ICAR 2014

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Vancouver, BC Canada

The University of British Columbia is located in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, home to attractions like the Granville Island Market, Chinatown, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Aquarium and Stanley Park.

Vancouver was recognized as the Top City in Canada in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. The city was also named the Top Destination in Canada in TripAdvisor’s 2012 Travelers’ Choice Awards, and was chosen as the world’s “Most Liveable City” in 2010 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a title it has been awarded 8 times since 2002.

Getting to UBC

UBC is a short 20 minutes (7 miles) from Downtown Vancouver and Pacific Central Station – a transportation hub home to Via Rail, Greyhound Canada and Pacific Coach Lines – and only 25 minutes (9 miles) from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Vancouver boasts easy access to public transit with frequent service to locations across the city.

Climate – and What to Wear

Vancouver enjoys warm, comfortable summers with moderate temperatures that are tempered by sea breezes.  Daytime temperatures linger just above 20º Celsius (70º Fahrenheit). Evenings, especially in the surrounding mountains, can be cool, so it's best to pack a light jacket and sweater.

July and August are the least rainy months in a city famous for its rain. Visitors can expect rain about 7 days out of 31 in July and August. Evenings can be cool, so a light jacket or sweater is advisable. An umbrella is always handy.


Vancouver enjoys a reputation as being one of the most accessible cities in the world among travelers with special needs. Whether using wheelchairs, white canes, seeing eye dogs or hearing aids, Vancouver leads the way in making the area a more livable place for people with disabilities through its progressive transportation systems, innovative housing and recreational opportunities.


English is the predominant language in Vancouver, and is one of Canada’s two official languages (French being the other). Other commonly spoken languages in Vancouver are Punjabi, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

Time Zone

Vancouver is on Pacific Standard Time, three hours behind Eastern Standard Time and eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight savings time is in effect from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.

Metric Measures

Canada follows the International Metric System. Temperatures, rainfall measures, distance, weights, and velocity are expressed in metric units.


Outlets and voltage (120 volts) are the same as in the United States. Small appliances such as hair dryers, irons, razors, etc. can be used in Canada. For those from other countries, adapters are required for electrical appliances. The frequency of electrical current in Canada is 60 Hz.

Customs/Entry/Visa Requirements

International visitors must have a valid passport for entry into Canada.  Visitors from many countries do not require a visa to visit Canada (for example, United States, Japan, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, among others). For a full listing of “Visa exempt travelers”, see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visa-exempt.asp

However, citizens from some countries require a visa to visit Canada. For a listing of countries whose citizens require a visa, see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

Other important information for all visitors to Canada may be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/index.asp

Please be sure to check with your nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate well in advance of travel to obtain the appropriate documentation, as it may take several weeks or months for a visa application to be processed. If you require a Letter of Invitation, please contact the Registration Secretariat ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) as soon as possible.  A letter of invitation is issued solely for the purpose of assisting participants with visa applications and/or to obtain funding for their attendance at the conference, and will only be issued once full payment of registration fees has been made. Such a letter does not imply any financial obligation on the part of the conference organizers.

Personal & Medical Insurance

Individual travelers are strongly advised to obtain their own personal health or travel insurance as desired. Liability insurance is the responsibility of each individual delegate. The Canadian Medical Health Insurance Plan does not cover visitors to Canada and delegates should therefore have their own medical coverage.


Tipping in Vancouver is normal and is around 15% of the bill.

Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking is restricted in many places in Vancouver, including public transportation, restaurants, places of work, enclosed public areas, and within 3 meters of any door or air intake, and within 6 meters of any food service areas and patios. The legal drinking age in B.C. is 19 years of age.

Currency/Money Matters

The currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar (sign: $ or C$; code: CAD). It is recommended that 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.


Paper bills: $5 (blue), $10 (purple), $20 (green), $50 (red), and $100 (brown) denominations.

Coins include the nickel (5¢), dime (10¢), quarter (25¢), loonie ($1) and toonie ($2).

Electronic transactions

Credit cards, ATMs, and direct-debit cards are commonly used in Canada.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted in most stores and restaurants.


YVR offers Currency Exchange Services, and has a Royal Bank of Canada, as well as several ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) throughout the airport.

There are various banks on the UBC Campus. The Bank of Montreal (MasterCard), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (VISA) and Scotiabank are located within walking distance of accommodation and conference venues, and have 24-hour ATMs. ATMS are also available in the lobby of Walter Gage Residence, in the Student Union Building (SUB), and in the University Village.



Flying to Vancouver

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) handles non-stop domestic and international flights daily to and from North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Due to its proximity to Asia, YVR is the major gateway between Canada and Asia, with more trans-Pacific flights than any other airport in Canada. For travelers heading to the United States, YVR is one of eight Canadian airports that have U.S. Border Preclearance facilities.

Airlines serving YVR include: Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, EVA Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and WestJet Airlines.

For more information please visit www.yvr.ca

Travelling from Seattle

For many travelers coming to Vancouver from the U.S. or abroad, flights into Seattle (Sea-Tac) or the Bellingham Airport may be cheaper and more convenient that flying into Vancouver directly. QuickShuttle offers coach service from both airports to downtown Vancouver. Prices and schedules can be found at www.quickcoach.com and shuttles must be booked in advance.

Public Transit

Translink provides bus and rapid rail transit (“Skytrain”) throughout Vancouver. For detailed route, schedule, and trip planning information for transit throughout Vancouver, visit www.translink.bc.ca.

Taxis and Limos

There are several taxi companies in Vancouver with taxis readily available at the airport and many downtown hotels as well as the UBC campus. A taxi from the airport to UBC is typically about $35. Aerocar Service offers flat rate limo service from the airport, at $45 from YVR to UBC.

* Black Top Cabs, Phone: 604 731 1111

* Yellow Cab Co. Ltd., Phone: 604 681 1111

* Vancouver Taxi, Phone: 604 871 1111

* MacLure’s Cabs, Phone: 604 831 1111

* Aerocar Service, Phone: 604 298 1000

Car Rental

There are a number of car rental companies that are located in the YVR airport parkade and in downtown Vancouver.  Most companies offer free shuttle service from hotels to their pick-up and drop-off locations.  Driving arrangements can be made in advance via the web. The following are a few of the car rental companies located in Vancouver:

* Alamo Rent-a-Car, Phone: 1 800 GO-ALAMO (5266), Website: www.alamo.ca

* Avis Rent-a-Car, Phone: 1 800 879-2847, Website: www.avis.com

* Budget Car Rental, Phone: +1 (604) 668-7000, Website: www.budgetbc.com

* Discount Car and Truck, Phone: 1 866 310-CARS (2277), Website: www.discountcar.com

* Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Phone: 1 800 261-7331, Website: www.enterpriserentacar.ca

Parking at UBC

Limited parking is available for guests staying with Conferences & Accommodation at UBC for $9.00 per day plus tax. Visitor parking for those staying off-campus is available at various parkades around campus. Information regarding rates and where to park can be found at “Visitor Parking” http://www.parking.ubc.ca/visitor.html

Childcare Resources

Click here for a list of recommended childcare and baby supply rental companies located in Vancouver.