Things I learned from my recent trip to Vancouver

Raymond Chen

I just got back from Vancouver, and boy are my arms tired! No wait, that’s not how the joke goes.

Here are some things I learned from my trip:

  • Do not pay the cashier with pennies. Canada phased out the penny in 2013. I missed the memo.
  • Do not pay the cashier in Hong Kong dollars, either. There was no memo on this, on the grounds that it’s totally obvious.
  • It appears to be inconsistent whether Canada uses one-based floor numbering (United States style) or zero-based floor numbering (European style). One building uses the United States style, where “Floor 1” is the ground floor; another uses zero-based, where “Floor 1” is the first floor above the ground floor. But at least the floors are numbered consecutively. Not like in New York City, where floor numbers are not required to follow any particular rule.
  • I once again encountered the blinking green traffic light. I always forget what it means and have to go look it up. It means “You have the right of way, but be aware that cross-traffic has a stop sign rather than a stop light, so they may enter the intersection when safe.”
  • The United States calls it a “parking garage” and in England it’s a “multi-storey car park”, both rather unexciting functional descriptions of a parking structure. But Canadians have a dedicated word for the concept: “parkade”. The word is so cute, and it reminds me of this commercial.


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