For additional information on Vancouver, please visit Tourism Vancouver’s website at www.tourismvancouver.com.
Warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected by a range of mountains, Vancouver enjoys mild temperatures year-round. Hovering around 25º Celsius (high 70s Fahrenheit) in summer to a mild 0º to 5º Celsius (mid 40s Fahrenheit) in winter, the climate is always hospitable. In September, we can anticipate warm days and cooler evenings. For more detailed weather information, visit www.theweathernetwork.com.
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The monetary system in Canada is based on dollars and cents. Most Greater Vancouver establishments accept US dollars and Japanese yen, and usually offer reasonable exchange rates.
The current Canada/US exchange rate and the exchange rate between Canada and other countries can be found at http://www.xe.com/ucc.
The Canadian Dollar is available in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. The coinage denominations are $2, $1, 25 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents and 1 cent. There are 100 cents to one dollar.
The Canadian dollar itself is a relatively large gold-coloured coin and the locals have nicknamed it the “Loonie”, officially because it features a Canadian bird, the loon, on its face. The $2 coin is slightly larger and two toned, gold and silver coloured, and has been nicknamed the “Toonie”.
Bank debit or credit cards are the most convenient means of getting cash at the many 24 hour access automated banking machines. As in the US and Europe, these machines accept cards with Plus, Interac and Cirrus symbols and there is one on almost every block in downtown Vancouver.
Most Canadian businesses accept US currency and travellers cheques. International currency exchanges are available at the airport and at all the banks in the city.
Major credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, and American Express) are generally accepted by Canadian businesses.
Outlets and voltage (110 volts) are the same as in the United States. Adapters are required for electrical appliances not originating in North America. The frequency of electrical current in Canada is 60 Hz.
An extensive variety of cuisine is available representing the multicultural flavour of Vancouver. Fine dining, casual or family friendly restaurants are easily accessible throughout Greater Vancouver.
Minors are not admitted into bars. In BC, minors are defined as anyone under 19 years of age.
Federal government departments provide service in English and French, but most of the population speaks English as either a first or second language. The City of Vancouver is quite cosmopolitan and has representation from many languages.
International delegates are not covered by Canadian health insurance plans. Check with your personal medical plan before leaving your home country to ensure you have adequate medical insurance. Delegates are urged to take out insurance to cover loss incurred in the case of cancellation, medical expenses and damage to or loss of personal effects whenever travelling outside of their own country.
Exceptional public transportation is overshadowed slightly by the convenience of Vancouver as a great walking city - clean, green, safe, and easily accessible.
Vancouver’s public transit system includes the bus, sky train, and seabus. This system gets you anywhere in the Greater Vancouver area. The fare is based on how many zones you are crossing. Within 1 zone, you can travel the Vancouver area at $2.50 (subject to change).
Smoking is not permitted by law in public buildings, on public transit, in shopping malls, and in most restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, and casinos, including outdoor seating areas (such as cafe patios). Please smoke in designated areas only.
There are three levels of taxation that affect visitors to Vancouver. There is a 10% tax charged on accommodation and liquor. For just about all other goods and services, there is a 7% provincial sales tax (PST)-its official title is "Social Services Tax" as well as the 5% federal goods and services tax (GST).
There are a number of exemptions and complexities to the way those taxes are applied, particularly where food is involved. PST, for instance, is not applied to, among other things, food, and children's clothing.
The goods and services tax (GST) is charged on most goods and services sold or provided in Canada.
Vancouver is in the Pacific time zone, eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or Universal Coordinated Time (UCT). When it is midnight in London, England, it is 4pm Pacific Time.
You can see Vancouver's time in relation to most cities on the globe by visiting www.timeanddate.com which also provides a Canadian calendar.
Visitors should be advised that the standard tip in most restaurants is 15 percent of the total bill (based on good service).
Vancouver is a casual town with mild weather year-round; layers and smart casual clothes will see you through most situations. Fall evenings, especially in the surrounding mountains, can be cool, so it's best to pack a jacket and sweater.