Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia and the third largest city in Canada. It's surrounded by water on three sides and is nestled alongside the Coast Mountain Range. Vancouver is home to spectacular natural scenery and a bustling metropolitan core, and boasts one of the mildest climates in Canada. The climate in Vancouver during September is in general very pleasant, with average daily high temperature of 18OC (65OF). However, there are occasional cool spells, and rain is not infrequent although usually light and brief. Current weather is available here.
The City of Vancouver supports a wide range of destination sites — from more than 190 parks to three different civic theatres — that are interesting places to visit for tourists and residents alike. Vancouver is also home to many other sights and is networked by a comprehensive transportation system.
Vancouver is a major tourist destination. In addition to the city's scenic location, visitors enjoy beautiful gardens and world-famous Stanley Park, one of more than 180 city parks, and a combination of natural forest and parklands near the city center.
Vancouver is clean, safe, and beautiful. Nevertheless, as in all big cities, caution is recommended to avoid being the victim of petty crime.
Exchange rates for currencies such as the U.S. dollar and Euro are generally quite favorable. Legal tender here is the Canadian dollar, which divides into 100 cents. Bills come in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. The coins in use come in the following denominations: 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents, as well as one and two dollars. Canadian and American dollars are not at par. American currency is accepted in most establishments at a variable exchange rate. To avoid problems, it is recommended that visitors obtain Canadian currency at the official exchange rate at a bank or travel agency on arrival. It is also easy and convenient to obtain Canadian currency at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), located in the Vancouver International Airport and at many local banks. Click here for current exchange rates.
All major credit cards are widely accepted throughout Canada. Debit cards are also widely used.
The 7% Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and 7.5% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) are added to all purchases. Non-residents may claim a GST refund on certain expenses. For more information, visit the Visitor Rebate Program Web page on the Canada Revenue Agency Website.
Health and Personal Insurance
The conference organizers cannot accept liability for injuries or losses arising from accidents or other situations during or as a consequence of the conference. Access to Canada's health care services is very costly for non-residents, and attendees are advised to arrange health and accident insurance prior to traveling to the conference. Lost luggage or travel disruption insurance is also recommended.
In Canada, gratuities are not included in restaurant bills, but are left to the discretion of the customer. It is customary to leave a gratuity of 15% of the total cost (excluding taxes). This same policy applies to taxi fares. Porters expect CDN$1 per suitcase.
Units of Measure
Canada uses the metric system.
Electricity in Canada, as in the rest of North America, is 110-volt alternating current. Most non-North American appliances require an adapter for both the voltage and the plug.