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Vancouver Tourist Information - Frequently Asked Questions

Outlets and voltage (110 volts) are th 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.

Video System
In Canada, the NTSC-system is used for television broadcasts. This system is not compatible with the PAL and SECAM systems used in Europe and in many other countries. If you purchase a video cassette or DVD in Canada, ensure it is recorded in the appropriate system for your video playback machine.

Warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected by a range of mountains, Vancouver enjoys mild temperatures year-round. From high 70°s Fahrenheit (low 20°s Celsius) in summer to a mild mid 40°s Fahrenheit (0° to 5° Celsius) in winter, the climate is always hospitable. Our winters are wet, but it rarely snows, except on local ski hills.

Average Daily High Temperatures Vancouver, Canada
  Celsius Fahrenheit
January 5 42
February 7 44
March 10 50
April 14 58
May 18 65
June 21 69
July 23 74
August 23 74
September 18 65
October 14 58
November 9 48
December 6 43

Statutory Holidays in BC
There are 9 statutory holidays celebrated annually in British Columbia, Canada.  Generally, banks and some businesses remain closed. Theatres, restaurants, and corner grocery stores remain open for business as usual. In some centres many of the shops remain open.


2007 2008 2009 2010
New Year's Day Jan 1 Jan 1 Jan 1 Jan 1
Good Friday April 6 March 21 April 10 April 2
Victoria Day May 21 May 19 May 18 May 24
Canada Day July 2 July 1 July 1 July 1
B.C. Day Aug 6 Aug 4 Aug 3 Aug 2
Labour Day Sept 3 Sept 1 Sept 7 Sept 6
Thanksgiving Day Oct 8 Oct 13 Oct 12 Oct 11
Rememberance Day Nov 11 Nov 11 Nov 11 Nov 11
Christmas Day Dec 25 Dec 25 Dec 25 Dec 25

English and French are Canada's two official languages. English is the predominant language in British Columbia. Many banks, hotels, airline offices, service institutions, shops and key tourist destinations have multi-lingual staff.

Metric Measures
Canada follows the international metric system. Temperatures, rainfall measures, distance, weights, velocity are expressed in metric units. Distance is measured in kilometres.

Metric Equivalents

Measurement Unit Approximate Equivalent
Length 1 kilometre 0.6 mile
1 mile 1.6 kilometre
Capacity 1 litre 1.06 US Quart
1 US Quart 0.95 litre
Weight 1 kilogram 2.2 pound
1 pound 0.45 kilogram
Mileage Conversion 20 mph 30 km/h
30 mph 50 km/h
50 mph 80 km/h

City of Vancouver: approx 580,000
Greater Vancouver: approx 2 mill

Time Zone
Most of British Columbia is in the Pacific Standard Time Zone; however, some portions of the province that border the Rocky Mountains are in the Mountain Time Zone, one hour ahead of the Pacific Zone. Daylight Savings Time is in effect from 0200hr on the first Sunday in April until 0200hr on the last Sunday in October.

Regular banking hours in Canada are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, with extended hours including weekends at some locations. Visitors who wish to cash cheques or require other banking services are advised to check times of operation with the institutions. Main branches of Canadian chartered banks, particularly in major centres, are equipped to exchange foreign currency as well. Several major European and foreign banks have offices in Vancouver, and will handle some foreign currencies directly. Most banks have automatic teller machines, which can be accessed 24 hours a day, using bank cards on major international banking networks such as Cirrus, Plus and Interac.

Credit Cards
Most major credit cards are accepted, but visitors are always advised to check with the vendor before a purchase is made. Cash machines with 24 hour access are available in many convenient locations.

Some properties and resort hotels include tips or gratuities with group tours to simplify bookkeeping. This will usually include gratuities for housekeeping, bell service and food service. If meals are included in the price, customary gratuity will be calculated at 15 per cent. Visitors should be advised that the standard tip in most restaurants is 15 per cent.

Food and Beverages
An extensive variety of cuisine is available representing the multicultural flavour of Vancouver. Alcoholic beverages in bottles are sold in special stores. However, alcoholic beverages including beer and wine may be purchased in restaurants, hotel lounges, taverns, and nightclubs, which can be recognized by the sign "Licensed Premises". Minors are not admitted into bars. In British Columbia, minors are defined as anyone under 19 years of age.

Smoking Laws
No person shall smoke in a restaurant, a limited food service establishment, a casino, a bingo hall or in a liquor outlet except in a patio or in a smoking room.

Residents of Greater Vancouver stay well informed through a variety of daily and weekly newspapers that service a wide range of cultural interests. The two major daily newspapers are the Vancouver Sun and The Province and there are two major daily Chinese newspapers: Sing Tao and Ming Pao, offering local and regional news. Business in Vancouver offers weekly local business information while the Globe and Mail and National Post provide national and international news on a daily basis.

Downtown Vancouver Map

Important Telephone Numbers

Emergency 911
Bus Transit 1-604-521-0400
BC Ferries (Vancouver) 1-250-386-3431
BC Rail 1-604-984-5246
Weather Report 1-604-664-9010
Road Reports 1-900-451-4997
Canada Customs 1-604-666-0545
Fish & Wildlife 1-604-582-5200
Ocean & Fisheries 1-604-666-3545

Vancouver bed & breakfast accommodation