Vancouver

Additional Travel Tips

Looking for even more practical information to plan your trip? Below, you’ll find everything from information provides additional facts and tips about traveling in Vancouver.

Baggage Handling

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

Banking

Regular banking hours in Canada are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, with some branches open as early as 8:00 am and as late as 7:00 pm. Most banks are also now open limited hours on Saturdays as well. 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. The most commonly accepted cards are Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cash machines with 24 hour access are available in many convenient locations throughout Greater Vancouver.

Climate

Warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected by a range of mountains, Vancouver enjoys mild temperatures year-round. The climate is always hospitable, with summer high temperatures around 23˚ Celsius (74˚ Fahrenheit), and mild winter days reaching around 6˚ Celsius (41˚ Fahrenheit). Vancouver’s winters are wet, but it rarely snows, except on the 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.
❐ See the current weather forecast

Electricity

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. Whether you’re looking for a taste of home or a taste of the exotic, fine dining or a casual family-friendly spot, you’ll find it. 

Restaurants, hotel lounges, bars and nightclubs can serve alcoholic beverages if they are “licensed premises.” In most cases, you cannot bring your own alcohol into a licensed premises – you have to purchase your drinks from them. Some restaurants may offer a “Bring Your Own” (BYO) option for those that want to enjoy a rare or special bottle of wine with their meal, but most will charge a “corkage” fee to do this, so it’s best to check with the restaurant in advance. 

You can purchase packaged alcoholic beverages (such as a bottle of wine, or cans of beer) from government-run liquor stores, and licensed private outlets such as specialty wine shops.

The legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19 years of age. While minors are allowed in licenced restaurants without an adult, they cannot be served alcohol. In general, minors are not allowed in bars or pubs at any time. To purchase alcohol, either in a restaurant or bar, or in a store, you may be asked to show two pieces of identification to confirm your age. One of these pieces must be government issued (such as a passport or driver’s licence), with the second piece showing your name and signature (e.g. a credit card). 

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

Holidays

There are 10 statutory holidays celebrated annually in British Columbia. Generally, 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. In addition to the statutory holidays, Easter Monday and Boxing Day are often observed as holidays by businesses, banks and schools. 

Note: Canada Day is usually July 1. If July 1 falls on Sunday, Monday July 2 replaces July 1 as the statutory holiday.

 

Holiday

2016

2017

2018

2019

New Year's Day

Jan 1

Jan 1

Jan 1

Jan 1

Family Day

Feb 8

Feb 13

Feb 12

Feb 11

Good Friday

Mar 25

Apr 14

Mar 30

Apr 19

Easter Monday*

Mar 28

Apr 17

Apr 2

Apr 22

Victoria Day

May 23 

May 22

May 21

May 20

Canada Day

Jul 1

Jul 1

Jul 2

Jul 1

BC Day

Aug 1

Aug 7

Aug 6

Aug 5

Labour Day

Sept 5

Sept 4

Sept 3

Sept 2

Thanksgiving Day

Oct 10

Oct 9

Oct 8

Oct 14

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


* Not official statutory holidays


Media

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. The Globe and Mail and National Post provide national and international news on a daily basis. 

Business in Vancouver offers weekly local business information, while The Georgia Straight is an independent news-and-entertainment weekly that also provides an excellent city calendar of events. Vancouver Magazine is a monthly lifestyle publication that is well respected for its restaurant coverage, among other topics. 

For those that prefer to keep updated online, there are a number of great websites to visit. Sites like Vancity Buzz, Vancouver is Awesome and Scout Magazine all provide coverage of local happenings in the city, especially for those interest in arts and culture, dining, and events. Make sure you also check the Inside Vancouver blog for ideas on what to do in our city. 

Smoking Laws

Within the City of Vancouver, bylaws ban smoking in all indoor public spaces, including public transit, shopping malls, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and casinos. Smoking is not permitted within 6 metres (19.6 feet) of an entryway, openable window or air intake of a building. In addition, smoking is also banned in all Metro Vancouver parks including on the seawall, in Stanley Park, and on beaches. Signage will be posted to indicate the applicable smoking restrictions. Please smoke in designated areas only.

Each municipality in Metro Vancouver has different rules for smoking in public places such as public buildings, restaurants and pubs, so please observe the restrictions posted. 

Tipping

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, a customary gratuity will be calculated at 15 per cent. 

When dining out at restaurants, visitors should be advised that the standard tip for good service is between 15 and 20 percent. If you are dining in a group of eight or more people, it’s standard for a restaurant to automatically add a gratuity of 18 per cent to your bill. Tipping for counter service is not expected. Other services that regularly attract tips are spa treatments, hair and nail services, and taxis—15 per cent is standard in each case. 

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 DVD in Canada, ensure it is recorded in the appropriate system for your home country.