Quick Facts About Vancouver
* Banking hours vary according to the institution you are doing business with. Basically you can find a bank open Monday to Saturday anywhere from 8am-8pm and automatic teller machines (ATM’s) are everywhere in malls, corner stores and you can also access the ATM from most banks from the street after hours.
* Our currency is the Canadian Dollar. Sometime it’s made fun of and called monopoly money because the paper bills fives, tens, twenties, fifties and hundred are each a different color. Our coins are one cent (penny), five cent, ten cent, twenty-five cent. Our dollar is a coin called a “loonie” and there’s also a two dollar coin which is called a “toonie”. We also take American dollars but if you need to change your money you can go to a bank or a currency exchange place.
* One thing you will notice about Vancouver is the number of coffee shops. With your own laptop you’re pretty much set as many coffee shops provide internet access. Otherwise one place you can go is the downtown at Vancouver Public Library and get on a computer there.
* We speak English here. All federal government buildings also communicate in French You will also find many other institutions like banks and travel agencies will serve you in other languages and if you go to certain parts of the city you will here many other languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Farsi and Italian being spoken.
* There’s shopping, shopping and more shopping about Vancouver. The only time that there is really a lot of shops closed is Christmas and some also at Easter. Otherwise shopping is available seven days a week. You can shop at the big malls like Pacific Center Mall in downtown Vancouver or in neighborhood shopping districts such as Robson Street, Chinatown, Commercial Drive and Little India. Make a phone call before you go because shopping hours vary.
* We use the metric system so distance is in centimeters, meters and kilometers and the temperature is in Celsius.
* To make a local call in Vancouver you have to dial 10-digits. This includes the 3-digit area code and then the seven-digit number.
* There’s the Vancouver Police Force who drive around in black vehicles as well as ride around on bicycles and motorbikes and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who are contracted to many of the other municipalities and implement their own programs.
* Speed Limit: On the highway it goes between 80 – 100 kilometers per hour (km/h) or we say clicks and in the city it’s 50 clicks. Watch out for school zones and play grounds where the speed goes down to 30 kmh. (Basically, 100 km/h = 60 MPH, 80 km/h = 50 MPH, 50 km/h = 30 MPH) If you rent a car while you’re here, a friendly note of warning the police like to hide in plain sight to pull over speeders and give out fines that start at $100.00 and just go up and up!
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