Travel

The Vancouver Convention Centre will host the 66th ASHG Annual Meeting. The Convention Centre is located at 999-1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 0C3. Telephone: (604) 689-8232.

Vancouver at Dusk


About Vancouver

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, Vancouver is sassy, sophisticated, and outdoorsy. It is home to two million residents who enjoy a mild climate, breathtaking scenery, and a wealth of recreational activities. The downtown core is only one mile across at its widest point, making it a perfect city for walking. Learn more about Vancouver from their website for meeting and conference attendees.

October Weather in Vancouver: 56°F (13°C) average high, 45°F (7°C) average low

Currency: Canadian dollar. Credit cards and travelers checks are accepted widely, and many 24-hour ATMs are available in the area. See Currency Converter for details on current exchange rates.

Many Canadian businesses, though not all, accept U.S. currency and travelers checks. International currency exchanges are available at the airport and at all banks in the city. Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) are generally accepted by Canadian businesses.

Taxes: Sales tax=7.0%, Hotel tax=5.0%

Vancouver in the sun

Time Zone: Pacific Time is 8 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-8)

Visit Vancouver and enjoy the best of world class destinations: superlative shopping, exceptional dining, great entertainment and galleries – all perched on nature’s edge. Vancouver has been described as one of the most spectacularly situated cities on earth. The downtown core stands on an ocean swept peninsula surrounded by beaches, sailboats, parks and wildlife. Local sightseeing opportunities include whale-watching tours, kayaking along the city shores, mountain biking some of the best trails in the world, to a gondola ride up Grouse Mountain to visit the grizzly bears.

A cosmopolitan and multicultural city, Vancouver has remarkable culinary diversity, which, combined with BC’s extensive selection of local ingredients, creates a distinct regional flavor. Visitors will enjoy the freshest seafood, award-winning local wines, and some of the best Asian cuisine in the world.

Vancouver is also a gateway for further travel in the west coast. After ASHG, spend a few extra days in the area and explore the world-renowned ski resort of Whistler, a two hour drive away. Victoria, a quaint city on Vancouver Island, is a picturesque two hour ferry journey to the west. Wine tours, exquisite dining, and lakeside days await you in the Okanagan Valley, BC’s internationally recognized wine region.


Vancouver Tours: Pre- and Post-Meeting

Discounted Sightseeing Tours

Landsea Tours & Adventures is pleased to offer ASHG discounted rates on sightseeing tours between the dates of October 11-30, 2016. To receive the discount, select your tour by clicking ‘Book Now’ and then choose your date and tour option. In the payment window, use promotion code ASHG2016 to receive your 10% discount.

Tours include door-to-door service from all downtown Vancouver hotels. Hotel-specific pickup times will be confirmed via email after registration. Tour fares are quoted in Canadian Dollars and include taxes and admission charges. Private tours are also available. Please contact Landsea Tours & Adventures directly for more information at 1-877-669-2277 or 604-255-7272.

Vancouver Rock/n/Roll Oasis Half Marathon

If you are planning to stay a day or two after the meeting, considering registering for the Vancouver Half Marathon on Sunday, October 23 or the Cunningham Seawall 10K on Saturday, October 22. It’s a great opportunity to see breathtaking views of the city while listening to live music throughout the course.

For all Vancouver attractions, including landmarks, restaurants, and dining, visit http://www.tourismvancouver.com/.


Transportation and Parking

Getting to Vancouver

Vancouver is the hub for a wide array of national and international transportation options, ranging from major airline routes to intercity buses and regional ferry and train services.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Western Canada’s largest airport and the country’s second busiest, is located on Sea Island, just south of the city. The nearby South Terminal, linked via courtesy shuttle, is home to smaller regional airplane and helicopter services.

For details on flying into YVR, see the table of nonstop connecting flights and guidance on expected costs.

To get from YVR to downtown Vancouver:

  • Taxis, which operate around the clock and are regulated by the city, are available just outside the two arrivals areas. It’s a 30 minute taxi ride (up to $35) from YVR to downtown Vancouver.
  • LimoJet Gold offers sedan and limousine services on a 24-hour basis.
  • Aeroshuttle provides a minibus service to select downtown hotels.
  • The Canada Line links YVR to Richmond and Vancouver. The trip to downtown’s Waterfront Station, approximately 3 blocks from the Convention Centre, takes about 25 minutes. See the SkyTrain schedule for details.
  • Note that the ride-sharing serivces Uber and Lyft do not operate in Vancouver.

Intercity buses are another way to get to Vancouver:

  • Greyhound bus services arrive at Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station from locations including Seattle, Whistler, Kelowna, and Calgary.
  • Pacific Coach Lines bus services arrive at Pacific Central Station from downtown Victoria, via the BC Ferries Swartz-Bay-Tsawwassen route.

Getting Around Vancouver

The compact downtown core – around one mile across – is a short stroll from neighborhoods like Gastown, Yaletown, and Chinatown as well as the beaches of the West End. Walking to Stanley Park along the seawall from Canada Place is one of the city’s signature promenades. And you’re never far from public transit if it’s time to rest your legs. Options include buses and SkyTrains, boats, and ferries.

Parking

There are parking facilities at the East and West buildings of the Vancouver Convention Centre. The East building facility is operated independently by West Park and the West building is operated independently by Impark. Both are open 24 hours, 7 days a week on a first-come, first-serve basis. Further details can be found on the Convention Center's website.


Visa and Passports

To visit Canada, all travelers will need to meet some basic requirements:

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • explain to an immigration officer that you have ties, such as a job, home, financial assets or family, that will take you back to your home country,
  • explain to an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • have enough funds for your stay (the amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)

Entry to Canada from the U.S.

For all modes of entry, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) recommends you carry a valid passport. A passport may be required by your airline or transportation authority.

If you are a United States citizen, be sure to carry proof of citizenship, such as a passport, along with photo identification. If you are a U.S. permanent resident, carry proof of your status such as a U.S. Permanent Resident Card.

All visitors arriving from or transiting through the United States are encouraged to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information concerning the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and requirements to enter or return to the United States.

From Non-U.S. Countries

Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Check to find out if you need an eTA or a visitor visa.

Citizens of most countries will be required to apply for and obtain an eTA. The application is available in multiple languages.

Students in the U.S. on a Student Visa

If you are in the United States on a student visa, you may need a visa to enter Canada. To return to the United States using the student visa, you will need the following:

For more information entry/exit requirements, see the SEVIS website for frequently asked questions about re-entry with a student visa.

Inadmissibility

Canada’s immigration law has designated certain groups of people as inadmissible to the country. These include people who:

  • are a security risk
  • have committed human or international rights violations
  • have been convicted of a crime, or have committed an act outside Canada that would be a crime
  • have ties to organized crime
  • lied in their application or in an interview
  • do not meet the conditions in Canada’s immigration law, or
  • are not allowed into Canada

Normally, people who are inadmissible to Canada will not be allowed to enter. A temporary resident permit may be issued if a valid reason for travel to Canada is found. People who have been convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs may be found criminally inadmissible to Canada.


Cell Phone Usage in Canada

Mobile phone coverage in Canada will vary depending on the type of phone you use, your local mobile service provider and plan, and the system upon which your phone operates. We suggest you contact your mobile service provider to learn about its international roaming coverage services and to determine if your phone is compatible with Canadian networks and frequencies. Please check with your mobile provider regarding text and roaming charges and ask if they have an international calling plan you can temporarily switch to in order to save on roaming charges.

To avoid high roaming charges, you may want to disable your phone’s automatic data/web connections before you arrive. You may also wish to purchase an international calling card for use while you are in Vancouver.

If you have a phone from the U.S., it should be compatible with Canadian networks. From other countries, you must have a tri-band or quad-band GSM phone, or 3G phone supporting 1900Mhz to be compatible. A pay-as-you-go SIM card is approximately $10 from most major networks. If you have an iPhone, you can obtain a SIM card from an Apple Store in Canada. If your phone is compatible, it must be unlocked in order to use a local SIM card. Phones are usually locked, so you can only use them with a SIM from the service provider or carrier who supplied the phone. To explore plans from all Canadian service providers, visit http://www.planhub.ca/.


Medical Needs in Canada

Be sure to check with your health insurance provider about policy coverage away from home, particularly if you are insured by an HMO and/or Medicare/Medicaid. If you are entering Canada with prescription drugs and/or syringes:

  • Keep the medication in its original, labeled container
  • Bring a medical certificate with syringes showing they are for medical use and have them declared to Canadian Customs officials
  • Bring an extra prescription in case your medication is lost and/or to attest to your need to take such prescriptions
  • Carry the generic name of prescription medicines