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Advice for Visitors to Canada

Moving to Vancouver

Welcome to Vancouver! Here are some quick facts about the city:

  • Size: 113 sq. km. Population: 560,000 Area Population: 2 million
  • Largest Port on the West Coast of North America Largest City in British Columbia
  • VancouverThird Largest City in Canada (Toronto is first , Montreal second)
  • Annual Rainfall: 1219 mm (48 inches) 10% of that during the summer months
    (For comparison: Seattle gets 36 inches a year and San Francisco 21 inches.)
  • Average Temperatures: 3°C (37.4°F) in January 18°C (64.4°F) in July.
  • Daylight: 16 hours in June / 8 hours in December.
  • Features: Vancouver is surrounded by water on three sides and is overlooked by the Coast Mountain Range with peaks above 1,500 m. (4920 feet)

A quick tip for those moving to Vancouver: you may want to visit www.cic.gc.ca where you can download or order A Newcomers Introduction to Canada.

Where to live?
Downtown Vancouver caters largely to those who enjoy high density living and there are many new apartment complexes under construction. There are also many restaurants and entertainment options in this area. New homes are also being built in Surrey which is a great area for families as there are more than 88 parks in the region. Richmond is also an area with new home development and relatively low costs. It is best to take a drive through Vancouver and check out the different neighborhoods for yourself to see where you feel most comfortable. Visit www.bcpassport.com for more info on moving to Vancouver.

Family Ties
If you are moving your family, there are many services available to help make your move smoother. Visit the Vancouver Newcomers Guide website and the Neighborhood Houses website where you will find helpful information on social, educational, recreational and cultural services for the whole family.

Health Care Insurance
All citizens and permanent residents of Canada are covered by Medicare for basic health care. In BC, this is called the Medical Services Plan (MSP) you should apply for medical coverage as soon as you arrive. It takes about three months and you will not be covered until that time. If you are moving to Vancouver from another part of Canada you can arrange to remain under your present health care until you are eligible for The MSP. If you are coming from another country it is best to have travel health insurance provided by a private health care company until you are covered. For more information contact MSP at (604) 683-7151.

Other helpful services:
Immigrant services society of BC (604) 684-7498
MOSAIC - multilingual multicultural non-profit organization (604) 254 -9626