About Vancouver

June 22-27, 2008
Hyatt Regency Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada

20th Annual FIRST Conference

About Vancouver

Vancouver is located on the mainland of North America, in the south west corner of British Columbia, which is the westernmost of Canada's ten provinces. Greater Vancouver is made up of 21 municipalities that occupy 2,930 square kilometres on and around the Fraser River delta. The City of Vancouver is one of them.

Vancouver City is on the western-most part of a peninsula that is a major extension of the Fraser River's delta. The delta juts into a part of the Pacific Ocean, separating Vancouver Island from the mainland, called the Strait of Georgia. Several self-governing urban areas called municipalities make up Greater Vancouver. Five of them - Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody - are east of Vancouver. Several more municipalities are to the north of Vancouver, separated from it by Burrard Inlet, which is the main waterway for Canada's largest western port. These five municipalities are West Vancouver, Lions Bay, North Vancouver, Belcarra and Anmore, and are collectively known as the North Shore. They are all nestled on the slopes of the majestic Coast Mountain range; mountains that form the northern edge of the Vancouver metropolis, and are a major part of its spectacular views.

The southern boundary of the City of Vancouver is the North Arm of the Fraser River, one of the largest rivers entering the Pacific. On the opposite shore of the Fraser River are the lowland Greater Vancouver municipalities: Richmond, Delta, Surrey, White Rock and Langley.

Thirty-eight kilometres (24 miles) south of downtown Vancouver is the Canada-US boundary.

Across the Strait of Georgia and 96 km (60 miles) to the south-west is British Columbia's capital city of Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Vancouver is almost exactly halfway between Western Europe and the Asia Pacific countries.

Featured Activities, Arts & Attractions

Vancouver has an endless supply of things to see and do. It doesn't matter what time of day or what time of year - whether you want to be indoors or out, active or a spectator, spend a lot of money or none at all - Vancouver has it all!


Carnival Cruise


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 our local ski hills.

Average Daily High Temperatures:

January 5 42
February 7 44
March 10 50
April 14 58
March 18 65
June 21 69
July 23 74
August 23 74
September 18 65
October 14 58
November 9 48
December 6 43

Time Zone

Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone. Daylight savings time is in effect from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. You can see Vancouver's time in relation to most cities on the globe by visiting www.TimeAndDate.com, which also can provide a Canadian calendar.


Greater Vancouver, like all major cities, runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The main workdays are Monday to Friday, from roughly 8am to 6pm - but hours vary for each organization or business. Retailers are usually open seven days a week, and most stores are open from 9:30am to 6pm each day-except Thursday and Friday, when they are open until 9pm. A number of large retail stores, nearly every hotel and motel, and several restaurants, remain open around the clock.

Visitor Information & Accommodation

Tourism Vancouver operates a visitor information centre in the downtown core of Vancouver. It's at the Plaza Level, Waterfront Centre, 200 Burrard Street (604.683.2000.) We also have information centres at the Vancouver International Airport, the Peace Arch border crossing and a seasonal infocentre at the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place.

Scheduled Buses

Scheduled bus services are available to downtown Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver Island and Washington State.

More Information

Vancouver Facts


Based on 2001 Canadian Census reports, the population of the City of Vancouver in 2004 is estimated at 583,296. Greater Vancouver's estimated total population for 2004 is 2.1 million, 50.8% of BC's population of 4.2 million.


Federal government departments provide service in English and French, but most of the population speaks English as either a first or second language.

The City of Vancouver is quite cosmopolitan and is a mix of many multicultural groups. Because the city is multicultural, it's also multilingual on an unofficial level. Its people speak many different languages and many follow the traditions of their native lands, sometimes moderating them with Canadian culture.

After English and Chinese, the most common mother tongue languages spoken are Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish. More than half of Vancouver's school-age children have been raised speaking a language other than English.


The Canadian dollar is worth about two-thirds of a US dollar. Most Greater Vancouver establishments accept US dollars and Japanese yen, and usually offer reasonable exchange rates. The effect of the Canadian dollar's value against the US dollar is that Canada is a good bargain for Americans and several other countries. (Some stores tell their American customers that Canada is having "a 1/3 off sale!") The Canadian dollar against most other currencies is quite strong.

The Canadian dollar itself is a relatively large gold-coloured coin and the locals have nicknamed it the 'Loonie', officially because it features a Canadian bird, the loon, on its face. There are all kinds of unofficial reasons why it has that nickname.

The current Canada/US exchange rate and the exchange rate between Canada and other countries can be found here: Currency Converter.

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.

  • Canadian one dollar coin ("loonie") ($) = 100 cents
  • Canadian two dollar coin ("toonie") ($) = 200 cents
  • Notes are in denominations of $1000, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5
  • Coins are in denominations of $2, $1, $0.50, $0.25, $0.10, $0.05, $0.01

  • Travelers Cheques

    Travelers cheques in Canadian dollars are the safest and most convenient way to carry money. They are widely accepted and can be cashed at banks or foreign exchange brokers. Identification may be required when cashing travelers cheques.

    Foreign Currency Exchange

    Provides worry-free foreign exchange services in Spectacular Vancouver. With an automated machine and staffed kiosk currency exchange service available in the Tourism Vancouver Touristinfo Centre, you're guaranteed convenience, competitive rates and excellent service.


    There are three levels of taxation that affect visitors to Vancouver. There is a 10% tax charged on accommodation and liquor. For just about all other goods and services, there is a 7% provincial sales tax (PST)-its official title is "Social Services Tax"-as well as the 6% federal goods and services tax (GST.) There are a number of exemptions and complexities to the way those taxes are applied, particularly where food is involved. PST, for instance, is not applied to, among other things, food and children's clothing.


    There are three levels of taxation that affect visitors to Vancouver. There's a 10% tax charged on accommodation and liquor. For most other goods and services, there is a 7% provincial sales tax (PST) and the 6% federal goods and services tax (GST.)

    Provincial Sales Tax (7%), liquor (10%)

    Sales tax on all purchases is seven percent, except for liquor, which is 10 percent. However, if a visitor purchases goods and services and the vendor ships the goods or services directly to their home location outside of British Columbia, no sales tax is charged. This excludes automobiles, aircraft and building materials.

    Goods & Services Tax (GST) (6%)

    The Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) of six per cent is an additional tax applicable to most purchased goods and services purchased in Canada, regardless of whether the buyer is a resident of or visitor to Canada. The GST can be partially reimbursed or rebated to non-residents of Canada.

20th Annual Conference Sponsorship Team