A beautiful view of a bridge in Vancouver

Why a trip to Vancouver can feel like an international vacation to someone from Ontario

Even though it’s in the same country, Vancouver can feel like an international destination for travellers from Ontario or from the eastern regions of Canada. Considering the state of the Canadian dollar, travelling to Vancouver is a great option for Canadians to get away without actually leaving Canada. You can feel as if you’re on an international trip without ever crossing the Canadian border.

For many Canadians in Ontario and other provinces, Vancouver seems to be one of those destinations they want to visit, but then pass over for a destination in the United States or abroad. But the Canadian dollar has changed this, and now many Ontarians are seriously considering a trip to the West Coast.

The nearly five-hour flight from Toronto, the change in climate and the unique West Coast culture is sure to make you feel as though you have travelled somewhere far away, but you will also have the comforts of home: a familiar language and currency, and a Tim Hortons on every corner.

Travel information for Vancouver

More people are visiting Vancouver and the province of British Columbia not only from Canada, but from international locations as well.

“As 2015 came to a close, Vancouver saw a record-breaking number of visitors – 9.4 million – make their way through our gates. It was an increase of over 500,000 people over 2014’s also record-breaking figures, largely thanks to an abundant supply of Americans heading north. More than 8.3% more Americans came to Vancouver last year than the year before,” says Jill Slattery in Vancity Buzz.

Destination British Columbia has compiled some telling travel stats that show the increased popularity of Vancouver as a travel destination:

  • International visitor arrivals are up from all regions in 2015 compared to the previous year. The number of travellers from the US is up by 9.4%, from Asia by 4.8% and from Europe by 3.8%.
  • Fewer Canadians are re-entering Canada through British Columbia, down 10.3% compared to 2014, a sign that more Canadians are staying home.
  • The provincial hotel occupancy rate is up by 2.3%, with an occupancy rate of 67.6%.
  • The provincial average daily room rate is up by 9%, to an average of $153 per night.
  • Hotels in the downtown Vancouver, Greater Vancouver and Richmond areas have the highest hotel occupancy rates in the province.
  • Air passenger volume and air capacity to Vancouver (for domestic flights) are up by 2.3% and 6%, respectively.
  • Restaurant receipts in British Columbia are up by 7.5%.

Even though more people are travelling to Vancouver, there is still plenty of room at hotels, and rates are reasonable compared to other large cities you may visit on vacation.

Top places to visit in Vancouver

Tourism Vancouver provides the following great list of must-see attractions in and around Vancouver:

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Vancouver Aquarium
  • Stanley Park horse-drawn tours
  • Harbour cruises
  • Vancouver Lookout
  • FlyOver Canada
  • Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
  • Grouse Mountain
  • Stanley Park

In addition to these great attractions, there are fabulous wineries, beaches, spas and opportunities to go whale-watching, hiking and experience world-class cuisine and nightlife.

Why you need travel insurance for trips in Canada

Even though you may not need your passport for trips within Canada, you still need travel insurance. When you travel outside your province of residence, some medical and paramedical expenses may only be partially covered by your provincial health insurance plan. Travel insurance helps to cover the costs OHIP does not cover when you are travelling outside Ontario. Let Blue Cross travel coverage take care of any unexpected medical emergency costs, so you can travel worry-free. Get a free quote for travel insurance in Canada.