Get information that is essential for all newcomers to Canada


The City of Vancouver is one of the top destinations for newcomers to Canada, particularly from the Asia-Pacific Region. That’s not surprising as it’s considered one of the most beautiful, liveable cities in Canada and the world , thanks to its mild climate, diversity, and awesome natural setting, all in a growing metropolitan city.


Vancouver’s oceanic climate is the most moderate in Canada, with little snow. But, even though it’s mild, it’s also known for a lot of grey, rainy days, sometimes even in the middle of summer, which otherwise get quite dry and hot, reaching temperatures in the high 20s. Most of the rain comes between October and March, however.
Occasional arrivals of cold arctic outflows in winter can sometimes last a week or more, leading to snowfall.
The annual average temperature in the region is 11°C, and is similar to other coastal cities like Seattle, Amsterdam and London.

Public transit

The City of Vancouver and the other cities and towns that make up Metro Vancouver are connected by various forms of public transportation, including buses, the SkyTrain (which connects Vancouver to Surrey and Coquitlam), the West Coast Express train, a commuter train that runs from Vancouver to Mission (about 70 kilometres from Vancouver), as well as the SeaBus (hovercraft boats that connect Vancouver to North Vancouver).
All these forms of transit are governed by Translink (for maps, routes and schedules, see
The cost of taking public transportation varies depending on the method and distance. See here for a list of fare prices.


For information on driving in Vancouver and how to get a licence, see Driving.

Highways in Vancouver

Metro Vancouver’s network of highways is key to connecting communities. Here are the major highways:
•    Highway 1 (also known as the TransCanada Highway): runs from the west coast of B.C. through all the communities in Metro Vancouver and beyond to the rest of Canada
•    Highway 7 (also known as Lougheed Highway) runs from Burnaby to beyond Mission on the north side of the Fraser River
•    Highway 91/91A is also known as the Richmond Connector
•    Highway 99 (Sea to Sky) is the main route to Whistler

Police services

The City of Vancouver is protected by the Vancouver Police Service. Many of the cities/districts within Metro Vancouver are covered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Still others have their own police forces, such as West Vancouver, Port Moody and New Westminster.

Contact the police: When to call 9-1-1

Dialing 9-1-1 is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, the fire department or an ambulance. It can serve you in a variety of languages with the help of interpreters.
If you know your situation is not an emergency, then call the non-emergency phone line at 604-717-3321 in the City of Vancouver. For other communities, see a list of contact details at

Places of worship

The diversity of Vancouver means that many religions are well represented in the community. Click here to see the great variety of places of worship that Greater Vancouver offers.

Pre-arrival settlement and employment services in British Columbia available through the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) (Video)