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Scenes of Vancouver

Fast Facts: Vancouver

Vancouver--the "City of Glass"--is located on the Strait of Georgia, shielded from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. The city boasts an ethnically diverse population, with over 50% of the city's residents having a first language other than English. Vancouver is the commercial capital of British Columbia. The city has a metropolitan population of about 2.1 million residents, making it the largest city in Western Canada.

The mainstays of Vancouver's very diversified economy are technology, services, tourism, mining, forestry, education and TV and motion picture production. Over 9 million tourists visit Vancouver every year, including more than 300,000 tourists who arrive or depart on cruise ships.

Vancouver's climate is mild year-round, as it is warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected from blasts of cold Arctic air by a range of mountains. From high 70s Fahrenheit (low 20s Celsius) in summer to a mild mid-40s Fahrenheit (0° to 5° Celsius) in winter, the climate is always hospitable. But Vancouver is a city that sees a lot of rain, particularly during the long, gray and foggy winter months.

Vancouver map

First Impressions

Granville Island
©2016 Xicotencatl, under cc-by-sa 4.0 license

Vancouver is a lively, fun and hip city, with clean air, views of the nearby mountain ranges and a decidedly Canadian personality. It's also a very pretty city, and like almost all Canadian cities, very clean. The city's downtown, Yaletown, English Bay and West End districts are dotted with modern high-rise commercial and residential developments. It's not until you visit the sprawling southern suburbs, such as Richmond, that you begin to encounter communities comprised of single family housing.

Vancouver has been called a "city of neighborhoods," each with a distinct character and ethnic mix. That's just one of the things about Vancouver that makes it a great place to visit.

Most ships will dock at the modern Canada Place cruise ship facility, which is located in the city center, adjacent to excellent hotels, shopping, dining and entertainment venues. You'll know you're there when you see the distinctive white sails that fly over the structure. The Canada Place facility also houses the five-star Pan Pacific hotel and the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre.

If you're not docking at Canada Place, you'll dock at the overflow facility at Ballantyne, which is located just minutes away from Canada Place.

Vancouver really comes alive from May through September. The weather is warm and there's less rain, the days are longer, people are riding bicycles and enjoying in-line skating, and there's a happy vibe about the city.

Time Zone

Vancouver is on Pacific Time, eight hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or seven hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

Canada flag Vancouver Local Time


English is universally spoken in Vancouver. Chinese--some Mandarin but primarily Cantonese--is spoken at many stores and restaurants. Some shopkeepers also speak French, Canada's second official language.

Travel Advisory

US Embassy Logo

An advisory from the U.S. Embassy in Canada states that Americans planning to enter Canada must be aware that "anyone with a criminal record (including a drunk driving conviction) may be excluded from entering Canada. A waiver of exclusion may be issued but several weeks are required and a processing fee must be paid. Contact the Canadian Embassy or a Canadian Consulate in the U.S." As of March 1, 2012, these rules have been eased slightly by the Government of Canada.

Dealing with Money in Vancouver


Canadian dollars

The currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar, and it is printed on bills in five denominations: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins include the nickel, dime, quarter, fifty cent piece and the one dollar (referred to as the "loonie") and two dollar (called the "toonie") coins. The Canadian government is gradually replacing its paper money with plastic bills.

The current exchange rate for the US dollar is shown below.

Banks and ATMs

ATM machines in Vancouver are plentiful and can be found at bank branches, hotels, restaurants, drug stores and other establishments in the city. At Canada Place, you'll find ATMs at the Cruise Terminal, the Pan Pacific Hotel, the Vancouver Convention Center and the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.

Banks with ATM machines can be found at the following locations:

  • HSBC: 999 Hastings Street West, a 2-block walk from the pier.

  • CIBC: 400 Burrard Street, a 2-block walk from the pier.

  • National Bank of Canada: 555 Burrard Street, a 3-block walk from the pier.

  • Royal Bank of Canada: 685 West Hastings Street, a 3-block walk from the pier.

Vancouver ATM Map

Map icon

See our Vancouver ATM Map for the locations of the above ATMs.

Using US Dollars in Vancouver

US dollars are accepted in Canada, however all change will be given in Canadian currency. If using US dollars, you'll also incur a lousy exchange rate. Since ATM machines are so plentiful in Vancouver, it is easy to obtain Canadian dollars. Alternatively, you can charge your purchases on your credit cards.


Stanley Park
©2014 Don Toofee, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

Vancouver's four season western marine climate is unusually temperate by Canadian standards. During the generally cold Canadian winters, Vancouver is the country's warmest city. In addition, Vancouver usually enjoys excellent summer weather, characterized by very pleasant, warm days with abundant sunshine.

Summer months are quite sunny with moderate temperatures, tempered by sea breezes. Though usually in the 70s (F), temperatures can rise into the high 80s during hot spells. Rain falls, on average, one day in four.

From November through March, Vancouver is often gray and gloomy, with the sun shining less than 3 hours per day on average. And this period is foggy and wet, too, with more than half of these days experiencing rainfall. Significant snowfall accumulations are rare.

During the spring and summer evenings, the temperature becomes much cooler, so if you're out and about, don't forget to bring a sweater or a light coat.

Average Temperatuers

Average Precipitation

Keeping In Touch

Internet Access in Vancouver

Wi-Fi in Vancouver is pretty much ubiquitous. However, in the age of the smart phone, Cyber Cafes have become a rarer and rarer sight. Nonetheless, Vancouver is home to a few Internet Cafes where you can enjoy a nice cup of joe and a pastry with high speed internet access.

Internet Cafes

Free internet access is available at the Public Library's Central Branch, 350 West Georgia Street. Phone: (604) 331-3600.

There are a few cyber cafes located in the downtown area of Vancouver, including the following venues:

  • Nicola Internet Cafe, located at 1565 Robson Street in West End Vancouver, at Cardero Street. Open 24 hours. Phone: (604) 408-1559.

  • Ammarose Internet Cafe, located at 1290 Howe Street in downtown Vancouver, at Drake Street. Phone: (604) 568-4198.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi access is ubiquitous in downtown Vancouver. You can also find Wi-Fi at any of the Starbucks locations in Vancouver. And Canada's iconic Tim Hortons chain offers free high-speed Wi-Fi in their 7 downtown Vancouver stores. Blenz Coffee offers free Wi-Fi at their many downtown Vancouver stores, as does McDonalds. In fact, almost every coffee shop in the city offers free Wi-Fi.

Vancouver Internet Access Map

Map icon

See our Vancouver Internet & Wi-Fi Map for the locations of the above internet access points.

Internet Cafe

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Customers of U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in Vancouver:


Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Vancouver area is provided by local partners Telus and Bell Mobility.
Data services: Through its partners, Verizon offers 2G coverage for CDMA phones in the greater Vancouver area, and 4G LTE service with a 4G Global Device with GSM.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Vancouver area is provided by Rogers, Fido, Telus and Bell Mobility.
Data services: AT&T offers extensive 3G service in the greater Vancouver area through its partners.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.


Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service is provided by Bell Mobility or Telus in the greater Vancouver area.
Data services: Sprint offers data services in the greater Vancouver area through its partners.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in the Vancouver area through Telus, Rogers and Bell Mobility.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 3G service in the greater Vancouver area through its partners.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Vancouver Telephone Information

American cell phones used in Canada work seamlessly north of the border, and just like back home.

Travelers with American cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in Canada. You can purchase a "Canada Plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details. However, if you’re planning a visit of no more than a few days, such a plan may not be worth the time and hassle.

The Country Code in Canada is 1, just as in the U.S.

The Area Codes used in Vancouver are 604, 778 and 236.

Canadian telephone numbers have seven digits, just like in the U.S.

Woman with a cell phone

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals

Local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Vancouver in 2018:

  • New Year's Day, Monday, January 1.

  • 32nd Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival, Saturday, March 10 to Sunday, March 25. Celebrates the whale migration in Tofino, Ucluelet & the Pacific Rim National Park.

  • Good Friday, Friday, March 30. Commemorates the Friday before Easter.

  • Easter Sunday, Sunday, April 1. The most important Christian holiday.

  • Easter Monday, Monday, April 2. Gives the people of Vancouver a 4-day holiday.

  • Victoria Day & Parade, Monday, March 21. Celebrates the birthday of the current Canadian Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. However, the date does not change with the change of monarch; instead, it is set on the birthday of Queen Victoria, the Canadian Monarch at the time of Canadian Confederation and establishment of dominion status in 1867.

  • Summer Cruise Ship Season begins, Monday, April 10. The arrival of the Star Princess marks the beginning of Cruise Ship Season in Vancouver.

  • Sax player
  • Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Friday, June 22 to Sunday, July 1. Jazz comes to Vancouver in a big way once again, taking place in a number of venues throughout town.

  • Canada Day, Sunday, July 1. Celebrates Canada's 1867 Confederation and establishment of dominion status. The folks in BC also take Monday, July 3 to observe the holiday. Since the day falls on a Sunday, the holiday is also marked on Monday, July 2.

  • Caribbean Days Festival, Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29. Held at North Shore's Waterfront Park, this is a two-day celebration of Caribbean culture. Features a parade, live music and dance performances.

  • British Columbia Day, Monday, August 6. Civic holiday.

  • Labour Day, Monday, September 3. Celebrates economic and social achievements of workers.

  • Camera
  • Vancouver International Film Festival, Thursday, September 27 to Friday, October 12. Film nabobs assemble to view the best in movies from independent directors from across the globe.

  • Thanksgiving Day, Monday, October 8. A day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.

  • Summer Cruise Ship Season ends, Tuesday, October 19. The departure of the Emerald Princess marks the end of Cruise Ship Season in Vancouver.

  • Remembrance Day, Sunday, November 11. Commemorates Canada's war dead. Anniversary of the armistice ending World War I in 1918.

  • Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25. Celebrates the birth of Christ.

  • Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26. Commemorates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Vancouver Cruise Port Schedules

Canada Place
©2011 Francisco Anzola, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

In 2018, Vancouver will rank as the top embarkation/debarkation port by the number of ships, but the number two for the number of passengers, during the seasonal Alaskan cruise ship trade. The Alaska cruise ship season extends from April through October.

As a rule, ships arrive at the Canada Place cruise ship dock in Vancouver between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, and depart between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

In 2018, Vancouver is slated to host 434,700 passengers sailing on 233 ships. For further information, see our Vancouver Cruise Ship Schedule - 2018.

Cruise Lines Making Port in Vancouver

The following cruise lines will make port in Vancouver in 2018:

Carnival icon Carnival Royal Caribbean icon Royal Caribbean
Celebrity Cruises  icon Celebrity Cruises princess icon Princess Cruises
NCL icon NCL Holland America icon Holland America
Disney icon Disney Cruises Regent Cruises
Silversea icon Silversea Cruises Oceania icon Oceania Cruises
Crystal Cruises Seabourn
Cruise Ship

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