Overseas visitors require a valid passport and may require other documentation such as an entry visa (ask your travel agent). U.S. citizens require a valid passport OR birth certificate or baptismal certificate, and proof of residence, such as a current U.S. driver's license. Naturalized U.S. citizens should also carry documents proving citizenship.
Are you a single parent traveling with a child under 18 years of age to Canada?
Foreign officials and transportation companies are vigilant concerning documentation for children crossing international borders. Generally, persons younger than 18 years of age could be considered as children.
Unless a child is accompanied by both legal parents, the following documentation should be carried by the child or the accompanying adult:
- a valid passport or proof of citizenship for the child
- a legal document proving that the child has the permission of the lawful parent(s) or guardian(s) to travel and includes contact phone information for the parent(s) or guardian(s). Such a document must be specific for each trip. A sample document is provided on the following website: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/before/faq/children_travel-en.asp
The monetary system in Canada is based on dollars and cents. Foreign currencies may be readily exchanged at airports and banks. Bank debit or credit cards are the most convenient means of getting cash at the many 24-hour-access automated banking machines. As in the U.S. and Europe these machines accept cards with Plus, Interac and Cirrus symbols and are easily found in Vancouver. Most Canadian businesses accept U.S. currency and travelers cheques, as well as major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express).
As of July 1, 2006, there is a 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST) in effect in Canada. Visitors can obtain an instant rebate by submitting all GST receipts (up to $500 CDN) to participating duty-free shops upon exit from Canada . Alternatively, GST refunds may be filed with Revenue Canada and will be reimbursed by check. For more information or to download the rebate form visit http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/nonresidents/visitors/menu-e.html
There is also a non-refundable Provincial Sales Tax (PST), currently at 7% in British Columbia.
Visitors are not covered by Canadian health insurance plans. Check with your personal medical plan before leaving your home country to ensure you have adequate traveling insurance. Delegates are urged to take out insurance to cover loss incurred in the case of cancellation, medical expenses and damage to or loss of personal effects whenever traveling outside of their own country.
English and French are Canada's two official languages. English is the predominant language in Vancouver. However, you will find that many banks, hotels, airline offices, shops, and key visitor attractions in each city have multilingual staff.
The electrical current is the same in Canada as in the United States: 110 volts AC at 60Hz. Adapters are required for appliances from other countries.
Vancouver is served by the Vancouver International Airport, located approximately 15 km (11 miles) from the centre of the city. The airport is a major hub for international travel, with good connections to all major North American and international centers by a host of airlines. Cab fare from the airport to the city center is approximately $25-28 CAD ($22-25 USD). Limousine and Airporter shuttle bus services are also available at reasonable rates. All of these services accept major credit cards.
Vancouver's public transit system includes a seabus that connects the North Shore with downtown Vancouver. For more information, visit the Translink website at http://www.translink.bc.ca/Transportation_Services/SeaBus/
Fall in Vancouver is a brilliant array of colour and texture. With average daily temperatures between 9-15°C (50-59°F) during early October, you will need a light jacket or sweater to keep warm, especially when visiting the surrounding mountains.
Vancouver is in the Pacific Standard Time Zone (-0800 GMT). Daylight Savings Time is in effect from 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in April until 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October.
Vancouver now employs two separate area codes: 604 and 778. Calls within the greater Vancouver area are local regardless whether they use a 604 or 778 area code, however, you will need to dial all ten digits of the phone number in order to be connected (e.g. 604-555-1234). Cellular phones may be used in all areas of the Lower Mainland, but may not get reception inside certain buildings or elevators. Check with your cellular service provider to ensure your plan offers roaming/long distance service in Vancouver.