the SeaBus operates on a proof-of-purchase system, with ticket checks occuring not every time but at random. It is possible to ride without paying, especially during rush hour, but those who do so ride at their own risk. If caught, the passenger has to pay a fine of $173. Tickets are easily available through vending machines at SkyTrain stations and either SeaBus terminal. The current tickets being used in the system often need to be swiped at turnstiles in order to enter or leave stations, though these gates are usually disabled during peak times to avoid congestion.

SkyTrain and SeaBus service ends before last call at night clubs and bars, so if you'll be partying downtown, be sure you figure out a ride home.

By ferry across False Creek[edit]

A quick trip across on a cute little-boat-that-could ferry can be the most fun, traffic-free, and convenient way to get between various points on False Creek:

  • Maritime Museum in Vanier Park on the south shore,
  • Aquatic Centre at Sunset Beach on the north shore,
  • Hornby St on the north shore,
  • Granville Island and its famous Public Market on the south shore,
  • Yaletown/Davie St. on the north shore,
  • Stamp's Landing/Monk's and Spyglass Place on the south shore,
  • Plaza of Nations and Edgewater Casino on the north shore, and
  • Science World, the geodesic dome at the east end of False Creek.

Service is offered by False Creek Ferries [27] with little blue boats and by Aquabus [28] with little rainbow boats. The two ferries run slightly different routes, and their docks on Granville Island are on either side of the Public Market. Current prices for adults start at $3.25 for short routes to $6.50 for long routes.

By car[edit]

Vancouver's road network is generally a grid system with a "Street" running north-south and an "Avenue" running east-west. Arterial roads follow the grid fairly well (although not perfectly), but side streets frequently disappear for blocks at a time and then reappear. Most of the "Avenues" are numbered and they always use East or West to designate whether it is on the East side or the West side of Ontario Street. Some of the major avenues use names rather than numbers (Broadway would be 9th Ave, King Edward Ave would be 25th Ave).

Downtown Vancouver has its own grid system and doesn't follow the street/avenue format of the rest of the city. It is also surrounded by water on three sides, so most of the ways in and out require you to cross a bridge. This can cause traffic congestion, particularly at peak times (morning and evening commutes, sunny weekend afternoons, major sporting events), so factor that into any driving plans, or avoid if possible.

Go West... but which one?
The term "West" comes up frequently in connection with Vancouver and can be confusing for locals and visitors alike. It can refer to:

  • the West Side of Vancouver, which is the area of Vancouver west of Ontario Street. It includes Kitsilano, South Granville, UBC and South Vancouver, but excludes the downtown peninsula,
  • the West End, which is the western portion of the downtown peninsula, and
  • West Vancouver, a municipality across the harbour in the North Shore.


One of the best ways to avoid traffic congestion is to listen to traffic reports on AM730. This station reports only about traffic and can be quick to report any accidents and congestion, as well as B.C. ferry reports, bridge and tunnel updates, border wait times, and other information pertaining to getting around the city and its many suburbs. It also posts frequent weather updates and local news.

A unique feature of Vancouver and the rest of British Columbia is intersections with flashing green traffic signals. These do not indicate an advance left turn as it would in many other parts of North America. Instead, a flashing green light indicates a traffic signal that can be activated only by a pedestrian or a cyclist on the side street, but not by a motor vehicle. When the signal turns red, traffic stops as at any traffic signal. Any side street traffic must obey the stop sign on the side street and must yield to any pedestrians crossing the side street, even if traffic is stopped on the main street.

Parking[edit]

Parking downtown generally costs $1-2.50/hour or $12-$20/day. Commercial areas will typically have meter parking on the street, with meters accepting Canadian and American change only (American coins accepted at par value). Residential streets may allow free parking, but some will require a permit.

Easy Park [29] lots (look for an orange circle with a big "P") rank as the most affordable of the parkades, but generally the cost of parking will not vary greatly among parkades within a certain area. Most will accept payment by credit card, as well as coins. Beware of scammers hanging around in some parkades, trying to sell parking tickets for less than their face value — typically, they have purchased the tickets with stolen credit cards. Also be careful parking overnight, as vehicle break-ins are not uncommon.

City meters and parking regulations are enforced regularly. Meter-related offenses will result in fines. Violations in private lots are generally unenforceable, but may result in your car being towed. If your vehicle is towed on a city street, you can recover it at the city impound lot at 425 Industrial Ave.

Free Parking[edit]

Many areas of the city have unlimited, free street parking where no permits are needed. One of the closest free, safe areas to park is on East Pender Street between Victoria and Salsbury (1800 block of East Pender Street). You will have the easiest time finding a spot if you come between 9am and 4pm. Once you've parked, walk one block up to Hastings Street at Victoria, cross the street, and take either bus (14 UBC or 16 Arbutus) back downtown. This bus stop is on the north-west corner, in front of the Chinese restaurant. The bus ride will only take 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, walk to Commercial and Hastings (two blocks) and take the 20 Victoria down Commercial Drive to Commercial Station or the 135 Burrard Station, an express bus going downtown.

By taxi[edit]

Yellow Cab (604) 681-1111 Richmond Cab (604) 272-1111 Coquitlam Taxi (Airport & City) 604-524-1111 Tikki Tikki pedicabs also operate in the downtown Vancouver area and the pedicabs/rickshaws or bike taxis can be booked for tours and sightseeing (604) 652-2053

By Limousine[edit]

Limousine Service Vancouver [30] (604) 657-2278 Limojet Gold [31] (604) 273-1331 Star Limousine [32] (604) 685-5600

By bicycle[edit]

The city of Vancouver is a very bicycle-friendly city. In addition to the extremely popular seawall bicycle routes along Stanley Park, False Creek and Kitsilano, there are a whole network of bicycle routes that connect the whole city. The City of Vancouver provides a map of the bicycle routes that is available at most bike shops or online. For those who are less mobile, Vancouver also has pedicabs which offer tours of Stanley Park. Also, all buses have bicycle racks on the front to help riders get to less accessible parts. North American visitors will find that drivers in Vancouver are well accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists.

Bicycles are available to rent by the hour, day or week. Many places also rent tandem bikes. Some bicycle rental locations:

  • Bazooka Bikes, 1531 Robson St, [33]
  • ezeeRIDERS, 1823 Robson St, [34]
  • Stanley Park Cycle, 768 Denman St, [35]
  • Bayshore Bike Rentals, 745 Denman St, [36].
  • Spokes Bicycle Rentals, 1789 W Georgia St, [37].
  • Reckless Bike Stores, 1810 Fir Street at 2nd Ave & 110 Davie St at Pacific, [38].
  • JV Bike, 955 Expo Boulevard, [39] also rents electric assist bicycles to make the hills a little easier.
  • Tikki Tikki Pedicabs, Down town Vancouver, [40]

Alternatively, buy a used bicycle and either sell it on or donate it to someone in more need of it at the end of your stay. There are a number of 2nd owner bicycle stores on Dunbar and the surrounding area.

  • Our Community Bikes, 3283 Main St. +1 604-879-2453 (email:info@pedalpower.org), [41].

Hosted Bicycle Tours are available from a number of suppliers. These tours are educational and cover many of the interesting areas and attractions of Vancouver.

  • City by Cycle, 101-2539 Laurel St, +1-888-599-6800, [42].

By Scooter[edit]

Renting a scooter is a good compromise between a bike and a car. Scooters are not allowed on the famous bike path, but it is possible to travel in the inner roads, park and walk at all the attractions. Average cost is ~$80 for 24 hours + gas.

  • "Cycle BC", Location 1: (next to harbour air terminal) Location2: 73 East 6th Ave Vancouver, BC V5Y 1A4, Canada (604) 709-5663 [www.cyclebc.ca]
  • "Vancouver Scooter Rental" 501-2050 scotia street Vancouver V5T 4T1 tel: 1-604-787-9177

See[edit][add listing]

While Vancouver is still a young city, it has a variety of attractions and points of interest for the visitor. Many of the city's landmarks and historical buildings can be found downtown. Canada Place, with its distinctive sails, the Vancouver Convention Centre located just beside it, the intricate Art Deco styling of the Marine Building and the old luxury railway hotel of the Hotel Vancouver are in the central business district. Stanley Park (the city's most popular attraction), along with its neighbouring Coal Harbour walkway and the Vancouver Aquarium are in the West End and Gastown, the original town site of Vancouver, has a number of restored buildings and its steam clock is a popular spot to visit. Modern architecture worth visiting also includes Shangri-La, currently the tallest building in the city, and the Sheraton Wall Centre. Another popular city landmark, the bustling markets and shops of Granville Island, is just to the south of downtown in South Granville.

If you're looking to learn a little about the people of the Northwest Coast and some of its history, one good spot is the impressive Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, which houses several thousand objects from BC's First Nations. The museum is also home to significant collections of archaeological objects and ethnographic materials from other parts of the world. The Vancouver Art Gallery, located downtown combines local with international through a variety of exhibitions and a permanent collection that focuses on renowned British Columbia artist, Emily Carr. The Vancouver Public Library, located downtown at Homer and Robson Sts, is modelled after the Roman Colosseum, and houses the city's largest library. Another downtown sight is the small Contemporary Art Gallery on Nelson Street, which features modern art. Also located nearby, on the east side of False Creek is the shiny geodesic dome of the Telus World of Science (commonly known as Science World), which has a number of exhibits, shows and galleries aimed at making science fun for kids. Another great spot to check out is the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum located at Gate A of BC Place Stadium. The BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum preserves and honours BC's Sport heritage by recognizing extraordinary achievement in sport through using their collection and stories to inspire all people to pursue their dreams. There are also some smaller sights in Kitsilano, including the Vancouver Maritime Museum, Museum of Vancouver, and H.R. Macmillan Space Centre.

The city has a wealth of parks and gardens scattered throughout. The most famous is Stanley Park at the tip of the downtown peninsula. Its miles of trails for walking and cycling, beaches, magnificent views and the attractions (including totem poles) within the park gives it something for everyone. The most popular trail is the Seawall, a paved trail that runs around the perimeter of Stanley Park and now joins with the seawalls in Coal Harbour and Kitsilano, totaling 22 km in length. The Vancouver Aquarium is located within Stanley Park. Other notable parks and gardens include VanDusen Botanical Garden in South Vancouver and Queen Elizabeth Park near South Main, the Nitobe Memorial Garden (commonly known as the Nitobe Japanese Garden) and UBC Botanical Garden at the University of British Columbia and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown downtown.

Admission to Vancouver's various attractions can range from $10 to up to $30 per person. There are a variety of attractions passes available that help visitors save on retail admissions such as the Vancouver Five in One Card.

Finally, a trip to Vancouver wouldn't be complete without a glimpse of the skyline and the Coastal mountains rising above the city (clouds permitting, of course!). Popular spots to view it include Stanley Park and the Harbour Centre downtown, Spanish Banks and Jericho Beaches in Point Grey and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. Other interesting views can be seen from City Hall at 12th and Cambie, the Vancouver LookOut Tower, Queen Elizabeth Park and East Van's CRAB Park.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Family Days out in Vancouver, [43]. FamilyDaysOut.com lists lots of fun attractions and ideas for fun days out for families with kids in Vancouver.  edit

Tours[edit]

If you want to orient yourself in the city, there are a variety of tours -- bus, walking, hop-on, hop-off -- based out of the City Centre that will regale you with Vancouver lore while taking you to many of the main attractions.

For those of you looking for tours involving nightlife (Vancouver's bars/pubs, and nightclubs), Vancity Nite Tours offers pub crawls in various areas of Downtown Vancouver.

Views from the Seawall in Stanley Park

Outdoor Activities[edit]

Vancouverites love the outdoors and one of the most popular things to do is to walk, jog, bike or rollerblade the Seawall. It starts at Canada Place downtown, wraps around Stanley Park and follows the shoreline of False Creek though Yaletown, Science World and Granville Island to Kits Beach in Kitsilano. The most popular sections are around Stanley Park and along the north shore of False Creek. Bike and rollerblade rentals are available from a few shops near the corner of Denman & West Georgia if you prefer wheeled transportation over walking. If the weather's nice, go out to Granville Island, rent a speedboat and take a boat ride on the waters around Stanley Park and Coal Harbour. Golf courses also are abundant in the city, along with more cost-conscious pitch-and-putt courses.

If you'd rather lie in the sun than play in the sun, Vancouver has a number of beaches. While certainly not glamourous and lacking waves, there's sand, water and lots of people on sunny summer days. The neighbourhoods of Kitsilano and West Point Grey have a string of beaches, the most well known being Kitsilano Beach, Jericho and Spanish Banks. Kits Beach is the most popular and has beach volleyball, Spanish Banks is a bit quieter and popular with skimboarders. There are a few beaches on the south and west sides of downtown, with English Bay Beach (near Denman & Beach) being the largest and most popular. Finally, no discussion of Vancouver beaches would be complete without mention of Wreck Beach at the tip of Point Grey in UBC. As much rock as it is sand, it holds a place in the Vancouver identity and is the only city beach where you can bare it all.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a popular tourist spot located in North Vancouver. The bridge itself is impressive, and for many it is worth the price of admission (which is considerable). It is accessible by free shuttle from the city centre. For a similar (but free) experience, head to Lynn Canyon (also in North Vancouver). To get there from Vancouver city centre, walk to Waterfront station, take the seabus across to Lonsdale Quay. Makes sure to stop at the Lonsdale Quay market (itself a tourist destination) to pick up some locally brewed beer and some items for a picnic. Here you can ask the shop people to give you directions to the best secret swimming spots in Lynn Canyon. Then take the #228 or #229 from the Lonsdale Quay bus loop. The bus driver or other passengers can tell you where to get off. The suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon is easily found from the cafe and visitor's centre. Also make sure you explore the trails, where in the summer you'll see local youth jumping from bridges and rocks into the swimming holes. There are several good spots to go swimming in Lynn Canyon, but the water is cold, so go on a warm day.

For many, Vancouver is synonymous with skiing and snowboarding. While there are no ski hills within the city itself, there are three "local" hills (Cypress, Grouse Mountain and Seymour) across the harbour on the North Shore. And of course, Vancouver is the gateway to Whistler, the biggest and one of the highest rated snow destinations in North America.

Spectator Sports[edit]

When you tire of doing stuff outdoors, or prefer that someone else do the hard work, you can always grab a seat and take in the local sports teams.

Hockey[edit]

The biggest draw in town is hockey (the variety played on ice, not a field) and the local professional team is the Vancouver Canucks [44]. The team plays at Rogers Arena in the City Centre and the season lasts from October to April (and possibly longer when they make the play-offs). Tickets are pricey and the concessions are even worse, but it's a good game to watch live. The local junior hockey team, the Vancouver Giants [45], offer a cheaper but no less exciting experience. They play out of Pacific Coliseum in East Van.

Canadian Football[edit]

The BC Lions [46], the city's Canadian Football League team (think American football with 12 players a side, three downs, a slightly larger field, and much larger end zones) plays during the summer and fall at BC Place downtown.

Soccer[edit]

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC [47], the third team to bear the "Whitecaps" name, began their first season in Major League Soccer in March 2011, becoming the second MLS team in Canada. Because BC Place was closed for renovations following the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Lions played the 2010 season at Empire Field, a temporary stadium on the Pacific National Exhibition grounds in East Van. The MLS Whitecaps are beginning their inaugural 2011 season at Empire Field as well. When BC Place reopens in late September 2011, both teams will move there. The Whitecaps initially planned to build a new stadium of their own near the waterfront, but local opposition has led the Whitecaps to make BC Place their long-term home.

Roller Derby[edit]

The Terminal City Rollergirls [48] are Vancouver's first female roller derby league and are members of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. Created in 2006, the league now has four full teams (Faster Pussycats, Bad Reputations, Public Frenemy, and Riot Girls) as well as an All-Stars team made up of the best players in the league. The players are a diverse group of women, from nurses to construction workers, graphic designers, television producers, teachers, stay-at-home moms, PhD students and aspiring rock stars. The bouts are exciting and fun (there is usually an entertaining half-time show), and you may even see some hard hits that show up on the League's Hall of Pain [49]. If you're thinking about attending a bout and know nothing or very little about flat track roller derby, check out the 'How Derby Works' section [50] on the TCRG website. Bouts are generally held April to September and at various arenas around Metro Vancouver, although the PNE Forum in East Van has been a popular venue.

Baseball[edit]

Vancouver has a single A baseball team, the Vancouver Canadians [51], who play out of Nat Bailey Stadium in South Vancouver.

Rugby[edit]

Rugby is relatively popular in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Although most club games are not advertised or broadcast, and most clubs do not have spectator seating, games are usually open to the public. Consult the BC Rugby Union website for details (times, locations, etc.). Vancouver is also home to the Canadian leg of the World Sevens Series. It will host the event over 4 years, starting in the 2015-2016 season. It is held at BC Place Stadium, in downtown Vancouver, and tickets are variably priced.

Culture and Festivals[edit]

Vancouver's Chinatown.

Vancouver isn't all about the outdoors as it offers a variety of theatre, concerts and other cultural events. There are symphony and opera venues downtown and much of the city's live theatre can be found in South Granville, particularly on Granville Island with its thriving arts scene.

The city's Chinese heritage comes alive during Chinese New Year. Chinatown, in the east side of downtown, is awash in colour and has many festivities, including a parade. June sees the annual Dragon Boat Festival on False Creek.

There is no shortage of festivals around the city, with many local ones particular to a neighbourhood. The festival that draws the largest crowds is the HSBC Celebration of Light [52], a four night extravaganza of fireworks over English Bay in late July and early August. Countries compete with 20-30 min displays choreographed to music. The fireworks start at 10PM and are best viewed from Sunset Beach in the West End or Kits Beach/Vanier Park in Kitsilano. It is strongly recommended to take public transit and to get there a few hours early as the crowds are huge. Roads in the vicinity of English Bay are typically closed from 6PM onwards.

EAT! Vancouver - The Everything Food + Cooking Festival takes place every May. In 2010, the festival takes place May 28-30, at the new Vancouver Convention Centre - West. Celebrity chefs, popular local restaurants, wineries, food & beverage manufacturers, cookbook authors, retailers, artisans, & many others from the culinary world will come together for a 3 day public extravaganza at the Vancouver Convention Centre. EAT Vancouver encompasses unique food experiences, opportunities to learn behind-the-scenes culinary magic from professional chefs, dynamic entertainment through celebrity chef cooking demonstrations & intense culinary competitions, diverse food, beverage & cooking related exhibits; & of course fantastic shopping opportunities. www.eat-vancouver.com

Other notable festivals include the Vancouver International Film Festival [53] that runs in Sept-Oct;

Theatre Under The Stars [54] runs annually through July and August at Stanley Park’s picturesque Malkin Bowl. Theatre Under The Stars(TUTS) has been Vancouver's most cherished summer musical theatre tradition since 1940.

the Fringe Festival [55] that presents live theatre in a variety of styles and venues;

Khatsalano Music and Arts Festival[56] is held every summer in Kitsilano. This FUN festival is 10 blocks long, with 50 bands equals one gigantic street party! The festival includes local artists, great discounts from local shop owners, massage on the street [57], local shop services ranging from spa, coffee, clothing, sunglasses, wake boarding equipment, skate board shops merchandise, restaurant patio street parties, and of course beach accessories and beach fun celebrating the best beach neighbourhood in Vancouver!

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival[58] that runs May - September at Vanier Park in Kitsilano; and the three day Folk Fest [59] on the beach in Kitsilano that features a large selection of current and upcoming folk, roots and world music acts.

Another notable event is Vancouver's annual Vancouver Pride Parade [60], for 2011 held on 31 July, which attracts over 500,000 spectators.

Roberts Creek Arts Festival [61] Held over the Victoria Day long weekend from 15th - 17th May 2013. Consists of live music, arts and food from local and International talent in a variety of rainforest settings

Learn[edit]

There are a number of educational institutions both in Vancouver and in the surrounding cities and suburbs. Places of study within the city of Vancouver include:

  • Simon Fraser University [62], or SFU, has its main campus on the top of a mountain in Burnaby with spectacular views. With over 30 000 full-time students, SFU is consistently ranked as the best Comprehensive University [63] in Canada by Macleans. SFU also has the largest post-secondary presence in the central business district, with the Segal Graduate School of Business, the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue [64], SFU Harbour Centre and SFU Woodwards, not to mention a satellite campus in Surrey, BC.
Clock tower in the University of British Columbia
  • The University of British Columbia [65], or UBC, is ranked as one of the world's 30 best universities and is the largest university in western Canada. More than 50,000 full time and part time students in numerous disciplines are enrolled at the main campus in the UBC and South Vancouver district. UBC also has a downtown campus in Vancouver, located at Robson Square in the central business district. This location is geared more towards adult learning, business people and foreign students. Course calendars are readily available at Robson Square or on UBC's website.
  • Langara College [66], located in South Vancouver offers a number of programs in the arts, humanities, business and technology, as well as continuing education and ESL classes.
  • The Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design [67] on Granville Island offers a number of programs focused primarily on design and the visual arts.
  • The Great Northern Way Campus [68] in East Van is a collaborative university campus environment put together with the help of all of the major local universities, focusing on arts, technology, and the environment.
  • The British Columbia Institute of Technology [69], or BCIT, a technical college based in Burnaby, has a satellite campus in downtown Vancouver.
  • The Vancouver Film School [70] is located in downtown Vancouver.
  • Many young visitors come to Vancouver to improve their English. The Vancouver Public Library downtown maintains a list of ESL schools [71] in Vancouver.

Work[edit]

Traditionally, much of Vancouver's industry has centred around its port facilities and the forestry and mining sectors. Although these industries are still important to the economy, Vancouver's largest employers are now the various hospitals and educational institutions in the area and companies with head offices in Vancouver such as Telus Corp and the Jim Pattison Group. Recently, Vancouver has expanded as a centre for software development and biotechnology, while streets provide a backdrop for the developing film industry. Many jobs exist in the varied small and medium sized businesses that operate in the region. As with many cities, jobs are posted on-line or in the newspaper, but it helps if you have some contacts within the industry that can point you to the jobs that are open but not posted.

As with any tourist centre, there are a number of service jobs available. The attractions, restaurants and hotels downtown frequently need staff. Other areas to consider are Granville Island and the North Shore with its ski areas and Grouse Mountain.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Souvenir seekers in Vancouver will find plenty of opportunities for opening their wallet. Those who need something quick can find stores offering just about anything maple (maple mustard anyone?) or stamped with the Canucks’ (Vancouver’s hockey team) logo. The Vancouver shopping scene, however, is much richer and more varied than maple syrup and hockey pucks.

Handmade and Artisan Goods[edit]

  • Coastal Peoples Fine Art Gallery in Gastown is consistently written up as one of the best places to find handcrafted works of art. The gallery offers bits of everything (think books, jewelry boxes, sculptures and totem poles), all designed to reflect the history and culture of First Nations, one of the first tribes to inhabit Vancouver.
  • Granville Island Public Market on Granville Island is a good place for those looking for a greater variety of handmade goods (jewelry, accessories, soaps, lotions and more). The vendors at Public Market change weekly, so travelers never know when they'll stumble on just the right souvenir.

Fashion[edit]

  • Fashion lovers can easily spend an entire day exploring Robson Street in City Centre. Stores here range from unique clothing boutiques to high-end, brand name stores. Alberni Street, one block north of Robson Street, is Vancouver’s version of Rodeo Drive. It's filled with luxury clothing and jewelry stores like Tiffany and Brooks Brothers.
  • Those who prefer multiple shops in a single, climate-controlled setting can choose from over 100 shops at Pacific Centre in [City Centre].
  • Mid-Main, the section of Main Street located near the Mt Pleasant district is the place for people looking to scope out the local design scene. Most of the stores here carry clothing and accessories designed by Vancouverites that are frequently manufactured in the city too.

Punjabi Market – A Category In Its Own Right[edit]

Punjabi Market is for those looking for anything in the above categories but with an Indo-Canadian flair. Vancouver’s “Little India” in [Vancouver South] stretches along Main Street, from 48th to 51st Avenue. Shoppers can find costume jewelry stores mixed in amongst ones offering high-end jewelry. There’s also reasonably priced fashion stores that specialize in fabric, saris and other Indian clothing styles and an Indian grocery with plenty of Indian food staples and spices.

Other[edit]

Tip - Two local taxes are charged on the vast majority of goods: 7% PST (Provincial Sales Tax) and 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax). Eating out at a restaurant will only have the 5% GST added to the bill, but most consumer items will have both taxes added.

  • Robson Street in the City Centre is home to many touristy shops. Although not technically part of the street, the neighbouring Alberni intersection is home to a variety of high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès.
  • Pacific Centre has more than 150 shops, restaurants and services if you want to walk in an underground shopping centre. The shopping centre begins on the south end at Robson Street with the Nordstrom department store, and stretches all the way to Pender Street. There are many floors in the mall depending on where you are, and notable merchants include Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen, Massimo Dutti, GAP, H&M and an Apple Store; the mall is connected to the Bay (at Georgia and Granville streets), and Vancouver Centre (a small mall mainly consisting of a lotto centre, London Drugs, and a food court underneath Scotiabank).
Gastown - the original townsite of Vancouver and now the best place to find Vancouver kitsch
  • Gastown [72] is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver but is being reborn as a fashion and modern urban design district. Historic buildings house hip restaurants, galleries, and interior design and high-fashion shops.
  • Yaletown is also popular for its non-mainstream fashion boutiques and high-end salons. A few Popular Yaletown Shopping Streets are: Mainland St., Hamilton St., and Pacific Blvd.
  • Granville Island is a interesting place to go if you fancy the arts. The area boasts a Public Market, The Granville Island brewery, an art school (Emily Carr University of Art + Design), shops, a world music instrument store, restaurants, theatres, galleries, a hotel, boat docks and more.
  • Kerrisdale is the area centred around 41st, between Maple St and Blenheim St, consisting of roughly a hundred or so boutique-like shops, restaurants, and stores (chain or otherwise) in an affluent neighbourhood.
  • Commercial Drive, especially the stretch between 3rd Avenue and Venables St. in East Van, is great for people-watching, produce (Santa Barbara Market), cheese (La Grotta del Formaggio), sausage (JN&Z Deli), etc.
  • Main Street, south of Broadway stretching to around 30th Avenue, has a vibrant and expanding collection of independent restaurants, cafés, high-end niche clothing stores and small boutiques.
  • East Hastings between Renfrew and Clark offers some of the best hidden delights in the city. There are many eclectic produce stores (Donald's Market). Sausage and salami producers here are some of the best in the city (Moccia's Italian Market [73]).
  • Chinatown around Main and Pender, and westwards down Pender from Main, is an old historic landmark with grocery and herbal medicine markets that mimic the ethnic flavors, sights and sounds of Eastern Asia. Other modern Chinatowns have sprung up around 41st Ave. and Victoria Drive, also in Richmond and Surrey.
  • Punjabi Market around Main, between 41st and 49th Ave. Good, cheap Punjabi food along with some Punjabi fashion; street signs are correspondingly in Punjabi.

There are some unique shopping areas in Kitsilano and East Van. In Kits you can visit the first store of Vancouver-born and based athletic retailer, Lululemon Athletica, sporting popular yoga-inspired apparel [74]. Gore-tex jackets are ubiquitous in Vancouver and the best place to buy them is at Mountain Equipment Co-op [75], Taiga Works [76] or one of the other outdoorsy stores clustered together on the east-west main drag called Broadway (equivalent to 9th Avenue, running between 8th and 10th) between Cambie St. and Main St., just east of the Kitsilano area.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Where to begin? There is something for everyone in this cosmopolitan city, and the variety of cuisines and price points have been described as a foodie's delight. In particular, you will find many different kinds of Asian food available. If you fancy sushi, many places offer "all you can eat" lunches for $12, which offers food of wildly varying quality. In general, the city is up there with some of the best cities in North America when it comes to food. If you can do without alcohol, you can usually have a pretty reasonable meal for under $12, and at one of the more expensive restaurants in the city, $70 will get you a four course feast with exquisite service.

The highest density of restaurants is in Kitsilano or the West End. The central business area has many of the high end restaurants either along Robson Street or associated with the many hotels in the downtown area. East Van tends to have many authentic ethnic restaurants.

In recent years Vancouver has been recognized for its successful street food program, with dozens of new food carts and food trucks appearing throughout the downtown area. According to the City of Vancouver there are 103 licensed food carts, although usually there are between 30 and 50 open on any one day (and around half that number in the winter). Meals are between $8 and $12, and most vendors are open 11 AM to 3 PM, Monday to Friday. See Street Food Vancouver for daily schedules.

Vancouver is also famous for its dim sum restaurants. Because of the big Chinese population, the price and quality of dim sum here is among the best in the world. One of the consistently highly-ranked dim sum restaurants by local magazines is Sun Sui Wah, at 3888 Main St. Also, check out Floata in Chinatown on Keefer St, or the Kirin at Cambie and 12th; reservations recommended. There are many restaurants on Victoria around 41st Ave (or Kingsway and Knight) which offer cheap dim sum ($2.75/plate), albeit with less class and more oil. In Burnaby, try Fortune House in Metropolis Shopping Complex. The city of Richmond, with a majority of its inhabitants being of Chinese descent, will have a plethora to choose from. Restaurants are all over the place on No. 3 Rd, Westminster Hwy, Alexandra Rd, and on the many side streets just east of Richmond Centre.

For budget travellers, pick up a Georgia Straight (a free local paper available all over the place), and clip two for one coupons from the food section.

Be advised that although the vast majority of stores around Vancouver accept credit cards, small family-owned Chinese businesses and restaurants, more often than not, accept only cash.

Bubble tea (or boba tea) is also a popular drink among the Vancouver youth. There are countless tea houses throughout Vancouver, the most notable being Dragon Ball Tea House on West King Edward Ave and Oak St.

Coffee[edit]

The coffee scene in Vancouver is amazing. Vancouver has an incredible selection of funky, trendy, and hip cafes. Gastown, Yale town, and Denman street have great cafes downtown. Check out Main Street, Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano, and Commercial drive for awesome cafe culture outside of downtown.

Prominent independent or local roasters and coffee shops include Rocanini, Revolver, East Van Roasters, Matchstick, Timbertrain, Trees, and Granville Island (among others). Consult company websites for locations and hours.

Coffee Chains[edit]

For your typical, large coffee places, there are perhaps more Starbucks per capita in Vancouver than anywhere else outside of Seattle, although one of the famous pair on the corner of Robson and Thurlow has now closed. Starbucks is the most dominant of the three coffee shop chains found in Vancouver. The others, Caffe Artigiano and Blenz, are found throughout downtown. JJ Bean is favoured among the locals and it's a great place to spend a few minutes to a few hours nursing a coffee and one of their ginormous muffins; there are ten locations scattered throughout the city. Bean Around the World is a popular coffee house chain with ten locations. Waves Coffee and Tim Horton's are popular with students for its 24-hour operations, and free Wi-Fi internet. For independent chains try Mario's on Dunsmuir and Howe; they have a unique feel and a slower pace than other coffee shops. Make sure not to miss Trees' cheesecakes and its roasted on-site organic coffees.

Vegetarian Food[edit]

Vegetarians will find it easy to find food at virtually any restaurant, but there are some all-veg restaurants that are particularly worth checking out.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Vancouver adopts a somewhat sedate and refined air when it comes to its watering holes. While visitors can certainly find trendy bars and flashy nightclubs, they are more likely to encounter upscale bars and comfortable yet chic coffee houses.

If you're looking to sample a famous regional drink, you should order icewine. Icewine is a dessert wine, made from grapes that have frozen on the vine. Because only the water grapes freeze, icewine makers are able to extract highly concentrated juice that is extremely sweet. While icewine is not made in Vancouver per se, it has helped put British Columbia on the winemaking map. Five Sails and Blue Water Café are two Vancouver-based restaurants whose award winning wine lists include icewine.

Cocktails[edit]

Over the past decade or so, Vancouver’s bartenders have dusted off century-old mixology books, experimented with new recipes, attended each other’s seminars and lectures and begun creating award-wining concoctions.

The majority of Vancouver’s best-rated cocktail bars are housed in City Centre and Gastown. L’Abattoir and The Diamond are two bars that are consistently written up, even by other bartenders.

‘’’L’Abattoir’’’ means slaughterhouse. The name pays homage to the fact that the building used to abut the city’s meat packing district and does not reflect either its decor or offerings. It is known for its French-influenced food and mix of classic and innovative cocktails.

Zagat reviewers state that The Diamond, with its décor of exposed brick and simple wood tables, is one of the most beautiful places in Vancouver. Cocktail lovers can choose from an array of drinks that vary from “Delicate” to “Notorious.”

Beer and Brewpubs[edit]

Vancouver’s cold, clear streams have beckoned to brewers for decades. Starting in the 1880s, a slew of craft brewers opened their doors. Over time, these small brewing companies either closed up shop or merged multiple times with other brewers to form large conglomerates. While Canadians enjoyed these offerings, by the 1980s, locals were ready for the return of craft beers.

Canada’s first microbrewery, Granville Island Brewing, opened its doors in 1984 and kicked off a new trend. Today, Vancouver has 50 plus brewers crafting over 200 different varieties of beer. Unlike the bars however, Vancouver’s brewpubs (places that brew their own beer onsite and are licensed to sell it direct to the public) and breweries are scattered throughout the city.

If you want to visit the one that started it all, you can check out Granville Island Brewing on [Kitsilano & Granville Island|Granville Island]. The brewery offers daily tours and tastings.

Yaletown Brewing Company in Yaletown is another historical spot. It’s the city’s oldest brewpub and an ideal spot for those who want to eat traditional beer food (think pizza and meaty sandwiches), play a game of pool while watching the game on tv, and drink some local offerings. Steamworks in Gastown is also consistently written up. It’s a good place to sample seasonal offerings.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

In general, accommodations in Vancouver are on the expensive side. Most upscale hotel rooms begin at $200-250/night, although you can often find reasonably priced ones in the $100-180 range. Most motel rooms cost somewhere between $80-150/night. If you are lucky to find hostel accommodation, the cheapest of these will cost around $20/night, but usually between $35-50.

The City Centre is centrally located for attractions and has the bulk of Vancouver's accommodation, including most of the high-end hotels and backpackers hostels. If you don't mind getting away from the chain hotels, a number of smaller boutique hotels outside of the central business district are still close to the action and are cheaper than the four and five star options downtown. Backpacker hostels are another cheap option with beds starting at $25 if you don't mind sharing a room.

Staying outside the City Centre area may give you a wider choice of affordable accommodations. There are a few budget hotels/motels along Kingsway in East Van and Broadway in South Granville. A number of B&Bs and homestays are also scattered throughout the city in each district. If you want/need to stay close to the airport, Richmond has a number of hotels with varying degrees of luxury and price.

Finally, if you don't mind driving or commuting in to see Vancouver, the suburbs also have some cheaper options. North Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster all have easy access to Vancouver via the public transit system. The closest Provincial Parks with campgrounds are near Maple Ridge (Golden Ears Provincial Park), Chilliwack, and Squamish.

Contact[edit]

In case of an Emergency, dial 9-1-1 from any public phone for free. Be advised, however, that with the rise of cell phone use, many public phones have been removed, and can therefore be hard to come by (especially in the suburbs).

A good travel tip to remember: Dialing 1-1-2 from a cell phone automatically connects you to the nearest cellular network and calls the emergency number, regardless of its combination (ex. 9-1-1, 1-1-2 etc.) Please note that 1-1-2 will work only on GSM cellphones in Vancouver. While GSM cellphones are very common worldwide, PCS/CDMA cellular phones through Telus Mobility are more common in Vancouver, and Telus doesn't support 1-1-2 on its cellular network. To be safe, dial 9-1-1 for emergencies if you are anywhere in North America.

The area codes for phone calls in Vancouver and the surrounding area (known locally as the Lower Mainland) are 604 and 778 (these area codes overlap). Vancouver has ten-digit calling, so when making a local call you must include the area code. Calls outside the Greater Vancouver region (i.e. east of Langley or north of Squamish, including to Whistler) are toll calls from Vancouver. To call these numbers you need to add a "1" before the area code, i.e. "1-604" or "1-778".

Local calls at pay phones costs 50 cents per call. They are not metered, so you can talk as long as you want. Note that downtown pay phones are often broken. Working pay phones are almost always available at all of the downtown SkyTrain stations.

Internet cafes are not as popular as they once where, having been replaced by free wireless found in many hotels, cafes and restaurants; However, there are still many around the Vancouver area and are generally quite reasonably priced; typically $2-5 per hour with all-day passes common.

In addition, there is free internet available at Canada Place. Bell has some free standing room stations set up in the main concourse of the convention centre. Also, the Apple Store in the Pacific Centre Mall has free wifi.

For those who have brought a laptop, free wireless points are abundant in the downtown area (including Waves Coffee and every branch of Blenz Coffee and Tim Horton's), and reasonable paid service is also available in a pinch.

Stay safe[edit]

Vancouver is a great place to visit if you use common sense like keeping an eye on your possessions, knowing where you are going and avoiding alleys and unfamiliar areas at night should keep you out of trouble. Unless involved in illegal activities (such as the drug trade), it is highly unlikely you will fall victim to any sort of violent crime. If you need emergency help, dial 911.

Like any major metropolitan city, Vancouver has areas that should be travelled with caution. The most notable is the Downtown Eastside (specifically Hastings Street between Abbott and Gore). This neighbourhood is infamous for homelessness, drug-use, and prostitution. This area is not often dangerous to visitors, but certainly may be unsettling. If you do accidentally stroll into the Downtown Eastside it is not difficult to find your way out, but if you get lost or feel uncomfortable the best thing to do is approach a police officer. Tourists exploring Gastown and Chinatown can easily wander into the Downtown Eastside unwittingly. Avoid looking like a tourist and you'll be fine. This area is also very narrow - walk south more than 2 blocks off of Hastings and you will be out of this area.

It's also wise to exercise caution in the Granville Mall area downtown on Friday and Saturday nights. As Vancouver’s bar and nightclub district, the sheer volume of people combined with alcohol consumption make disorderly conduct and rowdy behaviour fairly common. But this shouldn't act as a deterrent - if you're not looking for trouble, you probably won't find it, and there is a strong police presence. The streets at night in the Granville Mall area are usually (and quite literally) clogged with people at night time. Such an enormous mix of people and alcohol can be a dangerous mix if you are not cautious.

Some parts of the city have high rates of property crime. Theft from vehicles is especially problematic and parked cars with foreign or out-of-province plates are frequently targeted. The best thing is to not leave any money and valuables in plain view. Many of the locals use steering wheel locks to prevent vehicle theft.

Panhandling is common in some parts of downtown, but is unlikely to pose a problem. Don't be rude, as there may be negative consequences.

Scams DO happen in Vancouver, notably near the Waterfront area. There may be a stranger who claims to have his/her vehicle towed, and will ask to borrow money ($30 or so) to try to get home. They will also claim to be a rich executive who says he/she will pay you back. Or another would be that they are trying to catch a bus to get back home into the Interior of BC. Don't entertain these people. Better to keep on walking!

Cannabis[edit]

A common belief is that marijuana is legal in British Columbia. That is a myth. Although Vancouver's police and the justice system tend to turn a blind eye to marijuana use, tourists should be advised that possessing any amount of marijuana is illegal in all of Canada without a government-issued medical exemption (the legality of possession is, however, currently under dispute by the Supreme Court). However, if you are caught with a small amount of cannabis (7 grams or less) in Vancouver it is extremely unlikely that you will be charged, in the vast majority of cases the police will arrest and search you; seize the marijuana, and then allow you to proceed. If you have a rental car, please note there are serious penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana which include significant fines and vehicle seizure. Only approved medicinal users are allowed to use the many cannabis dispensaries located in Vancouver and environs. Note also that while it is currently legal to buy and use pot recreationally in the state of Washington (including, therefore, the border communities of Blaine, Sumas and Point Roberts) it is illegal to bring said material over the border in either direction. Do not buy pot in Vancouver and attempt to take it into Washington, or vice versa. Not even at out of the way crossings like Point Roberts.

Cope[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Vancouver Sun, [77]. Vancouver's biggest daily newspaper.  edit
  • The Province, [78]. Tabloid-style daily. A bit more sensational than the Sun and a better sports section.  edit
  • Georgia Straight, [79]. Free weekly paper that provides the best rundown on local bars and other entertainment listings. It also usually has a number of two for one coupons for local restaurants.  edit
  • The Tyee, [80]. Free daily online paper focusing on independent politics and culture reporting.  edit

Other free weeklies include the Vancouver Courier, Westender, and Xtra West (gay and lesbian bi-weekly newspaper). Free dailies include 24 Hours and Metro. The Sun, Province and 24 Hours are actually all owned by the same publisher.

Wireless[edit]

There are a number of wireless network providers in BC's lower mainland, all with store locations throughout Vancouver, including Telus, Rogers, Fido, Bell, Koodo, Wind Mobile, Moblicity, and Virgin.

Religious services[edit]

  • Presbyterian: Central Presbyterian Church, 1155 Thurlow Street (Davie Village, near Davie and Thurlow), +1 604 683-1913, [81]. Sunday 10:30 AM.  edit
  • Presbyterian: St. Columba Presbyterian Church, 2196 E. 44th Avenue (near 41st and Victoria), +1 604 321-1030, [82]. Sunday 11:00 AM.  edit
  • Anglican (Episcopal): Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St, +1 604 682-3848, [83].  edit
  • Protestant: St. Andrew Wesley United Church, 1022 Nelson St, +1 604 683-4574, [84].  edit
  • Catholic: Holy Rosary Cathedral, 646 Richards St, +1 604 682-6774, [85].  edit
  • Buddhist: Vancouver Buddhist Temple (Jodo Shinshu), 220 Jackson Avenue, +1 253-7033, [86].  edit
  • Sikh: Khalsa Diwan Society Vancouver (Sikh Temple), 8000 Ross St (near SE Marine Dr and Knight St), +1 604 324-2010, [87].  edit

Healthcare Centres[edit]

  • Vancouver General -- Located at the corner of Oak St and West 12th Ave, VGH serves as the main hospital and emergency ward for Vancouver
  • Children's Hospital -- If taking a child under the age of 18 to the E.R., you will be directed to Children's Hospital. It is located at Oak St near King Edward Avenue.
  • St. Paul's -- Located downtown, or in the City Centre, St. Paul's Hospital also has an emergency ward for adults but is smaller and therefore less equipped to handle many patients. Every winter, St. Paul's decorates the front of the Hospital with lights to encourage charitable donations.
  • Mount Saint Joseph Hospital - 3080 Prince Edward St. The only hospital on the city's East Side with an emergency room (8:30AM-8PM). Outside of these hours, people are asked to go to either Vancouver General or St. Paul's for emergency care.
  • UBC Urgent Care Centre -- Not quite a walk-in clinic but not quite an emergency room, the UBC UCC has limited hours (closed at 10PM, but is a good choice if your problem isn't an emergency -- it is basically a faster-paced walk-in clinics with longer hours.

There are also a number of walk-in clinics around Vancouver. Unfortunately waits are usually around 30-45 min for an appointment.

Meditate[edit]

  • Tilopa Kadampa Buddhist Centre, 1829 Victoria Diversion (Just south of 18th & Commercial in the Trout Lake neighborhood), 604-221-2271, [88]. Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.  edit
  • Vancouver Shambhala Meditation Centre, 3275 Heather Street,, 604 874 8420, [89]. Offers meditation courses and sessions, primarily in the evening.  edit
  • UBC Meditation Community, UBC SUB Building, room 211, [90]. Drop-in afternoon hour-long meditation sessions led by campus Buddhist chaplains and members of the community. Primarily aimed at UBC students, $8 membership required for non-students after more than one sitting. Vipassana and Zen traditions.  edit
  • Tung Lin Kok Yuen Dharma Practice Group, 2495 Victoria Drive, Vancouver BC. Meditation in the Chinese Mahayana tradition. Saturdays for beginners, 10:30AM-11:30AM, Sundays include dharma talk 10AM-11:30AM.  edit

Consulates[edit]

Get out[edit]

Nearby municipalities[edit]

There are a number of things to see and do just outside of Vancouver's borders. Some of the most popular are listed below. All of these places are accessible by public transit, or if you have a car, within an hour's drive.

  • North Shore - Take in the views from Grouse Mountain (The Peak of Vancouver), go for a walk on a suspension bridge or enjoy one of the many outdoor recreation opportunities -- hiking, mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding, kayaking -- on offer. The most popular summer activity in the area is hiking the 'Grouse Grind', a 2.9 km, 853 m elevation gain hike up the side of Grouse mountain.
  • West Vancouver - A municipality north of the Lion's gate bridge, enroute to Whistler. Home to many beaches, coves, parks and expensive real estate, where breathtaking views of Vancouver can be scoped by driving its higher altitudes.
  • Burnaby - Shop till you drop at Metropolis at Metrotown, the largest shopping mall in British Columbia, or relax at one of the large regional parks.
  • Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody (the Tri City area) - Half hour drive down Hastings street to the Barnet Highway will bring you to Port Moody, locally known as the City of the Arts.
  • Richmond - City with a large Asian influence with many options for Chinese, Japanese and Korean dining and shopping, the largest Buddhist temple in North America and the historic seaside Steveston towards the south offers a quieter, small-town type atmosphere.
  • Surrey/White Rock - A 45 minute drive away from Vancouver, famous for its moderate climate and sandy beaches.
  • Fort Langley - Village with unique shops, restaurants and the site of one of the first forts built in British Columbia.
  • New Westminster - Small city on the banks of the Fraser River that was once the capital of British Columbia.

Day trips[edit]

  • Bowen Island is a popular day trip or weekend excursion offering kayaking, hiking, shops, restaurants, and more. This authentic community is located in Howe Sound just off Vancouver, and is easily accessed via scheduled water taxis departing Granville Island in downtown Vancouver or by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
  • For those who enjoy outdoor activities, a trek up the Sea to Sky corridor is essential. Squamish has branded itself the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada" and with an incredible amount of quality rock climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, golf, walking trails and more, it certainly deserves the title. Squamish is about half way between Vancouver and Whistler. Whistler (1.5 hour drive from Vancouver) is mandatory. In the winter, enjoy some of the best Skiing in North America, and in the summer try some authentic mountain biking.
  • Another good spot for outdoor activities is Mount Baker across the border in Washington. Driving time is about three hours, but border line-ups can add anywhere from a few minutes to several hours onto your trip.
  • The nearby Fraser Valley has a number of parks and lakes that are nice for fishing, hiking or relaxing.
  • A geopolitical oddity, Point Roberts is a part of the United States that can only be reached by road from Delta, BC.

Further afield[edit]

  • Vancouver Island is a good spot to move on to from Vancouver. Victoria, British Columbia's capital, is a relaxing place. Tofino is a pretty spot on the island's west coast, good for whale and storm watching and has some of Canada's best surf (if you can brave the cold water). The island is reached by ferry, seaplane and bus.
  • The Southern Gulf Islands are also a short ferry ride or float plane flight away. The Southern Gulf Islands are known for their artist communities, wineries, fromageries and farms. These islands also boast incredible opportunities for boating, kayaking, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing [138].
  • The Okanagan is a four to five hour drive east, with a large number of wineries, water activities in the summer and skiing in the winter.
  • The scenery of Banff, Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains is a long day's drive (8-9 hours) east.
  • To the south, in the United States, Seattle, is a two and a half hour drive and Portland is a five hour drive (excluding any border line-up).


Routes through Vancouver
VictoriaTsawassen  W noframe E  BurnabyKamloops
END  W noframe E  BurnabyHope
WhistlerWest Vancouver  N noframe S  RichmondSeattle (via I-5.png) / Victoria (via Bc17.png)




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