Vancouver City Bylaws

Vancouver, Canada, consistently earns top marks for being one of the world's most livable cities, according to the Mercer annual Quality of Living Survey. Stunning scenery accompany year-round attractions and activities. Asian and European cultures abound and you can enjoy everything from sushi to schnitzel in the city's myriad eateries. When you visit, make sure you don't inadvertently violate any of the city bylaws or you might get a ticket or hefty fine.

  1. Smoking

    • In its effort to ensure Vancouver maintains its reputation as a healthy and eco-conscious place, the City of Vancouver banned smoking (cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos are all treated the same) in almost any public place you can think of.

      The rules under health bylaw 9535 mean that if you duck into a bus shelter to get out from the rain, you'd better butt out first. If you’re enjoying a meal or drink at a local restaurant or bar, don’t expect to light up inside, or even outside on the patio. If you wander outside to inhale a few drags on the sidewalk, don’t crowd around the restaurant door, or any other door for that matter: Smoking is banned within 18 feet of any doorway.

      The bylaw also forbids smoking in Vancouver’s public parks and beaches. It encompasses trails, playing fields, city-run golf courses, and playgrounds. Violate this bylaw and you may get a minimum $250 fine.

    Dogs

    • If you plan to visit Vancouver with your pooch in tow, you’d better bone up on bylaw 9150 -- the animal control bylaw. When walking along city streets, ensure your dog is leashed. And keep telescoping leashes in check: Leashes should not exceed eight feet.

      There are plenty of off-leash areas in parks and near beaches where you can toss a ball and let your dog run free. Each park sets its own specific off-leash times, generally from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Remember, dogs are not allowed within 45 feet of children’s playgrounds. And be sure to pick up your pooch’s poop: Biodegradable bags are often on-hand at one of Vancouver's 30-plus off-leash dog parks.

    Parking in Residential Areas

    • Downtown Vancouver, in particular, has one of North America’s mostly densely populated residential neighborhoods, which means it can be difficult for people to find street parking close to home. For this reason, the City of Vancouver has designated resident-only permit parking zones.

      Street signs may indicate “Permit Only,” which means that unless you are a resident of that neighborhood with a valid decal displayed on the windshield of a registered vehicle, you cannot part in that spot at any time. Other street signs may indicate that non-permit parking is allowed during non-peak hours, whereas permit holders can park in these spots at any time, for an unlimited period of time.

    Engine Idling

    • If you’re parked on the street next to the curb, waiting for someone to vacate a parking spot, or you’ve pulled over to talk on your cell phone, turn off the ignition or you may inadvertently violate bylaw 9344, the City of Vancouver’s motor vehicle noise and emission abatement bylaw. In short, you shouldn’t let your vehicle idle for more than three minutes or you may earn a $50 to $100 fine.

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