NEIGHBOURHOODS & TOWNS
CAMBIE VILLAGE This busy, eclectic area has everything from Nat Bailey Stadium, home of the Vancouver Canadians baseball team, to the Bloedel Conservatory, a lush tropical biodome with hundreds of exotic plants and birds. Get nostalgic at the single-screen Park Theatre or laugh the night away at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. Just across the Cambie Street Bridge from the downtown core, with three SkyTrain stations for easy access. www.cambievillage.com map 4: d4/e4
CHINATOWN The Millennium Gate marks the entrance to Canada’s largest Chinatown. Canadian-Chinese memorials, traditional herbalists and souvenir shops mingle with trendy fusion food and edgy nightlife. This neighbourhood is also home to the world’s narrowest commercial building, the Sam Kee Building, just 1.8 m (6 ft) wide at its base. Sample a traditional dim sum brunch or artisanal cocktails, then stroll through the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for a moment of introspection. www.vancouver-chinatown.com map 1
COAL HARBOUR A marina-side oasis of calm amid the bustle of downtown, this area is paved with seawall paths and filled with the sort of glittering residential towers that gave Vancouver the nickname City of Glass. Joggers and cyclists breeze past luxury cruise ships and seaside restaurants. Go flightseeing in a floatplane and soar above the Olympic Cauldron, or get the 4D virtual tour with FlyOver Canada. map 1
COMMERCIAL DRIVE Locals refer to this vibrant strip of independent eateries, cafes, bars and specialty shops as The Drive. Heritage buildings
and generations-old family businesses thrive alongside a lively counterculture scene. Knock back an Italian espresso, fill up on organic fare, then meet local poets and performers at an open-mic night. Cornerstones of the community include The Cultch Theatre and dogfriendly Trout Lake. www.thedrive.ca map 4: d4/e4
DOWNTOWN This is the cosmopolitan and commercial heart of the city, with more than 1,000 stores offering everything from souvenirs to designer fashions. Spend the afternoon at the colossal Vancouver Public Library, get
awestruck at the historic Orpheum Theatre (home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) or the Vancouver Art Gallery, and relax with 360-degree views of the city lights at the Vancouver Lookout. Keep the party going late into the night at one of the lively bars and nightclubs on Granville Street. www. downtownvancouver.net map 1
GASTOWN Heritage meets hip in the oldest part of the city, a National Historic Site beloved by locals and visitors alike. Explore the cobbled streets and grand late-Victorian buildings, filled with designer fashions, Native
art, upscale homewares, Canadiana souvenirs, and enough restaurants and bars to satisfy every appetite. Watch the iconic Gastown Steam Clock in action, and tip your cap to a statue of the city’s founding father, “Gassy Jack” Deighton, at Maple Tree Square. www.gastown.org Map 1
GRANVILLE ISLAND The peninsula beneath the Granville Street Bridge may not be a true island, but it sure feels like it, especially when reached by mini ferry from downtown. Colourful, refurbished industrial buildings house artists, craftspeople and performers, while the still-active cement silos host the “Giants,” a massive public art installation by graffiti artists OSGEMEOS. Find fresh produce, seafood and handmade gifts at the Public Market, catch a live show after a visit to the brewery, or sit back and watch children enjoy the Kids Market and waterpark. www.granvilleisland.com Map 6
KERRISDALE This fashionable shopping district satisfies consumer cravings with half the hustle and bustle of the city. More than 200 stores and services—including restaurants, boutiques and gift shops—make it easy for visitors of all ages to find what they’re looking for. Browse books, antiques, cameras or couture for babies and pampered pups before taking a latte break in one of the nearby parks. www.kerrisdalevillage.com Map 4: E3
KITSILANO Usually shortened to Kits, this neighbourhood on the south shore of English Bay is a popular destination for fans of outdoor recreation and natural wellness. Cafes, healthy restaurants, gyms and yoga studios thrive along tree-lined streets. Swim, sunbathe or play tennis at renowned Kits Beach, then fly a kite in Vanier Park, where the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre await. www. shopwest4th.com Map 4: D2/D3
MAIN STREET Step off the SkyTrain and into a treasure trove of independent shops, craft breweries and eclectic dining in this character-filled neighbourhood, recently named one of North America’s 15 coolest streets. Fill your bags with consignment-store gems, explore the Vancouver Mural Festival’s legacy in brightly painted alleys or spend the afternoon at Guelph Park, affectionately known as Dude Chilling Park. Kids—and inquisitive
adults—love Science World, housed in an iconic geodesic dome. www.mountpleasantbia.com Map 4: D4/E4
NORTH VANCOUVER This picturesque city draws locals and tourists alike for outdoor adventures on the beautiful Coast Mountains range. Capilano Suspension Bridge, Lynn Canyon and Grouse Mountain—including the Grouse Grind, also known as “Mother Nature’s StairMaster”— are just a few of the area’s best-known attractions. After a day of sea kayaking, skiing, hiking or mountain biking, visit the Lonsdale Quay marketplace for snacks, shopping and souvenirs. www.vancouversnorthshore.com Map 4
OLYMPIC VILLAGE A shining memento of the 2010 Winter Games, these waterfront condos and townhouses— right next door to Science World, a souvenir from the 1986 World Expo— once housed athletes and Olympic officials. Named one of the world’s most sustainable neighbourhoods, this area is also bursting with superb photo ops and an ever-growing collection of destination restaurants, brewpubs and shops. Go kayaking in False Creek, pose next to the gigantic sparrow sculptures and enjoy a live show at the BMO Theatre Centre. Map 1
POINT GREY/WEST SIDE Old-town character meets new-student vitality in this area, where specialty shops, cafes, restaurants and fashion boutiques in the village point the way to the University of British Columbia. Beaches stretch below the northwest campus cliffs, including Wreck Beach, the only nude sand in the city. Discover monumental First Nations artifacts at the Museum of Anthropology, find peace at the UBC Botanical Garden and Nitobe Memorial Garden, then hike, bike or even ride a horse through Pacific Spirit Park. www.pointgreyvillage.com Map 4: D1/D2
RICHMOND/STEVESTON Famed for its vibrant Asian community and plentiful shopping—including the biggest summer night market in North America—Richmond also offers some of the most diverse dining options in Metro Vancouver. Skate at the Olympic Oval, splash down the slides at Watermania and feast on dim sum, hot pot or fusion fare before heading over to charming waterfront village Steveston, where the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site bears testament to what was once the largest fishing port and cannery on the West Coast. www.tourismrichmond.com Map 3
ROBSON STREET Vancouver’s famous shopping street runs through the heart of downtown. Stretching from BC Place Stadium to the Vancouver Art Gallery and through to Stanley Park, with most of the shops and restaurants concentrated between Granville and Bute streets, it’s style central. Brand-name stores rub shoulders with one-of-akind spots, eateries and cafes. Most shops stay open late, so there’s plenty of time to hit all of the immense flagship locations of Lululemon, Sephora, L’Occitane and Victoria’s Secret. www.robsonstreet.ca Map 1
SOUTH GRANVILLE This area is home to Gallery Row, the highest concentration of fine art galleries in Vancouver. It also features a generous sampling of antiques shops, dining destinations, home decor stores and high-end fashions by both local and international designers. Browse the aisles at the enormous Indigo bookstore, sip a specialty latte, and take in a show at the landmark Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. www.southgranville.org Map 1
SQUAMISH Often referred to as the outdoor recreation capital of Canada, this energetic community offers mountain biking, kayaking, golf, hiking, snowshoeing and more. Join rock climbers from all over the world as they scale the second-largest granite monolith (a single sheet of stone) in the world at Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, then ride the Sea to Sky Gondola for spectacular views. Nearby Brackendale is home to North America’s highest concentration of bald eagles (Dec-Feb). www.exploresquamish.com Map 2: B8
WEST END A dynamic mix of natural beauty and nightlife, this neighbourhood is home to both Stanley Park— named one of the best urban parks in the world—and Davie Village, the hub of Vancouver’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community. Grab something delicious from any number of charming cafes and restaurants along Denman Street and watch the sun set at English Bay Beach. In the summer, enjoy outdoor movie screenings, the Honda Celebration of Light fireworks display and Vancouver Pride Festival, the biggest in Western Canada. www.westendbia .com Map 1
WEST VANCOUVER This upscale neighbourhood offers world-class shopping and an abundance of stunning parks and beaches. Visit Ambleside Park for panoramic views of Vancouver and Stanley Park, gaze up at enormous first-growth trees in Lighthouse Park or shop till you drop at Park Royal Shopping Centre, with over 275 brand-name stores, services and eateries. On the city’s western edge, picturesque Horseshoe Bay is a departure point for ferries to Bowen Island, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. www.vancouversnorthshore.com Map 4
WHISTLER The official mountain venue of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games is known as one of the world’s best year-round destination resorts. Ski or snowboard at over 200 runs on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, or, during the warmer months, go mountain biking or take a swing at a world-class golf course. Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola—the highest and longest lift of its kind in the world— then savour the après scene in the Village, which ranges from patio beers to craft cocktails to dancing the night away. 1-800-WHISTLER (944-7853). www.whistler.com Map 2: A8
YALETOWN This former industrial area has undergone a renaissance to epitomize urban cool. Keep company with the city’s upwardly mobile at the galleries, boutiques, spas and cafes that thrive along these condo-lined streets. With countless eateries and trendy bars—and more patios than anywhere else in the city—there’s always something happening. Stop by the Roundhouse Community Centre for art, live performances and a taste of Canadian railway history, or relax at David Lam Park, one of the sites of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. www.yaletowninfo.com Map 1 New Year’s Day: Jan. 1, 2018 Family Day: Feb. 12, 2018 Good Friday: Mar. 30, 2018 Easter Sunday: Apr. 1, 2018 Easter Monday: Apr. 2, 2018
TIPPING In Canada, tipping for good service is customary in certain situations. Restaurant Server: 15% to 20% of the total bill, before taxes. If you’re dining with a group, the restaurant may add a gratuity of 18% or more. Bartender: 10% to 20% of the total bill, before taxes. Hairdresser/Aesthetician: 10% to 15% of the total. Parking Valet: $2 to $5. Taxi/Limo Driver: 10% to 15% of the fare. Tour Guide: 10% to 15% of the total. Concierge: At your discretion. Porter: $1 to $2 per bag. Housekeeper: $2 or more per day, paid daily. Hotel Doorman: $2 to $5.
CLIMATE Vancouver enjoys mild weather year-round. Winters can be wet, so carry an umbrella. Snowfall is rare, except on local mountains. In summer, expect warm temperatures with cooler evenings.
DRINKING The legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19. Bars, restaurants and liquor stores may ask to see a government-issued piece of identification as proof of your age before selling you alcohol. Most government liquor stores and beer-and-wine stores are open seven days a week.
ELECTRICITY Outlets and voltage in Canada, like the US, operate on 110 volts AC at 60 Hz. Adapters are required for appliances from most other countries.
LANGUAGES Canada’s official languages are English and French, but English is predominantly spoken in most of BC. Federal government departments provide service in both English and French.
MONEY The currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). ATMs are widely available, and many accept credit card withdrawls. Credit cards are commonly used, and accepted at almost all hotels, shops and restaurants. Some retailers accept US cash, but change is always given in Canadian currency. Most retail purchases are
subject to a 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) as well as a 5% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). Liquor is an exception, and is taxed at 10%. Note that Canada no longer uses the one-cent coin (penny), so cash purchases are rounded up or down to the closest five cents. This does not apply to credit and debit card payments.
PETS When your dog poops, you must scoop it or risk a fine. Dogs must be on a leash except when in one of the city’s over 30 clearly designated offleash dog parks. Animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not allowed in restaurants or bars. TransLink allows small animals in cages on board buses, the SkyTrain and the SeaBus.
PUBLIC TOILETS There is no charge to use a public toilet in Vancouver. Several busy street corners have self-contained, self-cleaning toilets. Shopping malls are another handy place to find clean washrooms. Facilities in cafes and restaurants are often reserved for customer use only.
SMOKING Smoking is not permitted in stores, restaurants, bars, parks, beaches or the seawall. Most buildings do not allow smoking near their front doors. Those caught smoking in a smoke-free area risk a fine.
ArOUNd VANCOUVEr By TAxI The city and surrounding areas are wellserviced by taxi companies, making this a convenient option. In Vancouver, all cabs are metered so there is no need to negotiate a fare. Rates do not include gratuities. When travelling from Vancouver International Airport into the city, taxis charge a flat fee based on zone. In inclement weather, leave extra time for travel as taxi companies are often busy during this time. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available; simply ask for options when booking.
ArOUNd VANCOUVEr By TrANSIT Bus routes connect with the three SkyTrain rapid transit lines and SeaBus passenger ferries, all part of TransLink’s transportation network. TransLink’s reloadable Compass card is available for purchase at vending machines, transit stations and terminals, as well as many drugstores and convenience stores. Load a single fare, monthly pass or prepaid balance. Pay your fare by “tapping in,” and “tap out” (except on buses) when you exit to avoid overcharging. Fare evaders risk a hefty fine. When travelling on the SkyTrain from Vancouver International Airport into the city, a $5 surcharge is added to the standard fare. All buses can carry a limited number of bicycles, and most routes are wheelchair-lift equipped. Visit the TransLink website at www.translink.ca for information on accessible transit, including HandyDART’s door-to-door service. Text the stop number to 333-33 to receive times for the next six buses. Foot-passenger ferries to Granville Island, downtown and around False Creek are operated by Aquabus and False Creek Ferries. Smoking is not permitted on public transport.
ArOUNd VANCOUVEr By BICyCLE Cycle-friendly Vancouver has a large network of traffic-calmed bike paths and dedicated bike lanes. Use these designated routes when available or ride on the road. Bikes are not permitted on sidewalks. Cyclists are required by law to wear helmets, and bicycles must be equipped with a bell. Theft is common, so securely lock your bicycle. Cyclists can take their wheels on TranksLink’s bike-rack-equipped buses, the SkyTrain and SeaBus, as well as some Aquabus Ferries. Rent a ride from one of many bicycle rental shops, including several on Denman St. near Stanley Park. A bike-sharing program is operated by Mobi. ArOUNd VANCOUVEr By CAr A vehicle isn’t required to navigate the city centre—especially when considering traffic and parking challenges—but it is convenient when travelling to destinations beyond. A valid driver’s licence issued by your home country is required. Note that the posted speed limits are in kilometres, not miles. It is illegal to drink and drive, and using a handheld electronic device while behind the wheel may result in a fine. Buckle up, as seatbelts are mandatory. Read parking meters carefully to ensure your car is not towed. Often residential parking requires permits. The city hosts car-sharing service Car2Go, but you must be a member to hire a car.
Rent a vehicle from one of the many rental agencies around the city and at Vancouver International Airport.
The route to Whistler follows the Sea to Sky Highway, known for scenic views of Howe Sound. By car, the drive takes 1.5-2 hours depending on traffic. Greyhound and Pacific Coach buses also service the route, and take approximately 2.5 hours. Snowbus offers a winter-only service. Allow extra time for adverse road conditions in winter. In summer, Harbour Air Seaplanes offers daily scheduled flights.
TO VANCOUVER ISLAND & THE GULF ISLANDS
Travel to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands by ferry or seaplane. BC Ferries departs from Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen, and connects with three main ferry terminals on Vancouver Island: one in Victoria and two in Nanaimo. The new V2V luxury ferry service links downtown Vancouver with downtown Victoria, for foot passengers only. Harbour Air Seaplanes offers frequent floatplane service to Victoria, Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands. Helijet also has scheduled helicopter service to Vancouver Island.
TO THE OKANAGAN
Destinations in the Okanagan Valley are accessible by car, bus or flight. The trip takes four hours by car or five to six hours by bus. Flights to Penticton and Kelowna take approximately one hour. Buses depart from Pacific Central Station, close to the Main Street SkyTrain station.
TO SEATTLE & PORTLAND
Reach over-the-border destinations by car, bus, train or flight. The trip to Seattle takes three hours by car, 4.5 hours by bus, 3.5 hours by train and one hour by air. The trip to Portland takes 5.5 hours by car, 8.5 hours by bus and train, and approximately one hour by air. For land-based journeys, allow extra time to cross the border. Buses and trains depart from Pacific Central Station, close to the Main Street SkyTrain station. Once in the US, posted speed limits are in miles, not kilometres. Passports are required to cross the border. Note that Canadian currency is rarely accepted in the US. There are limits on the value of duty-free goods that you can bring from the US back to Canada, as well as limits on alcohol and cigarettes. Certain items, such as some types of produce, cannot be transported across the border.