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Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is located in a very safe and central neighborhood near downtown Vancouver. We suggest looking for accommodations in the following Vancouver neighbourhoods, as they are within walking distance or an easy commute by bicycle or public transit:

· Kitsilano
· Downtown West End· South Granville
· Main Street/Mount Pleasant/Fraserhood

· Downtown
· Fairview
· Olympic Village
· Commercial Drive

Tips for finding student housing:

· Plan ahead. Begin your search at least one month prior to move-in and allow two weeks of search time.
· Google Maps is a great resource to use when determining the location of the accommodation in relation to the school
· Set up appointments with landlords in-person. Never secure accommodations without meeting the landlord in-person and looking at the accommodation first.
· Do not send money in the mail to secure accommodations.
· Know what you want before you go. You may not find everything you want but it is best to set some priorities.


Global Education City

Furnished apartments for students. Multiple locations. The closest location to our campus is their Granville Street location. GEC Granville Suites is a premium boutique hotel in Downtown Vancouver, specializing in extended stays and student housing. For more information, visit here.

The Standard

The Standard is a high-rise building offering 106 apartments located along Granville Street near the crossroads of Davie and Helmcken. The Standard is steps away from the many restaurants, bars, and shops along Granville. For more information, visit here.


Vanmates helps international students find the right home at the best rates to suit their needs - from homes stays, shared accommodations to fully furnished apartments. For more information, visit here.

Websites to Search for Rental Accommodation:

Craiglist Vancouver

Pad Mapper

*This list is provided for informational purposes only and is not in any way to be interpreted as a recommendation, warranty or representation of any kind. Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts neither inspects nor endorses any unit or home, landlord, property location, website and roommate listing. It is the student’s responsibility to exercise due care and judgement when choosing a rental.


Centrally located at the entrance to Granville Island, our campus is easily accessible by public transit. We are also on a dedicated bicycle route. If you are planning on owning a vehicle in Vancouver, it might be best to leave your vehicle at home and ride your bicycle, walk or take transit, as free parking is limited in or around Granville Island. Vancouver transit information can be found at Translink BC.

Transportation from Vancouver International Airport


TransLink's online Trip Planner will help you find the fastest and easiest transit route to your destination. The Trip Planner will also let you know the fare you will need to pay and the approximate travel time. For example - to reach downtown Vancouver, you can take the Canada Line from Airport Station to several stations near the city center including:

• Broadway-City Hall

• Olympic Village

• Yaletown-Roundhouse

• Vancouver City Center

• Waterfront

Note: Many students arriving with luggage may consider other convenient transportation methods such as:

Licensed taxis are available from the taxi stand outside the Arrivals area. A flat zone fare is charged for transportation to different parts of the city. For more information, please visit here. A 15% gratuity/tip is normally expected on top of the meter charge.

Ride Apps
Popular ride app services are available from the airport. Uber, Lyft and KABU are the authorized providers at the airport. Pick up areas are located at:

• International Arrivals, Level 2

• Domestic Arrivals, Level 2

For more information, visit here.

Vancouver International Airport Arrival Information for International Students

Reduce wait times for your study permit at YVR

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is piloting the new Voluntary Compliance Portal (VC Portal) to provide information in advance to Canadian Border Service Agency officials prior to students’ arrival at YVR. Using the VC Portal is completely optional and allows students to voluntarily submit information found in their letter of introduction (study permit approval) from Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This can result in significant time savings for both the student and CBSA.

Information submitted to the VC Portal will be sent directly to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and will only be used to expedite the process for study permits. CBSA officers will be able to review applications prior to the student’s arrival, potentially identify administrative errors, and prepare documents in anticipation of arrival which should reduce the student’s time spent at the airport. Please note that no other organization will have access this information.

To be eligible, international students must meet the following criteria:

Initial entry into Canada must be at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). This process will not apply to students connecting to YVR from another Canadian city

  • They must have a letter of introduction (study permit approval) from IRCC
  • They must submit all the mandatory information at least 72 hours in advance through the VC Portal.
  • Students will be asked to submit the following information online through the Portal

Mandatory information:

  • Unique Client Identifier (UCI) – this can be found on the letter of introduction issued by IRCC
  • Last name (Family name)
  • Planned date of arrival to Vancouver
  • Arriving flight number

Optional information:

  • Control document number
  • First name
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number
  • Passport country of issue

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who will have access to the information the I submit?

Information submitted through the VC Portal will be sent directly to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) only.

How soon can I submit my information?

You can submit information as far in advance of your confirmed travel plans as you wish. Please note that the information must be received by the CBSA at least 72 hours prior to your arrival to Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

What happens if I don’t submit my information to VC Portal within 72 hours prior to arrival?
The CBSA cannot guarantee that your information will be received and processed in time.

What if the information I submitted is incorrect?
You can resubmit the correct information to the VC Portal up to 72 hours before your arrival.

What happens if I choose not to submit my information?

Submitting your information is voluntary. The VC Portal serves to speed up the wait times at YVR for study permit issuance for students with approvals.

Job opportunities in Vancouver

The Campus

The Institute is located at the entrance to Granville Island and is Vancouver's Premier Culinary Centre. This accredited, private and co-educational culinary institute provides students with world-class training in a setting filled with both cultural and recreational opportunities.

Our goals are high: To provide students with top-calibre training so that they are fully prepared for employment in the food and hospitality industries. We're always thrilled to see our graduates working in fine dining establishments around the world!

our facility

A Day in the Life of a PICAchef Student

Ever wonder what going to culinary school is like? Dani W. from Santa Monica, CA gives a behind the scenes look at a typical day in the life of a culinary student at PICAchef.

I wake up early and quickly make a cup of coffee. Caffeine is a necessary evil helping me I get through the day. I used to skip breakfast but because I’m so busy now I make sure to grab a granola bar and I’m out the door.


I leave my house earlier than I need to because I like to get to school ahead of schedule so I can get settled in. The weather is so beautiful in the summer, and since I live downtown, I can just walk to school over the picturesque Burrard Bridge with its breath taking views of the water, city and mountains in every direction.

Once I arrive at school, I quickly get changed into my uniform in the student locker rooms. I head to the Advanced Culinary Kitchen where a few of my classmates have already gathered. Some of them just started new jobs at restaurants in the city, so they tell me about what it’s like to work the line. We talk about what we will be making that day and then hone our knives so that we’re ready to go once Chef Ben gets us started.


Chef Ben takes us into the lecture room where he talks about Thai cuisine and its main flavor profiles as with the bios of various Thai chefs. This week is a continuation of our series of International Weeks and today we’re focusing on Thai food.


Before we start cooking our green curry, mango sticky rice and tom kha soup, my partner and I write a prep list in order to help with our organization and timing. We need to have our dishes on the pass at specific times and we want to make sure we have enough time to plate our meals in a presentable way.

10AM  I am lucky enough to be paired with Tew, a classmate who is from Thailand. I learn a lot from him and Chef Ben in how things are cooked and the necessity of utilizing non-French methods for sauce making.

Our first dish is on the pass! Tom Kha Soup. It’s deliciously spicy, tangy and bright. Filled with mushrooms, shrimp and lemongrass, it tastes like Thailand.

We’re making green curry for our main course, so we get to utilize a lot of ingredients that I don’t usually have at home: galangal, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil and bird’s eye chilies are laid out for us to choose from. I particularly enjoy making the curry paste from scratch as it feels customizable. My partner and I decide how much of each ingredient we add to the paste and then how much paste we add to the curry itself.

Once everyone plates their curries, we all sample one other’s dishes. Doing this is very helpful because I can see everyone’s personal tastes in each dish.

Dessert is sticky rice with fresh mango! We use a traditional bamboo method for steaming the sticky rice and it comes out better than what I’ve had at any restaurant!

Once we finish trying everyone’s dishes it’s time to clean and sanitize the kitchen. We all have assigned jobs, but we also just jump in wherever we are needed and work together as a team to re-set our kitchen-classroom. 12:30PM – All done for the day! I head into the locker room to get changed back into my street clothes!


I meet up with my best friend outside of school to walk to Granville Market and do some shopping. It’s so convenient to be so close to Vancouver famous public market with so much fresh produce and groceries. We pick up snacking sausages, cheese and fruit, plus a bouquet of flowers. I’m planning on surprising my boyfriend when he gets home from work. Boys like flowers too!


Home and starting my homework! Today I’m watching a couple of videos from the school online resource about sustainable seafood practices and taking notes. After that I write a short essay about Middle Eastern sauce making since that will be our focus tomorrow. I’m already really excited because Middle Eastern sauces have such highly concentrated flavors they highlight all the flavors of whatever dishes they’re topping.

All done with my homework! I make a cup of coffee and then get ready to go to the beach! I love how late the sun stays up in Vancouver.

Leave my apartment to head to Sunset Beach. It’s just a quick walk along the seawall.

Meet up with some of my girlfriends at the beach. We have the selection of snacks I bought at Granville Market earlier, and they brought chips and dip so we have a delicious picnic!

Our boyfriends get off work and come meet us. We lay in the sun and plan a lake day for the weekend!

My boyfriend and I pack all of our stuff up and head home. I surprise him with the flowers – they’re a hit!

Not too hungry as we’ve been snacking all day, but I heat up the rest of my green curry from this morning for us to eat for dinner. We put on some trashy TV and settle in for the night.

Pull out a fresh uniform for tomorrow and get ready for bed. Sleep!

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