First published on September 18, 2011
When you’re in Vancouver and you need to exchange Canadian dollars for foreign currency, and vice versa, you want to stay away from many of the currency exchange companies. However, the common alternatives (the banks and credit unions) still include quite a large spread in their buy and sell rates. When you’re in downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Bullion and Currency Exchange (VBCE) at Pender and Howe is widely recommended as giving the best rates.
However, I’ve often run into long lines at the VBCE, especially at mid-day. Just over 1 block away — east on Pender and then north on Granville if you’re on foot — is a small shop called Benny Lee & Co that I can also recommend. The address is 470 Granville Street (formerly 619 West Hastings Street). The couple of times that I’ve gone there, I did not encounter a line, and the rates were comparable to those at the VBCE.
You can also exchange currency online at XE Trade if you have both Canadian dollar and US dollar bank accounts.