Welcome to Vancouver Island

What You Need To Know...

Visitor Information: While touring Vancouver Island, watch for Visitor Centres where trained staff can assist with your travel questions and provide information on accommodation, services, attractions, activities and community events. In this publication, phone numbers and addresses for most Visitor Centres are listed with each community's information. For general information on touring in British Columbia as well as accommodation reservations, call 1-800-HELLO-BC.

Telephones: The area code on Vancouver Island and for all phone numbers in this publication is (250) unless otherwise indicated. For local directory assistance, call 411. For long distance directory assistance, call 1-(area code)-555-1212.In case of emergency, call 911.

Taxes: The GST is a value-added tax of 5% applicable to most purchases regardless of whether the buyer is a Canadian resident or a visitor. In B.C., an additional provincial tax of 7% is also applied to all retail purchases, except liquor, which is taxed at 10%. Accommodation is taxed from 15% to 17% including the GST.

Driving the Island:

• Speed limits on Vancouver Island are posted in kilometres per hour.

• For a distance chart of Island communities, see the map in the centre of this publication.

• Vehicle seat belts and motorcycle and bicycle helmets are compulsory at all times.

• Approximate Driving Speed Conversions

30km/hr = 20mph 40km/hr = 25mph

50km/hr = 30mph 60km/hr = 40mph

80km/hr = 50mph 100km/hr = 60mph

The Island by Ferry

Much more than a simple mode of transportation, BC Ferries offers a spectacularly scenic experience that is as much a part of your Vancouver Island adventure as the breathtaking views, charming communities and innumerable activities and attractions.

Since beginning its ferry service to Vancouver Island in 1960, BC Ferries has grown into one of the largest ferry systems in the world, boasting a fleet of 36 vessels serving up to 47 ports of call on 25 routes throughout coastal British Columbia. Vessels carry both vehicles and passengers, with the largest ships, the Spirit of British Columbia and the Spirit of Vancouver Island, measuring 560-feet in length – two football fields back to back! The larger ferries serve on major routes between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island and feature a variety of food services, gift shops, ship-to-shore telephones, laptop hook-ups, comfortable seating lounges and outdoor seating areas, video games, preschool play areas and elevators.

Joining the fleet this season are three new ferries taking passengers to the next level of comfort and service. The new Coastal ships, Renaissance, Inspiration and Celebration, will be introduced between spring and fall to the three major Island/Mainland routes.

While most Vancouver Island visitors arrive with BC Ferries, no matter how you get here, you'll want to take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of British Columbia's coastal waterways. Possibilities range from day trips to beautiful destinations such as the northern and southern Gulf Islands to popular northern cruises that include the awe-inspiring Inside Passage (Port Hardy to Prince Rupert), the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Discovery Coast Passage – each providing access to the stunningly scenic northern British Columbia!

Please note: Reservations are available for a fee on major route sailings between Vancouver (Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay) and Vancouver Island (Swartz Bay, Duke Point or Departure Bay) and between Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast (Horseshoe Bay to Langdale). Reservations are strongly suggested for sailings from Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to southern Gulf Islands destinations; no fee is charged for this reservation.

For BC Ferries information, including schedules, fares, reservations and trip-planning tools, visit or call 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779) toll-free throughout North America, or 386-3431 in Victoria. From your cell phone, call *BCF (*223) on Rogers or Telus Mobility networks.

Coastal Explorations

Discovery Coast:Experience the solitude of sheltered inlets surrounded by evergreen-covered islands and towering fjords where eagles soar, dolphins play and whales surface and plunge. Stop in McLoughlin Bay and experience a cultural historic tour of six village sites in nearby Bella Bella or take a tour of the waterways aboard an authentic First Nations canoe.

Prince Rupert toPort Hardy – Inside Passage: Enjoy a leisurely summer day cruise through the world-renowned Inside Passage, travelling through calm inlets, tree-covered islands and majestic Coastal mountains, all with the privacy of your own day or overnight cabin.

Need more ideas or information?Call 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779). or visit

Ferry Service from/to the U.S.

• Blackball Transport's MV Coho — 
The MV Coho is a year-round auto/passenger ferry between Victoria, B.C. 
and Port Angeles, WA with four sailings daily during the peak summer season. 
For more information, call the office nearest you: 386-2202 (Victoria) or(360) 457-4491 (Port Angeles) or visit

Air Service

• Harbour Air — Soak in the Island's beauty from the air with floatplane service to the Gulf Islands, Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. Scheduled and charter flights, as well as adventure tours are available. Call 1-800-665-0212 or 
385-9131 or visit See ad page 5.

• Pacific Coastal Airlines — Enjoy scheduled flights to coastal B.C. destinations and some interior stops, plus charter and freight services. Call 1-800-663-2872 or see See ad page 5.

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