Visitor Information

Visitor Information

travel Vancouver is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in North America. Its kaleidoscopic cultural scene reflects the West Coast’s diversity and cosmopolitan spirit. Whether in the performing, visual, literary or media arts, this positive multicultural influence fuels events throughout the Lower Mainland. From First Nations artworks to smoked salmon and quirky clothing designed by the city’s up-and-coming new fashionistas, Vancouver has a basket full of tempting and original shopping options for visitors. And it’s not just souvenirs that will fill your suitcase; the city is divided into several distinctive shopping areas, each with their own specialties.


Flying to Vancouver

YVR-Airport Vancouver International Airport (YVR) handles non-stop domestic and international flights daily to and from North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Due to its proximity to Asia, YVR is the major gateway between Canada and Asia, with more trans-Pacific flights than any other airport in Canada. For travelers heading to the United States, YVR is one of eight Canadian airports that have U.S. Border Preclearance facilities. Airlines serving YVR include: Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, EVA Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and WestJet Airlines. For more information please visit

Travelling from Seattle (Western USA)

For many travelers coming to Vancouver from the U.S. or abroad, flights into Seattle (Sea-Tac) or the Bellingham Airport may be cheaper and more convenient that flying into Vancouver directly. QuickShuttle offers coach service from both airports to downtown Vancouver. Prices and schedules can be found at and shuttles must be booked in advance.

Public Transit

Translink provides bus and rapid rail transit (“Skytrain”) throughout Vancouver. For detailed route, schedule, and trip planning information for transit throughout Vancouver, visit

Taxis and Limos

There are several taxi companies in Vancouver with taxis readily available at the airport and many downtown hotels as well as the UBC campus. A taxi from the airport to UBC is typically about $35. Aerocar Service offers flat rate limo service from the airport, at $45 from YVR to UBC. * Black Top Cabs, Phone: 604-731-1111 * Yellow Cab Co. Ltd., Phone: 604-681-1111 * Vancouver Taxi, Phone: 604-871-1111 * MacLure’s Cabs, Phone: 604-831-1111 * Aerocar Service, Phone: 604-298-000

Car Rental

There are a number of car rental companies that are located in the YVR airport parkade and in downtown Vancouver. Most companies offer free shuttle service from hotels to their pick-up and drop-off locations. Driving arrangements can be made in advance via the web. The following are a few of the car rental companies located in Vancouver: * Alamo Rent-a-Car, Phone: 1 800 GO-ALAMO (5266), Website: * Avis Rent-a-Car, Phone: 1 800 879-2847, Website: * Budget Car Rental, Phone: +1 (604) 668-7000, Website: * Discount Car and Truck, Phone: 1 866 310-CARS (2277), Website: * Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Phone: 1 800 261-7331, Website:

Parking at UBC

Limited parking is available for guests staying in on-campus accommodation. Visitor parking for those staying off-campus is available at various parkades around campus. Information regarding rates and where to park can be found at “Visitor Parking”

Climate  (What to Wear!)

Vancouver enjoys warm, comfortable summers with moderate temperatures that are tempered by sea breezes. June daytime temperatures linger around 20º Celsius (70º Fahrenheit) with lows of 12º Celsius (53º Fahrenheit). Evenings, especially in the surrounding mountains, can be cool, so it’s best to pack a light jacket and sweater. While June is one of the least rainy months in a city famous for its rain, it is still advisable to pack an umbrella or light rain jacket.


Vancouver enjoys a reputation as being one of the most accessible cities in the world among travelers with special needs. Whether using wheelchairs, white canes, seeing eye dogs or hearing aids, Vancouver leads the way in making the area a more livable place for people with disabilities through its progressive transportation systems, innovative housing and recreational opportunities.


English is the predominant language in Vancouver, and is one of Canada’s two official languages (French being the other). Other commonly spoken languages in Vancouver are Punjabi, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

Time Zone

Vancouver is on Pacific Standard Time, three hours behind Eastern Standard Time and eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight savings time is in effect from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.

Metric Measures

Canada follows the International Metric System. Temperatures, rainfall measures, distance, weights, and velocity are expressed in metric units.


Outlets and voltage (120 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.

Customs/Entry/Visa Requirements

International visitors must have a valid passport for entry into Canada. Visitors from many countries do not require a visa to visit Canada (for example, United States, Japan, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, among others). For a full listing of “Visa exempt travelers”, see However, citizens from some countries require a visa to visit Canada. For a listing of countries whose citizens require a visa, see Other important information for all visitors to Canada may be found at Please be sure to check with your nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate well in advance of travel to obtain the appropriate documentation, as it may take several weeks or months for a visa application to be processed. If you require a Letter of Invitation, please contact the Registration Secretariat ( as soon as possible. A letter of invitation is issued solely for the purpose of assisting participants with visa applications and/or to obtain funding for their attendance at the conference, and will only be issued once full payment of registration fees has been made. Such a letter does not imply any financial obligation on the part of the conference organizers.

Personal & Medical Insurance

Individual travelers are strongly advised to obtain their own personal health or travel insurance as desired. Liability insurance is the responsibility of each individual delegate. The Canadian Medical Health Insurance Plan does not cover visitors to Canada and delegates should therefore have their own medical coverage.


Tipping in Vancouver is normal and is around 15%-20% of the bill.

Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking is restricted in many places in Vancouver, including public transportation, restaurants, places of work, enclosed public areas, and within 3 meters of any door or air intake, and within 6 meters of any food service areas and patios. The legal drinking age in B.C. is 19 years of age.

Currency/Money Matters

The currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar (sign: $ or C$; code: CAD). It is recommended that 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.


Paper bills: $5 (blue), $10 (purple), $20 (green), $50 (red), and $100 (brown) denominations. Coins include the nickel (5¢), dime (10¢), quarter (25¢), loonie ($1) and toonie ($2).

Electronic transactions

Credit cards, ATMs, and direct-debit cards are commonly used in Canada. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted in most stores and restaurants.


YVR offers Currency Exchange Services, and has a Royal Bank of Canada, as well as several ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) throughout the airport. There are various banks on the UBC Campus. The Bank of Montreal (MasterCard), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (VISA) and Scotiabank are located within walking distance of accommodation and conference venues, and have 24-hour ATMs. ATMS are also available in the lobby of Walter Gage Residence, in the Student Union Building (SUB), and in the University Village.

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