Canada Post (www.canadapost.ca ) issues postage stamps that must be used on all mail posted in Canada. First-class letters and postcards sent within Canada are $0.52, to the United States $0.93, to foreign destinations $1.55. Prices increase along with the weight of the mailing. You can buy stamps at post offices, automatic vending machines, most hotel lobbies, airports, Pacific Central Station (Vancouver), many retail outlets, and some newsstands.
The area code for Vancouver  and the lower mainland, including the Sunshine Coast , as far north as Whistler , and east to Hope , is 604. The are code for the rest of the province, including Victoria  and all of Vancouver Island , is 250. The area code 778 applies to new numbers, but its implementation means that you must add the relevant area code to all numbers dialed within Vancouver. All prefixes must be dialed for all long-distance calls, including those made within the province.
The country code for Canada is 1, the same as the United States. Toll-free numbers have the 800, 888, or 877 prefix, and may be good within British Columbia , in Canada, throughout North America, or, in the case of major hotel chains and car-rental companies, worldwide.
To make an international call from Canada, dial the prefix 011 before the country code or dial 0 for operator assistance.
Public phones accept 5-, 10-, and 25-cent coins; local calls are $0.35, and most long-distance calls cost at least $2.50 for the first minute. The least expensive way to make long-distance calls from a public phone is with a phone card. These are available from convenience stores, newsstands, and gas stations.
If your Internet provider doesn’t allow you to access your email away from your home computer, open an email account with Hotmail (www.hotmail.com ) or Yahoo (www.yahoo.com ). Although there are restrictions to the size and number of emails you can store, and junk mail can be a problem, these services are handy and, best of all, free.
Public Internet access is available throughout British Columbia . All larger hotels have wireless or high-speed access. Those that don’t—usually mid- and lower-priced properties—often have an Internet booth in the lobby. Except for wilderness hostels, backpacker lodges provide inexpensive Internet access. You’ll also find wireless connections or Internet booths in many cafés and in public areas, such as Canada Place  in Vancouver , where a credit card will get you as long as you need on the Net. Aside from a lack of privacy, the downside to these public access points is the lack of a mouse at most terminals—instead you must move around the screen using a touch pad.