Travel & Transportation

Optical Sensors

18 - 20 July 2016
The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

Travel & Transportation

About Vancouver, BC, Canada

Experience much more than just the Congress!
Vancouver was recognized as the top city in Canada in Travel + Leisure Magazine's 2014 World's Best Awards. The city was also named the Top Destination in Canada in TripAdvisor's 2015 Travelers' choice awards.

Vancouver offers travelers both outstanding opportunities for outdoor adventure and the sophisticated amenities of a world-class city. Take advantage of the city's Oceanside location, with plenty of green space and many recreation opportunities in the mountains 20 minutes north of downtown. After a busy day, linger over a glass of BC wine and a locally inspired meal, or unwind at one of Vancouver's unique spas. While this sea-level port city is known for its temperate climate, the surrounding snow-covered slopes are perfect for winter sports and breathtaking views of the city twinkling below. Vancouver is one of the few places in the world where it's possible to ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon.
Letters of Invitation
Individuals requiring letters of invitation to obtain travel visas to present their papers may access the online form at Invitation Letter Request Form.
  • Please fill out a separate form for each person requesting a letter
  • All letters of invitation will be sent by a locked PDF unless otherwise requested. If you require a paper copy, please provide a courier account number or credit card number with expiration date with the original request
  • Please allow up to 15 business days to process your request.
  • OSA is not able to contact Embassies in support of an individual attempting to gain entry to attend an OSA meeting.
  • We recommend that you secure your travel visa before registering for the conference as cancellations after the preregistration cutoff can result in a cancellation fee.

Questions about the Visa Invitation Letter application process, e-mail:

OSA Management – Invitation Letter
The Optical Society
2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Visa Information
Apply now for your Visa!

If you need a travel visa, begin the visa application process now! The application process can take up to 6 months or more. You will need to apply for your visa as early as possible, but no later than three months before you wish to enter Canada. You will first need to find out if you need a visa to enter Canada. If you do not need a visa to enter Canada, you may still need to meet some specific requirements. If you do need a visa, find out how to apply.
On-line Resources
Canada Customs and Border Information Visa Waiver Program Quick Guide
Visit on Business Visa Information Public Safety Canada

If you have not finalized your letter of invitation, we encourage you to include the following sentence in the letter:

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Special Event Code for this event is “16PHOT”. Including this code in the letter of invitation will facilitate the processing of visa applications.

Submission of Applications: Canada does not have a visa office in every country so it is important that delegates visit the website of the visa office responsible for processing their visa applications. Information is available on the website on how to submit a visa application and the documentation required. 

Delegates are encouraged to submit their visa applications well in advance of the date of the event at one of the following:
  • Visa Application Centre (VAC). VACs are commercial service providers authorized by Canada to provide specific services to applicants. VACs provide a number of services including help applicants fill out forms, answer questions and ensure that applications are complete, thereby reducing unnecessary delays or refusals due to incomplete applications. Applicants that are required to provide biometrics information as part of the visa application process can do so at a VAC. Additional information on the biometrics requirements is available at the IRCC website. VACs send applications to Visa Offices and transmit decisions to applicants in a secure and confidential manner. VACs do not process visa applications and play no role in the decision-making process.
  • E-applications (e-Apps).This system allows clients to submit applications online. Delegates that need a visa but require their passport for other travel purposes are strongly encouraged to submit their visa applications on-line (e-Apps).  Delegates that choose to apply on-line will not have to submit their passport until a decision has been taken on their applications.  If required, the visa office will send the applicant instructions on how and where to send their passports to finalize the visa process.  
Visa Applications Processing Time:Processing time for visa applications vary depending on the office and the time of the year. Participants should be encouraged to apply early for their visas, and to submit complete applications including all supporting documents. . Please visit the IRCC website for information on the time it takes to process visa applications at the various visa offices.

NEW - Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA): As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens, and travelers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens and Canadian permanent residents are not eligible to apply for an eTA. However, from March 15, 2016 until fall 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport.

We invite you to consult the IRCC website regularly for information updates on eTA.
With its scenic views, mild climate, and friendly people, Vancouver is known the world as both a popular tourist attraction and one of the best places to live.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
There are more than a dozen international flights in and out of YVR every day with 22 bound for the United States.
Airlines and Flights
YVR Basic Guide
Customs and Immigration
Taxi Service Information
Train Information
Rental Car Information
Public Transportation Information
Taxi Information
Taxis are readily available from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) at the Arrivals Level. The trip will take 30 minutes and the cost is a metered rate of approximately CAD $30 - $35. You can find more information about Taxis servicing YVR here.
Canada Line Skytrain
The Canada Line Skytrain (light rapid transit system) departs every 12 minutes and every 6 minutes during peak periods to downtown Vancouver. The current fare is CAD $9 per person and will take you to Vancouver City Centre Station which is 2 blocks away from the hotel. The trip will take 30 minutes and is recommended for guests with little luggage.
Train Service to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is conveniently located along the VIA Rail Route. Consider traveling to the hotel in Canada’s premier train system. To access information on routes, schedules, fares, and to book on-line, visit VIA Rail’s Website.
Driving Directions and Maps
Google Map Directions
*Please note that if you are using a Satellite Navigation device to direct your vehicle to the hotel, please input the street address as 777 Hornby Street for convenient access to the hotel driveway.
Special Discounts for Advanced Photonics Attendees
OSA continues to enhance the benefits we provide to all meeting participants. We actively work with the host city, hotel and local area businesses to provide amenities and discounts. Additional discounts will become available from now until the conference begins. Please continue to check back for up-to-date discount programs and information!
Airline Discounts

Fares Offered: Up to 10% discount on applicable fares
Meeting Promotional Code: ZVHB932397
Travel Dates: 14 July – 24 July 2016
Origin: Any United Airlines city
Destination: Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Reservations and ticketing is available at . When booking online, enter ZVHB932397 in the Offer Code box on the Search Flights page. If booking through a travel professional or United Meetings at +1 800.426.1122. Please provide them with the following Offer Code ZVHB932397. 

Outside of the United States, please call your local United Airlines Reservation Office. Experience dependable, first-rate service and earn miles in MileagePlus®, United’s award-winning frequent flyer program. To enroll in MileagePlus®, log on to

Delta Airlines

Fares Offered: Up to 10% discount on applicable fares
Meeting Promotional Code: NMLYX
Travel Dates: 12 July – 26 July 2016
Origin: Any United Airlines city
Destination: Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Reservations and ticketing are available via or by calling the Delta Meeting Network Reservations at +1 800.328.1111. Please note that a Direct Ticketing Charge will apply for booking by phone. When booking online, select "Advanced Search" option and enter your Meeting ID Code in the box provided on the Search Flight page.
Ground Transportation Discounts

Avis Rent-a-Car
Fares Offered: Up to 10% discount on applicable fares
Meeting Promotional Code: AWD # D340737
Travel Dates: 7 days prior and 7 days post event
When calling Avis at +1 800.331.1600 to make a reservation, attendees should provide the reservation agent with AWD # D340737 to ensure that the best available car rental rate is received. Reservations can also be made at website, with the AWD number automatically included in the link.

World Wide Telephone Numbers

 is offering Congress attendees a 10% discount off the best available rail fare between 14 July – 24 July 2016.  To book your reservation call Amtrak at + 1 800.872.7245 or contact your local travel agent.
Conventions cannot be booked via Internet.  Please be sure to refer to Convention Fare Code X19Z-937 when making your reservation.  This offer is not valid on the Auto Train and Acela Service.  Fare is valid on Amtrak Regional for all departures seven days a week, except for holiday blackouts.  Offer valid with Sleepers, Business Class or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable accommodation charges.

Warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected by a range of mountains, Vancouver's weather is mild year-round. From high 70's Fahrenheit (low 20's Celsius) in summer to a mild mid 40's Fahrenheit (0º to 5º Celsius) in winter, the climate is always hospitable.

July Weather in Vancouver
Average High Temperature: 72 °F (22 °C)
Average Low Temperature: 54°F (12 °C)
For the most current weather forecast, please visit here.

Like the USA, residential Canada uses 110 volt electrical systems at 60 hertz.
You will need a voltage transformer/ converter for your electrical appliances if they operate on a different voltage. Here is a website about international electricity that provides explanation and photos of the adapters and transformers you need for your appliances.
The Canadian dollar (CAD) is the currency of Canada. It is normally abbreviated with the Dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies.  It is divided into 100 cents. Credit cards are widely accepted; VISA and MASTERCARD are the most popular. Visitors can exchange currency at Canadian chartered banks, trust companies, credit unions, or at offices of foreign exchange brokers, but it is advised to have local currency on hand prior to arriving. Some hotels, merchants, restaurants and suppliers accept US or other foreign currency at a pre-determined rate, which may differ from the daily rate posted by financial institutions.
For the latest currency exchange click here.

Federal government departments provide service in English and French, but most of the population speaks English as either a first or second language.

As of November 1, 2015, most purchases in British Columbia will be subject to a 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST), with the exception of liquor (10% GST). For more information, visit British Columbia's Tax Information website.

Time Zone:
Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone. Daylight savings time is in effect from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.