Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is served by most major airlines, including Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Air Transat, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Delta, KLM, United, WestJet, and more. Vancouver is the largest city in western Canada, with a population of 2.3 million people in the Greater Vancouver area. The city, which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, is situated next to the Pacific Ocean, with a backdrop of mountains to the north, with Seattle (USA) and Mount Ranier a short distance to the south. The BC provincial capital city of Victoria is a short flight (or ferry ride!) to the west, on beautiful Vancouver Island. If you are lucky, you might get to see some of these sights on your landing approach into YVR.
Vancouver has very mild Canadian winters, because of its proximity to the ocean. You can assume cool weather for the conference, though the temperature should definitely be above freezing. Rain and dampness are fairly common in Vancouver in the winter, but snow should be unlikely in early November. The conference hotel for IMC 2014 is right downtown, so find your way there, and you should have everything you need right at your fingertips.
By Train: The most economical way to get downtown from the airport is to take the SkyTrain. The fare is $9 CDN for the Canada Line from the airport to downtown. Tickets can be purchased from the machine using cash, debit, or credit cards. Trains run every 6-7 minutes at peak hours, and every 20 minutes at night. The travel time is 26 minutes. Plan to get off at Waterfront Station. Once there, find West Hastings Street, and turn left (west) and head towards the conference hotel about 3 blocks away. The walk should only take about 5-6 minutes, depending on how much luggage you are hauling. (Note that the reverse trip from Waterfront Station to YVR Airport on the Canada Line SkyTrain is only $4 CDN, since there is no airport departure fee charged.)
By Taxi: There are plenty of taxis available at Vancouver International Airport. The taxi ride to downtown costs about $35 CDN plus tip. Credit cards accepted. Travel time ranges from 20-45 minutes, depending on time of day and day of week.
By Car: Another option to get downtown is by rental car. Most major rental companies have booths at the airport. Rental rates are reasonable ($30-$40 CDN per day), but parking rates in downtown Vancouver are not ($30-$35 CDN per day), so please be aware of this if you are renting. You should also familiarize yourself with a Vancouver street map. Signage is generally good, but traffic can be a problem, particularly at peak times. Plan for 30-45 minutes travel time, on average.
There's lots to see and do in Vancouver, even in November! From the downtown location, you are just minutes away from dining, shopping, sight-seeing, hiking, biking, recreation, art, history, music, and leisure. Some nearby highlights include Canada Place (the white sails in the photo below, functioning as a cruise ship terminal, event centre, and more!), Vancouver Convention Centre, Olympic Plaza, and Robson Street (shopping and dining). Not far away are Gastown, Chinatown, and Granville Island.
Stanley Park (see photo below) is within sight of the hotel, though it is a bit of a jaunt to get there on foot. It is a great place for a jog, hike, bike ride, or picnic if the weather is nice. The Vancouver Aquarium is also located there.
Conference attendees interested in Whale Watching Tours will unfortunately be disappointed, since the season officially ends in October. Maybe next time!