Vancouver Travel Guide
International Visitors to Canada
International visitors to Canada (not US citizens or US permanent residents) must carry a valid passport and, if required, a visa. Citizens from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and some other countries do not require a visa to enter Canada. Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for a complete list of countries whose citizens require visas to enter Canada.
United States Visitors to Canada
Effective January 23, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires everyone entering or re-entering the US by air to show a passport, or a NEXUS card at a NEXUS kiosk at designated airports.
On June 1, 2009, the US government will implement the land and sea phase of WHTI. The rules require that most travelers entering the United States at sea or land ports-of-entry have a passport, passport card or other travel documents as approved by the Department of Homeland Security.
If you are traveling with children, you must carry identification, such as a birth certificate, proof of citizenship or student visa for each child under 18 years old. Divorced parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. Adults who are not parents or guardians must have written permission from the parents or guardians to accompany the children. When traveling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should travel in the same vehicle as the children for border crossing.
Alcohol and Tobacco Products
You can bring in limited quantities of alcohol if you meet the minimum age requirements of the province or territory you enter Canada (see below). These items must accompany you on your arrival
Minimum ages for the importation of alcoholic beverages are 18 for Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec and 19 for Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
You can import only one of the following amounts of alcohol free of duty and taxes: 1.5 l of wine; 1.14 l of liquor; a total of 1.14 l of wine and liquor; or 24 x 355 ml cans or bottles (a maximum of 8.5 l) of beer or ale.
You are allowed to bring into Canada duty free: 200 cigarettes; 50 cigars or cigarillos; 200 g of manufactured tobacco; or 200 tobacco sticks.
Customs and Duty Free
Prohibited and Restricted Items by Canada Customs
Many agricultural items are restricted or prohibited entry to Canada. Canadian law requires that you declare all agricultural products you bring into Canada to customs officers when you arrive, whether by land, sea or air. Permission is required to import plants to Canada, with the exception of houseplants from the United States. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides more information.
Handguns and weapons, such as mace and pepper spray, are prohibited from being brought into Canada. Additionally, some fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, dairy products and plants from other countries cannot be brought into Canada. For more information, please consult the Canada Border Services Agency website.
Duty-Free Limits for US Visitors Returning Home
American residents returning to the US after 48 hours can take back $800 US worth of merchandise duty-free, every 30 days. This may include 1 l of alcohol (provided the resident is 21 years or over), 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigars, not of Cuban origin. If you are travelling as a family, you may combine your personal exemptions for visits over 48 hours.
If your stay is less than 48 hours, or if the $800 US allowance, or part of it, has been used within the previous 30 days, an exemption of $200 US is allowed, including 150 ml of alcohol, 150 ml of perfume and no more than 50 cigarettes, or 10 cigars, not of Cuban origin.
Duty-Free Limits for International (not US residents) Visitors Returning Home
International visitors outside the US should consult with customs officials in their home countries to determine their duty-free limits.
You can locate the nearest customs office by visiting the Canada Border Services Agency website, or by calling the Border Information Service (BIS). Call toll free in Canada: 1-800-461-9999 Outside Canada, call 204.983.3500 or 506.636.5064 (long-distance charges apply).
What to Wear
Vancouver is a casual town with mild weather year-round; layers and smart casual clothes will see you through most situations.
Summer In Vancouver
Vancouver enjoys warm, comfortable summers that are rarely scorching. June to August daytime temperatures linger just above 20º Celsius (70º Fahrenheit). Evenings, especially in the surrounding mountains, can be cool, so it's best to pack a light jacket and sweater.
Fall In Vancouver Canada
Autumn on the coast is very mild with summer-like weather often stretching into October. By November, the air turns crisp in the mornings and leaves start to fall. Bring warm, waterproof clothing if visiting at this time of year, and expect to see some spectacular fall foliage!
Winter in Vancouver Canada
Our winters are mild and wet - it rarely snows in this part of Canada except, of course, at our local ski hills. From November to February, temperatures average from 0º to 5º Celsius (around 45º Fahrenheit). To stay cozy and dry, you'll need warm clothes, a raincoat and an umbrella. Waterproof footwear is always a good idea.
Spring in Vancouver Canada
The fresh spring air blows in early to our coastal city. By February or March, you'll see early crocuses and daffodils popping up, quickly followed by an eruption of spring blossoms. Active locals suddenly emerge from hibernation, flooding the streets on bicycles, inline skates, and running shoes. Pack light clothing along with a few sweaters for good measure.
We recommend all visitors use Canadian currency when traveling within Canada. Visitors can exchange currency at Canadian chartered banks, trust companies, credit unions, or at offices of foreign exchange brokers, but it is advised to have local currency on hand prior to arriving. Some hotels, merchants, restaurants and suppliers accept US or other foreign currency at a pre-determined rate, which may differ from the daily rate posted by financial institutions.
There are three telephone area codes for the province of British Columbia. Dialing in BC required 10-digit phone numbers, so ensure you include the correct area code in front of the local number you are dialing.
Language in Vancouver Canada
Canada has two official languages - English and French. English is the predominant language in British Columbia.
Vancouver is quite cosmopolitan and is a mix of many multicultural groups. Because of this, the city is considered multilingual on an unofficial level. Many banks, hotels, airline offices, service institutions, shops and key tourist destinations have multi-lingual staff.
After English and Chinese, the most common mother tongue languages spoken are Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish.