International delegates are encouraged to review the specific requirements for visas and other requirements to enter Canada. Visa processing time can vary based on your origin country. The Symposium recommends that you submit your visa application as early as possible.

Delegates from some countries may require a Letter of Invitation. If you require a Letter of Invitation, please contact the Symposium Secretariat by email or through the Contact page. Consistent with regulations, Letters of Invitation can only be provided after confirmed payment of your delegate registration fees. A letter will be sent directly to the delegate who must then submit the letter as part of a visa application. 

Note that the Symposium is unable to offer any guidance on completing visa applications. The Symposium cannot offer financial support or financial guarantees that may be required for your visa application, travel expenses or other fees.

Note for those travelling from "Visa Free" Countries:

Even if you are traveling with a passport from a country where a visa is not required, since early 2016 the citizens from countries other than the United States who do not need a visa to enter Canada will still need to obtain an ELECTRONIC TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION (eTA) before flying to or transiting through Canada.

The eTA process is similar to that of the United States ESTA: travelers apply individually online here. Each individual must pay CAD $7 by Visa, Mastercard or American Express, and their eTA is valid for 5 years. Travel agents can apply for their clients, but they cannot charge a fee for this service. For more information about this ETA requirement, visit the eTA page for videos and fact sheets in multiple language.  Please check your speciific requirements before you start your journey.


Airports & Airlines

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is situated 15 km south of downtown Vancouver and is consistently ranked as the best airport in North America.  Daily direct flights are available to YVR from major centres across North America, Europe, Asia and beyond.

Harbour Air Floatplanes
Waterfront air terminal, Vancouver

Taxis operate from YVR to downtown hotels on a flat-rate zone system. Travel time from YVR to the hotel is approximately 25 to 40 minutes depending on traffic conditions. Note that taxi fares to YVR are based on a metered rate. Taxis accept major credit cards. Check with your driver on entering.

Facilities for several rental car agencies and car-sharing programs are available at YVR and many other locations throughout the region. Refer to the Westin Bayshore website for information on parking at the hotel.

The Canada Line rapid transit system also provides a convenient way of traveling to and from the airport. Note that the nearest Canada Line station is at "Waterfront", so a bus connection or short walk is required. A taxi is recommended for those with considerable baggage. See information on Local Travel below.

Also nearby to the Westin is the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre that offers float plane serice to Victoria and other locations along the coast.

Local Travel

Vancouver and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia boast an extensive and easily accessed public transit service.  Three fully and grade-separated automated rapid transit lines span across 69 route km throughout the region.  One of these lines, the Canada Line, extends from a terminal at YVR right to Vancouver’s downtown waterfront in about 20 minutes.  Extensive networks of busses and electric trolley busses also cover the region, as do passenger ferries across Burrard Inlet or around False Creek.  Route and fare information is available from the local transport agency, Translink.

Cycle City Tours Granville Island
Granville Island / Tourism Vancouver

The City of Vancouver also encourages active transportation, and has designated over 400 km of on-street and separated bicycle routes. Some complimentary bicycles are available to Westin hotel guests through the BikeWestin program.  Several stores offering bicycle rentals and a dock for the Mobi bike share system are also near the Westin, perfect for a ride around the seawall at nearby Stanley Park.