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Post and communications in Vancouver

Post and communications in Vancouver

Building in Vancouver. Photo by Herbert Van Der Wegen.


Canada Post handles all of the regular mail, and parcels up to a certain size, in Canada. Whilst their services are not renowned for being fast, they can be relied on. It often takes far longer for a letter to get from Vancouver to Ontario, than it does to get to the UK, for example, so if you’re sending within Canada, remember to allow a few extra days.

Postage rates are reasonable and are subject to change, so for the latest prices please check the Canada Post website.

There are numerous places within Downtown Vancouver which have post office services – just look for the Canada Post symbol which is red and blue. The main post office though is at 349 W Georgia Street.

Receiving Mail

If you’re staying in Vancouver for a while and you want to receive poste-restante, give the following address:

Family name, first name
c/o General Delivery
349 W Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 3P7

This will be held for 15 days at the main post office before it is returned to sender. Make sure you have photo ID on you when you go to collect.


Cell/Mobile Phones

Vancouver has excellent coverage for cell /mobile phone users and provided you’re bringing a tri-band phone with you which is set up for roaming you should have no trouble using this in Vancouver. What you should check before visiting though, is what your service provider charges for roaming calls – both for making them and receiving them – otherwise you could find yourself with a very large bill.

International & Long Distance Calls

To make an international call from here, first dial 011 then the country code, then leave off the first 0 from the area code, then the number. Vancouver numbers will include an area code of 604 or 778, and the rest of B.C. is 250. If you were calling outside the Greater Vancouver area you have to add a 1, so hence 1-604 or 1-250. Calls to the Unites States are considered to be international.

Public Pay Phones

Using public pay phones for local calls is easy and cheap as there is a fixed fee of 35 cents per call no matter how long it is. If you’re planning on making long distance or international calls from a pay phone, you may find it far easier and cheaper to buy a phone card, which are accepted at many phones. These can be purchased in a huge number of places including convenience stores, though do check the rates quoted thoroughly and whether there are any connection charges before you buy. Another alternative is to find a phone which accepts credit cards.

Directory Assistance

To get directory assistance (same as directory enquiries within the UK), simply dial 411 for local, national and sometimes international numbers.

Occasionally, the local 411 center you get through to may not be able to help, so in these circumstances you need to dial 1 then the area code of the area where the person or business is based + 555-1212.

Emergency Numbers

Within Vancouver, simply dial 911 and ask for police, fire or ambulance.


With the huge popularity of sending attachments via email these days, faxes are not as commonly used as they once were, but it’s worth knowing about them just in case.

Just about all hotels these days have fax machines, and most will be more than happy for you to use them, provided of course you pay for any associated call charges.

If you’re not staying in a hotel, or a fax machines isn’t available at yours, there will be a number of places within Vancouver that you can send them from. Try internet cafés, photocopy shops and some convenience stores. You should expect to pay between $1 and $2 to send each page if local, and about $5 for international.

Internet Access

Visitors to Vancouver who need internet access and/or simply to send and receive emails should have no trouble finding plenty of places to do this.

The majority of hotels and other places of accommodation now have wireless internet for those guests who have their own wireless enabled laptop. In addition, many will also have a free (or minimal charge) guest use PC with internet in their lobby area or in a specially designated computer room.

Outside of the hotels, you’ll find there are many wireless hotspots around the city, as well as specially designated internet cafés. Rates vary everywhere – often wireless connections are free with a purchase, and use of a PC costs from a few dollars upwards for an hour. Libraries also have wireless networks, as well as (usually) free internet PC’s. Visit our Libraries in Vancouver page for more info.

Wi-Fi HotSpot List.com is a good place to find out where the wireless hotspots are in Vancouver.