ACTIVITIES & TOURS
If you wish to book in advance, would like to have information about options for Tours and Activities or would like to discover Vancouver or British Columbia, consult the following websites:
Destination British Columbia
Tourists visiting Vancouver are able to use their credit and debit cards at ATMs, which can be found almost everywhere, providing a convenient way to exchange currency. Most banks in Vancouver are open between Monday and Friday, although their opening hours are slightly shorter than regular shops and stores in Ottawa. Some banks are open later or on weekends or Thursday evenings.
CLIMATE AND CLOTHING
Vancouver has notably different weather conditions than much of the rest of Canada. Vancouver in May is quite reliable in its mild temperatures and rain. The average maximum daytime temperatures is 17ºC / 64ºF. In May, Vancouver has rain about 13 days out of 31 so come prepared with your umbrella, layered clothing and water-proof footwear. Daytimes can be warm but evenings can still be chilly.
The Canadian dollar is the national currency. Automatic teller machines and exchange offices are readily available. Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept major credit cards.
Electrical outlets in Canada provide the same current as in the United States that is 110 volts (60 cycles). If you are traveling from outside of North America, you will need an adapter to use small appliances designed for a different standard (220/240 V).
HEALTH INSURANCE & HOSPITALS
Canadian hospitals and medical services are excellent. The vast majority of hospitals are publicly managed and rates are set by provincial and hospital authorities. Hospital care for non-residents of Canada is charged at a daily rate or on the basis of the medical condition and length of stay. Charges vary from province to province and from hospital to hospital, but generally range from C$1,000 to C$2,000 a day. It is therefore important to obtain travel health insurance before leaving home, since it is possible your regular health insurance does not include coverage outside your country of residence.
The official language of the Congress is English.
OFFICIAL LETTERS OF INVITATION
Official letters of invitation for visa applications are available to REGISTERED and PAID participants via the participant's profile dashboard. These letters do not and cannot commit the Organizing Committee to any financial obligation. Should the visa not be granted to the applicant, the registration fee will be reimbursed in full, less $50 CAN administration charge. The deadline to submit a written refund request due to visa refusal is April 1, 2019. Delegates requesting a visa invitation letter to be sent to them by priority mail will be charged $100 per delivery address.
TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRES
Location: Downtown Vancouver
Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre
200 Burrard St
(voicemail inquiries will be personally returned within 24 hours)
Goods and Services: British Columbia has a 12% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) that combines PST (Provincial Sales Tax of 7%) and GST (Goods and Services Tax of 5%). This tax is applicable to most goods, purchased gifts, food/beverages and services in British Columbia
Some hotels include tips or gratuities with group programs to simplify bookkeeping. This usually includes gratuities for housekeeping, bell service and food service. In a hotel, bell service should be tipped about $1 per bag, and housekeeping $1 to $5 dollars a day (in proportion to your room rate). Visitors should know that the standard tip in restaurants is 15% (on restaurant bills, an average tip will match the HST), with 20% for very outstanding service. Tip taxis about 10%, and a dollar a bag they carry for you (not just unload), or at the very least round fares up to the nearest dollar. Tipping is customary in bars, restaurants, salons/spa and taxis.