This beautiful city by the Pacific Ocean is one of the few places where you can windsurf in the afternoon and ski that evening. Vancouver does not experience the extremes in weather that most of Canada does. A rain jacket is an essential piece of kit however. It rains. A lot.
The city is a happy multicultural mosaic. There are bustling Chinese, East Indian and Italian districts, but the heart of the city beats in the 1,000-acre Stanley Park. It boasts such world-renowned features as the Lost Lagoon, Siwash Rock and the 8.8 km seawall walk. Within 30 minutes of downtown are Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour, all with night-skiing facilities.
BC Ferries ply the Georgia Strait and connect Vancouver with Vancouver Island (including Victoria, the capital of British Columbia), and the beautiful gulf islands, of which the best known are Galiano and Saltspring. A shorter hop will take you to Bowen, a beautiful little island with a general store, coffee shop, pub and lots of hiking/biking trails.
Flights to Vancouver will touch down at Vancouver International, one of the most beautiful airports, studded with First Nations’ art.
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Some say Vancouver has the best Canadian weather, with warm summers and mild winters. The city rarely sees snow, rarely gets oppressively hot, but gets lots of rain. The mountains and ski resorts are so close to the city that you really can golf and ski on the same day.January is the coolest month with temperatures ranging from zero (C) to the single digits. July and August are the warmest months with temperatures reaching the low 20s. Spring and autumn temperatures are in the teens.
July through August is when most visitors step off their Vancouver flights. Visitors start arriving in April and stay into the autumn. Summer in the city means film, jazz, and folk festivals, including the HSBC PowerSmart Celebration of Light fireworks competition.
Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts arrive in mid-December, and the mountain’s peak season peak is January and February.
Vancouver is particularly enjoyable in the shoulder seasons of May and June and September and October. The weather is mild and there are few crowds. Early spring and late autumn are also great times for whale watching.
Except for the ski areas, hotels in the winter are quiet and Vancouver’s cultural scene is in full swing.
Vancouver’s public transport system, TransLink, consists of an efficient and reliable network of electric trolley buses, SeaBus passenger ferries, buses, the SkyTrain elevated light-rail and West Coast Express trains. Save some money by buying a FareSaver book of ten tickets, which you can find at newsagents. You can also get a day pass for unlimited travel on buses, SkyTrains and SeaBuses. Don’t rent a car and save yourself the hassle of dealing with congested traffic. You can hail a taxi on the street if you need one, or you can pedal yourself around the city one of the 16 cycling routes covering 80 miles of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods.