On The Edge
Arriving in Vancouver
From the Airport:
Best way to get to downtown Vancouver from the airport is by taking the Canada Line (SkyTrain). The ride takes less than 30 minutes and the cost is reasonable ($9.10/adult - which includes a $5.00 airport surcharge). It can sometimes be crowded and the dedicated luggage space gets taken pretty quickly, but it's fast and inexpensive.
If you're in a group of three or more, it may be cheaper to take a cab (average fare = $30-35 + tip). Several taxi companies service the airport and you never have to line up too long to get a cab. (Uber and Lyft and similar ride-hailing companies do not operate in British Columbia.)
From the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal:
The Horseshoe Bay 257 express bus can take you into town quickly from the ferry terminal (the 250 local takes a slower route through the municipality of West Vancouver but gets you into town eventually). The adult fare is $2.85.
From the Tsawassen ferry terminal:
Take the 620 Bridgeport Station bus and change to the Canada Line at Bridgeport Station. Adult fare (weekdays before 6:30 p.m.) is $4.10 or $2.85 at other times.
Getting around Vancouver:
Downtown Vancouver is very walkable. From the conference site at SFU Harbour Centre, you can walk practically anywhere in the downtown, West End, Chinatown or Gastown.
If you're feeling lazy, or you're in a hurry or it's raining, you can grab a cab, rent a bike, or hop on a bus:
Translink (translink.ca), Vancouver's transit system is usually pretty good. Buses can be crowded during rush hour, but in the downtown area, they're frequent. The fare structure can vary, depending on the time of day and the mode of transportation. All buses are one-zone, no matter how far they travel and no matter the time of day, but on weekdays before 6:30 zone pricing is in effect for the SeaBus (two-zone) and SkyTrain (one, two or three zones depending on destination). A single zone ticket costs $2.85, two-zone is $4.10, three-zone is $5.60. Your fare is good for 90 minutes of travel time.
Day passes may be a good value, depending on your plans. Find out more at https://www.translink.ca/Fares-and-Passes/
Most smartphone transit apps include Vancouver in their databases. I use the aptly-named Transit myself, but Transit 360, Citymapper and even Rocket Man (for you Torontonians) also include Vancouver transit information.
Local tip: Take the SeaBus from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay. This frequent ferry service (every 15 minutes during the day) is part of the public transit system, so for the price of a single fare (or two-zone fare before 6:30 p.m. on weekdays), you get a great 30-minute tour of the harbour. (If you have time, hop off at the North Vancouver end and check out the bustling Lonsdale Quay public market). And when you get back to Waterfront Station, hop aboard the Skytrain -- doesn't matter which train -- and get an elevated tour of the Vancouver (and Burnaby and Surrey) that tourists rarely see.
The biggest Vancouver cab companies are Yellow Cab (604-681-1111) and Black Top/Checker (604-683-4567). Others include MacLures and Vancouver Taxi. Uber and Lyft aren't here yet.
Vancouver is very bike-friendly, with miles and miles of dedicated, separated bike paths. There are lots of bike rental places (mostly on Denman and lower Robson streets, but also elsewhere in the city), and a credit card-activated city-wide bike-share system called Mobi (https://www.mobibikes.ca) with stations throughout downtown and the West End.
A fun way to get to Science World, Kitsilano, Granville Island or the West End! There are a couple of different companies that offer this inexpensive and scenic service - False Creek Ferries and the Aquabus - and prices are reasonable (an all-day pass for False Creek Ferries is $16 for adults, for example). Check out their websites at http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca (False Creek Ferries) and https://theaquabus.com (The Aquabus).
The usual car rental companies are here -- Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, National, etc. -- with locations at the airport and downtown. There are also several car-share programs (such as Modo, Zip, Car2go and Zipcar) but their rates aren't usually economical for short-term visitors.
For more information
For more travel tips and places to go, check out the Tourism Vancouver website at https://www.tourismvancouver.com.
Recommended Accommodation Choices and Conference Locations in Vancouver
Travel to Victoria from Vancouver
The most convenient, comfortable and expensive way to get to downtown Victoria from downtown Vancouver is via Harbour Air Seaplanes. A 35 minute flight offers unparalleled views of the Strait of Georgia and the Gulf Islands. Registered delegates will get a conference discount code for a fare of $167 one way. Last minute specials are also often offered for $99. RBCM is a short waterfront walk from the float plane. Departure from Vancouver is Burrard Landing, Canada Place
This is how to get the conference discount with Harbour Air
Subject to availability, attendees will receive a 20% discount on our regular fares for confirmed travel to/from Victoria. Please note that all rates are subject to tax and fees. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions or be paid by Airbucks or TurboBucks and cannot be applied to private charters.
In order to receive this special discounted rate, attendees must contact our Reservation Department directly by phone at 1.800.665.0212, by e-mail email@example.com or online at www.harbourair.com and quote the promotional code ‘SWCC04-18’. Also be advised that attendees will need to provide proof of registration upon check-in. All schedules and location information can be accessed through our website at www.harbourair.com.
BC Ferries Connector Bus
BC Ferries has a connector bus. The bus can be boarded at several locations in downtown Vancouver, including major hotels, or on board the ferry at Tsawwassen. It can still be pricey, the fare from the Vancouver Fairmont Hotel to downtown Victoria is $70+ (but does include your ferry ticket). More information at bcfconnector.com.
Much less expensive (but also less comfortable and less convenient) is public transit. There are two different Canada Line trains from Waterfront Station. One goes to YVR/Airport, and the other goes to Bridgeport Station. Take the Bridgeport Station train to the terminus at Bridgeport. Go downstairs to street level and board the 620 Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal bus. Disembark at the ferry terminal, purchase your Swartz Bay ticket and walk on. On board you can either purchase a BC Ferries Connector ticket (see above) for $30+ or disembark from the ferry at Swartz Bay and take the #70 bus to downtown Victoria.
BC Ferries runs every hour on the odd hour from 7am to 9pm between Tsawwassen (30km outside Vancouver) and Swartz Bay (35km north of Victoria). A vehicle and driver usually cost ~$73 one way. Schedules and reservations are found at www.bcferries.com
RBCM is located right across from the Victoria bus station on the inner harbour. You are minutes away from the Empress Hotel, sightseeing, waterfront walking and shopping where you can relax and absorb everything you’ve learned! It’s the perfect end to a busy conference.
Where to stay in Victoria
Flying Home from Victoria
The Victoria International Airport, YYJ, is 30km away (half hour by taxi) with direct and connecting flights all over Canada.