Safety Tips in Vancouver

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  • briantravelman's Profile Photo

    Capilano Park Discrimination

    by briantravelman Updated Dec 9, 2012

    We went to Capilano Park, and they ask for your ID, and if you are an American they make you pay extra. I don't remember how much. I think between 3 and 5 dollars. The enterance fee is already expensive enough, so when we had to pay extra, just because we're Americans, we were furious! We told the lady, "This is discrimination!" and she said nervously, "No, we don't do that!" But that's EXACTLY what they do! I could tell she got really nervous when we said that. It's a really interesting place, and worth it, but the extra charge for Americans is ridiculous and totally unfair. We've been there twice, and had it happend both times. For some reason they think we have more money then locals. I don't know if they do this to other foreigners too, but I would imagine if they do it to us, they do it to everyone. The park is really worth seeing, but if you don't want to pay, head to Lynn Canyon instead. There is also a suspension bridge, and that one is free, and undeveloped.

    Related to:
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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Don't touch this travel guide with a barge pole

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 10, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    I try pretty hard not to write negative reviews on VT - if I can't find something positive to say on a place or an issue, I tend to say nothing at all, unless I think that it poses a risk to fellow travellers or is a complete rip off.

    However, in the case of the 5th edition of Lonely Planet's Vancouver City guide (dated February 2011), I'll make a notable exception. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's a complete waste of money, and I cannot think of a single point of value that it added to my trip.

    Despite being 256 pages long, it manages to give superficial coverage on things to do in the city, choosing instead to focus in immense detail on places to eat and drink in the city. Even more confusingly, in a city that is celebrated for its magnificent setting, it manages to devote less than 20 pages to day trips and excursions to destinations around the city - including magnificent places such as Vancouver Island (a measly seven pages, including a two page map of Victoria), Whistler and the Southern Gulf Islands that are the reason why many (may I venture, most) tourists decide to visit Vancouver in the first place.

    Maybe I'm just not the target market for the 'City Guide' format - this is the first (and, I suspect, the last) that I've ever bought - and I am happy to admit that I should have browsed through the book more carefully before buying it. However, if you are planning to visit Vancouver, and intending to visit the stunning attractions of this region, I would recommend that you give this guide a wide berth, and instead select a guide to Vancouver that has a wider scope, or, better still, a guide to British Columbia.

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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    Go to the train station early before departure!

    by joiwatani Written Sep 30, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are taking the train, make sure to go to the Amtrak station early in Vancouver.

    If you are taking the last train which leaves at 7:30 pm, make sure to be there at 30 minutes before it leaves. Sometimes the train leaves early and there are no more available train. Your only option is to take the bus! And, they don't refund your money right away!

    This happened to me already. I was at the station at 7:30 pm because I was caught in traffic and I was told that the train left 30 minutes early! My only option was to take the bus and have to pay $24.00. The train did not reimbursed me until now.

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  • sheherezad's Profile Photo

    Beware the penny-pinching cafe owner!

    by sheherezad Written May 26, 2011

    Beware the penny-pinching cafe owner at Prospect Point, who does not return your pennies but non-chalantly gives you the change to the lower 5 cents (not the next 5 cents)! The first time this happened, I paid $4.50 for a $4.42 cappucino and was given 5cents change, not 8 cents, while he just looked at me in the eyes! Stupid jet-lagged me just accepted it without question and then wondered if they don't have pennies in Canada, anymore (just like we did away with it in Malaysia and prices got rounded to the nearest 5 cents! But that would make my coffee $4.40, not $4.45!). So, I enquired from the gift shop if Canada doesn't use pennies, anymore? Mind you I was there 22 years ago! Things could have changed!

    The next day when I repeated the Red line tour, I decided to buy his 'hand-packed' ice cream and this time he short-changed me, again! So, I pretended to be confused about the exact change I was supposed to get (which was short by 2 cents this time!) and he gave me 20cents, instead of 15 cents! So, I got back my 3 cents! LOL! It's the principle that counted! ;-) I'd gladly give the change as tips but don't you dare cut me short! LOL! ;-)

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    The Grouse Grind

    by Carmanah Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Grouse Grind may be famous, but if you're looking for a leisurely scenic hike, stay away. The Grouse Grind is a 2.9 km (1.8 mile) vertical stepped trail leading up the edge of Grouse Mountain to the top. It is used predominantly by locals as a way to test their fitness, to see how fast they can get to the top. It would be like climbing up and down Toronto's CN Tower... using stairs only!

    Unfortunately a lot of well-meaning locals recommend the Grouse Grind to visitors because it's famous. Often, however, these people have never done it themselves, or they're not taking into consideration that the trail lacks the scenery visitors might want to enjoy. What people often forget to elaborate on is that the Grouse Grind is completely vertical with nowhere else to go along the way except for up or down. If you realize half way through that you're exhausted (which happens), you have to continue, or go all the way back.

    If you're looking for a workout, the Grouse Grind is fantastic - it truly is. But the Grouse Grind is a poor hiking trail for scenery because there isn't any view until you get to the very top of the mountain. While fitness freaks can get up to the top of the Grouse Grind in half an hour, if you haven't been training regularly, it can often take over an hour or two. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it for a family with kids. This is not something I would take my mom up, for example. I might do the Grouse Grind with my sister if we were looking for a workout, but for a pleasant hike through the mountains, there are hundreds of other options within close proximity to Vancouver that I would choose first.

    If you have a car, there are many trails located at the tops of Cypress and Seymour mountains. If you're using public transit, Lynn Canyon is a fantastic way to get some leisurely scenic hiking done, especially when you start heading into Lynn Headwaters Park.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Affordable Housing?

    by spitball Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Condo's for the first time home buyer are still fairly low in Vancouver, but if you are looking into buying anything else, think again. We've been in a decade long slump for affordable conditions.
    Still expecting 300,000 jobs to be created this year - 2006. Also, having the olympics coming, that will create housing crisis', and if it's anywhere close to what happened back in 1986, when we had world expo, people were displaced from downtown hotels, to make room for visitors. Not the greatest situation. Click open the link here, and do a little exploring for yourself.

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    Blossoms (Allergies)

    by penumbra Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The blossoms start coming out in February and last for about a month. They’re beautiful but it also signals the start of the allergy season (at least for me). I don’t think it was the blossoms that did me in, I rather suspect it was grass pollen that was blooming at about the same time. From mid-February to mid-March two years in a row, my eyes burned and my nose ran. I wasn’t the only person affected, but we were a minority. During subsequent months, others were affected and yet I was fine. I mention this because if you arrive in the spring or early summer, you may well discover an allergy that you didn’t know you had. My solution was to visit the drug store and start working my way through the allergy medicines. If you’re unlucky enough to be affected, ask a pharmacist to help get you vacation back on track.

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  • How to avoid getting robbed/scammed in Vancouver

    by dimmuborgir Updated Nov 14, 2009

    Robbed:

    Purse snatchings and muggings happen 2-3x a week in Vancouver according to the police press releases like any other city. Usually at night/early morning around the west end, davie st, stanley park and any bus stop. Almost everytime the victim is a girl carrying a designer bag while listening to an ipod. Never walk alone with headphones on.

    Scammed:

    If you're renting an apartment, don't wire anybody money on craigslist. Never pay more than 1/2 months rent for a damage deposit, it's illegal to charge more. A common local scam is a fake landlord on craigslist will meet you outside an apartment building, make up some excuse why you can't view it today and take your money claiming if you don't pay now somebody else will take it.

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    Don't bring back fruits, fresh vegies & plants!

    by joiwatani Written Jan 2, 2009

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    If you are crossing the boarder going to the United States especially in the boarder of Washington State, make sure not to bring any fruit coming from Canada. Anything excotic like those fruits from Asia are definitely confiscated at the boarder.

    The Department of Agriculture in Washington State bans these fruits because some of the fruits have bugs in them and it might infect the plants in the United States. The department is very strict on this because Washington grows a lot of the fruits and vegetables in the United States. Washington State produces apples and it exports all over the world. It will cost millions of dollars to the farmers if some kind of insect will infect their plants!!!

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    Pay your parking fees!

    by joiwatani Updated Jan 2, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Every side of the road going to Stanley Park is mostly taken by drivers for parking. There is an overflow parking to the left of the park near the police station. Make sure to pay your parking fees because the fees are outrageous later on as compared to just paying $2.00!

    During peak season, there are no parking available close to the park, so make sure to bring comfortable shoes to walk from the overflow parking to the Totem Poles. It is quite a walk!

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    Chinatown at night? Don't bother!

    by Carmanah Updated Feb 11, 2008

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    Chinatown is a really interesting neighbourhood with a lot of grit, history, and character. However, I only recommend visiting during the morning or afternoon, but not at night.

    Why?

    The stores in Chinatown close by evening. After that they bar their windows and doors and the neighbourhood becomes a ghost town.

    As well, since Chinatown is next to one of Vancouver's poorest areas, a lot of the grit like drug abuse and property crime spills over at night. This ambiance can make a tourist feel uneasy.

    You'd logically expect Chinatown to be a vibrant neighbourhood full of the city's best Chinese restaurants, especially since tourism literature promotes Chinatown as the 2nd largest in North America, and especially since Vancouver is known for its huge Chinese population and its great Chinese food.

    The reality is that Chinatown is somewhat of a relic left over from the very first wave of working class Chinese immigrants of the 19th century. The buildings are old and the Chinese community has existed here a long time, but presently it is no longer the hub of Vancouver's Chinese community.

    Ironically, there are not many restaurant choices in Chinatown. Locals don't generally think of Chinatown as a place to go find dinner. Strangely, many tourists do. That's why you'll find lost looking tourists in Chinatown after dark, but no locals. This is the main reason why I'm writing this tip.

    Many restaurants in Chinatown tend to be grungy, tiny, hole-in-the-wall establishments which close their doors by late afternoon. There are only a handful of restaurants that stay open later. Even fewer which are highly regarded. There are, however, hundreds of Chinese restaurants strewn across Vancouver outside of Chinatown, and especially its suburb of Richmond.

    Since the 1990's Richmond has superseded Chinatown for its Asian shopping and Chinese cuisine. Richmond represents the modern, affluent, cosmopolitan Chinese community in the Vancouver area. However, unlike Chinatown, Richmond's aesthetically uninspiring.

    Related to:
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    • Food and Dining

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    Make sure to pee before you tour!

    by joiwatani Written Oct 16, 2007

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    If you have children, make sure that you take them to the bathroom first. There is one fronting the Stanley Park. After that, there is also another one close to the Totem Poles but inside the store.

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    Don't jump or run on the Capilano bridge!

    by joiwatani Updated Oct 2, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is an actually video that is mounted at the beginning of the bridge that watches your every move! The ecologist or park attendant will come and warn you if you are jumping or running on the bridge. It causes the bridge to swing back and forth if you do these! Be careful because it is so hard to walk on the bridge if it is swinging!

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  • Safety in Vancouver/drugs ,drugs ,drugs

    by ctnw Written Jul 28, 2007

    For those of you that come from traveling in Europe or Israel experience :

    Vancouver is surprisingly LOW on pickpocketing and agressive selling compared to Paris and Jerusalem, however by all means there are thieves here.
    Always be aware of your belongins as you would in any other big city in the world.

    I live in Vancouver for already 7.5 years , in my experience it is relatively SAFE city , it's major problem being drugs and delinquency in the form of street beggars and panhandlers

    BEWARE
    Vancouvers ONLY real danger is drug addicts ,a lot of them homeless, some of which are also mentally impaired people.Do avoid :
    street beggars and panhandlers ,disabled beggars,any person asking to spare change.], often under the veil of fancy stories that they tell.Most of these people are quite dangerous drug addicts even though appear to be helpless and harmless.They basically try to get money for drugs.They will not assault you physically in most cases however they can get rude , mentally harrassing and annoying.Simply ignore them and you'll be fine.Do not spare change..no matter how tempting. Remember that it is a straight way to finance their habits.These people do not starve.

    Avoid at all costs visiting Vancouver Downtown Eastside.Very unpleasant neighbourhood.

    As for the rest of the city life it is indeed quite safe.Vancouver is very friendly city that is very comfortable with visitors.Vancouverites are so used to multitude of immigrants and tourists in the city that they are in general very helpful to visitors.

    Advantage of Vancouver ,it is very tolerant to different cultures and people are (in general ) very patient and non agressive.

    Vancouver is a good place to visit in summer when major festivals are in action.Surprisingly not as much pickpocketing as you would excpect.Still of course always be aware.

    hope this helps

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  • Vancouver is damn ugly

    by jabbajabba Updated Mar 18, 2007

    WARNING! Aestetic danger! Remove skyline and Vancouver appears. Disgusting, rain-soaked, XXX-hole. Beggars, trash, freaks, crazies... LINE UP! Vancouver is welcoming you with open arms. Vancouver is damn ugly. I am counting my days at UBC (another XXX-hole that thinks it is beautiful -- exactly how portables covered in 30 years of mold are beautiful??). Get my degree and RUN to the SUN.

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Comments (1)

  • Mar 20, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    I'm planning a trip to Vancouver and am thinking about hiring security guards. Is it a good idea or is it not needed?

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