General Information

Highlights of the city include:

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2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Relive memories from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games with attractions and activities related to the Olympics. Visit the Olympic Cauldron, take a photo of Vancouver's Inukshuk, ski at Cypress Mountain (site of the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events during the Games), and much more.

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Vancouver has more than 200 diverse parks, with Stanley Park considered as its most famous. It is one of the largest urban parks in the world at 3.9 square kilometers,covered by a 150-year old forest, 8.85 kilometers of seawall, and many popular attractions. Therefore, if you only have time to do one thing in Vancouver, cycle or stroll along the Stanley Park seawall loop with magnificent mountain, ocean, forest and city views. While there, you may also consider visiting the internationally acclaimed Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center, one of North America's five largest aquariums.

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Granville Island

While downtown, board one of the small passenger ferries that look similar to bathtub toys, as they cruise through False Creek to Granville Island, famous for its year-round indoor farmer's market, boutique micro-brewery, street performers, artisan studios and live theatre.


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Grouse Mountain

While many people prefer to hike up to the top via the Grouse Grind, also known as "Mother Nature's Stairmaster," an equally scenic (and less strenuous) option is to ride up on the 100-passenger tram, appreciating breathtaking panoramic views of the Lower Mainland en route.


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Robson Street

Every major city has a famous shopping and cruising strip; Vancouver's is Robson Street. Stop by for the high fashion, trendy restaurants and bars, the coffee-shop culture and even a little star spotting. Don't forget, this is the Hollywood of the North, and Robson Street is a favorite spot for visiting stars to shine.


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Vancouver Lookout & Canada Place

On a clear day, climb to the top of the Vancouver Lookout for a 360-degree view of the city. Then, descend to Canada Place, an enormous public pier that stretches out into the harbor like the prow of a ship and houses the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center. Each year almost a million passengers board cruise ships here, most bound for Alaska.

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UBC Museum of Anthropology

Home to one of the world's most magnificent collections of First Nations totem poles, carvings and other artifacts, the museum is housed in an award-winning glass-and-concrete building designed by the world-renowned architect, Arthur Erickson, based on traditional Northwest coast post-and-beam structures.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge

It is shaky, but worth the walk across. This swaying suspension bridge - located in the middle of a lush west-coast rainforest - is perfect for thrilling canyon views 70m/230ft below.



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Gastown

Vancouver began here. Stroll down charming cobbled streets, explore heritage buildings and mews, visit unique stores and dine in restaurants that range from quirky to gourmet.



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Vancouver Public Library Square

Some go for ancient books, but most go for the architecture. Think ancient Roman Coliseum meets re-constructionist post-modernism, and it will be evident why this full city block became an instant landmark in 1995.


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Chinatown and Chinatown Night Market

Vancouver is home to one of the largest Chinese communities in North America. Its downtown Chinatown is worth a visit for the historic buildings (including the world's narrowest building!), exotic markets and herbal apothecaries, not to mention bargains on imported goods, particularly kitchen supplies. During late spring and summer, the streets are closed to vehicles once a week for the Chinatown Night Market, an exotic flea market with everything from great fashion finds to bargain Asian food.

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Celebration of Light

Each year, the English Bay is lit up in a symphony of fire, when Vancouver hosts a four-night spectacular international fireworks competition.




Weather and Climate

While this sea-level port city is known for its temperate climate, the surrounding snow-covered slopes are the venues for winter sports and breathtaking views of the city twinkling below. Vancouver is one of the few places in the world, where it is possible to ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon.

With such a changeable micro-climate, it's always best to be prepared. Check Vancouver Weather report before heading out on a day's adventure.

Below are some links that we have compiled to help you with your trip to Vancouver. You can also visit Tourism Vancouver, the official source for information and services for the visitors. You will find maps, travel guides, accommodation listings, and a comprehensive directory of Vancouver's attractions and sightseeing ideas.


About the City of Vancouver:http://vancouver.ca/visitors.htm
Insider Blogs about Vancouver:http://www.insidevancouver.ca/
Parks and Recreation:http://vancouver.ca/parks/
Vancouver Beaches:http://vancouver.ca/parks/rec/beaches/
Vancouver Recreation:http://vancouver.ca/parks/rec/goplay.htm
City Events:http://vancouver.ca/communitypages_wa/index.cfm?fuseaction=CAL.home
Civic Theatres:http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/cultural/theatres/index.htm
Public Art:http://vancouver.ca/PublicArt_Net/
Museum of Vancouver:http://www.museumofvancouver.ca/
Museum of Anthropology:http://www.moa.ubc.ca/
Vancouver Art Gallery:http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/
Vancouver Maritime Museum:http://www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com/
Science World:http://www.scienceworld.ca/
Space Center:http://www.spacecentre.ca/
Pacific National Exhibition:http://www.pne.ca/

Population

Based on 2001 Canadian Census reports, the population of the City of Vancouver in 2004 is estimated at 583,296.

Greater Vancouver's estimated total population for 2004 is 2.1 million, 50.8% of BC's population of 4.2 million.

Languages

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 is a mix of many multicultural groups. Because the city is multicultural, it's also multilingual on an unofficial level. Its people speak many different languages and many follow the traditions of their native lands, sometimes moderating them with Canadian culture.

After English and Chinese, the most common mother tongue languages spoken are Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish. More than half of Vancouver's school-age children have been raised speaking a language other than English.

Currency

We recommend all visitors use Canadian currency when traveling within Canada. Visitors can exchange currency at Canadian chartered banks, trust companies, credit unions, or at offices of foreign exchange brokers, but it is advised to have local currency on hand prior to arriving. Some hotels, merchants, restaurants and suppliers accept US or other foreign currency at a pre-determined rate, which may differ from the daily rate posted by financial institutions.

  • Canadian one dollar coin ("loonie") ($) = 100 cents
  • Canadian two dollar coin ("toonie") ($) = 200 cents
  • Notes are in denominations of $1000, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5
  • Coins are in denominations of $2, $1, $0.50, $0.25, $0.10, $0.05, $0.01

Traveller's Cheques

Traveller's cheques in Canadian dollars are the safest and most convenient way to carry money. They are widely accepted and can be cashed at banks or foreign exchange brokers. Identification may be required when cashing travelers cheques.

Taxation

Effective July 1, 2010, most purchases in British Columbia will be subject to a 12% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). For more information, visit this HST FAQ: http://hst.blog.gov.bc.ca/

Time Zone

Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone. Daylight savings time is in effect from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.

You can see Vancouver's time in relation to most cities on the globe by visiting www.TimeAndDate.com, which also can provide a Canadian calendar.

Workdays

Greater Vancouver, like all major cities, runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The main workdays are Monday to Friday, from roughly 8am to 6pm - but hours vary for each organization or business. Retailers are usually open seven days a week, and most stores are open from 9:30am to 6pm each day-except Thursday and Friday, when they are open until 9pm. A number of large retail stores, nearly every hotel and motel, and several restaurants, remain open around the clock.