Travel Tips

The following information provides additional facts and tips about traveling in Vancouver:

Baggage Handling
Porter service is available at the Vancouver International Airport. Most tour group companies provide baggage handling services on arrival and departure. Rates and policies vary and should be confirmed with the supplier.

Regular banking hours in Canada are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, with extended hours including weekends at some locations. Visitors who wish to cash cheques or require other banking services are advised to check times of operation with the institutions. Main branches of Canadian chartered banks, particularly in major centres, are equipped to exchange foreign currency as well. Several major European and foreign banks have offices in Vancouver, and will handle some foreign currencies directly.

Most banks have automatic teller machines, which can be accessed 24 hours a day, using bank or credit cards on major international banking networks such as Cirrus, Plus and Interac.

Credit Cards
Most major credit cards are accepted, but visitors are always advised to check with the vendor before a purchase is made. Cash machines with 24 hour access are available in many convenient locations throughout Greater Vancouver.

Warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected by a range of mountains, Vancouver enjoys mild temperatures year-round. From high 70's Fahrenheit (low 20's Celsius) in summer to a mild mid 40's Fahrenheit (0 to 5 Celsius) in winter, the climate is always hospitable. Our winters are wet, but it rarely snows, except on our local ski hills.

Average Daily High Temperatures:
Month Celsius Fahrenheit
January 5 42
February 7 44
March 10 50
April 14 58
May 18 65
June 21 69
July 23 74
August 23 74
September 18 65
October 14 58
November 9 48
December 6 43

> See our What to Wear page for additional information.

> Current weather forcast

Outlets and voltage (110 volts) are the same as in the United States. Small appliances such as hair dryers, irons, razors, etc. can be used in Canada. For those from other countries, adapters are required for electrical appliances. The frequency of electrical current in Canada is 60 Hz.

Food & Beverages
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.

Alcoholic beverages in bottles are sold in special 'Liquor' stores. However, alcoholic beverages including beer and wine may be purchased in "Licensed Premises" establishments, such as restaurants, hotel lounges, pubs, and nightclubs. Minors are not admitted into bars. In BC, minors are defined as anyone under 19 years of age.

> See our Dining section to locate restaurants and find out more about the variety of foods and establishments available in Vancouver.

There are 10 statutory holidays and one civic holiday celebrated annually in British Columbia. Generaly, banks and some businesses remain closed. Theatres, restaurants, and corner grocery stores remain open for business as usual. In some centres most shops remain open.

Holiday 2011 2012 2013 2014
New Year's Day Jan 1 Jan 1 Jan 1 Jan 1
Good Friday Apr 24 Apr 6 Mar 29 Apr 18
Easter Monday Apr 24 Apr 8 Mar 31 Apr 20
Victoria Day May 23 May 21 May 20 May 19
Canada Day Jul 1 Jul 1 Jul 1 Jul 1
Civic Holiday Aug 1 Aug 6 Aug 5 Aug 4
Labour Day Sept 5 Sept 3 Sept 2 Sept 1
Thanksgiving Day Oct 10 Oct 8 Oct 14 Oct 13
Remembrance Day Nov 11 Nov 11 Nov 11 Nov 11
Christmas Day Dec 25 Dec 25 Dec 25 Dec 25
Boxing Day Dec 26 Dec 26 Dec 26 Dec 26

Canada has two official languages - English and French. English is the predominant language in British Columbia.

Vancouver is quite cosmopolitan and is a mix of many multicultural groups. Because of this, the city is considered multilingual on an unofficial level. Many banks, hotels, airline offices, service institutions, shops and key tourist destinations have multi-lingual staff.

After English and Chinese, the most common mother tongue languages spoken are Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish.

Residents of Vancouver stay informed through a variety of daily and weekly newspapers that service a wide range of cultural interests. The two major daily newspapers are the Vancouver Sun and The Province. There are also two major daily Chinese newspapers: Sing Tao and Ming Pao, offering local and regional news.

Business in Vancouver offers weekly local business information, while the Globe and Mail and National Post provide national and international news on a daily basis. The Georgia Straight is a news-and-entertainment weekly that also provides an excellent city calendar of events.

Smoking Laws
Each municipality in Metro Vancouver has differenct rules for smoking in public places such as public buildings, restaurants and pubs.

Within the City of Vancouver, smoking is not permitted by law in all indoor public spaces, including public transit, shopping malls, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and casinos. Smoking is not permitted within six metres of an entryway, openable window or air intake of a building. Signage will be posted to indicate the applicable smoking restrictions. Please smoke in designated areas only.

Time Zone
The majority of British Columbia is in the Pacific Standard Time Zone; however, a small portion of the province that borders the Rocky Mountains are in the Mountain Time Zone, one hour ahead of the Pacific Zone. Daylight Savings Time is in effect from 0200hr on the first Sunday in April until 0200hr on the last Sunday in October.

*** As of March 2007, Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the United States and Canada will be extended by approximately four weeks. DST will now begin three weeks earlier (2:00 A.M. on the second Sunday in March) and end one week later (2:00 A.M. on the first Sunday in November). This change was brought about by the Energy Policy Act, passed by the United States Congress in August 2005.

Some properties and resort hotels include tips or gratuities with tours group to simplify bookkeeping. This will usually include gratuities for housekeeping, bell service and food service. If meals are included in the price, customary gratuity will be calculated at 15 per cent. Visitors should be advised that the standard tip in most restaurants is 15 per cent.

Video/DVD Systems
In Canada, the NTSC-system is used for television broadcasts. This system is not compatible with the PAL and SECAM systems used in Europe and several other countries. If you purchase a video cassette/DVD in Canada, ensure it is recorded in the appropriate system for your home country.