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Difference between revisions of "Vancouver"

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Felix's favorite city :-)
'''Vancouver''' [http://city.vancouver.bc.ca/] is the largest metropolitan area in Western [[Canada]], and third largest in Canada. 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.
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[[Image:Vannight7ha.jpg|right|450px|thumb|The Lions Gate bridge connecting with downtown Vancouver.]]  Vancouver will be the host of the [[Vancouver 2010|2010 Winter Olympics]].
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==Districts==
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For simplicity, the city of Vancouver is separated into a number of districts. These do not correspond to the legal divisions of the city, but are instead a convenient way of sub-dividing Vancouver for travellers.
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[[Image:Vcr_districts.png|thumb|350px|Vancouver districts]]
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* [[Vancouver/City Center|City Center]] - The downtown peninsula that has many of the city's attractions, restaurants and high-end hotels. It includes the West End, Coal Harbour, Yaletown, Gastown, Chinatown and Stanley Park.
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* [[Vancouver/Kitsilano| Kitsilano]] - Residential area with nice views, some well established commercial areas and some of the city's most beloved beaches (Jericho, Spanish Banks, Locarno).
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* [[Vancouver/South Granville | South Granville]] - Restaurants, shopping, art studios and Granville Island.
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* [[Vancouver/South|Vancouver South]] - A mostly residential area that includes the Kerrisdale, Dunbar, Oakridge and Marpole neighbourhoods.
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* [[Vancouver/UBC|UBC]] - University of British Columbia, Pacific Spirit Park and nearby areas.
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* [[Vancouver/East Van|East Van]] - A large, mostly residential area of the city. Commercial Drive has many ethnic restaurants; Main Street is an up and coming artsy part of the city.
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==Understand==
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[[Image:Vancouver-sea-and-skyscrapers.jpg|thumb|right|320px|Vancouver sea and sky-scrapers]]While Vancouver is a comparatively young city, at just over 100 years, its history begins long before. The indigenous peoples (First Nations) have lived in the area for thousands of 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.
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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.
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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]].
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The city truly arrived in 1986 when Vancouver "hosted the world" with the Expo 86 World Fair. Media attention from around the world was consistently positive, and many considered it the most successful World's Fair since Montreal's. Vancouver has been awarded the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and this event will no doubt cast Vancouver into the world spotlight once again. It will be the second largest city ever to host the winter games, and interestingly, the only city at sea level to host them. The only worry being that February is the rainiest month of the year in Vancouver.
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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 a great starting point for discovering the area's many outdoor activities.
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Vancouver is a major sea port on the Pacific Ocean, and a base for many Alaska [[Cruise ships|Cruise Ships]] in the summer.  It has the same name as another major city in the region, [[Vancouver (Washington)|Vancouver, Washington]] ([[United States of America|USA]]).
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===Climate===
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{{Climate
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| units = Metric
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| janhigh =  6
+
| febhigh =  8
+
| marhigh =  10
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| aprhigh =  13
+
| mayhigh =  16
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| junhigh =  19
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| julhigh =  22
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| aughigh =  22
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| sephigh =  18
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| octhigh =  14
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| novhigh =  9
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| dechigh =  6
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| janlow =  0
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| feblow =  1
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| marlow =  3
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| aprlow =  5
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| maylow =  8
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| junlow =  11
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| jullow =  13
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| auglow =  13
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| seplow =  10
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| octlow =  7
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| novlow =  3
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| declow =  1
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| janprecip =  15
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| febprecip =  12
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| marprecip =  11
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| aprprecip =  8
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| mayprecip =  6
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| junprecip =  5
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| julprecip =  4
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| augprecip =  4
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| sepprecip =  6
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| octprecip =  11
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| novprecip =  17
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| decprecip =  18
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| description = See the Vancouver 5 day forecast at [http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-74_metric_e.html Environment Canada]
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}}
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With the exception of Victoria, Vancouver has the mildest climate of any major city in Canada; even palm trees can grow here. It rains a lot in Vancouver, especially during the winters, but the temperature rarely goes below freezing. Snowfalls are an unusual sight and often lead to major traffic congestion. During the winter months it can go weeks without seeing the sun or a dry day, while hovering a few degrees above freezing. The weather in Vancouver is similar to the southern UK, and almost identical to [[Seattle]]'s. 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 25°C (77°F).
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There is one word to describe Vancouver's weather: unpredictable. The weather can be completely different depending on what part of the city you are in. It can be pouring rain on the [[North Shore (British Columbia)| North Shore]] and sunny in [[White Rock]]. 
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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 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.
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===Visitor Information===
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If you want information to plan your visit, contact '''Tourism Vancouver''' [http://www.tourismvancouver.com]. In town, further information can be obtained at local visitor information centers.
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* <listing name="Tourism Vancouver Visitor Center" alt="" directions="Plaza level, Burrard & Cordova" address="200 Burrard Street" phone="+1 604-683-2000" email="" fax="+1 604-682-6839 " url="" hours="8:30AM - 6PM" price="">Offers maps, brochures and other information for visitors.</listing>
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==Get in==
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===By plane===
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[[Image:YVRvancouver.jpg|thumb|350px|right|YVR, Vancouver International Airport]]
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====Vancouver International Airport====
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'''Vancouver International Airport''' [http://www.yvr.com ], or '''YVR''' as locals sometimes refer to it, is located immediately south of the city of Vancouver.  It serves as the hub airport for Western Canada with frequent flights to other points in [[British Columbia]], major cities across [[Canada]] and the [[United States of America | United States]], [[Asia]] and several to [[Europe]] . The majority of North American flights are with Star Alliance member Air Canada [http://www.aircanada.com] and WestJet [http://www.westjet.com]. International flights are serviced by Air Canada and many other major international airlines.
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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 British Columbia 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.
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The International Terminal has two boarding areas -- Transborder and International. The transborder area services all U.S. bound flights and has U.S. customs onsite. Travellers leaving Canada to fly into the USA 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. The remainder of the International Terminal has all other customs and immigration services, and has a sophisticated layout complete with native scapes of the British Columbia terrain and sights. Construction is currently taking place to expand the International Terminal and refurbishing and expanding the domestic terminal.
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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.
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There are a number of ways to get into town from the airport.  Prices and directions below are for getting into Vancouver's [[Vancouver/City Center | City Center]].
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* '''Public transit''' - The cheapest option. Take bus number 424 to Airport Station and change to the "98 B-Line" bus.  The trip takes about 40 minutes and will cost $3.75 weekdays and $2.50 in evenings (after 6:30PM) and weekends.  The bus into downtown can be crowded, but it does run frequently (about every 8 minutes during peak hours).  Drivers take exact Canadian coin fare only; bills are NOT accepted and there is nowhere to get change once you have left the arrivals terminal, so get change first!  (for further info on Vancouver's public transit system, see [[#Public transit | Get around]] below).
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* '''Shuttle bus''' - The YVR Airporter [http://www.yvrairporter.com] (1-800-668-3141) is more convenient than public transit if you are staying at major hotels in downtown.  The cost is $13 one way or $20 return and the service runs about every 20 minutes between 8:00AM-10:00PM. One drawback of the Airporter is it only stops at certain hotels in downtown Vancouver. If you need to go elsewhere, walking or hiring a taxi will be required.
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* '''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.
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* '''Limousines''' - Limojet Gold [http://www.limojetgold.com] offers comfortable sedan and limousine options for getting into town.  Rides into the city center cost $40-$55 depending on where you are going and whether you are in a sedan or limo (the limo is more pricey).
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====Floatplane and heliport====
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There are floatplane facilities located both in the Coal Harbour area of [[Vancouver/City Center | downtown Vancouver]] (CXH) and at Vancouver International's South Terminal. Floatplanes operated by Harbour Air, Baxter Aviation, Salt Spring Air [http://www.saltspringair.wordpress.com] and West Coast Air [http://www.westcoastair.com] fly frequently from downtown Vancouver and/or YVR to [[Victoria (British Columbia) | Victoria's]] Inner Harbour, [[Vancouver Island]], the scenic 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.
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Finally, Helijet [http://www.helijet.com] operates helicopter service from the downtown heliport next to Waterfront Station, providing quick and convenient connections to [[Victoria (British Columbia) | Victoria]] and YVR.
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====Abbotsford International Airport====
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'''Abbotsford International Airport''' [http://www.abbotsfordairport.ca] (YXX), located about 80 km 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 minutes (with no checked in baggage).
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The best way to reach Vancouver from Abbotsford Airport is by car -- take the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) west. The drive will take 1 - 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 (Vancouver International Airport) instead. Car rentals are available at the airport.
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====Seattle-Tacoma International Airport====
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Flying in and out of [[Seattle]], most notably for US destinations, and then using the bus for travel to and from Vancouver city is an often less expensive option than buying a direct flight from YVR or YXX due to tariffs and "other" reasons. However depending on your nationality, a US visa may be required and could take some time to procure. For budget travellers, you may wish to consider checking flights to and from [[Seattle#By plane | Seattle-Tacoma International Airport]]. The bus or train ride takes about 5 hours one way and driving time is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.
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===By car===
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The main highway into Vancouver from the east is '''Highway #1 (the 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 either Grandview Highway, First Avenue or Hastings Street.
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From the USA/Canada border south of the city, '''Highway 99''' (the Canadian extension of the USA's Interstate 5) runs north to Vancouver.
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If you are coming from the [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Shore]] or other points further north, the only way into Vancouver is by bridge. Your options are the '''Lion's Gate Bridge''' (Highway 99) which brings you into Stanley Park and Vancouver's [[Vancouver/City Center | City Center]] or the '''Second Narrows Bridge/Ironworkers Memorial Bridge''' (Highway 1) which brings you into the neighbourhoods of [[Vancouver/East Van | East Van]].
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===By bus===
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Vancouver is well served by bus service. There are a number of different bus lines providing service to various cities near and far.
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Here are a couple of examples:
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* '''Greyhound''' [http://greyhound.ca] connects Vancouver with many cities, including [[Seattle]], [[Calgary]] and Nanaimo on [[Vancouver Island]].
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* '''Quick Coach''' [http://www.quickcoach.com] connects Vancouver with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in [[Washington (state) | Washington]].
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* '''Pacific Coach Lines'''[http://pacificcoach.com ] connects Vancouver with Victoria. Scheduled service follows the BC Ferry service from Tswwassen to Victoria (Swartz Bay). This is hourly in the summer months, and every two hours in the off-season.
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===By train===
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[[Image:Vancouver station.jpg|thumb|300px|right|Pacific Central Station]]
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Taking the train to Vancouver is unlikely to be the cheapest option, but it is a scenic one.  Rail options include:
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* '''VIA Rail''' [http://www.via.ca] has the ''Canadian'' which runs from [[Toronto]] to Vancouver with three weekly departures.
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* '''The Rocky Mountaineer''' [http://www.rockymountaineer.com] operates routes between Vancouver and [[Banff]], [[Calgary]] and [[Jasper]] three times a week from April to October.
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* '''Amtrak''' [http://www.amtrak.com] runs a service between [[Seattle]] and Vancouver. Trains depart Seattle daily at 7:45AM, arriving in Vancouver at 11:40AM. The return trip leaves Vancouver at 6PM.
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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 [[Vancouver/City Center | City Center]], or you can pick up the SkyTrain at the Main St/Science World station two blocks away.
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If you have the time and money, travelling to Vancouver by train can be an excellent way to see the [[Canadian Rockies]]. This is discussed further at the [[Rocky Mountaineer]].
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===By boat===
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There are two ferry terminals serviced by '''BC Ferries''' [http://www.bcferries.com] in the area, although neither is within the city of Vancouver itself.
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*The Tsawwassen terminal in [[Delta (British Columbia) | Delta]] has routes to [[Nanaimo]] and [[Victoria (British Columbia)|Victoria]] on [[Vancouver Island]] and to the [[Southern Gulf Islands]].
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*The Horseshoe Bay terminal in the [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Shore]] services [[Nanaimo]], [[Bowen Island]] and the [[Sunshine Coast (British Columbia)|Sunshine Coast]].
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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 are recommended over public transit. Public buses to and from the ferry terminals are time-consuming and frustrating.
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==Get around==
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Vancouver is one of the few major cities in North America without a freeway leading directly into the downtown core (freeway proposals in the 1960's and 1970's 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.
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===Public transit===
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[[Image:Vancouver Skytrain Current Map.PNG|thumb|right|400px|Skytrain system map]]
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[[Image:Vantransit.jpg|thumb|right|220px|Skytrain]]
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Vancouver's public transit is an integrated system of buses, rapid transit (SkyTrain) and passenger ferries (SeaBus) run by the regional transportation authority, '''TransLink''' [http://www.translink.bc.ca]. The transit system connects Vancouver with its neighboring municipalities, stretching as far north as Lions Bay, south to the U.S. border and east to [[Langley (British Columbia) | Langley]] and Maple Ridge.
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Adult '''fares''' for travel within the city of Vancouver cost $2.50. Travel from Vancouver to nearby places like [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Vancouver]], [[Burnaby]] and [[Richmond (British Columbia) | Richmond]] costs a little bit more -- $3.75 to $5.00 -- depending on the time of day and number of transit zones you cross. Travel on weekends and weekdays after 6:30PM is always $2.50 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 (604-953-3333) both offer complete '''trip planning'''. A '''regional system map''' is widely available at convenience stores and on TransLink's website.
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A more convenient option for the traveller may be the '''Daypass''', which offers unlimited travel for a single day at the cost of $9.00. It is available from fare machines at SkyTrain stations.  Books of 10 '''prepaid tickets''' (FareSaver tickets) are available at a discount from many convenience stores.  '''Concession fares''' are available for Vancouver grade-school students and BC seniors and cost between $1.75 and $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 $73-$136, depending on how many zones they cover.
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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.
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{{infobox|Coming Soon:  Canada Line|If you travel anywhere near the airport, Cambie Street or walk around downtown, you'll probably see construction work on the newest SkyTrain line, called the '''Canada Line'''. Controversial and almost killed a couple of times due to its cost and inter-municipal bickering, it will link downtown Vancouver with the airport and Richmond Center. With stops at both the Domestic and International terminals and an expected travel time of 25 minutes from Waterfront Station, it should make travellers lives a little bit easier when it opens in late 2009}}
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'''SkyTrain''' is the mostly elevated rapid transit system that connects Vancouver's [[Vancouver/City Center | City Center]] with some of its eastern suburbs.  There are two lines -- Expo and Millennium.  The '''Expo''' line runs out through [[Burnaby]] and [[New Westminster]] to King Street station in [[Surrey (British Columbia) | 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.  Notable SkyTrain stations in Vancouver include:
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* '''Broadway/Commerical Drive''' - Accesses the restaurants of Commercial Drive in [[Vancouver/East Van | East Vancouver]]
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* '''Burrard''' and '''Granville''' - Most convenient for accessing the shopping areas in the [[Vancouver/City Center | City Center]]
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* '''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.
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The '''SeaBus''' is a passenger ferry that connects Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Vancouver]]. It generally runs every 15 minutes except in the evening and on Sundays.  The exact schedule is available on TransLink's website.
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Purchasing tickets for the SkyTrain and the SeaBus operates on the '''honor system''', with ticket checks occuring at random, often rare times. It is not difficult 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.
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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.
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===By car===
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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 Avenue, King Edward Avenue would be 25th Avenue).
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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.
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{{infobox|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:
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* the ''West Side'' of Vancouver, which is the area of Vancouver west of Ontario Street. It includes [[Vancouver/Kitsilano| Kitsilano]] and [[Vancouver/South|Vancouver South]], but excludes the [[Vancouver/City Center| downtown peninsula]],
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* the ''West End'', which is the western portion of the [[Vancouver/City Center| downtown peninsula]], and
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* ''West Vancouver'', a municipality across the harbor in the [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Shore]].}}
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One of the best ways to avoid traffic congestion is to listen to '''traffic reports''' on AM730 (730 on the AM dial of the radio). This station only reports traffic and can be quick to report any accidents and congestion, as well as BC ferry reports, Langley ferry lineups, border wait times, and other information pertaining to getting around the city and its many suburbs.
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A unique feature of Vancouver 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 only be activated 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.
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Visitors should be advised that currently there is considerable '''construction''' in parts of Vancouver affecting traffic.  In particular, Cambie Street from False Creek to the Fraser River is being torn up to construct a rapid transit line, and traffic along much of Cambie Street has been reduced to a single lane in each direction.  Major east-west cross-streets are also affected where they cross Cambie Street.  Construction on Cambie will continue through 2008 at least.
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====Parking====
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Parking in the [[Vancouver/City Center | City Center]] and nearby areas 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.
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'''Easy Park''' [http://www.easyparkvancouver.com] 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.
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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 1410 Granville Street (under the Granville St. bridge).
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===By bicycle===
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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 [http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/routes.htm].  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.
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Bicycles are available to rent by the hour, day or week. Many places also rent tandem bikes. Some bicycle rental locations:
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* '''Stanley Park Cycle''', 768 Denman Street, [http://www.stanleyparkcycle.com]
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* '''Bayshore Bike Rentals''', 745 Denman St, [http://www.bayshorebikerentals.ca].
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* '''Spokes Bicycle Rentals''', 1789 West Georgia St, [http://www.vancouverbikerental.com].
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* '''Reckless Bike Stores''', 1810 Fir Street @ 2nd Avenue & 110 Davie Street @ Pacific, [http://reckless.ca].
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* '''JV Bike''', 1387 Richards St, [http://www.jvbike.com] also rents electric assist bicycles to make the hills a little easier.
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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, including the famous Cheapskates. 
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* '''Cheapskates''', 3228 Dunbar St, ''+1'' 604-734-1191.
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* '''Our Community Bikes''', 3283 Main St. ''+1'' 604-879-2453 (''email:info@pedalpower.org''), [http://www.pedalpower.org/?q=our_community_bikes].
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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.
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* '''City by Cycle''', 101-2539 Laurel St, +1-888-599-6800, [http://www.citybycycle.com/].
+
 
+
===By water taxi===
+
 
+
A quick trip across on a water taxi can be a fun and convenient way to get between various points on False Creek, including Granville Island, Science World, the Maritime Museum, downtown, and others. Service is offered by Granville Island Ferries [http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/] and Aquabus [http://www.theaquabus.com/].  Current prices start at around $3.00 per journey - Aug 2008.
+
 
+
==See==
+
''Most Vancouver attractions are listed in separate sections of this site since they are geographically located in [[Vancouver/City Center |City Center]] or the [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Shore]] regions. Make sure you read those District Articles for more information.''
+
 
+
===Parks===
+
[[Image:Stanley park totem pole.jpg|thumb|250px|The totem poles of Stanley Park]]
+
*'''Stanley Park''', [http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/Parks/parks/stanley/] in [[Vancouver/City Center| City Center]] is one of the big draws in Vancouver, and is in fact an extension of the downtown peninsula.  It includes the Vancouver Aquarium, gardens, beaches, a pitch and putt course and miles of walking trails.
+
* <see name="Van Dusen Botanical Gardens" address="5251 Oak St." phone="+1-604-878-9274" email="" fax="" hours="Open 10AM to around sunset" price="" url="http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/Parks/parks/vandusen/website/">Van Dusen, in the south of the city, has a very large collection of plants in the outdoor gardens. More details in [[Vancouver/South#See|South Vancouver]].</see>
+
*'''Queen Elizabeth Park''', [http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/Parks/parks/queenelizabeth/index.htm] includes the highest point in the City of Vancouver with a view of the entire city.  There are a number of gardens within the park as well as the domed '''Bloedel Floral Observatory''' with tropical plants and birds, a pitch and putt golf course and a disc golf course.
+
*'''Pacific Spirit Park''', [http://www.gvrd.bc.ca/parks/PacificSpirit.htm] is a relatively undeveloped and heavily forested park with many kilometres of trails and beaches (including Wreck Beach [http://www.wreckbeach.org/], the renowned nude or "clothing optional" beach).  It's the closest thing to wilderness in the city, and only a 25-minute bus ride from downtown near [[Vancouver/UBC|UBC]].
+
 
+
===Must See Attractions===
+
[[Image:Beluga_whale_Vancouver.JPG|thumb|250px|right|Watch out for the Splash Zone at the Vancouver Aquarium]]
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+
* <see name="Vancouver Aquarium" alt="" address="845 Avison Way" directions="" phone="604-659-3474" email="" fax="604-659-3515" url="http://www.vanaqua.org/home/" hours="9:30AM–7PM" price="Adults $24.95, Seniors/Youths(13-18)/Students $19.95, Children(4-12) $16.95">The world class Vancouver aquarium is famous for its marine life research and rehabilitation.</see>
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+
* <see name="Vancouver Lookout! Harbour Centre Tower" alt="" address="555 West Hastings St" directions="" phone="604-689-0421" email="info@vancouverlookout.com" fax="604-689-5447" url="http://www.vancouverlookout.com" hours="15 Oct-27 Apr 9AM-9PM, 28 Apr-14 Oct 8:30AM-10:30PM" price="Adult $13">A fantastic 360-degree view of cosmopolitan and Greater Vancouver, the majestic North Shore Mountains.</see>
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+
* '''The Capilano Suspension Bridge''', [http://www.capbridge.com/]. On the [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Shore]], the 136 metres long bridge crosses the Capilano river 70 metres above the river.  In addition to the bridge there is also a large park, rainforest ecotours, North America's largest private collection of First Nations story poles and the Treetops Adventure which is a series of bridges that link between trees as high as 30 metres above the forest floor. At $35 it is a pretty expensive bridge trek, but the more economical can visit The Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge.
+
 
+
* '''The Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge''', [http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/parks_lscr/regionalparks/Pages/LynnHeadwaters.aspx]. Also on the [[North Shore (British Columbia) | North Shore]], the Lynn Valley Bridge is similar to the Capilano Bridge, only free of charge, with fewer people and with several lovely trails. 
+
* '''Grouse Mountain''', [http://www.grousemountain.com/]. Take the skyride to Grouse Mountain or hike up for free, to enjoy breathtaking views of the city from the North Shore. This is truly the peak of Vancouver.
+
*'''See Vancouver Card''', [http://www.seevancouvercard.com/] is a convenient way to do multiple sightseeing. With the card you get entry to the area's attractions, museums and gardens for one price. Cards start at $119 for adults, $79 for children.
+
 
+
===Museums===
+
* '''The Museum of Anthropology''', located at the University of British Columbia [http://www.moa.ubc.ca]. One of Vancouver's most impressive museums houses the world's largest collection of West Coast Native artifacts.  Tuesday evenings are entry by donation.  The 44 bus will get you there from downtown. 
+
* <see name="Vancouver Art Gallery" alt="" address="750 Hornby St" directions="" phone="604-662-4719" email="" fax="" url="http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca" hours="Daily 10AM-5:30PM, Tu,Th until 9PM" price="Adult $19.50 (Tuesday pay-by-donation 5PM-9PM">Located in the [[Vancouver/City Center|City Center]]. The gallery has constant variety of exhibitions, while the permanent collection is also very good and emphasizes British Columbia's renowned artist Emily Carr. On pay-by-donation days the recommended donation is $5, but the amount that people actually donate varies widely.</see>
+
* '''Telus Science World''', [http://www.scienceworld.bc.ca]. Located in the landmark geodesic dome building at the end of False Creek. 
+
* '''H.R. MacMillan Space Centre''', [http://www.hrmacmillanspacecentre.com/]. Features includes exhibits dealing with space artifacts, the feeling of being in space, astronomy, space explorations, and a space-flight simulator.
+
* '''The Vancouver Museum''', [http://www.vanmuseum.bc.ca]. This museum focuses on Vancouver's history.  It is located in the same building as the Space Centre.
+
* '''Vancouver Maritime Museum''', [http://www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com]. One of the major maritime museums on the West Coast of North America.
+
 
+
===Landmarks/Points of Interest===
+
* '''Canada Place''' [http://www.canadaplace.ca/cpc/Tourist_Information/]. Venture over to the cruise boats ready to depart and you can converse with the lucky passengers about to embark on 'inside passage' tours through Alaska. CP has an IMAX theatre as well. CP is located adjacent to the '''Pan Pacific Hotel'''.
+
* '''The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden''' [http://www.vancouverchinesegarden.com]. The first full-sized classical Chinese garden outside China.  It is located in China town on the edge of downtown Vancouver.
+
* '''International Buddhist Temple''' [http://www.buddhisttemple.ca]. The most authentic example of traditional palatial Chinese architecture in North America. It is an edifice straight out of the Chinese past, as it resembles any authentic temple that can be found along the banks of the Yangtze River, where one of the world’s oldest civilizations originated. Come explore traditional Chinese art, culture, and the Buddhist philosophy inside this magnificent place. Free admission.
+
* '''[[Vancouver/UBC| University of British Columbia]]'''. This Campus has streets lined with trees and stretching over an area encompassing a small city, the UBC campus offers much to see and much to do. You can attend free lectures, relax at clothes-optional '''Wreck Beach''' [http://www.wreckbeach.org], or see a show at the '''Chan Centre for Performing Arts''' [http://www.chancentre.ca/]. The UBC Libraries form the second largest library collection in all of Canada (second only to University of Toronto). A must for cash-strapped visitors: UBC often hosts free events, such as seminars, theatrical performances or student concerts.
+
* '''Granville Island''', [http://www.granvilleisland.com/en/publicmarket], located in the [[Vancouver/South Granville | South Granville]] district, is Vancouver's famous public market.  Along with the large market there are also numerous local art galleries, restaurants and even a brewery.
+
* '''Gastown'''[http://www.gastown.org/]. Vancouver's historic district, there are many tourist shops, restaurants and pubs in this area. [[Vancouver/City Center|City Center]]
+
 
+
==Do==
+
 
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[[Image:Grouse_Mountain_Gondola.jpg|thumb|250px|right|The Grouse Mountain Gondola]]
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* '''The Grouse Grind''' [http://www.grousemountain.com/] Hike 2.9km to the peak of Vancouver on this famous trail. If you're not up for the hike you can also catch the Skyride tram to the top. Once you're at the top there is lots to see and do. Year round you can enjoy panoramic views of Greater Vancouver, dine at the Peak Chalet and see Grizzly Bears and other wildlife at the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. In the winter the mountain is open for skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating on a frozen pond. During the summer the mountain has many hiking trails, paragliding, mountain biking, lumberjack demonstrations and bird shows. Admission is free if you do decide to hike up, but be advised it is a very difficult hike with nearly a kilometre of elevation gain. Stick to the trail as it is dangerous to stray off it. A tram ride back down is only five dollars if you want to save your knees.
+
* '''Seawall'''. Whether you like to ride a bicycle, rollerblade or just walk there are miles and miles of seawall. Starting with Canada Place downtown, to Stanley Park, around Stanley Park, along False Creek, to Science World, then to Granville Island, Vanier Park and Kits Beach in Kitsilano.
+
* '''Beaches'''. Much of the coastline here is rocky; the beaches do not rank amongst the most spectacular in the world.  However because the waters in the Vancouver area are sheltered by [[Vancouver Island]] the water temperatures are relatively warm, in fact the water here is slightly warmer than it is in [[Los Angeles]].  The downside to being a sheltered coastline is that the waves are smaller, so traditional surfing is '''not''' possible here.    The most famous beach is the clothing optional '''Wreck Beach''' in the [[Vancouver/UBC | UBC]] Area, it is possibly the most famous nude beach in North America.  Kits Beach in [[Vancouver/Kitsilano | Kitsilano]] and Sun Set Beach in [[Vancouver/City Center|downtown]] are very popular, these are also the best places to watch the annual Fire Works Competition in July.  [[White Rock | White Rock Beach]] is the largest destination beach in Greater Vancouver, it is a large sandy beach with many trendy restaurants over looking it.  There are also beaches on the [[North Shore (British Columbia)|North Shore]].
+
* '''Skiing''' and '''Snowboarding''' the Vancouver area is world-famous for its ski hills, and [[Whistler]] Mountain is ranked amongst best ski resorts in the world. There are also three local ski hills; Cypress Mountain , Grouse Mountain, and Mount Seymour on the [[North Shore (British Columbia)|North Shore]].
+
* <do name="Edible British Columbia" alt="" address="565 - 1689 Johnston Street" directions="" phone="+1-604-812-9660" email="events@edible-britishcolumbia.com" fax="+1-866-272-8777" url="http://www.edible-britishcolumbia.com/" hours="" price="Market tours $65/person, cooking classes $75/person">Edible BC opens the city's vibrant culinary scene for true foodies, with restaurant reservations, chef guided market tours, gourmet kayaking adventures, cooking classes, and more.  Market tours are limited to 8 people and include lunch. Cooking classes include a 5-course meal with wine.</do>
+
*'''Vancouver Trolley Company''' is a nice way to explore Vancouver. As any Vancouverite will tell you, parking in Vancouver can be a nightmare, so exploring the city on a narrated tour bus ride is a worthy alternative. This is a "hop-on, hop-off" type of tour with stops in numerous places around town and the drivers narrate the history and peculiarities of the city along the way. You are limited to one time around the loop. The City attraction tour is $35 for adults, $18.50 for children.
+
*'''Vancouver Five in One''' is a convenient admissions pass to combine with a Hop-on, Hop-off tour of the city.  The card gives entry to Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Aquarium, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, IMAX at Canada Place, and the Vancouver Lookout for $70 for adults, $47 for children. [http://www.vancouverfiveinone.com/]
+
*'''Vancouver Talks Audio Tour''' [http://www.citytalks.ca] is a neat way to hear about the city while seeing it. The audio tour covers four downtown neighbourhoods and incorporates documentary interviews and historical quotations. It can be rented from '''Tourism Vancouver''' [http://www.tourismvancouver.com/] (200 Burrard) or bought (CD/map format) from most local book retailers. It costs about $15 to rent or buy the product and can keep you busy for a few hours or a few days depending on how much of the city you want to cover.
+
*'''Geogad Mobile Tours''': [http://www.geogad.com] Geogad has two free MP3 walking tour of Vancouver that can be downloaded directly from the [http://www.geogad.com Geogad] website.  The tour can be uploaded to any MP3 device and works best on MP3 players that can display the tour photos and maps.  One tour covers the downtown Vancouver and Gastown while the second focuses on Chinatown, Yaletown and Granville Island.  Either tour is a great way to relax and explore Vancouver’s history at your own pace.
+
*'''Classical Music Concerts''' are happening year round in Vancouver, with regular chamber, orchestral, choral, and vocal performances.  Check the Vancouver Recital Society website [http://vanrecital.com] for upcoming events. 
+
*'''Sailboat Racing'''.  Cooper's Boating on Granville Island offers drop-in Friday night racing for all comers.  $25, with an additional $15 membership fee (which is valid for 2 years).  no skill or knowledge is required, in fact the sailing is strictly novice level.
+
* '''Biking''' Rent a bike in one of the many bike rentals and ride through the Stanley Park and the downtown area. It is the fastest and cheapest way to get around in Vancouver downtown area.
+
*'''Salsa Dancing''': free and paid salsa lessons and parties by City Salsa Vibe, Thursdays and Saturdays at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in  [[Vancouver/East Van#Do|East Van]]. Upcoming Friday and Special events are announced weekly at the CitySalsaVibe website[http://citysalsavibe.com/].
+
===2010 Winter Olympics===
+
 
+
Vancouver will be the host of the [[Vancouver 2010|2010 Winter Olympics]]. The events will be held in various locations throughout the region and in [[Whistler]].
+
 
+
===Festivals===
+
+
*'''HSBC Celebration of Light '''[http://www.celebration-of-light.com/] The largest fireworks competition in the world.  Four nights of fireworks in late July, early August.  Over one million people attend this event every year. The show starts at 10PM sharp. Accompanying music is played over local radio stations so that you can hear the choreographed music while watching the show. Last year's crowd during the first night's performance was estimated at 400,000 people so be prepared for huge crowds: '''Warning: Expect delays when transiting to and from the show'''.  Many Vancouverites start to arrive in the city from 2 pm onwards, and by 6 Kitsalano is shut to traffic, (not that there would be any parking by that time anyhow). It is recommended that you take public transportation for this event.  Traffic jams of up to 3 hours are common afterwards and even the waits for public transit can be lengthy. Either way, don't expect to get out of downtown quickly after the show.  Probably best to sit in a cafe and wait, while Vancouverites sit with vehicles (sometimes turned off) for 45 minutes before moving several car lengths. The show can be viewed from either banks of English Bay: [[Vancouver/City_Center|Downtown West End]] or the Kits Beach area in [[Vancouver/Kitsilano | Kitsilano]].
+
*'''The Illuminares Festival '''. [http://www.thedrive.ca/eventilluminares.shtm] This is an alternative festival of light involving hundreds of hand-made paper lanterns made by the local people of Vancouver (bring your own!). They are paraded through Trout Lake Park after sunset to the sounds of drums, gamelan and flutes played by local musicians. It is a real grassroots part of the Commercial Drive culture in [[Vancouver/East Van|East Van]]. The same theatre group puts on The Festival of Lost Souls for Halloween.
+
*'''Fringe Festival''' [http://www.vancouverfringe.com] - Every year, close to 100 theatre groups and performers from across Canada and around the the world perform for 11 days in diverse venues, from theatres to garages to a moving Aquabus.
+
*'''The Pacific National Exhibition''' Western Canada's largest fair and exhibition takes place at the end of each summer on the fair grounds next to Play Land.
+
*'''Chinese New Year'''. Because there is such a strong Chinese population in the city, the Lunar New Year period is often one of the most exciting and colourful in the city. There is usually a parade in Chinatown and many of the public schools usually have a day off on Chinese New Year. You can also catch celebrations at Tinseltown mall (1 minute from Stadium Skytrain station), and in Richmond at the International Buddhist Temple. There, visitors can experience Chinese New Year festivities with traditional snacks and foods, auspicious flower arrangements, Chinese calligraphy, exciting raffles, and much, much more.
+
*'''Jazz Festival'''. This usually occurs at the end of June and is growing in both size and reputation.
+
*'''Dragon Boat Festival'''. This usually occurs in the month of June on False Creek.
+
*'''Vancouver Film Festival''' happens every year in late September and early October. Good selection of films, but often hard to get tickets.
+
*'''Parade of Lost Souls''' takes place around Halloween in the Commercial Drive area. It is free to go, and features live music, fire dancers, lots of costumed revellers. Under-advertised, but one of the biggest yearly festivals in Vancouver.
+
*'''Gay Pride Parade and Festival''' happens on the Sunday before the first Monday in August. The parade happens on Denman Street, turning onto Beach Avenue with the festival happening at Sunset Beach. This is the largest celebration of its kind in Western Canada, in 2007 attracting over 380,000 festival-goers from all over North America. Parties, arts and cultural events lead up to this colorful parade and beach side festival.
+
*'''4:20'''. On April 20th people congregate at the Vancouver Art Gallery to smoke marijuana and celebrate this unofficial holiday, a reflection of British Columbia's relaxed attitudes towards cannabis.
+
*'''Richmond Night market'''. Held in a Richmond parking lot (across from Ikea), this festival runs Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer. A multicultural Asian market event, it contains rows of open stalls with various ethnic foods made to order. There is also stage entertainment of rather dubious quality and a plethora of items for sale from clothing, books, electronics and Asian DVDs. This is a thriving and vibrant event that is quite popular.
+
*'''Vancouver Folk Festival''' A truly amazing folk festival featuring spectacular views of the harbour and mountains.  The Vancouver Folk Festival typically features multiple stages, and a wonderous mix of traditional and contemporary artists.  The 2006 folk festival featured Feist, Jane Siberry, Beats without Borders, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt & Salil Bhatt, Dyad and a myriad of other wonderful performers.  The current location is Jericho Beach.  [http://www.thefestival.bc.ca/]
+
*'''Vancouver Zombie Walk'''. Usually either in the summer or near Halloween, anyone can choose to dress up and act as the living dead during this parade through Downtown. Although this has only been in Vancouver for about 2 years, thousands of people have already participated, and at least 500 people each year join in on this zombie walk. It is free, and mostly for plain fun, and is also an unofficial event. Each year, there is a set meeting spot. Everyone then walks throughout Downtown and up streets and parks all in one large group. Information on this event is usually found with a quick search on google.
+
 
+
==Learn==
+
 
+
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:
+
 
+
* The '''University of British Columbia''' [http://www.ubc.ca], or UBC, is ranked as one of the world's 50 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 [[Vancouver/UBC | UBC]] district. UBC also has a downtown campus in Vancouver, located at Robson Square in the [[Vancouver/City Center | City Center]]. 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.
+
* '''Simon Fraser University''' [http://www.sfu.ca], or SFU, whose main campus is in [[Burnaby]], has a satellite campus in [[Vancouver/City Center|downtown Vancouver]].
+
* '''Langara College''' [http://www.langara.bc.ca], located in [[Vancouver/South | Vancouver South]] 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''' [http://www.eciad.ca] on [[Vancouver/South Granville | Granville Island]] offers a number of programs focused primarily on design and the visual arts.
+
* Many young visitors come to Vancouver to improve their English. The Vancouver Public Library [[Vancouver/City Center | downtown]] maintains a list of '''ESL schools''' [http://www.vpl.ca/branches/LibrarySquare/lit/ESLschools.html] in Vancouver.
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==Work==
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Traditionally, much of Vancouver's industry has centered 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.  Many more 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 center, there are a number of service jobs available.  The attractions, restaurants and hotels in the [[Vancouver/City Center|City Center]] frequently need staff.  Other areas to consider are [[Vancouver/South Granville|Granville Island]] and the [[North Shore (British Columbia)|North Shore]] with its ski areas and Grouse Mountain.
+
 
+
==Buy==
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''This is only a sample of things you can look for in Vancouver. Visit the separate district pages for other info.''
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+
'''Tip''' There are two local taxes that are charged on the vast majority of goods, the PST (provincial sales tax) and the GST (goods and services tax).
+
*'''Robson Street''' in the [[Vancouver/City Centre|City Centre]] is home to many high-end and touristy shops. Shop listings can be found at online [http://www.robsonstreet.net/].
+
 
+
*'''Pacific Centre''' has more than 150 shops, restaurants and services if you want to walk in an underground shopping centre. The shopping centre begins at Sears on the north end at Robson Street, 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, Sport Chek, GAP, H&M and 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).
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*'''Gastown''' 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. A great resource can be found at [http://www.gastown.org Gastown.org]
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*'''Yaletown''' is also popular for its non-mainstream fashion boutiques and high-end salons. A few Popular Yaletown Shopping Streets are: Mainland St. [http://www.mainlandstreet.com/], Hamilton St. [http://www.hamiltonstreet.com/], and Pacific Blvd. [http://www.pacificboulevard.com/].
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*'''Commercial Drive''' Shopping is an adventure on '''Commercial Drive''', especially the stretch between 3rd Avenue and Venables St. in [[Vancouver/East Van | East Van]]. It's great for people-watching, produce (Santa Barbara Market), magazines (Magpie, http://www.thedrive.net/magpie/), cheese (La Grotta del Formaggio), sausage (JN&Z Deli), etc.
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+
*'''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, http://www.moccia.ca/). 
+
 
+
*'''Main Street''', south of Broadway stretching to around 30th Avenue, has a vibrant collection of independent restaurants, cafés, boutiques and small stores. 
+
 
+
* '''Chinatown''' around Main and Pender, and westwards down Pender from Main, has some very, very neat stores to check out.
+
 
+
There are some unique shopping areas in [[Vancouver/Kitsilano | Kitsilano]] and [[Vancouver/East Van | East Van]].  In Kits you can visit the first store of Vancouver-born and based athletic retailer, Lululemon Athletica, sporting popular yoga-inspired apparel [http://www.lululemon.com/].  Gore-tex<sup>&copy;</sup> jackets are ubiquitous in Vancouver and the best place to buy them is at Mountain Equipment Co-op [http://www.mec.ca/], Taiga Works [http://www.taigaworks.ca] 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 [[Vancouver/Kitsilano | Kitsilano]] area.
+
 
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==Eat==
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Where to begin? There is something for everyone in this cosmopolitan city. In particular, you will find many different kinds of Asian food available. If you fancy Sushi (or have not tried it yet) many places offer "all you can eat" lunches for $9.99 (the quality may not be the best though). In general, you are likely to dine better and for cheaper than most other places in North America. If you can do without alcohol, you can usually have a pretty reasonable meal for under $10.00, and at one of the more expensive restaurants in the city, $70.00 will get you a 4 course feast with exquisite service.
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+
The highest density of restaurants is in [[Vancouver/Kitsilano | Kitsilano]] or the West End. The [[Vancouver/City Center|City Center]] has many of the high end restaurants either along Robson Street or associated with the many hotels in the downtown area. [[Vancouver/East Van| East Van]] tends to have many authentic ethnic restaurants.
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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 best quality dim sum restaurants is Sun Sui Wah, at 3888 Main Street. Also, check out Floata in Chinatown on Keefer Street, Top Cantonese Cuisine in East Vancouver on Kingsway and Earles. There are many restaurants on Victoria around 41st avenue which offer cheap dim sum ($2/plate), albiet 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 Road, Westminster Highway, Alexandra Road, and on the many side streets just east of Richmond Centre.
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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, the exception is small, family owned chinese business' and resturaunts, which more often than not only accept cash.
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+
*For coffee, there are probably more '''Starbucks''' per capita in Vancouver than anywhere else. On Robson and Thurlow, you will be able to find two Starbucks kitty-corner to one another. 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 a chain 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 six locations scattered throughout the city. For independent chains try '''Mario's''' on Dunsmuir and Howe they have a unique feel and a slower pace than other coffee shops.
+
 
+
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 Avenue and Oak Street.
+
 
+
==Drink==
+
Most of the night clubs are located in the [[Vancouver/City Center|City Center]], especially along Granville Street, south of Robson, downtown.
+
 
+
The Pacific Pub, located on the SE corner of Main and Georgia, serves pints of beer for $2 flat. It's a two-minute walk north from the Main St. Skytrain station. Be advised that it's not a great place to walk at night, as that section is not far removed from the worst areas of the Eastside.
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==Sleep==
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In general, accommodations in Vancouver are on the expensive side. Most hotel rooms begin at $200-250/night, and most motel rooms cost somewhere between $90-150/night. If you are lucky to find hostel accommodation, the cheapest of these will cost around $20/night, more reasonably between $35-50.
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The [[Vancouver/City Center|City Center]] 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, there are a number of smaller boutique hotels outside of the central business district but still close to the action that are cheaper than the four and five star options downtown.
+
 
+
Staying outside the City Center area may give you a wider choice of affordable accommodations. There are a few budget hotels/motels along Kingsway in [[Vancouver/East Van|East Van]] and Broadway in [[Vancouver/South Granville|South Granville]]. A number of B&B's are also scattered throughout the city in each district.
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Finally, if you don't mind driving or commuting in to see Vancouver, the suburbs also have some cheaper options. [[Richmond (British Columbia)|Richmond]] has a number of 'airport' hotels, while [[North Shore (British Columbia)|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 [[Chilliwack]] and [[Squamish]].
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==Contact==
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In case of an '''Emergency, dial 9-1-1''' from any public phone for free.
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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 it's combination (ex. 9-1-1, 1-1-2 etc.) Please note that 1-1-2 will ONLY work 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 their cellular network. To be safe, dial 9-1-1 for emergencies if you are anywhere in North America.
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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, 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".
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Local calls at pay phones costs 35 cents per call.  They are not metered, so you can talk as long as you want. Note that downtown payphones are often broken. Working payphones are almost always available at all of the downtown SkyTrain stations.
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Internet cafes are widely available and generally quite reasonably priced ($2-3/hour).
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For those who have brought a laptop, free wireless points are abundant in the downtown area (including every branch of '''Blenz Coffee''' [http://www.blenz.com/]), and reasonable paid service is also available in a pinch.
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==Stay safe==
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Vancouver is a very safe city and consistently ranks in the top three of the worlds most livable cities. Like any major metropolitan area travel within certain parts of the city at night should be conducted with caution, in particular the infamous Downtown Eastside (specifically Hastings Street between Abbott and Gore) and the Whalley area of Surrey. Parked cars with foreign or out of province licence plates are especially likely to be targeted for theft in these parts of town.
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Visitors to Vancouver should be aware that the some parts of the city have high rates of property crime. Theft from vehicles is especially problematic; drug addicts have been known to break in to cars to steal coins from the ashtray, and valuables in plain view will prove to be too great a temptation. Robberies and muggings are ''extremely'' rare, but belongings can possibly be stolen if you leave them in your car overnight.
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Panhandling is common in some parts of downtown. For the most part they will just ask for change and leave you alone. Don't be rude, as there may be negative consequences. Should a panhandler follow you and become aggressive, dial 911 for police assistance. Don't worry too much; the chance of something happening to you is very low unless you go looking for trouble, and the police presence is strong.
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The Granville Mall area is Vancouver’s bar and nightclub district and is an extremely popular place. The sheer volume of people on weekends combined with alcohol consumption make Friday & Saturday nights on this strip potentially volatile. Disorderly conduct is frequent and rowdy behavior like shouting, public urination in the alleyways or on the street corner and disobeying traffic lights are all common. Tourists interested in experiencing Vancouver's nightlife along Granville Street should understand that there is always a strong police presence and in general it is a very safe place even at night.
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Vancouver is overall ranked 18th safest city in the whole world. As such, visitors should not feel limited in any way to explore the city; you should however, exercise caution in the above-mentioned areas and keep an eye on your possessions.
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Bottled water is widely sold, but the tap water is of high quality. You'll save a lot of money by buying a reusable water bottle and filling it up from the tap.
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===Respect===
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Vancouver is a very safe city, and residents are willing to assist you.  However, there are areas of the city that are major issues, such as the Downtown Eastside.  It is recommended that people steer clear of this area and discussing this issue with local residents, since this issue has the ability to polarize local residents and may cause them to be outright hostile if your view does not clearly follow their view.  The main controversial areas that are best to avoid include Pigeon Park, at Hastings Street and Carrall and Main and Hastings, nearby the Safe Injection Site.  These areas are unsafe, and are unwelcoming to residents, since this is where Vancouver's most vulnerable residents live.  It is a very good idea to not spend much time in this area of Vancouver, since it can be considered offensive to the residents of the Downtown Eastside.
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===Cannabis===
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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 in Vancouver it is ''extremely'' unlikely that you will be charged, in the vast majority of cases the police will simply ask you to move somewhere out of sight to finish up, or ignore the fact altogether.
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* <buy name="BCMP Bookstore" alt="BCMP" address="307 West Hastings St. V6B 1H6" directions="" phone="604-682-1172" email="Marc@cannabisculture.com" fax="" url="http://www.bcmarijuanaparty.com/" hours="usually open to 9:00 pm" price="$5 per hour (lounge only)">The BCMP "Bookstore" is arguably the center of the marijuana sub-culture of Vancouver. It is the party headquarters for the provincial marijuana party as well as a store and lounge. Proceeds from the BCMP go towards the party and the legal battle against the extradition of the party leader who faces life in prison in the USA. The front half of the store is taken up by display shelves of bongs, pipes, rolling papers and pretty much anything you could imagine.</buy>
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==Cope==
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===Publications===
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* <listing name="Vancouver Sun" alt="" directions="" address="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.canada.com/vancouversun" hours="" price="">Vancouver's biggest daily newspaper.</listing>
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* <listing name="The Province" alt="" directions="" address="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.canada.com/theprovince" hours="" price="">Tabloid-style daily. A bit more sensational than the Sun and a better sports section.</listing>
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* <listing name="Georgia Straight" alt="" directions="" address="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.georgiastraight.com" hours="" price="">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.</listing>
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Other free weeklies include the Vancouver Courier, Westender, Terminal City and Xtra West (gay and lesbian bi-weekly newspaper).
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==Get out==
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===Nearby municipalities===
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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.
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* [[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.
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* [[Fort Langley]] - Village with unique shops, restaurants and the site of one of the first forts built in British Columbia.
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* [[New Westminster]] - Small city on the banks of the Fraser River that was once the capital of British Columbia.
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* [[North Shore (British Columbia)|North Shore]] - Take in the views from Grouse Mountain (a.k.a. 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.
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* [[Richmond (British Columbia)|Richmond]] - City with a large Asian influence, the largest Buddhist temple in North America and historic Steveston.
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===Day trips===
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* 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]] (2 hours 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.
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* Another good spot for outdoor activities is [[Mount Baker]] across the border in [[Washington (state) | Washington]]. Driving time is about three hours.
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* The nearby [[Fraser Valley]] has a number of parks and lakes that are nice for fishing, hiking or relaxing.
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===Further afield===
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* [[Vancouver Island]] is a good spot to move on to from Vancouver. [[Victoria (British Columbia)|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.
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* 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.
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* The scenery of [[Banff]], Banff National Park and the [[Rocky Mountains (Canada)|Rocky Mountains]] is a long day's drive (8-9 hours) east.
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* To the south, in the [[United States of America | United States]], [[Seattle]] is a three hour drive and [[Portland (Oregon) | Portland]] is a six hour drive.
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===Tours===
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There are a couple of '''hop-on, hop-off''' bus tours based in Vancouver that allow you to explore Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest on your own schedule.
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* '''The Moose Travel Network''' [http://www.moosenetwork.com] runs various adventure tourism tours covering Western Canada, including [[Vancouver Island]], [[Whistler]] and the [[Rocky Mountains (Canada)|Rocky Mountains]]. Accommodation is at hostels and optional adventure activities include whitewater rafting, [[skydiving]], horseback riding, bungee and more. Ski tours are also offered in the Winter.
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* '''West Trek''' [http://www.westtrek.com] provides budget and deluxe tours to 7 destinations: The Rocky Moutains, Whistler, Victoria, Tofino, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland.
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Revision as of 02:22, 30 September 2008

Felix's favorite city :-)

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