Whistler  and the resort towns of Vancouver Island  are especially popular with young workers from across Canada and beyond. Aside from Help Wanted ads in local papers, a good place to start looking for work is the Whistler Employment Resource Centre (www.whistlerchamberofcommerce.com ).
International visitors wishing to work or study in Canada must obtain authorization before entering the country. Authorization to work will only be granted if no qualified Canadians are available for the work in question. Applications for work and study are available from all Canadian embassies and must be submitted with a nonrefundable processing fee. The Canadian government has a reciprocal agreement with Australia for a limited number of holiday work visas to be issued each year. Australian citizens aged 30 and under are eligible; contact your nearest Canadian embassy or consulate. For general information on immigrating to Canada contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (www.cic.gc.ca ).
If you haven’t traveled extensively, start by doing some research at the website of the Access-Able Travel Source (www.access-able.com ), where you will find databases of specialist travel agencies and lodgings in Canada that cater to travelers with disabilities. Flying Wheels Travel (507/451-5005, www.flyingwheelstravel.com ) caters solely to the needs of travelers with disabilities. The Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (212/447-7284, www.sath.org ) supplies information on tour operators, vehicle rentals, specific destinations, and companion services. For frequent travelers, the annual membership fee (adult US$45, senior US$30) is well worthwhile. Emerging Horizons (www.emerginghorizons.com ) is a U.S. quarterly magazine dedicated to travelers with special needs.
Access to Travel (800/465-7735, www.accesstotravel.gc.ca ) is an initiative of the Canadian government that includes information on travel within and between Canadian cities, including Vancouver and Victoria. The website also has a lot of general travel information for those with disabilities. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (800/563-2642, www.cnib.ca ) offers a wide range of services from its Vancouver office (604/431-2121). Finally, the Canadian Paraplegic Association (613/723-1033 or 877/324-3611, www.canparaplegic.org ), with a chapter office in Vancouver, is another good source of information.
Regardless of whether you’re traveling with either toddlers or teens, you will come upon decisions affecting everything from where you stay to your choice of activities. Luckily for you, Vancouver  and Victoria  are very family-friendly, with a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions aimed specifically at the younger generation.
Admission and tour prices for children are included throughout the destination chapters of this book. As a general rule, these reduced prices are for children aged 6–16 years. For two adults and two or more children, always ask about family tickets. Children under 6 nearly always get in free. Most hotels and motels will happily accommodate children, but always try to reserve your room in advance and let the reservations desk know the ages of your kids. Often, children stay free in major hotels, and in the case of some major chains—such as Holiday Inn—eat free also. Generally, bed-and-breakfasts aren’t suitable for children and in some cases don’t accept kids at all. Ask ahead.
As a general rule when it comes to traveling with children, let them help you plan the trip, looking at websites and reading up on the province together. To make your vacation more enjoyable if you’ll be spending a lot of time on the road, rent a minivan (all major rental agencies have a supply). Don’t forget to bring along favorite toys and games from home—whatever you think will keep will keep your kids entertained when the joys of sightseeing wear off.
The websites of Tourism British Columbia (www.hellobc.com ) and Tourism Vancouver (www.tourismvancouver.com ) have sections devoted to children’s activities. Another handy source of information is Kid Friendly! (604/541-6192, www.kidfriendly.org ), a Vancouver-based nonprofit organization that has compiled an online database of, you guessed it, kid-friendly attractions, lodgings, and restaurants throughout British Columbia. The website even has room for your children to write about their vacation. Another useful online tool is Traveling Internationally with Your Kids (www.travelwithyourkids.com ).
Liquor laws in Canada are enacted on a provincial level. The minimum age for alcohol consumption in British Columbia is 19. As in the rest of North America, driving in Vancouver  and Victoria  under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense. Those convicted of driving with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.8 face big fines and an automatic one-year license suspension. Second convictions (even if the first was out of province) lead to a three-year suspension. Note that in British Columbia drivers below the limit can be charged with impaired driving. It is also illegal to have open alcohol in a vehicle or in public places.
Smoking is banned in virtually all public places across Canada. Most provinces have enacted province-wide bans on smoking in public places, including British Columbia, where a blanket law went into effect in 2001 that includes all restaurants and bars.
Gratuities are not usually added to the bill. In restaurants and bars, around 15 percent of the total amount is expected. But you should tip according to how good (or bad) the service was, as low as 10 percent or up to and over 20 percent for exceptional service. The exception to this rule is for groups of eight or more, when it is standard for restaurants to add 15 to 20 percent as a gratuity. Tips are sometimes added to tour packages, so check this in advance, but you can also tip guides on stand-alone tours. Tips are also given to bartenders, taxi drivers, bellhops, and hairdressers.