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General Information

We are looking forward to seeing you in Vancouver for the 26th Photonics North Conference!

We invite you to visit this website regularly, as more information becomes available on our Committees, Speakers, and Partners.

In the meantime, here are some tips & tools to better prepare your stay in Vancouver:


Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre    
East building, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC V6C OC3.  
Phone: +1-604-689-8232
Toll-free: +1-866-785-8232 (North America)
Fax: +1-604-647-7232


French and English are Canada's two official languages. English is the predominant language in Vancouver. 

The official language of the conference is English. All abstract submissions and presentations must be in English. Simultaneous translation will not be available.

Visa & Letter of Invitation

Some participants may require a visa to enter Canada. For more information click here.

Upon request, the secretariat of Photonics North 2024 will send an invitation letter. This letter is meant only to verify the name, dates, location and purpose of the conference to obtain a visa or travel funds. This letter is in no way a commitment to the participant on the part of the organizing committee.


The Conference Secretariat and organizers cannot be held liable for personal accidents, loss of or damage to private property of the conference participants and accompanying persons, either during, or directly arising from the Photonics North 2024. Participants should make their own arrangements for health and travel insurance.

Clothing & Weather

The dress code for the conference is informal for all occasions.

The average temperatures in Vancouver during the month of May are generally 13-16 °C (day) and 8-9 °C (night). it generally feels moderately chilly, humid but cool. There might also be a small chance of rain.

Currency, Banking, ATM & Credit Cards

The currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD).

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and at foreign currency exchange offices either at the Airport or at other locations throughout the city.

Bank debit or credit cards are the most convenient means of getting cash at the many Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). ATMs are spread throughout the city and accept cards with the Interac, Plus, and Cirrus networks. Most are in operation 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Most businesses accept U.S. currency and traveler’s cheque, as well as major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express).

Sales Taxes

There is a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) in effect in Canada and a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) of 7% in the Province of British Columbia, for a combined tax rate of 12%. These taxes are applicable to most items and are not refundable. Please note that alcohol is taxed at 15% (5% GST + 10% PST). 

For accommodation the taxes are different. There is a 8% Provincial Sales Tax (PST), a 3% Municipal & Regional District Tax Program (MRDT) and a 2.5% Major Events Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), for a combined tax rate of 13.5%.


The electrical current is the same as in the United States: 110 volts AC at 60Hz. Adapters are required for electrical devices from other countries.

Time Zone

Vancouver is in the Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) (UTC-07:00).  Pacific Standard Time (PST) is in effect from March to November.

Useful Links & Maps

Vancouver's official website and the official tourist site of the government of Vancouver contain up-to-date tourist information, including information about public transportation and maps.

Strategic Location

Vancouver is easy to reach by plane, car or train. See below for more information.

By Plane

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is 25 minutes from the downtown.  It is used by more than 19 million passengers every year travelling to and from North American, South American and European destinations.

Travel is convenient, with direct flights from Paris, Ottawa, Toronto, and all major U.S. east-coast cities: Boston, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

There are many flights from U.S. cities and from all major Canadian cities, as well as numerous departures every day from many countries with only one connection. 

Airport Transfers

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is 25 minutes from the downtown. Taxi fare from the airport to the city centre is a flat fee of CAD 31 and CAD 34 to downtown. Major credit cards are accepted.

The Canada Line is Vancouver’s rapid transit rail connecting YVR to downtown Vancouver in under 30 minutes and to downtown Richmond in 18 minutes. You can access trains from both the International and Domestic Terminals.


Air Canada (    
Reservations:      1 888 247 2262    
Information:         1 888 422 7533

Porter Airlines (    
Reservations:      1 888 619 8622

United Airlines (    
Reservations:     +1 800 538 2929 (International)/1 800 864 8331 (Domestic)

WestJet (    
Reservations:      1 888 937 8538 (1 888 WESTJET)

US Airways (    
Reservations:      1 888 240 4770

American Airlines (    
Reservations:      1 800 433 7300

Delta (    
Reservations:     +1 800 241 4141 (International)/1 800 221 1212 (Domestic)

Air Transat (    
Reservations:       1 866 255 4871

By Train

Make the journey part of the adventure by taking the train to Vancouver! Riding the rails offers sightseeing at its finest, allowing you to watch the beauty of B.C. from the comfort of the observation lounge or dining car. Travel across Canada on VIA Rail’s transcontinental service running from Vancouver to Toronto, via Jasper, three times per week, year-round. Or take in the best of BC and Alberta with a Rocky Mountaineer two-day rail tour, offered from April through October. If you’re heading to Vancouver from the U.S., consider the Amtrak Cascades route between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, via Portland and Seattle.

Pacific Central Station is the terminus for both VIA Rail and Amtrak trains, and is located just east downtown Vancouver at Main and Terminal streets. Rocky Mountaineer trains operate out of their own facilities, with stations in East Vancouver (close to Pacific Central Station) and North Vancouver. 

By Bus

You can take a scheduled bus service into Vancouver. The coach line company offer regular service to Vancouver from destinations including Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver Island, Whistler and the Okanagan Valley. For option, visit the "Getting here" page of Destination Vancouver:

By Water

BC Ferries provides regularly scheduled passenger and vehicle service between Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and other parts of coastal British Columbia. Reservations can be made on some routes. Find out more by visiting their website or calling 1.888.223.3779 or 1 250.386.3431 (outside North America).

The cruise ship facilities at Canada Place serve as a departure point for major cruise lines traveling to Alaska. There are more than 22 different ships offering a total of 250 cruises each year, primarily between mid-May and early October.

Visit this page for information on local charters.

By Car

Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, accesses Vancouver from points east. If planning a driving tour, allow 4 hours from Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley, 12 hours from Calgary, and five days from Montreal. If you’re arriving in Vancouver from Victoria or Vancouver Island, you’ll need to take your car on a BC Ferries vessel across the Strait of Georgia to the mainland. Vancouver is only three hours north of Seattle. Take the Interstate 5, which becomes Highway 99 at the United States-Canada border. 


The Vancouver Convention Centre offers secure parking through independent operators within both buildings, They operate 24 hours per day, 7 days a week on a first-come, first-serve basis. For any parking inquiries please contact the appropriate provider below.

*Enter off of Canada Place, ½ block west of the Burrard Street intersection on the right-hand side.

The West building has 440 stalls and is operated by Impark. Impark can be reached at +1-866-277-5501.

*Enter at the foot of Howe Street.

The East building has 750 stalls and is operated by Indigo. Indigo can be reached at +1-866-856-8080

There are also other convenient and sustainable transportation options for getting to the Vancouver Convention Centre, including walking, biking or public transportation.


Black Top & Checker Cabs (604-731-1111)
Bonny's Taxi (604-435-6655 / 604-434-8000) 
Coquitlam Taxi (604-433-6666)
Delta Surrey Green Cab (604-594-1111 / 604-943-1111)
Garden City Cabs (604-233-1111)
Guildford Cab (604-585-8888)
Kimber Cabs Ltd. (604-238-8888)
Maclure's (604-831-1111)
Newton Whalley (604-581-1111)
North Shore Taxi Ltd. (604-987-7171 / 604-922-2222)
Pacific Cabs (604-596-6666)
Richmond Taxi (604-272-1111)
Royal City Taxi (604-526-6666)
Sunshine Cabs Ltd. (604-929-1221)
Surdell Kennedy Taxi (604-588-8888)
Vancouver Taxi (604-871-1111)
Yellow Cabs (604-681-1111)


On October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act and a number of supporting regulations and ministerial orders came into force, legalizing and strictly regulating the sale, possession, and production of cannabis in Canada.

Entering Canada

Cannabis is now legal in Canada. However, the legalization of cannabis in Canada does not change Canada’s border rules. Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis into Canada is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad.

Leaving Canada

if you’re planning a visit south of the border, you should know that having cannabis in your possession is prohibited by law in the United States. And while several states have legalized cannabis, the product remains a controlled substance under federal law. So, be sure your bags and vehicle don’t contain cannabis in any form before heading off to explore Maine’s fine sand beaches or the beautiful views from Interstate 20, which you can travel all the way to California. The same applies if you take a plane. At Trudeau airport, you will find amnesty boxes for disposing of any cannabis products you may have on you before going through U.S. customs.