While Vancouver is a comparatively young city, at just over 125 years, its history begins long before. The Coast Salish indigenous peoples (First Nations) have lived in the area for at least 6000 years, and Vancouver's namesake Captain George Vancouver sailed through the First Narrows in 1792. The first settlement on the downtown peninsula was Granville, located on the spot of today's Gastown. In the year of [wiki=445d337b5cd5de476f99333df6b0c2a7]Canada[/wiki]'s confederation a saloon was built on this site and gave birth to a small shantytown of bars and stores adjacent to the original mill on the south shore of what is now the city's harbour. A seemingly endless supply of high quality lumber was logged and sold through the ports of Gastown and Moodyville, across the inlet. Some of the trees were gigantic beams which were shipped to [wiki=ae54a5c026f31ada088992587d92cb3a]China[/wiki] to construct [wiki=78fb473f134eed43c959f9ebdeeb4050]Beijing[/wiki]'s Imperial Palace, and one account maintains that the world's windjammer fleets could not have been built without the trees of Burrard Inlet.
Vancouver proper was signed into existence in 1886. The first City Hall was little more than a hand painted sign nailed to a wooden tent post. The arrival of the transcontinental railway a few years later spurred growth even more and by 1892 the area had over 20,000 residents; eighteen years later this figure was over 100,000.
Factor in constant growth every year since (many in the double digits), and Greater Vancouver today is Canada's largest metropolitan area west of [wiki=948ce72be6c871b84f6d0dab24f209ed]Toronto[/wiki] by far with more than 2,600,000 residents, more than half of British Columbia's population as a whole. It is also the fastest growing part of Canada. Greater Vancouver is one of the most ethnically diverse metropolitan areas in the world and is home to the second largest Chinatown in North America after [wiki=f4334fdfa1c728eae375fe781e2e2d9d]San Francisco[/wiki].
For many, Vancouver truly "arrived" in 1986 when the city hosted the Expo 86 World's Fair. Media attention from around the world was consistently positive, though many saw the resulting gentrification of poorer areas as being harmful to Vancouver's lower-class citizens, with many residents of the Downtown Eastside being evicted from their homes. Vancouver also hosted the [wiki=a0b1ac73d86fdf5884ef98f6e148942b]2010 Winter Olympics[/wiki], which was largely seen as another success, though it brought some similar criticisms.
Vancouver is perhaps best known for its scenic beauty, and the opportunities afforded by its natural environment. Vancouver is one of those rare places where you could theoretically ski in the mountains, windsurf in the ocean, and play a round of golf all in the same day. Surrounded by water on three sides, and crowned by the North Shore mountains, Vancouver is a great destination in itself, as well a great starting point for discovering the area's many outdoor activities.
Vancouver is a major sea port on the Pacific Ocean, and a base for many Alaska [wiki=33705032f9f8fc5b55aedee04ed80de2]Cruise Ships[/wiki] in the summer. It has the same name as another city in the region, [wiki=ca3065cc260b74b6da6ed89a3a31bd2b]Vancouver, Washington[/wiki] ([wiki=1f122dd19db580fd03635dd699fb49de]USA[/wiki]).
With the exception of Victoria, Vancouver has the mildest climate of any major city in Canada; even palm trees can (and do) grow here. It rains a lot in Vancouver, especially during the winters, but during the summer months Vancouver gets less rain than most other Canadian cities. During the winter months it can go weeks without seeing the sun or a dry day, but the temperature rarely goes below freezing. Heavy snowfalls are common in the nearby mountains, but unusual in the city itself and lead to major traffic congestion when snow accumulates. The weather in Vancouver is similar to the southern UK, and while weather is similar to [wiki=4c54c163f43d0ac8512df032b3b07bff]Seattle[/wiki]'s, Vancouver frequently enjoys somewhat better weather overall. In the early summer the days often start out cloudy, due to marine air, but becomes clear by noon. Contrary to Vancouver's wet reputation, during the summer it is actually the second driest major Canadian city (after [wiki=cb54e075e1a2b5381ef2f8e1682423fa]Victoria[/wiki]). Summer temperatures are not extreme, the typical day time high between June and August is around 24-25°C (75-77°F) away from the immediate seaside cooling effect.
There is one word to describe Vancouver's weather: unpredictable. The weather can be completely different depending on what part of the region you are in. It can be pouring rain on the [wiki=bc0991d0243735bd3647069c7b13f5a8]North Shore[/wiki] and sunny in [wiki=85b2e35c9bdd4a02969b7dfee98cc50c]White Rock[/wiki].
If you are visiting the city between July and October, you will most likely have excellent weather. The rainy season often starts in the middle of October. Without warning, one day it will be nice and sunny and the next the rain will begin and continue, seemingly continuously, until early March. If you are coming to the city for a ski holiday, the best time to visit is February; the region has a great record for excellent ski conditions during this month, once you get to altitudes above the constant rain.
Offers maps, brochures and other information for visitors.
The main highway into Vancouver from the east is Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway). This road skirts the eastern edge of Vancouver, so if you want to get into the city, you will need to exit off it at Grandview Highway, 1st Avenue or Hastings Street.
Note: the Port Mann Bridge along the TCH, which crosses the Fraser River between Surrey and Coquitlam (heading west into Burnaby and Vancouver) is now a toll bridge. The toll is collected on non-resident vehicles by a camera system; you must go online within seven days to pay the toll or else be charged a service fee (that is almost equal to the cost of the toll itself) for receiving an invoice in the mail. The toll bridge can be bypassed with several alternate routes most notably the South Fraser Perimeter Road (Highway 17) in Surrey, but traffic can be heavy due to local residents using the route to avoid the toll, too, especially during the rush hours. An alternate for those who don't mind extra distance and who are coming to Vancouver from the east is to exit the TCH onto Highway 7 at Hope. It also leads to Vancouver without a toll bridge, but is a somewhat longer and slower route. Alternately, take Highway 11 north from Abbotsford, which also links to the 7, but closer in to Vancouver. Note that there is a second toll bridge, the Golden Ears, which connects from Surrey/Langley to Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge; this bridge is more used by locals and is unlikely to be of interest to tourists. Nonetheless the routes used to bypass the Port Mann also apply. Warning: Some rental car companies will add extra charges (sometimes substantial ones) to vehicles that cross the toll bridges; TReO, the agency that handles tolls for Port Mann and Golden Ears, advises renters to read their rental agreements carefully or ask the agent how tolls are handled.[url=https://www.treo.ca/tolls-and-fees/paying-for-tolls/other-ways-to-pay/]]Do not attempt to evade the toll; some have attempted to do so by covering their licence plates and by other methods; the penalty if caught may include not only fraud charges, but also the forfeiture of the vehicle to the province.[url=http://globalnews.ca/news/2202428/man-charged-with-fraud-for-evading-tolls-on-the-golden-ears-bridge/[/url]]
From the [[Lower Mainland#By car|U.S./Canada border[/url]] south of the city, Highway 99, which links up with U.S. Interstate 5, runs north to Vancouver. Note that the freeway ends after the Oak Street Bridge, turning into Oak Street heading north. Drivers with a downtown destination will need to get onto Granville Street (parallel to Oak St to the west), or Cambie Street (parallel to the east), in order to get on the Granville Street or Cambie Street bridges which cross False Creek into the downtown peninsula. Needless to say during the morning rush hour these routes become very busy.
If you are coming from the [wiki=bc0991d0243735bd3647069c7b13f5a8]North Shore[/wiki] or other points further north, the only way into Vancouver is by bridge. Your options are the Lions Gate Bridge (Hwy 99) which brings you into Stanley Park and Vancouver's [wiki=3afa658876f0699cbab2713238bfb7af]West End[/wiki] or the Second Narrows Bridge/Ironworkers Memorial Bridge (Hwy 1) which brings you into the neighbourhoods of [wiki=c17df12fef3d535b6bdd67f3f4c3a730]East Van[/wiki]. If you continue along Hwy. 1 from the north, remember that the Port Mann toll bridge lies east of Coquitlam.
Vancouver's traffic is considered notorious, especially during the rush hours. If possible try to avoid driving toward downtown in the early morning and away from downtown in the late afternoon. There is in fact a 24-hour radio station devoted entirely to traffic reports on 730AM. This station also provides reports on wait times for the Washington border crossings and also indicates remaining capacity for upcoming ferry crossings to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Vancouver is well served by bus service. There are a number of different bus lines providing service to various cities near and far. The bus station is at the Pacific Central Station at 1150 Station St, across from the Telus Science Center dome (site of Expo 86), which is also the train station (a SkyTrain station is also nearby). Here are what's available:
* Greyhound (USA) [url=http://greyhound.com]]connects Vancouver with U.S cities such [[Seattle[/url]], [wiki=36adb24446fb4a0cf5c5eff2e4961bcd]Bellingham[/wiki], etc.
* Greyhound Canada [url=http://greyhound.ca]]connects Vancouver with many Canadian cities, including [[Kelowna[/url]], [wiki=1e4eb05040e68d9312eb6ed016eaa4d8]Calgary[/wiki], [wiki=99707c417d6e80b2f9866d45fca2b17f]Whitehorse[/wiki], [wiki=25d43c379dc973b097d7d3ee052d7d2a]Edmonton[/wiki] and Nanaimo on [wiki=ea999edb8c9e67914e81ebedf1ccf862]Vancouver Island[/wiki].
* Malaspina Coach Lines [url=http://www.malaspinacoach.com/]]goes up to the Sunshine Coast communities of Gibsons, Sechelt and Powell River.
* Quick Coach [url=http://www.quickcoach.com[/url]]connects Vancouver with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in [[Washington (state)|Washington[/url]].
* BoltBus [url=http://www.boltbus.com]]connects Vancouver with Seattle and [[Portland (Oregon)|Portland[/url]].
* Pacific Coach Lines[http://www.pacificcoach.com/ ] connects Vancouver with Victoria. Scheduled service follows the BC Ferry service from Tsawwassen to Victoria (Swartz Bay). This is hourly in the summer months, and every two hours in the off-season.
* Perimeter Transportation[http://www.perimeterbus.com ] connects Vancouver with [wiki=c9e633ecf2662e517f1d0fae1a6b5a48]Whistler[/wiki] and [wiki=c85168c586f550cba57be7a372a8a775]Squamish[/wiki].
Taking the train to Vancouver is unlikely to be the cheapest option, but it is a scenic one. Rail options include:
* VIA Rail [url=http://www.via.ca]]has the Canadian which runs from [[Toronto[/url]] to Vancouver with three weekly departures.
* The Rocky Mountaineer [url=http://www.rockymountaineer.com]]operates routes between Vancouver and [[Banff[/url]], [wiki=1e4eb05040e68d9312eb6ed016eaa4d8]Calgary[/wiki] and [wiki=dc0cc254de9d367b611cba6ea88f629d]Jasper[/wiki] three times a week from April to October. (Since 2005 they moved down the street (Terminal Ave) to their own station at 1755 Cotrell St).
* Amtrak [url=http://www.amtrak.com]]runs a service between [[Seattle[/url]] and Vancouver called Amtrak Cascades [url=http://www.amtrakcascades.com/].]Trains depart Seattle daily at 7:40AM and 6:40PM, arriving in Vancouver at 11:35AM and 10:45PM respectively. The return trips leave Vancouver at 6:40AM and 5:45PM.
All trains arrive at Pacific Central Station, located at 1150 Station Street (east of downtown off Main St). From there, it is a short taxi ride into the [[Vancouver/CBD-Yaletown | central business area[/url]], or you can pick up the SkyTrain at the Main St/Science World station two blocks away.
If you have the time and money, traveling to Vancouver by train can be an excellent way to see the [wiki=44a7c19511709c5972d2b4a4922c53f6]Canadian Rockies[/wiki]. This is discussed further at the [wiki=9a2a9e6643bdc19c44839e716ad9c0bd]Rocky Mountaineer[/wiki].
There are two ferry terminals serviced by BC Ferries [url=http://www.bcferries.com]]in the area, although neither is within the city of Vancouver itself.
*The Tsawwassen terminal in [[Delta (British Columbia) | Delta[/url]] has routes to [wiki=d234c7a0ba543a9e5e75ec11bff9e763]Nanaimo[/wiki] and [wiki=cb54e075e1a2b5381ef2f8e1682423fa]Victoria[/wiki] on [wiki=ea999edb8c9e67914e81ebedf1ccf862]Vancouver Island[/wiki] and to the [wiki=808182df70ce119cea1f1c9b95c22cdb]Southern Gulf Islands[/wiki].
*The Horseshoe Bay terminal in the [wiki=bc0991d0243735bd3647069c7b13f5a8]West Vancouver[/wiki] services [wiki=d234c7a0ba543a9e5e75ec11bff9e763]Nanaimo[/wiki], [wiki=6c3342105f5921767f2234629fe3a4b1]Bowen Island[/wiki] and the [wiki=ed069ee75847656c77549d914b410bda]Sunshine Coast[/wiki].
Both terminals are far enough from the city core that you will need to travel by car, taxi or bus to get into town from them (and vice-versa). In terms of bus transportation, the various coach services provide a more convenient service than public transit. However, public buses to and from the ferry terminals are fairly inexpensive, easy and direct.
To reach the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, take Canada Line (Skytrain) from downtown Vancouver to Bridgeport Station. From Bridgeport Station, take the 620 bus which takes you directly to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. For Horseshoe Bay, take the 250 (local) or 257 (express) bus directly from downtown Vancouver.
Port Metro Vancouver[http://www.portmetrovancouver.com/about/cruiseandtourism.aspx] is the homeport for the popular Vancouver-Alaska cruise. From May-Sep, more than 3/4 million visitors pass through the two cruise ship terminals in Port Metro Vancouver. Check with your cruise line as to which terminal your ship is using, especially if you are embarking at Vancouver.
*Canada Place Terminal, located on the waterfront and a few minutes' walk to the heart of downtown Vancouver or Waterfront Station, is the primary cruise ship terminal. Canada Place was built originally for Expo86 and is recognized by its dramatic rooftop that looks like five white sails. A full range of ground transportation, excellent hotels, shopping, dining, entertainment, and attractions is available at Canada Place.
*Ballantyne Pier Terminal, located on the waterfront 2 km east of Canada Place, is the secondary cruise ship terminal and accessible by a 15-min taxi ($12) to/from downtown or by a shuttle provided by some of the downtown hotels or some of the cruise lines. Travelers to Ballantyne have access to Ballantyne Cruise Terminal via Clark Drive or McGill St Overpass only. There is no access to travelers via Victoria Dr and Heatley Ave. There is no public transportation and no rental car kiosks at Ballantyne.
US passport holders may be able to participate in "Onboard Check-in” and “US Direct" to streamline processing at the cruise ship and the airport. US Direct allows passengers arriving at Vancouver Airport (YVR) to transfer directly to a same-day-departing cruise ship by participating in expedited immigration and customs clearance process. Onboard Check-in allows passengers arriving on a cruise ship and flying out of YVR on the same day to transfer directly to YVR by participating in an expedited immigration and customs clearance process.
These programs do not apply to passengers who are planning a pre- or post-cruise stay in Vancouver. Not all cruise lines participate, so check with your cruise line to see if you can take advantage of the Onboard Check-in/US Direct program.
Vancouver's public transit is run by the regional transportation authority, TransLink [url=http://www.translink.bc.ca]]as an integrated system of buses, rapid transit (SkyTrain) and passenger ferry (SeaBus) . The transit system connects Vancouver with its neighbouring municipalities, stretching as far north as Lions Bay, south to the U.S. border and east to [[Langley (British Columbia)|Langley[/url]] and Maple Ridge. The bus stops about a mile from the border, then you must walk to it.
Adult fares for travel within the city of Vancouver cost $2.75. Travel from Vancouver to nearby places like [wiki=bc0991d0243735bd3647069c7b13f5a8]North Vancouver[/wiki], [wiki=fbb068e232d6e029e81defe2eeaec8f0]Burnaby[/wiki], and [wiki=1c3b4cc6cd60c609a2ba78b5339e4bf3]Richmond[/wiki] costs from $4.00-5.50 depending on the time of day and number of transit zones you cross. Travel on Monday-Friday after 6:30pm and all day on weekends and holidays is always $2.75 regardless of the destination. The ticket you receive is valid for 1.5 hours from the time of purchase and can be used to transfer to any bus, SkyTrain or the SeaBus during that time. TransLink's website and customer information line (+1 604-953-3333) both offer complete trip planning. A regional system map is widely available at convenience stores and on TransLink's website.
A more convenient option for the traveler may be the Daypass, which offers unlimited travel for a single day at the cost of $9.75. It covers all bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus routes but not the West Coast Express (a commuter train that runs from downtown Vancouver east to Mission). It is valid in all zones so that avoids having to worry about that and is available from fare machines at SkyTrain stations.
Books of 10 prepaid tickets (FareSaver tickets) are available for $21.00 -$42.00 from many convenience stores. Concession fares are available for Vancouver grade-school students and BC seniors and cost between $1.75-$3.50. If you're a student or a senior, you must be carrying a TransLink GoCard or BC Gold CareCard to receive the reduced concession fare. Monthly passes are also available, which can cost $91-170. All these prices depend on how many zones are covered.
The bus service covers the widest area and travels along most major streets in the city. Passengers must either buy a ticket or present their ticket immediately upon entering a TransLink bus. Buses accept coins only and will not give change. Tickets can also be purchased from vending machines in SkyTrain stations that accept coins, bills, debit and credit cards. In addition, several bus rapid transit lines named B Lines crisscross the city.
While at any bus stop in Metro Vancouver you can text the 5-digit bus stop number (the yellow number at the top of every bus stop sign) to 33333 and you'll get a text (it usually only takes a couple seconds) that tells you when the next 6 scheduled buses will arrive. Standard text messaging rates apply.
SkyTrain is the mostly elevated rapid transit system that connects Vancouver's [wiki=152716b49d542396416dab0208b0c044]downtown[/wiki] with some of its southern and eastern suburbs. The Expo line runs out through [wiki=fbb068e232d6e029e81defe2eeaec8f0]Burnaby[/wiki] and [wiki=fc0f100d69c9d32429776bc3f22c4dc0]New Westminster[/wiki] to King George station in [wiki=e97c6061075244592e70b1060dbdf2be]Surrey[/wiki]. The Millennium line follows the Expo line to New Westminster and then loops back through Burnaby and into Vancouver again ending at VCC/Clark. The new (2009) Canada Line connects downtown with [wiki=1c3b4cc6cd60c609a2ba78b5339e4bf3]Richmond[/wiki] and Vancouver Airport. Another line, the Evergreen Line will link to the neighboring cities of [wiki=1e45d0982e2643ccab38a8ff2eb5a8d8]Coquitlam[/wiki] and [wiki=1540fd59dc3aeab7d89381b6216a9b95]Port Moody[/wiki] when it opens in 2016. As of late 2015 several other SkyTrain routes are in the planning stages.
Notable SkyTrain stations in Vancouver include:
* Broadway/Commercial Drive - Accesses the restaurants of Commercial Dr in [wiki=c17df12fef3d535b6bdd67f3f4c3a730]East Vancouver[/wiki]
* Burrard and Granville - Most convenient for accessing the shopping areas in the [wiki=152716b49d542396416dab0208b0c044]central business district[/wiki]
* Waterfront Station - Meeting point of the SkyTrain, SeaBus, numerous commuter and rapid bus routes and the commuter rail West Coast Express. It is also at the entrance to [wiki=c19d8b477f04425411289bfbbf740641]Gastown[/wiki] and is right next to the Canada Place Convention Centre/Cruise Ship Terminal facilities.
* Metrotown - Although actually in neighboring Burnaby, this station is next to the region's largest shopping mall.
The SeaBus is a passenger ferry that connects Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in [wiki=bc0991d0243735bd3647069c7b13f5a8]North Vancouver[/wiki]. It generally runs every 15 min except in the evening and on Sundays. The exact schedule is available on TransLink's website. From a tourist's perspective, a ride on the SeaBus is worth it as it allows an excellent view of the Vancouver skyline and close-up views of the huge ocean-going tankers that are often parked in Burrard Inlet. It also offers a great view of the Canada Place facility which is the city's cruise ship port of call. Lonsdale Quay is a boutique shopping centre featuring an international-themed food court, making it a worthwhile destination before starting the round trip (see [wiki=428b0096b7784fb20263c05e853395f2]North Vancouver[/wiki]'s article for other activities in the vicinity).
Purchasing tickets for the SkyTrain and the SeaBus operates on a proof-of-purchase system, with ticket checks occuring not every time but at random. It is possible to ride without paying, especially during rush hour, but those who do so ride at their own risk. If caught, the passenger has to pay a fine of $173. Tickets are easily available through vending machines at SkyTrain stations and either SeaBus terminal. The current tickets being used in the system often need to be swiped at turnstiles in order to enter or leave stations, though these gates are usually disabled during peak times to avoid congestion.
SkyTrain and SeaBus service ends before last call at night clubs and bars, so if you'll be partying downtown, be sure you figure out a ride home.
A quick trip across on a cute little-boat-that-could ferry can be the most fun, traffic-free, and convenient way to get between various points on False Creek:
*Maritime Museum in Vanier Park on the south shore,
*Aquatic Centre at Sunset Beach on the north shore,
*Hornby St on the north shore,
*Granville Island and its famous Public Market on the south shore,
*Yaletown/Davie St. on the north shore,
*Stamp's Landing/Monk's and Spyglass Place on the south shore,
*Plaza of Nations and Edgewater Casino on the north shore, and
*Science World, the geodesic dome at the east end of False Creek.
Service is offered by False Creek Ferries [url=http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca]]with little blue boats and by Aquabus [http://www.theaquabus.com/[/url] with little rainbow boats. The two ferries run slightly different routes, and their docks on Granville Island are on either side of the Public Market. Current prices for adults start at $3.25 for short routes to $6.50 for long routes.
Vancouver's road network is generally a grid system with a "Street" running north-south and an "Avenue" running east-west. Arterial roads follow the grid fairly well (although not perfectly), but side streets frequently disappear for blocks at a time and then reappear. Most of the "Avenues" are numbered and they always use East or West to designate whether it is on the East side or the West side of Ontario Street. Some of the major avenues use names rather than numbers (Broadway would be 9th Ave, King Edward Ave would be 25th Ave).
Downtown Vancouver has its own grid system and doesn't follow the street/avenue format of the rest of the city. It is also surrounded by water on three sides, so most of the ways in and out require you to cross a bridge. This can cause traffic congestion, particularly at peak times (morning and evening commutes, sunny weekend afternoons, major sporting events), so factor that into any driving plans, or avoid if possible.
One of the best ways to avoid traffic congestion is to listen to traffic reports on AM730. This station reports only about traffic and can be quick to report any accidents and congestion, as well as B.C. ferry reports, bridge and tunnel updates, border wait times, and other information pertaining to getting around the city and its many suburbs. It also posts frequent weather updates and local news.
A unique feature of Vancouver and the rest of British Columbia is intersections with flashing green traffic signals. These do not indicate an advance left turn as it would in many other parts of North America. Instead, a flashing green light indicates a traffic signal that can be activated only by a pedestrian or a cyclist on the side street, but not by a motor vehicle. When the signal turns red, traffic stops as at any traffic signal. Any side street traffic must obey the stop sign on the side street and must yield to any pedestrians crossing the side street, even if traffic is stopped on the main street.
Yellow Cab (604) 681-1111
Richmond Cab (604) 272-1111
Coquitlam Taxi (Airport & City) 604-524-1111
Tikki Tikki pedicabs also operate in the downtown Vancouver area and the pedicabs/rickshaws or bike taxis can be booked for tours and sightseeing (604) 652-2053
Limousine Service Vancouver [http://www.limousineservicevancouver.com ] (604) 657-2278
Limojet Gold [http://www.limojetgold.com ] (604) 273-1331
Star Limousine [http://www.starlimousine.com ] (604) 685-5600
The city of Vancouver is a very bicycle-friendly city. In addition to the extremely popular seawall bicycle routes along Stanley Park, False Creek and Kitsilano, there are a whole network of bicycle routes that connect the whole city. The City of Vancouver provides a map of the bicycle routes that is available at most bike shops or online. Also, all buses have bicycle racks on the front to help riders get to less accessible parts. North American visitors will find that drivers in Vancouver are well accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists.
Bicycles are available to rent by the hour, day or week. Many places also rent tandem bikes. Some bicycle rental locations:
* Bazooka Bikes, 1531 Robson St, [http://www.bazookasports.com]
* ezeeRIDERS, 1823 Robson St, [http://www.ezeeriders.com]
* Stanley Park Cycle, 768 Denman St, [http://www.stanleyparkcycle.com]
* Bayshore Bike Rentals, 745 Denman St, [url=http://www.bayshorebikerentals.ca].]
* Spokes Bicycle Rentals, 1789 W Georgia St, [http://www.vancouverbikerental.com[/url].
* Reckless Bike Stores, 1810 Fir Street at 2nd Ave & 110 Davie St at Pacific, [http://reckless.ca].
* JV Bike, 955 Expo Boulevard, [url=http://www.jvbike.com]]also rents electric assist bicycles to make the hills a little easier.
Alternatively, buy a used bicycle and either sell it on or donate it to someone in more need of it at the end of your stay. There are a number of 2nd owner bicycle stores on Dunbar and the surrounding area.
* Our Community Bikes, 3283 Main St. +1 604-879-2453 (email:firstname.lastname@example.org), [http://www.pedalpower.org/?q=our_community_bikes[/url].
Hosted Bicycle Tours are available from a number of suppliers. These tours are educational and cover many of the interesting areas and attractions of Vancouver.
* City by Cycle, 101-2539 Laurel St, +1-888-599-6800, [http://www.citybycycle.com/].
Renting a scooter is a good compromise between a bike and a car. Scooters are not allowed on the famous bike path, but it is possible to travel in the inner roads, park and walk at all the attractions.
Average cost is ~$80 for 24 hours + gas.
* "Cycle BC", Location 1: (next to harbour air terminal) Location2: 73 East 6th Ave Vancouver, BC V5Y 1A4, Canada (604) 709-5663 [www.cyclebc.ca]
* "Vancouver Scooter Rental" 501-2050 scotia street Vancouver V5T 4T1 tel: 1-604-787-9177
If you want to orient yourself in the city, there are a variety of tours -- bus, walking, hop-on, hop-off -- based out of the [wiki=152716b49d542396416dab0208b0c044]City Centre[/wiki] that will regale you with Vancouver lore while taking you to many of the main attractions.
For those of you looking for tours involving nightlife (Vancouver's bars/pubs, and nightclubs), Vancity Nite Tours offers pub crawls in various areas of Downtown Vancouver.
Vancouverites love the outdoors and one of the most popular things to do is to walk, jog, bike or rollerblade the Seawall. It starts at Canada Place [wiki=152716b49d542396416dab0208b0c044]downtown[/wiki], wraps around Stanley Park and follows the shoreline of False Creek though Yaletown, Science World and Granville Island to Kits Beach in [wiki=b8b012cad878022272b3d81c4e58be0e]Kitsilano[/wiki]. The most popular sections are around Stanley Park and along the north shore of False Creek. Bike and rollerblade rentals are available from a few shops near the corner of Denman & West Georgia if you prefer wheeled transportation over walking. If the weather's nice, go out to Granville Island, rent a speedboat and take a boat ride on the waters around Stanley Park and Coal Harbour. Golf courses also are abundant in the city, along with more cost-conscious pitch-and-putt courses.
If you'd rather lie in the sun than play in the sun, Vancouver has a number of beaches. While certainly not glamourous and lacking waves, there's sand, water and lots of people on sunny summer days. The neighbourhoods of [wiki=b8b012cad878022272b3d81c4e58be0e]Kitsilano[/wiki] and [wiki=a0398bb8b0cb53d552cad03c9b4d8d5e]West Point Grey[/wiki] have a string of beaches, the most well known being Kitsilano Beach, Jericho and Spanish Banks. Kits Beach is the most popular and has beach volleyball, Spanish Banks is a bit quieter and popular with skimboarders. There are a few beaches on the south and west sides of [wiki=3afa658876f0699cbab2713238bfb7af]downtown[/wiki], with English Bay Beach (near Denman & Beach) being the largest and most popular. Finally, no discussion of Vancouver beaches would be complete without mention of Wreck Beach at the tip of Point Grey in [wiki=b7fc15fde7188b3b2491950236599e2a]UBC[/wiki]. As much rock as it is sand, it holds a place in the Vancouver identity and is the only city beach where you can bare it all.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a popular tourist spot located in North Vancouver. The bridge itself is impressive, and for many it is worth the price of admission (which is considerable). It is accessible by free shuttle from the city centre. For a similar (but free) experience, head to Lynne Canyon (also in North Vancouver). To get there from Vancouver city centre, walk to Waterfront station, take the seabus across to Lonsdale Quay. Makes sure to stop at the Lonsdale Quay market (itself a tourist destination) to pick up some locally brewed beer and some items for a picnic. Here you can ask the shop people to give you directions to the best secret swimming spots in Lynne Canyon. Then take the #228 or #229 from the Lonsdale Quay bus loop. The bus driver or other passengers can tell you where to get off. The suspension bridge at Lynne Canyon is easily found from the cafe and visitor's centre. Also make sure you explore the trails, where in the summer you'll see local youth jumping from bridges and rocks into the swimming holes. There are several good spots to go swimming in Lynne Canyon, but the water is cold, so go on a warm day.
For many, Vancouver is synonymous with skiing and snowboarding. While there are no ski hills within the city itself, there are three "local" hills (Cypress, Grouse Mountain and Seymour) across the harbour on the [wiki=bc0991d0243735bd3647069c7b13f5a8]North Shore[/wiki]. And of course, Vancouver is the gateway to [wiki=c9e633ecf2662e517f1d0fae1a6b5a48]Whistler[/wiki], the biggest and one of the highest rated snow destinations in North America.
When you tire of doing stuff outdoors, or prefer that someone else do the hard work, you can always grab a seat and take in the local sports teams.
Vancouver isn't all about the outdoors as it offers a variety of theatre, concerts and other cultural events. There are symphony and opera venues [wiki=152716b49d542396416dab0208b0c044]downtown[/wiki] and much of the city's live theatre can be found in [wiki=048f9b32fc47582d5084ba5732fa9054]South Granville[/wiki], particularly on Granville Island with its thriving arts scene.
The city's Chinese heritage comes alive during Chinese New Year. [wiki=c19d8b477f04425411289bfbbf740641]Chinatown[/wiki], in the east side of downtown, is awash in colour and has many festivities, including a parade. June sees the annual Dragon Boat Festival on False Creek.
There is no shortage of festivals around the city, with many local ones particular to a neighbourhood. The festival that draws the largest crowds is the HSBC Celebration of Light [url=http://www.celebration-of-light.com],]a four night extravaganza of fireworks over English Bay in late July and early August. Countries compete with 20-30 min displays choreographed to music. The fireworks start at 10PM and are best viewed from Sunset Beach in the [[Vancouver/West End|West End[/url]] or Kits Beach/Vanier Park in [wiki=b8b012cad878022272b3d81c4e58be0e]Kitsilano[/wiki]. It is strongly recommended to take public transit and to get there a few hours early as the crowds are huge. Roads in the vicinity of English Bay are typically closed from 6PM onwards.
EAT! Vancouver - The Everything Food + Cooking Festival takes place every May. In 2010, the festival takes place May 28-30, at the new Vancouver Convention Centre - West. Celebrity chefs, popular local restaurants, wineries, food & beverage manufacturers, cookbook authors, retailers, artisans, & many others from the culinary world will come together for a 3 day public extravaganza at the Vancouver Convention Centre. EAT Vancouver encompasses unique food experiences, opportunities to learn behind-the-scenes culinary magic from professional chefs, dynamic entertainment through celebrity chef cooking demonstrations & intense culinary competitions, diverse food, beverage & cooking related exhibits; & of course fantastic shopping opportunities. www.eat-vancouver.com
Other notable festivals include the Vancouver International Film Festival [url=http://www.viff.org]]that runs in Sept-Oct;
Theatre Under The Stars [url=http://tuts.ca/[/url]]runs annually through July and August at Stanley Park’s picturesque Malkin Bowl. Theatre Under The Stars(TUTS) has been Vancouver's most cherished summer musical theatre tradition since 1940.
the Fringe Festival [url=http://www.vancouverfringe.com[/url]]that presents live theatre in a variety of styles and venues;
Khatsalano Music and Arts Festival[url=http://www.khatsahlano.com/[/url]]is held every summer in Kitsilano. This FUN festival is 10 blocks long, with 50 bands equals one gigantic street party! The festival includes local artists, great discounts from local shop owners, massage on the street [url=http://www.royalfeet.com[/url],]local shop services ranging from spa, coffee, clothing, sunglasses, wake boarding equipment, skate board shops merchandise, restaurant patio street parties, and of course beach accessories and beach fun celebrating the best beach neighbourhood in Vancouver!
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival[url=http://www.bardonthebeach.org/[/url]]that runs May - September at Vanier Park in [[Vancouver/Kitsilano | Kitsilano[/url]]; and the three day Folk Fest [url=http://thefestival.bc.ca]]on the beach in [[Vancouver/Kitsilano | Kitsilano[/url]] that features a large selection of current and upcoming folk, roots and world music acts.
Another notable event is Vancouver's annual Vancouver Pride Parade [url=http://www.vancouverpride.ca/parade-route],]for 2011 held on 31 July, which attracts over 500,000 spectators.
Roberts Creek Arts Festival [http://www.robertscreekartsfestival.com[/url]
Held over the Victoria Day long weekend from 15th - 17th May 2013. Consists of live music, arts and food from local and International talent in a variety of rainforest settings
The coffee scene in Vancouver is amazing. Vancouver has an incredible selection of funky, trendy, and hip cafes. Gastown, Yale town, and Denman street have great cafes downtown. Check out Main Street, Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano, and Commercial drive for awesome cafe culture outside of downtown.
Vegetarians will find it easy to find food at virtually any restaurant, but there are some all-veg restaurants that are particularly worth checking out.
Vancouver offers a number of destinations for beer drinkers. The largest is the Granville Island Brewery on [wiki=048f9b32fc47582d5084ba5732fa9054]Granville Island[/wiki] (tours are available). Other microbreweries are housed in brewpubs, popular ones include the Yaletown Brewing Company in [wiki=152716b49d542396416dab0208b0c044]Yaletown[/wiki] and Steamworks at the entrance to [wiki=c19d8b477f04425411289bfbbf740641]Gastown[/wiki]. The Alibi Room, near Gastown, specializes in beers by Northwestern microbreweries.
A common belief is that marijuana is legal in [wiki=8ce94baacc570c97dae055b23ea897fa]British Columbia[/wiki]. That is a myth. Although Vancouver's police and the justice system tend to turn a blind eye to marijuana use, tourists should be advised that possessing any amount of marijuana is illegal in all of Canada without a government-issued medical exemption (the legality of possession is, however, currently under dispute by the Supreme Court). However, if you are caught with a small amount of cannabis (7 grams or less) in Vancouver it is extremely unlikely that you will be charged, in the vast majority of cases the police will arrest and search you; seize the marijuana, and then allow you to proceed. If you have a rental car, please note there are serious penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana which include significant fines and vehicle seizure. Only approved medicinal users are allowed to use the many cannabis dispensaries located in Vancouver and environs. Note also that while it is currently legal to buy and use pot recreationally in the state of Washington (including, therefore, the border communities of Blaine, Sumas and Point Roberts) it is illegal to bring said material over the border in either direction. Do not buy pot in Vancouver and attempt to take it into Washington, or vice versa. Not even at out of the way crossings like Point Roberts.
Vancouver's biggest daily newspaper.
* Tabloid-style daily. A bit more sensational than the Sun and a better sports section.
* Free weekly paper that provides the best rundown on local bars and other entertainment listings. It also usually has a number of two for one coupons for local restaurants.
* Free daily online paper focusing on independent politics and culture reporting.
Other free weeklies include the Vancouver Courier, Westender, and Xtra West (gay and lesbian bi-weekly newspaper).
Free dailies include 24 Hours and Metro.
The Sun, Province and 24 Hours are actually all owned by the same publisher.
There are a number of wireless network providers in BC's lower mainland, all with store locations throughout Vancouver, including Telus, Rogers, Fido, Bell, Koodo, Wind Mobile, Moblicity, and Virgin.
* Anglican (Episcopal):
Vancouver General -- Located at the corner of Oak St and West 12th Ave, VGH serves as the main hospital and emergency ward for Vancouver
*Children's Hospital -- If taking a child under the age of 18 to the E.R., you will be directed to Children's Hospital. It is located at Oak St near King Edward Avenue.
*St. Paul's -- Located downtown, or in the City Centre, St. Paul's Hospital also has an emergency ward for adults but is smaller and therefore less equipped to handle many patients. Every winter, St. Paul's decorates the front of the Hospital with lights to encourage charitable donations.
*Mount Saint Joseph Hospital - 3080 Prince Edward St. The only hospital on the city's East Side with an emergency room (8:30AM-8PM). Outside of these hours, people are asked to go to either Vancouver General or St. Paul's for emergency care.
*UBC Urgent Care Centre -- Not quite a walk-in clinic but not quite an emergency room, the UBC UCC has limited hours (closed at 10PM, but is a good choice if your problem isn't an emergency -- it is basically a faster-paced walk-in clinics with longer hours.
There are also a number of walk-in clinics around Vancouver. Unfortunately waits are usually around 30-45 min for an appointment.
Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.
*Offers meditation courses and sessions, primarily in the evening.
*Drop-in afternoon hour-long meditation sessions led by campus Buddhist chaplains and members of the community. Primarily aimed at UBC students, $8 membership required for non-students after more than one sitting. Vipassana and Zen traditions.
*Meditation in the Chinese Mahayana tradition. Saturdays for beginners, 10:30AM-11:30AM, Sundays include dharma talk 10AM-11:30AM.
There are a number of things to see and do just outside of Vancouver's borders. Some of the most popular are listed below. All of these places are accessible by public transit, or if you have a car, within an hour's drive.
* [wiki=bc0991d0243735bd3647069c7b13f5a8]North Shore[/wiki] - Take in the views from Grouse Mountain (The Peak of Vancouver), go for a walk on a suspension bridge or enjoy one of the many outdoor recreation opportunities -- hiking, mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding, kayaking -- on offer. The most popular summer activity in the area is hiking the 'Grouse Grind', a 2.9 km, 853 m elevation gain hike up the side of Grouse mountain.
* [wiki=a481d565a0f8e1bef60160f97f4506bb]West Vancouver[/wiki] - A municipality north of the Lion's gate bridge, enroute to Whistler. Home to many beaches, coves, parks and expensive real estate, where breathtaking views of Vancouver can be scoped by driving its higher altitudes.
* [wiki=fbb068e232d6e029e81defe2eeaec8f0]Burnaby[/wiki] - Shop till you drop at Metropolis at Metrotown, the largest shopping mall in British Columbia, or relax at one of the large regional parks.
* [wiki=fa2b37616eccbe588d408509e2000db3]Port Coquitlam[/wiki], [wiki=fe1e2ff25dd312978cc3f4aa7a7a7853]Coquitlam[/wiki] and [wiki=e97063322444f25e0d095af60f30ef54]Port Moody[/wiki] (the Tri City area) - Half hour drive down Hastings street to the Barnet Highway will bring you to Port Moody, locally known as the City of the Arts.
* [wiki=1c3b4cc6cd60c609a2ba78b5339e4bf3]Richmond[/wiki] - City with a large Asian influence with many options for Chinese, Japanese and Korean dining and shopping, the largest Buddhist temple in North America and the historic seaside Steveston towards the south offers a quieter, small-town type atmosphere.
* [wiki=e97c6061075244592e70b1060dbdf2be]Surrey[/wiki]/[wiki=85b2e35c9bdd4a02969b7dfee98cc50c]White Rock[/wiki] - A 45 minute drive away from Vancouver, famous for its moderate climate and sandy beaches.
* [wiki=b4636c77c88e78637e9139e531349e3a]Fort Langley[/wiki] - Village with unique shops, restaurants and the site of one of the first forts built in British Columbia.
* [wiki=fc0f100d69c9d32429776bc3f22c4dc0]New Westminster[/wiki] - Small city on the banks of the Fraser River that was once the capital of British Columbia.
[wiki=6c3342105f5921767f2234629fe3a4b1]Bowen Island[/wiki] is a popular day trip or weekend excursion offering kayaking, hiking, shops, restaurants, and more. This authentic community is located in Howe Sound just off Vancouver, and is easily accessed via scheduled water taxis departing [wiki=3e02d36018a2b274bd43f2a6b1d08072]Granville Island[/wiki] in downtown Vancouver or by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
* For those who enjoy outdoor activities, a trek up the [wiki=e56a6e9dd805b3ec9a4a4667170d159f]Sea to Sky[/wiki] corridor is essential. [wiki=c85168c586f550cba57be7a372a8a775]Squamish[/wiki] has branded itself the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada" and with an incredible amount of quality rock climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, golf, walking trails and more, it certainly deserves the title. Squamish is about half way between Vancouver and Whistler. [wiki=c9e633ecf2662e517f1d0fae1a6b5a48]Whistler[/wiki] (1.5 hour drive from Vancouver) is mandatory. In the winter, enjoy some of the best Skiing in North America, and in the summer try some authentic mountain biking.
* Another good spot for outdoor activities is [wiki=7b4f1d9dc14dd4819e880ae40832736d]Mount Baker[/wiki] across the border in [wiki=c6ffc2d70b978e12755363d046d212f0]Washington[/wiki]. Driving time is about three hours, but border line-ups can add anywhere from a few minutes to several hours onto your trip.
* The nearby [wiki=d4b7c6dc150f5b54afae16dcaa142b6c]Fraser Valley[/wiki] has a number of parks and lakes that are nice for fishing, hiking or relaxing.
* A geopolitical oddity, [wiki=8e5b29dd6a3e2bdf5eb0c5dda11fa1c1]Point Roberts[/wiki] is a part of the United States that can only be reached by road from Delta, BC.
[wiki=ea999edb8c9e67914e81ebedf1ccf862]Vancouver Island[/wiki] is a good spot to move on to from Vancouver. [wiki=cb54e075e1a2b5381ef2f8e1682423fa]Victoria[/wiki], British Columbia's capital, is a relaxing place. [wiki=d2ad636d72bdfc318a802aac155e9f81]Tofino[/wiki] is a pretty spot on the island's west coast, good for whale and storm watching and has some of Canada's best surf (if you can brave the cold water). The island is reached by ferry, seaplane and bus.
* The [wiki=808182df70ce119cea1f1c9b95c22cdb]Southern Gulf Islands[/wiki] are also a short ferry ride or float plane flight away. The Southern Gulf Islands are known for their artist communities, wineries, fromageries and farms. These islands also boast incredible opportunities for boating, kayaking, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing [http://www.parkscanada.gc.ca/gulf].
* The [wiki=6d7074816a7b2d14709028c9f2d08e48]Okanagan[/wiki] is a four to five hour drive east, with a large number of wineries, water activities in the summer and skiing in the winter.
* The scenery of [wiki=471d13668d93814d32004c7e3ed3c508]Banff[/wiki], Banff National Park and the [wiki=1b5cab9104190bbebca89c3b32462f8b]Rocky Mountains[/wiki] is a long day's drive (8-9 hours) east.
* To the south, in the United States, [wiki=4c54c163f43d0ac8512df032b3b07bff]Seattle[/wiki], is a two and a half hour drive and [wiki=4de1b900c73db4e7bbf3688612baaf55]Portland[/wiki] is a five hour drive (excluding any border line-up).
[wiki=e3604e45def51a440f56a5417aca02be]Dmoz:North America/Canada/British Columbia/Localities/V/Vancouver/[/wiki]