Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia

A- Overview:
Many visitors take advantage of Vancouver’s beautiful seaside, wide-open spaces and mountain backdrop. Named after Royal Navy captain, George Vancouver, the history of this city, from the cobblestone late-Victorian Gastown, exotic Chinatown and the sleek modern buildings of downtown, is quite evident. The ocean and mountains create a dramatic contrast with downtown’s shiny towers of commerce.
The two official languages of Canada are English and French; however, English is the predominant language in British Columbia. Over the years, many Asians have migrated to Vancouver, mostly from Hong Kong, but other cultures are represented as well. More than 30 percent of Vancouver’s households speak Cantonese or Mandarin making the Chinese the dominant minority ethnic group.

Vancouver’s diversity offers families an endless supply of things to see and do no matter what time of the year or what budget. Whether you choose to stay within the city limits or to venture along the coast and mountains there are plenty of activities to suit everyone.

Downtown Vancouver has an exciting selection of high-end retails stores, chic and unusual shops and excellent restaurants along side Canada’s largest city park. Beautiful Stanley Park, which in the mid-1800’s was a military reserve used to guard the harbor, offers hundreds of acres of lush forest and crystal clear lakes that create the perfect setting for a variety of entertainment and relaxation for visitors. The Lions Gate Bridge offers a panoramic view of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains. Within the park are a miniature railway, Water Park, beaches, pool, kid’s farmyard and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.

Not far from downtown is Chinatown. Strolling block after block through Chinatown’s maze of brilliantly colored markets, restaurants and shops you’ll discover a fascinating array of exotic foods, clothing, art and entertainment. Be sure to check out the world’s thinnest office building, the Sam Kee Building, on the corner of Pender and Carrall streets. Built in 1913 and currently occupied, the building is only six feet wide!

The quaint and oldest neighborhood of Vancouver, Gastown, was named after a talkative Yorkshire-born saloon proprietor, John Deighton, nicknamed Gassy Jack. Supposedly Gassy Jack told the local mill workers that could drink all the whisky they wanted as long as they helped him build his saloon. The saloon was built within 24 hours albeit how structurally sound is another story. Gastown’s cobblestone streets and 1800’s architecture creates a historical and interesting background for the unique shops and galleries.

The sea, mountains and the beautiful cosmopolitan city of Vancouver make a wonderful combination that will provide so much enjoyment for the entire family. For those who love winter sports, nearby Grouse Mountain is perfect for skiing, snowboarding or ice-skating. If you prefer warmer weather the spring and summer months are ideal for water sports and boating. No matter what time of year you choose to visit the city of Vancouver and the surrounding areas there will be an endless supply of fun and activities!

B- City Information:
Time Zone Pacific Standard Time Zone
Getting Around: Visitors travelling by air can fly into Vancouver International Airport. Visitors departing the airport are required to purchase an Airport Improvement Fee ticket that must be presented at the security checkpoint. The fee ranges between $5.00 and $15.00 depending on your destination. Taxis are difficult to find in the downtown area. It is best to utilize public transportation. Other means of transportation are car rentals, ferries, trains and buses.

Weather: Vancouver has mild weather year-round. Spring arrives in February or March but you’ll still need a warm jacket in the evenings. Summers are very comfortable and rarely scorching. The fall season is long with temperatures remaining mild till November when the wet season begins. Snow is a rarity except, of course, in the nearby mountains. Your best bet is to wear layers so you’re always prepared for changes in weather.

Average Daily High Temperatures:
F/C
Hi Lo
January – March 10/50 5/42
April – June 69/21 58/14
July – September 65/18 59/21
October – December 58/14 43/10

Language English and French are Canada’s two official languages with English being the predominant language in British Columbia.

Metric Measures Canada follows the international metric system.

Important Telephone Numbers
Emergency 911
BC Ferries (Vancouver) 604-444-2890
Bus Transit 604-521-0400
BC Rail 604-984-5246
Weather Report 604-664-9010
Vancouver Tourist Info Centre 604-683-2000
Canada Customs 604-666-0545

Currency All visitors should use Canadian currency when traveling within Canada. It is best to have local currency on hand prior to arriving; contact your local bank. Visitors may exchange their currency at Canadian banks, credit unions, or at the offices of foreign exchange brokers.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Prospect Point
Stanley Park
The highest point of Stanley Park, this area is under the Lions Gate Bridge. Be sure to take you camera to capture the outstanding view of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. It also has a Gift shop, a restaurant and coffee shop.

Capilano Suspension Bridge
Phone: 604-985-7475
Just 10 minutes from downtown, this suspension bridge hangs more than 200 feet above the beautiful Capilano River.

BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum
777 Pacific Blvd S., Gate A
Phone: 604-687-5520
Open Daily 10 – 5
Admission charged
Inside this complex one can test their own sprinting, rowing, climbing and throwing abilities in the high-tech participation gallery. The museum features British Columbia’s celebrated athletes.

Chinatown
Downtown Eastside, Vancouver
Largest in Canada, and third largest on the continent, Vancouver’s Chinatown is a brilliantly colored, exotic adventure in dining, shopping and sightseeing.

Lighthouse Park
Located in West Vancouver near Horseshoe Bay, this park has 75 hectares of virgin temperate rain forest to hike through. It also has some of the largest Douglas Firs in the area. Marine Drive at Beacon Lane

Musuem of Anthropology
6393 NW Marine Drive
Phone: 604-822-3825
Featuring Indian artifacts from the original inhabitants of the area, a traditional longhouse and mortuary chamber.

Robson Street
Downtown Vancouver
Funky boutiques, high-end retail shops, unique artistic goods and hip cafes draw many visitors to this “hot spot.”

Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street
Phone: 604-682-4700
Four centuries of Canadian art are featured here along with contemporary exhibitions of painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography and video.

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
Stanley Park, Downtown
Phone: 604-659-3474
Open July – Sept 4: 9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sept 5 – June: 10:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m.
Admission charged
Huge tanks populated with Orca and Beluga whales and sea otters have large windows for underwater viewing. Learn about the West Coast aquatic world, explore a tropical Amazon and enjoy daily feeding shows.

9 Oclock Gun
Phone: 604-257-8400
While in Stanley Park, be sure to check out the 9 Oclock gun. Cast in England in 1816, this cannon fires at 9PM each night at Brockton Point. The gun was used in the 1800’s to remind the ships of their fishing time limits. You’ll also enjoy the view of downtown and the North Shore Mountains.

Vancouver Maritime Museum
The famous St. Roch RCMP boat is moored inside. Also a collection of boats from around the world can be viewed behind the museum at Heritage Harbour. Vanier Park 1905 Ogden Avenue Phone: 604-257-8300 Open Mid May – Aug: Daily 10 – 5 Sept – Mid May: Tues – Sat 10 – 5, Sun 12 – 5 Admission charged

Vancouver Museum
1100 Chestnut Street Phone: 604-736-4431 Open July – Aug: Daily 10-5 Sept – June: Tues – Sun 10 – 5 Admission charged
Located on the beautiful waterfront of Vanier Park, this museum features life size replica of a trading post, Victorian Park and an 1897 Canadian Pacific Railway passenger car. There are many unique exhibitions and programs for the entire family to enjoy.

Grouse Mountain
6400 Nancy Green Way, North Vancouver
Phone: 604-984-0661
Skytram departs every 15 minutes, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. every day.
The peak of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is fun for everyone all year long. In the winter you can take the family skiing, snowboarding or ice-skating. During the summer the mountain remains open for continued sports activities such as biking and hiking. Ride the Skytram 3700 feet to the top of the mountain and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the city, sea and mountains.

Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre
Phone: 604-981-3103
Inside this 600 acre park are 100 year old Douglas firs, a rainforest, Twin Falls, a 30 foot crystal clear rock pool and a suspension bridge hanging 20 stories over the Canyon.

H.R. MacMillan Space Center
Phone: 604-738-7827
Always dreamed of being an astronaut? Get your chance at the virtual reality Cyberwalk and kinetic space-ride simulator. See the galaxy at the Star Theatre or catch a laser/rock concert.

Granville Island
1318 Cartwright Street
Phone: 604-666-5784
Open late May till early September Farmer’s market with fresh food and fish, street musicians and unique shops.

Capilano Salmon Hatchery
Phone: 604-666-1790
Owned by the Federal Government this hatchery allows visitors to view the life cycle of the Pacific salmon.

Royal Hudson Steam Train/MV Britannia Boat Trip
Call Harbour Cruises
Phone: 604-688-7246
Steam engine train ride to Squamish and return trip of the on the MV Britannia. This trip takes you through some breathtaking scenery.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
Stanley Park, Downtown
Phone: 604-659-3474
Open July – Sept 4: 9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sept 5 – June: 10:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m.
Admission charged
Huge tanks populated with Orca and Beluga whales and sea otters have large windows for underwater viewing. Learn about the West Coast aquatic world, explore a tropical Amazon and enjoy daily feeding shows.
Miniature Railway & Children’s Farmyard
Stanley Park
Phone: 604-257-8531
Call for seasonal times of operation
Admission charged
Child-size steam train for kids and adults. Ride through the woods and then visit an entire farmyard of animals.

9 Oclock Gun
Brockton Point
Parks and Recreation
Phone: 604-257-8400
While in Stanley Park, be sure to check out the 9 Oclock gun. Cast in England in 1816, this cannon fires at 9PM each night at Brockton Point. The gun was used in the 1800’s to remind the ships of their fishing time limits. You’ll also enjoy the view of downtown and the North Shore Mountains.

Kitsilano Beach
Phone: 604-738-8535
One of the city’s busiest beaches open only during the summer. Lifeguard on duty, concession stands, playground and a heated pool.

Vancouver Maritime Museum
Vanier Park
1905 Ogden Avenue
Phone: 604-257-8300B
Open Mid May – Aug: Daily 10 – 5
Sept – Mid May: Tues – Sat 10 – 5, Sun 12 – 5
Admission charged
Half of the museum is completely devoted to kids. Plenty of hands on displays such as a pirate ship, tugboat and underwater robot.

Science World
1455 Quebec Street
Phone: 604-268-6363
Open July – Aug: Daily 10 – 6
Sept – June: 10 – 5 weekdays, 10 – 6 weekends
Admission charged
This attraction is easy to find with its huge dome built over the Omnimax theatre that hosts a 3D-laser show. Lots of hands-on and interactive activities for the kids.

Vancouver Museum
1100 Chestnut Street
Open July – Aug: Daily 10-5
Sept – June: Tues – Sun 10 – 5
Admission charged
Located on the beautiful waterfront of Vanier Park, this museum features life size replica of a trading post, Victorian Park and an 1897 Canadian Pacific Railway passenger car. There are many unique exhibitions and programs for the entire family to enjoy.

Grouse Mountain
6400 Nancy Green Way, North Vancouver
Phone: 604-984-0661
Skytram departs every 15 minutes, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. every day.
The peak of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is fun for everyone all year long. In the winter you can take the family skiing, snowboarding or ice-skating. During the summer the mountain remains open for continued sports activities such as biking and hiking. Ride the Skytram 3700 feet to the top of the mountain and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the city, sea and mountains.

Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre
Phone: 604-981-3103
Inside this 600 acre park are 100 year old Douglas firs, a rainforest, Twin Falls, a 30 foot crystal clear rock pool and a suspension bridge hanging 20 stories over the Canyon.

H.R. MacMillan Space Center
Phone: 604-738-7827
Always dreamed of being an astronaut? Get your chance at the virtual reality Cyberwalk and kinetic space-ride simulator. See the galaxy at the Star Theatre or catch a laser/rock concert.

Granville Island
1318 Cartwright Street
Phone: 604-666-5784
Open late May till early September
Features Kids Only Market, water park, farmer’s market with fresh food and fish, street musicians and unique shops.

Buraby’s Heritage Village Museum and Carousel
Phone: 604-293-6501
Give the kids an idea of what life was like back in 1900. Visit the blacksmith shop, stop for an ice cream at the parlour and take a ride on the beautifully restored carousel.

Maplewood Farm
Phone: 604-929-5610
An actual working farm just twenty minutes from downtown. Horses, donkeys, pigs, ducks and birds make this an ideal place to practice “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”

The Lookout!
Phone: 604-689-0421
Take a thrilling ride in the glass elevator to the top of the Harbour Centre Tower and enjoy the 360° view. Also features a video theatre and various displays and exhibits.

CN Imax Theatre
Phone: 604-682-4629
3-D and Imax movies on the five story high screen with surround sound will delight the entire family.

Van Dusen Botanical Gardens
5251 Oak Street
Phone: 604-878-9274
Exquisite botanical gardens featuring various flowers and plants as you stroll along the stone pathways. Special exhibits include children’s garden with sculptured topiary and an Elizabethan-style hedge maze.

E- Events & Entertainment:
January: Vancouver Outdoor & Fishing Show, Country Living Show, FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships; Int’l Motorcycle Show

February: Motorspectacular 2001, Int’l Boat Show, Outdoor Adventure Sports Show, Golf Expo, BC Home & Garden Show

March: Spring Gift Show; Int’l RV Show; World of Children Chiors; World Figure Skating Championships

April: Vancouver Playhouse Int’l Wine Fest; Symphony Kids’ Koncerts; Vancouver Sun Run

May: Int’l Children’s Festival; Cloverdale Rodeo & Fairgrounds; Vancouver Int’l Marathon

June: Shakespeare Festival; Jazz Festival; Italian Week

July: Annual “Best of the West” Antiques Expo, Merritt Mountain Music Festival; Annual Sandcastle Competition; Discovery Days & Blue Festival

August: Whistler’s Really Big Street Festival; Festival Vancouver

September: Molson Indy Race; Circus of Dreams; Swinging on the Docks; Fringe Theatre Festival; Mid Autumn Moon Festival

October: Oktoberfest, Vancouver Snow Show 2000, Waterfront Antique Show; Cranberry Festival

November: Animal Encounters, Whistler’s Food and Wine Celebration; Annual Christmas Craft and Gift Market

December: Annual Christmas Parade; Heritage Christmas; Whistler Jazz and Blue Weekend; Santa Claus Parade of Lights; Millennium Show, Space Center