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What is a Hospitality Excursion?

  • Newly introduced to UNAVSA-16, Hospitality Excursions are official UNAVSA-16 meetups at popular areas in Vancouver, designed for attendees to further engage with staff, fellow attendees, and the City of Vancouver, prior to and post conference.
  • Although Hospitality Excursions are optional, all attendees are encouraged to participate in order to experience and partake in the culture of the host city, especially since this is the first year that conference is taking place in Canada!

When will these excursions take place?

  • Excursions will take pre and post conference to familiarize attendees with the host city!
    • The pre-conference excursion will take place the first day of conference, Thursday, July 24, 2019 – prior to Opening Ceremony.
    • The post-conference excursion will take place immediately after conference wraps up on Sunday night, July 28, 2019 as a way to get attendees out in the surrounding Vancouver area to a popular local event.

What are this year’s excursions?

  • There are two official HOS excursions:
    • (Pre-Conference) “Welcome to Vancouver” Walking Tour
      • Date: Thursday, July 25th
      • Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM PDT
      • Initial Meeting Location: Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel Lobby (entrance located near the Hotel Starbucks) at 2:00PM PDT
    • (Post-Conference) UNAVSA-16 Takes On Richmond Night Market
      • Date: Sunday, July 28th
      • Time: 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM PDT
      • Initial Meeting Location: Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel Lobby (entrance located near the Hotel Starbucks) at 6:45PM PDT
  • Signups for both events will be happening at the Hospitality Excursions table upon arrival at the in-person conference registration area. Please view the individual sections for each excursion day for more detailed information.

Do I have to sign up for these excursions?

  • Trick question; yes and no!
  • Sign-ups are mandatory for Thursday’s excursion in order to appropriate tour guide logistics. On the other hand, sign-ups are not required for Sunday’s excursion as the Night Market is on a come one, come all basis.

Are these excursions mandatory?

  • No, these excursions are not mandatory. While we highly encourage attendees that arrive early/stay longer to participate, it is entirely up to you if you decide to partake.

Do the excursions cost anything?

  • These excursions are free to attend; however, there will be lots of shops and stores along the way and for Sunday’s excursion, the Richmond Night Market will also have an entrance fee of $4.75 CAD. (A Night Market Express Pass for 6 people may also be purchased for $28.00 CAD.) Please bring appropriate amounts of funds at your own discretion.
  • Remember to plan accordingly for any purchases that may be made during the excursion that can range from paying for food, souvenirs, apparel, and transportation!

Can I attend the Walking Tour excursion if I do not sign up?

  • If you did not register for the Walking Tour, you are welcome to show up at the meet-up time but please note that admittance may not guaranteed due to capacity limitations.

If I signed up for the Walking Tour excursion and I can no longer attend, what should I do?

  • If you cannot attend, it is strongly advised that you inform a Hospitality staff member about your absence prior to the excursion start time so that we are aware of your status.
  • You are welcome to inform us in person at the Excursions desk during conference registration or you can send us an email at conference.hospitality@unavsa.org.

How do we get in contact with a staff member/other attendees participating on the excursions?

  • Please check in with a Hospitality Excursion facilitator at the registration check-in desk when you arrive on Thursday, July 25th.

What are the excursions late policies?

  • In order to ensure that the tour is promptly started, lateness is not permitted. Attendees must arrive on time in order for excursions to stay on schedule.
  • For Thursday, the tour will be meeting at the initial meet-up location at 2:00PM PDT and the tour will start promptly at 2:15PM PDT.
  • For Sunday, the excursion will be meeting at 6:45PM PDT and will leave promptly at 7:00PM PDT.

Will I be reminded of these excursions closer to conference?

  • Yes! A final email will be sent out the week of conference, detailing the logistics of both conference excursions. Please stay tuned!


What does the “Welcome to Vancouver” Walking Tour on Thursday entail?

  • On Thursday, HOS will be hosting a grand tour of downtown Vancouver. The tour will start at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver and will loop through various iconic places nearby. The goal of this excursion is to show attendees the adjacent neighboring areas to familiarize them the area while introducing trivial facts about Canada!
  • The tour starts at 2:00PM PDT and is expected to end at 4:00PM PDT.

What locations will we get to visit during Thursday’s walking tour?

  • Stop 0: Hyatt Regency (655 Burrard Street)
    • The Hyatt Regency is located in the heart of Downtown, Vancouver. There are many shops in the downtown core of Vancouver; some of these shops are unique to only Canada. During this tour there are a few stops to identify these unique shops along the way, however, attendees can make stop at any time to browse or shop!
  • Stop 1: Aritzia (1100 Robson Street)
    • Aritzia is a Canadian women’s fashion brand that houses multiple in-house brands, including TNA and Wilfred. Often times, Canada’s own Vicky Mai, can look at another person and know the exact name of the item they are wearing.
  • Stop 2: Ladurée (1141 Robson Street)
    • Started in 1862, Ladurée is a very well-known French luxury bakery, known for its history of Parisian tea rooms and infamous macarons, pastries, chocolates, and more. Fun fact: Ladurée made the pastries for the film, Marie Antoinette, and their sweets can also be seen in The CW’s hit teen drama, Gossip Girl, as Blair Waldorf’s favorite pastries!
  • Stop 3: Roots (1153 Robson Street)
    • Roots is a popular Canadian brand featuring clothing for all ages, accessories, and in addition to home furnishing. The brand started as a show company and expanded out to clothes. To most Canadians, it represents the comfiest clothing to wear while studying or on lazy days.
  • Stop 4: Happy Lemon (1188 Robson Street)
    • Happy Lemon is the last scheduled stop on the tour. While the brand itself is not Canadian, it represents the large asian representation seen throughout Vancouver. Down the road, there are several bubble tea shops, ramen, Korean fried chicken and barbecue, in addition to Japanese shops featuring ramen, korean fried chicken/barbeque, and Vietnamese cuisine as well. Most notably, Yi Fang Fruit Tea, down the road, features a variety of fresh fruit teas, rather than generic bubble tea.
  • Stop 5: Abbot House (720 Jervis Street)
    • In today’s day and age, you will notice that modern, residential buildings are everywhere in Vancouver but that was not the case back in the day. Decades ago, heritage houses filled the streets and the Abbott House, built in 1897, is now the only surviving mansion from Vancouver’s original wealthy neighbourhood!
  • Stop 6: OK Gift Stop (1155 W Pender Street)
    • Located close to the conference hotel, the OK Gift Shop is the perfect place to stop by to pick up various Canadian souvenirs, postcards, accessories, and treats for your loved ones!
  • Please note: Attendees are allowed to explore other venues after this stop, however, please be mindful of making it back to the hotel to make it to opening ceremony on time. Please also be aware that this list is a general guideline and may be subject to change on actual day of tour!

Where do I sign up for Thursday’s excursions?

  • In order to sign up for the excursions, please make sure to visit the Hospitality Excursions desk during conference registration check-ins on Thursday, July 25th.
    • Please note: conference registration is separate from excursion sign-ups.
  • Sign-ups will take place in-person and begin on Thursday, July 25th at 12:00PM PDT and close at 1:45PM PDT sharp. The tour will be meeting at the initial meet-up location at 2:00PM PDT and the tour will start promptly at 2:15PM PDT.
  • If you know in advance that you will be arriving outside of registration hours and would still like to attend, please reach out to Hospitality at conference.hospitality@unavsa.org at your earliest convenience. Please note that admission may not be guaranteed for late notices!

Where will I be meeting for this excursion?

  • Attendees will meet in the hotel lobby by the Starbucks at 2:00 PM PDT. This excursion will begin promptly at 2:15 PM PDT, so please arrive on time if you wish to partake in this excursion.

What mode of transportation will be available for this excursion?

  • For this excursion, transportation will be in the form of walking to all points of interest along the path of our tour. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable attire for the duration of the tour.

How much time is allocated for shopping?

  • Time spent at a location is up to the discretion of the attendees and group consensus. The maximum time in which can be spent at a location in order to fit all stops is approximately 20 minutes.

Can additional stops be added to the tour?

  • Of course, attendees are encouraged to request stops of interest throughout the tour! Staying mindful of time constraints, extra stops can range from 5-10 mins.


What is the Richmond Night Market?

  • “Founded in the year 2000 by entrepreneur Raymond Cheung, the Richmond Night Market has grown from modest beginnings since its first location at the Continental Centre on Cambie Road. Richmond Night Market is the largest Night Market in North America and has become an international attraction, attracting over 1 million visitors each year.”
  • The Richmond Night Market continues to be a must-visit Summer attraction in the Lower Mainland, offering an amazing variety of street food, merchandise and games. Open every weekend from May to October, it is an experience you don’t want to miss out on!

What does the “UNAVSA-16 Takes On Richmond Night Market” event entail?

  • Conference ends Sunday afternoon and it is a bittersweet day, but the fun does not to end there! Post-conference, Hospitality will be providing an organized transportation plan for everyone to visit Vancouver’s infamous Night Market!

What can I expect inside the Richmond Night Market?

  • Inside, the Richmond Night Market boasts authentically Asian snacks and street food, like tornado potatoes, grilled squid, fresh mango desserts, dragon’s beard candy, bubble waffles, and so much more. Every year, vendors work hard to introduce new foods that taste great and look great on camera too!
  • Aside from 500 international food options, the Richmond Night Market also has lots of carnival games, vendor booths, performances, and etc!
  • If you would like to see sneak peeks of the fun things that await you at the event, please visit the official Richmond Night Market website to see what the excursion has to offer or visit the Market’s Instagram page (richmondnightmarket) for some mouthwatering food pictures.

Where will I be meeting for this excursion?

  • For those needing assistance with transportation for this excursion, attendees are encouraged to meet in the Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel Lobby (entrance near by Hotel Starbucks) at 6:50 PM PDT, where Hospitality staff members will guide attendees to the Richmond Night Market via public transportation (SkyTrain).
  • For those who are traveling from locations far from the Hyatt Regency or for those who already have a means to arrive at the Richmond Night Market outside of utilizing public transportation, you are also welcome to meet us at the Richmond Night Market entrance. The estimated arrival time is expected to be at 7:45 PM PDT.

How will we be travelling to the Richmond Night Market?

  • In order to transit to the Richmond Night Market, public transportation will be utilized. The trip is expected to take approximately 30-45 minutes and the main mode of transit will be via SkyTrain on the Canada Line.
  • Excursion Directions:
    • From the initial meetup location at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, walk to the Vancouver City Centre Station (6 minutes)
    • Take the Canada Line towards Richmond-Brighouse for 8 stops (17 minutes) and depart at Bridgeport Station
    • Walk for 5 minutes to Richmond Night Market entrance
  • More in-depth information regarding public transportation in Canada can be found in the Things to Expect: Transportation section down below.

Will I be given time to buy a Skytrain ticket prior to transportation?

  • In order to minimize any delays that may happen, please aim to purchase your tickets prior to the excursion meet-up time on Sunday. The closest ticketing location to the Hyatt Regency Vancouver is located at Burrard Station, which is a 2 minute walk from the hotel.
  • In the case that you arrive without a ticket, time will also be allocated for excursion participants to purchase a Compass Card or Compass Ticket at the Vancouver City Centre Station.

Is there an entrance fee?

  • Yes, the Richmond Night Market has a single entrance fee of $4.75 CAD. The Night Market also has an Express Pass that is eligible for 6 people (or multiple entrances) and is sold for $28.00 CAD; the pass not only allows you to save a bit of money but it also allows you to skip the long line!
  • If you would like to utilize the Express Pass, please purchase tickets in groups at your own discretion.
  • Please note: the Richmond Night Market is a very popular event for both locals and tourists and it is known to typically have hour-long wait times with regular tickets so the Express Pass is highly recommended!

Is there parking?

  • Yes, there is free parking at the location but it is very limited and is on a first come, first serve basis.


What’s the general conversion rate?

  • This can vary moderately depending on the political and economic climate, so as a safe and approximate rule-of-thumb:
    • 1 USD = 1.30 CAD
    • 1 CAD = 0.75 USD
  • By the way, did you know that CAD rose higher than USD in 2007?

How is Canadian money different?

  • Pennies are not used!
    • When paying in cash, rounding is done up or down
      • Please see image below.
  • 5, 10, and 25 cent coins
  • Loonie = $1
  • Toonie = $2
  • Bills (plastic material, identifiable by colour):
    • $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100
  • Vendors/stores will take USD coins at a CAD rate
    • E.g. your 25 cents USD will be used as 25 cents CAD

What happens if I buy things in Canada with an American credit or debit card?

  • Payment will be processed at the standard conversion rate as set by your bank
  • Unless stated, most cards will charge you a foreign transaction fee. This often varies anywhere from 1% to 3% on top of your entire purchase after conversion
    • E.g. If you have a US-based card that rings in a transaction purchase in CAD
  • Some travel cards will advertise ‘no foreign transaction fees.’ This is typically preferred because it is it is often cheaper than an ATM withdrawal and more convenient
  • Please remember to also add a memo to contact your bank about traveling to ensure that your card does not get declined for a “suspicious purchase.”

What happens if I make an ATM withdrawal with an American debit card in Canada?

  • The withdrawal will be processed at the standard conversion rate as set by your bank.
  • Most banks will charge you a foreign transaction fee (usually anywhere from 1% to 3% of your entire withdrawal).
  • Additionally, some banks will charge you a flat rate fee of, say, $5 (depends on the bank), on top of your entire transaction

Do Canadians have Venmo or Cashapp?

  • Unfortunately, Venmo and Cash app are not available for usage for Canadians. An individual from the United States will be unable to transfer or request funds from an individual from Canada and vice versa. You can still utilize these apps to make transfers or requests from other individuals from the United States while you are in Canada.
  • Instead, Canadians generally use E-Transfers, facilitated directly through our bank, to send money to each other

What’s British Columbia’s taxes?

  • General goods and services (e.g. buying clothes):
    • 7% PST + 5% GST = 12% total
  • Food/meals:
    • 5% GST only

*PST = Provincial sales tax
*GST = Goods and services tax

Any differences in credit card payments (insert-to-pay, tap-to-pay)?

  • All Canadian credit cards require chip readers associated with a PIN and also have tap-to-pay capabilities
  • Subsequently, individuals can just tap-to-pay when the vendor’s machine has the capability and the total is under $100, or they can choose to insert their chip reader
  • Payment is done via chip reader (insert-to-pay) when the total is over $100
  • International visitors will generally pay (depending on their credit card’s available services) via swipe and required signature unless the card has a chip reader. You may be required to insert-to-pay in that case. If your card has tap-to-pay, you can do that, too!

If I am visiting a restaurant, are there any tips that I should note?

  • Most sit-down restaurants use handheld, portable debit/credit machines, unless it is an extremely small establishment.
  • You can tell the waiter/waitress if you need to split the bill, and they will bring the machine to where you are seated. Hold onto your credit card – they will not collect all the cards at the table.
  • The waiter/waitress will bring the machine around to each person to pay.
  • Please note: Visa and Mastercard are typically accepted are most establishments, with Discover and American Express seeing lower acceptance


What are some common public transportation etiquette rules in Vancouver?

  • Don’t put your bags on the side seats; keep them in your lap.
  • If the bus is busy/full, sit on the inside seats and not the outside seat (don’t sit on the outside seat with the inside seat empty).
  • Offer your seat to the elderly.
  • Walk on the right side of the street.
  • Stairs and escalators; if you are standing or going slow, stand on the ride side (don’t block the escalator – left side is for walking).

What ticketing options are utilized for public transportation?

  • To use Vancouver’s public metro, money must be loaded onto a Compass Card or Compass Ticket.
  • Compass Cards are reloadable cards that require a $6 refundable fee and can be purchased at:
    • Compass Vending Machines (CVMs), which are located at major train stations.
      • Compass Vending Machines accept cash, credit, and debit.
    • Compass Retailers, which includes convenience stores such as London Drugs
    • Online at compasscard.ca or by calling 604.398.2042
      • Online payment and AutoLoad enrollment can be done with Visa, Mastercard, Visa Debit, and Debit Mastercard and can also take up to two hours for the Compass product to be available for use.
  • Compass Tickets are available as single-use tickets or as DayPass tickets and can be purchased from any Compass Vending Machine.
    • Please note: DayPasses provid unlimited transit use on all buses, SkyTrains, and SeaBus for one day from the start of the first transit service to the end of the service day. It can also be used for travel throughout all zones.
  • The closest CVM to the Hyatt Regency Vancouver is located at Burrard Station, which is a 2 minute walk from the hotel.

How are Skytrain/bus fare charges determined?

  • Your fare is determined by your mode of travel, time of day, and number of zones you pass through in a trip.
    • One Zone: $2.95 Adults / $2.20 Compass Card
    • Two Zones: $4.20 Adults / $3.25 Compass Card
    • Three Zones: $5.70 Adults / $4.30 Compass Card
      • Any travel conducted after 6:30 PM PDT on the weekdays and all day on the weekends across the entire Metro Vancouver region only require a 1-Zone fare.
  • A single fare is valid for 90 min within the same zone, so if you travel again within the 90 minute window of when you first paid, then there is no additional charge.
  • Bus fares are only charged for one zone, but if you pay directly by cash on the bus, it is not transferable to the Skytrain.
  • Please see the TransLink website for more information

Is there an additional fee to travel from YVR airport on the Skytrain (to, for example, the hotel)?

  • Yes, there is a $5 AddFare charge for those buying at YVR and going eastboard
  • There is no additional fee to travel to, the airport via Skytrain, however.

Am I eligible for a “Concession” fare on the Skytrain/bus?

  • Concession fares are discounted tickets and are only eligible for those who are 18 and younger with a valid photo ID proving age, or for those over 65.
  • Please make sure to purchase the correctly priced ticket as transit police is known to typically make rounds to check ticket!

Are there any rideshare options (ex. Uber or Lyft) in Vancouver?

  • Unfortunately, no. The provincial government is, however, currently under review for legislation to possibly allow these companies to start up in Vancouver.

Are taxis expensive?

  • In Vancouver, yes. The cost can accumulate very quickly
  • There are a wide variety of cab services available for use – companies are identified by different cab colours and signs, etc.

Are there any other modes of transportation available?

  • Water taxi:
    • There’s an aquabus available that goes between Granville Island, Science World, and other small docks on the Burrard Inlet (False Creek Area)
    • It’s fast and fun, and generally regarded as a nice tourist experience as well
  • Bicycles:
    • Shaw Bicycles are available for rent around various parts of the city
    • Some bicycle shops near Denman also rent out bikes (including tandem bikes!) to bike around the Stanley Park seawall!
  • Cars
    • If you have a Car2Go, Modo, or Evo membership, those car sharing services are present in Vancouver