Stay + Explore
Vancouver is a popular tourist destination and bustling cruise ship port of call (hence the price of accommodation from May to September!). SFU’s Vancouver campus at Harbour Centre is located one block from the downtown Vancouver waterfront, which affords picturesque views of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. Stay a while and make the most of all the city has to offer.
The rumours are true – Vancouver is nestled in temperate rainforest and does indeed get a lot of rain. The weather in late spring can vary widely, with an average temperature in May and June of 9°-20° Celsius and an average rainfall of 60mm-70mm. We recommend packing a light water resistant jacket and/or umbrella in case ‘Raincouver’ lives up to its reputation.
Food and beverage near the conference venue
Vancouverites love to eat and the city offers an impressive selection of food trucks, restaurants, pubs, and cocktail lounges. The Host Committee has highlighted some of its favourite eateries and watering holes near the conference venue in this Google Map for your convenience.
Here are a few of our favourites that didn’t make the list:
- Stanley Park by bike. No trip to Vancouver is complete without a visit to Stanley Park. Rent a bike from one of numerous vendors located near the entrance to the park at the intersection of Georgia and Denman or test out the city’s Mobi bike share system. With 10 km of seawall, you’ll enjoy scenic views at every turn. The park is just minutes from downtown and easily accessible from the conference venue by public transit (#19 bus).
- Granville Island. Granville Island is Vancouver’s answer to Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Home to factories, plants and sawmills in the early 1900s, Granville Island is now a cultural district with theatres, locally-owned shops, artisan studios, and purveyors of tasty food (don’t miss the fish-and-chips at Go Fish!). It is easily accessible by public transit from the conference venue (#50 bus), but our favourite way to get there is via the False Creek Ferries.
- Museum of Anthropology at UBC. MoA features one of the world’s most impressive displays of Northwest Coast First Nations art, as well as extensive collections from around the world and a wide range of temporary exhibitions. The building itself was designed by renowned architect Arthur Erickson and overlooks the mountains and ocean. It is easily accessible by public transit from the conference venue.
- The SeaBus. Part of Metro Vancouver’s public transit system, the SeaBus connects downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver. During peak hours, boats depart every 15 minutes from Waterfront Station (just one block northwest of the conference venue). For the price of public transit fare, riders are treated to picturesque views of downtown, the North Shore Mountains, Burrard Inlet, and the iconic Lions Gate Bridge. Crossing time is less than 15 minutes.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge. Originally constructed in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Admission includes access to the Cliffwalk and Treetops Adventure. A free shuttle departs regularly from Canada Place (just a few blocks northwest of the conference venue).
Off the beaten path
- Local brewery tours. Vancouver’s east side has a booming craft beer scene, leading some to call it ‘Yeast Van.’ A number of companies, including Vancouver Brewery Tours and Canadian Craft Tours, offer tours with stops at multiple breweries.
- Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours. Partake in walking tours and events that celebrate the darker side of Vancouver’s history.
Other popular destinations near Vancouver
Host to alpine sporting events during the 2010 Winter Olympics, the resort town of Whistler is well worth a visit at any time of the year. See the Tourism Whistler website for a comprehensive list of spring and summer activities.
- By car. Located just 1.5 hours from downtown Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky corridor (Highway 99), Whistler makes for an easy day trip. On your way, stop in Squamish to check out Shannon Falls, the Stawamus Chief, and the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, and have brunch at Fergie’s Cafe.
- By bus. Greyhound and Pacific Coach offer multiple trips daily between Whistler and Vancouver. Whistler-bound buses depart from Pacific Central Station, located at the Main Street-Science World Station (just four stops from the conference venue by Skytrain). Perhaps the most economical mode of travel, round-trip tickets start at $54.
- By train. Rocky Mountaineer Sea to Sky Climb is a three-hour sightseeing train trip between North Vancouver and the resort town of Whistler. The train winds along the Sea-to-Sky corridor, offering impressive views of Howe Sound, Squamish, and Cheakamus Canyon.
One of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, Victoria was founded in the mid-19th century as a British colonial settlement. The city has preserved many of its historic buildings but, as the capital of British Columbia, its Legislative buildings are perhaps the best known. Victoria’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco’s.
- By float plane. Harbour Air Seaplanes offers regular daily flights between downtown Vancouver and Victoria’s scenic inner harbour. Flights depart from the Vancouver Convention Centre/Canada Place, just a few blocks northwest of the conference venue.
- By ferry. BC Ferries offers hourly sailings between Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen Terminal) and Victoria (Swartz Bay Terminal) from May to September. Tsawwassen Terminal is accessible by public transit from the conference venue.
- By luxury ferry. V2V offers daily passenger ferry service from downtown Vancouver to Victoria’s inner harbour. Sailings depart from the Vancouver Convention Centre/Canada Place, just a few blocks northwest of the conference venue.
- Visit the Tourism Victoria website for a comprehensive list of sights and activities, including everything from whale watching to high tea at The Fairmont Empress. Victoria is fondly known as “The Garden City” and Butchart Gardens in late spring is not to be missed.
When in Vancouver, why not pop south to another well-known city in the Pacific Northwest: Seattle. One-way travel time from Vancouver to Seattle is approximately 3-4 hours.
Getting there: From Vancouver
- By bus. A number of companies offer regular coach bus service between Vancouver and Seattle. (Bolt Bus has a reputation for being the most affordable). Buses depart from Pacific Central Station, located next to Main Street-Science World station (just four stops from the conference venue by Skytrain).
- By train. Amtrak-Cascades travels between Vancouver and Seattle multiple times daily. Trains depart from Pacific Central Station, located next to Main Street-Science World station (just four stops from the conference venue by Skytrain).
Getting there: From Victoria
- Clipper Vacations offers high-speed passenger-only ferry travel between Victoria’s inner harbour and Seattle. One-way travel time is less than 3-hours.
- See the Visit Seattle website.
We respectfully acknowledge that many of the sites listed here are located on traditional, unceded territories and thank the Indigenous stewards of these lands for their hospitality.
“View from Stanley Park” by ifinnsson on Pixabay.com. No rights reserved (CC BY 0.0). https://pixabay.com/en/stanley-park-vancouver-city-park-2246565/.