Vancouver was originally named Gastown and began as a settlement which grew around the site of a makeshift tavern on the western edges of Hastings Mill that was built on July 1, 1867,it was owned by proprietor Gassy Jack. The original site is marked by the Gastown steam clock. Gastown then formally registered as a townsite dubbed Granville, Burrard Inlet. The city was renamed “Vancouver” in 1886, through a deal with the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Vancouver is also one of the fastest growing populous cities, with 28,000 new residents migrating since 2011. It is the Fifth most densely populated city with over 250,000 residence in North America (behind New York City, Guadalajara, San Francisco and Mexico City). Vancouver is the most ethnically and linguistically diverse city in Canada.
Seasons of Vancouver – Know when to go
Vancouver truly is a year-round destination. If you love winter sports (December through March) skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more, are available.
If you love warm weather (July through September)enjoy sunny days and late nights on the patio (the sun sets around 10 pm in the summer). And yes, there are beaches in Vancouver. Enjoy nature in the Spring and view the cherry blossoms that bloom in March and in late September and October, you will see autumn colors when the leaves start to change.
Getting Around the Town
You can either rent a car at the airport, get picked up, take a taxi, or take the Skytrain (Vancouver’s version of a subway).
- If you are renting a car and you are looking to save money, I would rent away from the airport.
- The best and least expensive way to get into the city is to take the Skytrain from the airport to downtown Vancouver. When you get out of the airport, go out of the doors, walk across the crosswalk, go up the escalator/elevator to the departures level, and follow the sites for Skytrain. It costs less than $9 and takes about 30 minutes. There is a ticket machine that you can buy a ticket from. Be sure to buy tickets, there are random ticket checks on the Skytrain and fines are about $150, from what I hear.
- Taxis into downtown, depending on traffic, range up to $35 or more, not including tip. I believe the taxi companies are doing set fares, so ask before you start your ride.
- At long last, as of January 2020, ridesharing apps, like Uber and Lyft, are up and running in Vancouver.
Take Advantage of the Free WiFi
Save on roaming fees and enjoy free internet throughout the city by connecting to any of the 550 (and counting) #VanWifi hotspots.
Know the Neighborhoods
Boring but Useful Map of Vancouver’s Neighborhoods:
Entertaining, Un-Politically Correct, But Reasonably Accurate Map of Vancouver’s Neighborhoods:
Miscellaneous Helpful Tips
- The voltage in Canada is 110V / 60 Hz and they use outlet type A & B.
(If you are traveling from the United States, you do not need an adapter/converter in Canada.)
- Geography Crash-Course – Super quick info, so you don’t get lost:
- The mountains are north.
- The airport is south.
- Downtown and Stanley Park are on a peninsula at the north of the city, where 98% of tourists are, so be part of the 2% from time-to-time.
- Outside of downtown, numbered streets go east-west and named streets go north-south.
- East Vancouver (brown areas in the map above) used to be poor. Now it’s hipster.
- West Vancouver (green neighborhoods in map above) was hippy (Kits) and humble (the rest). Now it’s too expensive.
- The West End (downtown neighborhood) is not the same as the West Side (half the city) or West Van (a suburb across Lions Gate Bridge).
- You can bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and 7 ounces of tobacco; 1 bottle (1.14 litres or 40 imperial ounces) of liquor or 1.5 litres of wine, or 24 355-millilitre (12-ounce) bottles or cans of beer for personal consumption. Anything more and you will be subject to taxes, duties, etc.
- You can bring in gifts with a value of up to $60 Canadian per gift.
Capilano Suspension Bridge