Approximately 600,000 people make up Vancouver's vibrant and diverse population, residing in an area that covers 114 sq km, making it the largest city in the province of British Columbia and the third largest in Canada. The surrounding area accounts for more than 2 million people whose ethnic heritages range from Asian and Pacific Islander to Eastern European and Hispanic. You'll find 60% of the region's office space headquartering forest product and mining companies, banks, biotech, accounting and law firms and software developers. Major employers include the Vancouver International Airport Authority, Coast Capital Savings and Intrawest Corporation. The film industry has long been enthralled with the romantic natural beauty of Vancouver from its mountains to the sea.
Getting to Vancouver is easy, and you are likely to find yourself coming through Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Canada's second busiest airport, with some 16.4 million passengers anually coming from all over the world. Non-stop service is available from Asia, North America and Europe. Vancouver International Airport http://www.yvr.ca/ 3211 Grant McConachie Way Richmond, BC V7B 1Y7 604-207-7077 Canada's national train, VIA Rail, and Greyhound Bus both provide service to Pacific Central Station daily. Major taxi companies include Yellow Cab and Black Top Cabs.
The city has a plethora of transportation options to help you get around including the exotic (float planes, helicopters, a gondola, or a ferry to go island hopping), and the standard for the city (buses, shuttle buses, taxis, trolleys, SkyTrain). There is also the SeaBus which goes back and forth between Vancouver and the North Shore, and smaller ferries to explore False Creek. Paddlers will have a blast canoeing and kayaking, or if you prefer, take a power boat or sailboat out to enjoy a view of the city from the water. Despite the range of ways to hop on and ride, often the best way to get to know Vancouver and the North Shore is to walk around. Vancouver boasts an excellent array of trails, paths and walkways, and the city streets are full of sights you won't want to miss.
Vancouver's major daily newspaper is The Sun . Pick up a copy to get the scoop on a wide range of arts and entertainment and sports in the city. Local tabloid paper The Vancouver Province is a good one to flip through if you want to be in-the-know on local affairs.
Other specialty publications round out the city's diverse offerings:
try CityFood for reviews, ratings and news of culinary landscape; The Georgia Straight, a long-standing alternative paper; and Xtra West which covers the gay community and happenings.
Television stations include CBC, CityTV, CTV, Channel M, and Global TV. Radio stations with news departments include CBC Radio One, CKNW, and CKWX.
Conventions & Tourism
There are no freeways in Vancouver, but getting around is surprisingly easy. Walking is surely the best way to get to know any city, and Vancouver is especially walker-friendly; many sights and activities are within easy strolling distance. For instance, a walk from Stanley Park to Chinatown should take about a half hour. Most of the streets in the downtown area are laid out in a grid system. The main avenues of Granville, Burrard and Denman run northeast to southwest while Davie and Georgia (which leads to Lion's Gate Bridge) run southeast to northwest. Odd number addresses can be found on the south and west sides of the street.
Prices displayed in Canada do not include sales tax and it is generally customary to add a tip for services. Although tipping is personal, restaurant servers typically get 15%-20% of the bill and taxi drivers usually get 15% of the tab. One dollar can cover many situations with exception for a concierge, who generally receives $5-$10 for standard service (additional assistance suggests more). Goods and services tax of 6% applies on every transaction in Canada with exception for basic groceries. In BC, consumers can expect to pay an additional 7% sales tax, not applicable to food, ferries or accommodations. 10% tax is charged on accommodations and alcoholic beverages sold in bars and restaurants. The goods and services tax can be partially reimbursed to non-residents.