Vancouver International Airport is located only 16 kilometres from The Westin Bayshore Vancouver – where the FSC General Assembly 2017 will take place.
There are three ways to reach the venue.
- Rent a car directly at Vancouver International Airport.
- Take a taxi for C$35–40. It will take approximately 30 minutes to reach the hotel.
- Use Canada Line (operating daily from 4:50 a.m. to 1 a.m.), a rapid transit rail link connecting the airport to the Waterfront Line every 6 to 20 minutes. You will need to buy a two-zone ticket to reach the city centre. From there, you will need to take Bus Route 253 West – Caulfield and stop at West Georgia/Cardero St. It will take approximately 40 minutes and cost $16.75 to reach the venue from the airport.
Driving a car in Vancouver
Driving a car is not necessarily the best option if you are planning to stay inside Vancouver, as you might end up spending a lot of time in traffic. Parking is also quite expensive (minimum $2 per hour) and limited to 2 to 4 hours. Moreover, the teams of the municipal pound are very efficient and will quickly impound your car if you have infringed any parking rule.
If you are planning to travel outside Vancouver, you will find many car rental companies in the city centre or at the airport.
Public transport around downtown Vancouver
Translink manages almost all public transport in Vancouver: buses, SkyTrain (including Canada Line from the airport), and Seabus. You can buy their travel card, Compass Card, which you reload in multiples of 1 hour 30 minutes for travel on any, or all three types of Translink transport.
The zone system is suspended and a flat rate applies daily after 6:30 p.m., during the weekends, and on public holidays. The flat rate is $2.75 wherever you go (while you may pay up to $5.50 depending on the zones you need to traverse during regular hours).
You can also buy a day pass on a regular day for $10 to travel within all three zones for the entire day without any restrictions.
Whether you wish to travel by bus, SkyTrain, or Seabus, you will need to buy your card before you get on the transport. Compass Cards can be bought at vending machines located in all Seabus, West Coast Express, and Skytrain stations, and also online.
Most transport is available from 5 or 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. There is also a night bus service operating until 3 a.m. You can use the online Translink Trip Planner or download their app for your mobile phone to start planning your trips and check their schedules.
The ferry Seabus offers a great view of the city from the water, while the SkyTrain is a great way to discover Vancouver up in the air as it is mostly an aerial train.
If you want to get some fresh air, walking might be a good option. Vancouver has been rated as one of the most walkable cities in the world: the city centre is quite compact and its main attractions are all within walking distance. In downtown Vancouver, walking is sometimes the fastest way to reach your destination, as you may end up stuck in traffic if you use a car or bus.
Renting a bicycle
Renting a bicycle is probably the best way to visit Vancouver, especially if the weather is good.
Vancouver has 311 kilometres of cycle routes and an impressive number of cyclists in the city centre.
You can take a bicycle on all of Vancouver’s public transport options – even buses are all equipped with bicycle racks.
The bicycle renters are gathered close to the general assembly venue, in the part of the Denman Street that goes between Robson and Alberni Street. Wearing a helmet is compulsory, but helmet-hire it is always included in the price. Costs are a bit high (around $17 to $20 for 3 to 6 hours, up to $32–36 for 20 hours), but if you pick up a bicycle early in the morning, you may get an affordable price and a better selection to choose from.
Do not forget to carry your passport and a credit card or some cash for the deposit.