Vancouver Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Vancouver, British Columbia - BC, Canada)
Vancouver is an energetic city and the third-biggest metro area in the country. Home to an important seaport and a rapidly increasing, dense population, Vancouver has become a particularly desirable place to live and visit in Canada. The quality of city life is excellent and Vancouver contains a healthy mix of housing, facilities, attractions, entertainment, recreational activities and natural scenery.
Vancouver's skyline is amongst the most beautiful in the world and features more high-rise buildings per capita than New York
. Offering stunning views of the waterfront and mountainous countryside, Vancouver's modern skyscrapers and apartment blocks are well constructed and arguably feature some of the world's best architecture.
Tourism and Tourist Information
Vancouver Tourist Info Center
Address: 200 Burrard Street, Plaza Level, Waterfront, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), V6C 3L6, Canada
+1 604 683 2000
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:30 to 17:00, Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00, summer, daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Vancouver International Airport Information Center
Address: 3211 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, British Columbia (BC), V7B 1Y7, Canada
+1 604 207 7077
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Forest Alliance of BC Visitor's Center
Address: 1055 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), V7X 1L3, Canada
Tel: +1 604 685 7505
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 17:00
Roundhouse Community Center
Address: 181 Roundhouse Mews, Corner of Davie and Pacific, Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), V6Z 2W3, Canada
Tel: +1 +1 604 713 1800
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 22:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00
With more than 300 languages spoken throughout America and Canada, English and French are the main languages in the city of Vancouver, and many highway signposts and tourist leaflets display both. Canadian English is widely spoken in Vancouver and is based upon British English, with distinctive expressions and terms. In the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, Canadian French is the prominent language. Vancouver is home to countless different nationalities, including a large Asian community, and a number of regions in Canada are known for their local dialects and colorful colloquialisms, particularly around the Newfoundland region.
Currency in Vancouver, British Columbia and throughout Canada is structured in a similar way to the USA, with Canadian dollars. Noteworthy denominations include:
- 1c - penny
- 5c - nickel
- 10c - dime
- 2c - quarter
- $1 dollar - loonie
- $2 dollars - twoonie / toonie
Paper notes in Vancouver consist of $5, $10 and $20 notes, which are in daily use, with higher notes such as $50 and $100 dollar bills being less common. Tourists in Vancouver are able to use their credit and debit cards at ATMs, which can be found almost everywhere, providing a popular way to exchange currency. Also, travel agents in Vancouver, such as American Express and Thomas Cook, offer excellent rates of exchange, together with local banks. Most banks in Vancouver are open Monday through Friday, with opening hours being less than regular shops and stores in the city of Vancouver. A number of banking branches in central Vancouver also open during the evenings and on Saturday mornings.
Visas and Documents
Visitors to Vancouver and other cities in Canada must bring photo identification and also at least two or three types of formal ID. Passports are always needed when visiting Vancouver, except for those arriving from the United States and Greenland. A driver's license is no longer sufficient ID for American citizens arriving in Vancouver and needs to be used in conjunction with a valid birth certificate or similar, such as an official certificate of citizenship. People traveling to Vancouver from Commonwealth and Western countries do not require visas, although visitors from most other countries do, with the exception of those from Mexico
. Visa applications for travel to Vancouver and throughout Canada should be made at least one month in advance. All inquiries must be directed to Canadian Immigration Centers.
Motorists intending to drive in the city of Vancouver must obtain a 'Canadian Nonresident Interprovince Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card' or 'Visitor to Canada Insurance', which is issued by most US insurance companies. Car hire agencies in Vancouver require you to be at least 21 years of age when renting a car, although for some this is 26 years. In Vancouver, British Columbia and all over Canada, cars drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Tipping in Vancouver is normal and restaurants generally expect around 10 to 15% of the bill as a tip, but a number of restaurants now automatically include service charges on the bill. Taxi drivers, barbers, hairdressers and hotel staff in Vancouver also expect gratuities.
Smoking and Alcohol
All through Canada you are only able to buy alcohol at local government-run shops. However, in the provinces of Alberta and Quebec, privately-owned shops are able to sell a range of alcohol. The current legal drinking age throughout Canada is 19 years old, with the exception of Alberta and Manitoba provinces, where the age is only 18. Smoking is now restricted at many places in Vancouver, including transportation, restaurants, places of work and enclosed public areas.