Life in Vancouver

Vancouver is a green, clean, safe and multicultural city that attracts people from all over the world. With a population of over 2.5 million, Vancouver is one of Canada’s largest and most beautiful cities and is frequently honored as one of the best places in the world to live.

This city and its surrounding communities make up one of the most multicultural areas in Canada. This extends to local cuisine which encompasses many nations and cultures. Some traditional Canadian foods include salmon, poutine and maple syrup.

Vancouver is one of Canada’s fastest-growing urban centres and an international business destination. The region’s economy is driven by the resource-based industries: forestry, mining, oil and gas. However, businesses such as tourism, high technology, financial services, educational services and film production are changing Vancouver’s economic landscape.

Climate and Clothing

Vancouver’s location on the Pacific Ocean gives the city a mild climate year-round. Generally, it does not get extremely hot in the summer. Temperatures vary from an average of 19°C during the day and 11°C overnight in June and July. Vancouver is well known for its heavy rainfall, so umbrellas are essential and rain gear is an asset. Vancouver typically receives more rain than most other Canadian cities. Compared to your home country, you might find Vancouver a little chilly.

Fast Facts

Area Codes - The telephone area codes for the lower mainland, including Greater Vancouver and Whistler, are 604, 778 and 236. The area code for Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the interior of the province is 250. The area code must be included when you are dialing locally within Vancouver (eg: 778-XXX-XXXX).

Business Hours - Most businesses are open during weekdays, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Stores are generally open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm with extended hours some nights. Banks generally open after 9am and close earlier than 5pm. You can still access ATMs after hours. Summer hours are generally shorter.

Electricity - Electric current is 110 volts AC (60 cycles). Canada uses a standard North American plug/socket

Emergencies - Dial 911 on a telephone for fire, police, ambulance, and poison control. Do not dial 911 if no one is in danger or in immediate and urgent need of help or care. Please use the non-emergency numbers to connect with the fire department or police station, or get medical help and transport to a hospital through ambulance services. 

Important Non-emergency phone numbers

Safety - Overall, Vancouver is a safe city. However, like any city, crimes do occur, particularly in downtown. Vancouver's Downtown East Side, between Gastown and Chinatown, as well as Chinatown, should be avoided at night. 

Cost of Living 

Cost of living depends a lot on the situation of the individual participant.  However, these general guidelines will give you a sense of what to plan for. Some participants may spend above or below these estimates. A reminder that your accommodation and insurance are included in the program fee.

Estimated minimum living costs for single person (outside of the program costs)

 

Food

$300-800

Groceries, meal vouchers, restaurants. Note: some traditional style accommodations may come with complimentary breakfast or dinner

Personal & Household Expenses

$100-200

Personal care, laundry, etc

Entertainment

$100-500

Tours that not covered by program, shopping, concerts, city attractions. Having a bit of fun!

Phone & Internet

$40-$100

Cell phone plans, internet outside campus

Transportation

$105-300

Transit pass, taxis, Uber, Lyft, etc.