Live Streaming of the Forum sessions online

For those of you unable to make it to Waterloo, please tune in to the following links:

Tuesday, 27 October, 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM Eastern time:  https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/4338914
Wednesday, 28 October, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern time:  https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/4338928
Thursday, 29 October, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern time:  https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/4338944

Please share these links with interested colleagues.  The feeds are only 1-way outward, so if you have questions or comments that you would like to share, please use the hashtag #PDFII on Twitter or send us e-mails via ccin@uwaterloo.ca.  We will be watching these and will do our best to relay your input to the room in a timely manner.
There are coffee breaks and lunch each day (see the Forum schedule at http://www.polar-data-forum.org/programme/draft-programme for detailed timing), so there will be breaks in the live feed for these.  The poster sessions will be broadcast for the first 30 minutes or so as participants give their 1-minute lightning talks.
If there are issues with the feed, we will try to post updates, with the #PDFII hashtag, to the @polardata Twitter account, openly available at https://twitter.com/polardata for those not on Twitter.

Accommodation: Block reservation closed


Accommodation is available near the University and in downtown Waterloo. A room block has been arranged at the Delta Waterloo (https://www.deltahotels.com/Hotels/Delta-Waterloo) for the reduced rate of $149/night. Direct access to room booking is available at the following link:


You are encouraged to stay at the Delta as it is the most convenient hotel to the meeting location. In addition, the Delta is only a lovely 15 minute walk from the University through Waterloo Park, and is on the doorstep of Uptown Waterloo where participants will find a wide selection of independent shops and unique eateries, including one of the region's newest micro-breweries (Abe Erb, http://abeerb.com). Alternatively, other hotels in the vicinity include the Waterloo Inn, the Comfort Inn, and the Waterloo Hotel.

Access/Transportation 

The location for PDF II is the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Federation Hall, newly renovated on the campus of the University of Waterloo (https://uwaterloo.ca/food-services/fed-hall), has conference facilities and services for up to 200 people. The Main Hall of Federation Hall and smaller adjacent meeting rooms have been reserved for the week (26-30 October 2015) for PDF II and the meetings of the IASC/SAON ADC and SCAR-SC-ADM.  

A map of the University campus is available at the following link:  https://uwaterloo.ca/map/. Parking lots are shown on the map. Depending on the parking lot, the cost for parking is between $5 and $10 per day. 

Toronto Pearson International Airport (also known as Lester B. Pearson International Airport) serves Toronto and its metropolitan area, including Waterloo. The airport is located 22.5 km northwest of downtown Toronto, in the adjacent city of Mississauga. Pearson is the largest and busiest airport in Canada, handling over 38 million passengers in 2014. 

Airways Transit, http://www.airwaystransit.com, provides door-to-door van service between the Toronto Airport and Waterloo. Online reservations can be made in advance at https://secure.airwaystransit.com/reserve.php. The one-way fare is $92.00. Scheduled service is available three times daily to the University of Waterloo for a reduced fare ($56.00 one way): http://www.airwaystransit.com/airporter.shtml. 

Travel Visa

All participants are responsible for obtaining all necessary travel visas for Canada and any country visited or where a stopover is required. The conference organizers strongly recommend participants to visit the website of the Canadian embassy/consulate in their country as soon as possible to learn about the specific Canadian immigration processes and timing that will apply to them. Please visit the following link for the application to Visit Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/visa.asp 

Please visit the following link for the list of countries and territories whose citizens require visas in order to enter Canada as visitors: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

Please visit the following link for a list of countries and corresponding Canadian Visa Offices: http://www.cic.gc.ca/ENGLISH/information/offices/apply-where.asp

If you would like advice or need clarity on the processes please contact a Canadian embassy. If you require additional information or an invitation letter for your travel visa application, please contact us (ccin@uwaterloo.ca).

Excursions (Updated 13 August)
Excursions to locations of interest near Waterloo, including Toronto and the Niagara Falls area, are available as follows:

Waterloo local area:
St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market
St. Jacobs Village
Grand River Trails
Stratford Festival (45 km from Waterloo)
Those locations are accessible via taxi or public transportation (http://www.grt.ca/). Stratford is also accessible by Via Rail Trains (http://www.viarail.ca).

Toronto Area (~125 km):
Royal Ontario Museum
CN Tower
Toronto Eaton Centre
Toronto Zoo
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Art Gallery of Ontario
Heritage Sites
Toronto Islands
Bloor-Yorkville

Niagara Area (~150 km):
Niagara Falls
Cruises to the Falls
Niagara-on-the-lake (town, with many tourist amenities)
Niagara Wineries
There is a public transportation service for the Niagara Region (http://www.niagarafallstourism.com/services/transportation/wego/

Tours to Niagara Falls and other attractions in southwest Ontario primarily leave from Toronto (instead of from Waterloo). There are many options to get to Toronto from Waterloo so that you may access these tour opportunities:

From Waterloo, you may use the Greyhound bus (www.greyhound.ca), the Go Transit bus/train (www.gotransit.com/), or the Via Rail trains (http://www.viarail.ca/) to get to downtown Toronto.

Once you are in Toronto, many tours are accessible. Here is a list of thematic tours:
Day Trip to Niagara Falls
Day Trip to Niagara-on-the-lake
Ontario Craft and Brewery Tours
Niagara Wine Tours
Ontario Culinary Tours
Toronto City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Toronto Island Bike Tour
Toronto Islands Cruises

Here is a list of websites that offer different tours and day trips:
http://niagaratours.ca/
http://www.ontariogroupoftouringcompanies.com/en-CA/
http://www.niagaratoronto.com/
http://www.tallshipcruisestoronto.com
http://www.viator.com/toronto-tours/d623-ttd?pref=02
http://citysightseeingtoronto.com/
http://www.torontotours.ca/
http://www.seetorontonow.com/

For a more personalized trip, Airways Transit offers a Day Trip option with departures from Waterloo. You (or your group) can plan a special trip to any destination in Ontario. Prices are customized depending on the number of people, the destination as well as the type of trip. They offer two types of trips:
1. You can travel from Waterloo to any destination where you will be dropped off and picked up later at a determined time and brought back to Waterloo.
2. You can design an itinerary where you make multiple stops and the driver stays with you all day.
Please visit http://www.airwaystransit.com/day_trips.shtml for more information.

For more information about Ontario and its places to discover, please visit https://www.ontariotravel.net/en/home


Weather 

The average high temperature for the month of October is 13C, and the low is 2C. The weather can be variable, with possibilities for either warm or cold days and occasional snowfall. The beautiful colours of changing fall foliage are usually at their peaks in the middle of October, potentially providing good sight-seeing opportunities before the week of the Forum. 

Money

Currency and money exchange: The unit of currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar. The current exchange rate is approximately 1 Canadian dollar = 0.73 Euro. You can purchase Canadian dollars at a reasonable rate in foreign exchanges at the Toronto airport and within most major banks. 

Sales tax: A sales tax of 13% is added to the price of almost all goods purchased in Ontario. Typically, this is not included in the stated price but will be added upon purchase. 

Traveller’s cheques and credit/debit cards Traveller’s cheques are not commonly used in Canada but are accepted by merchants almost everywhere. VISA, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express credit cards (and debit cards with a credit facility) are widely accepted at shops and restaurants in urban areas. Many ATMs in Canada will accept foreign credit/debit cards for cash advances, provided the card network is supported by your card (Interac, Visa, and MasterCard are the primary debit and credit card networks in Canada). Overseas participants can exchange currency into Canadian dollars upon arrival at Toronto airport or may obtain Canadian dollars in advance in their own country.

Electricity

Canada's electrical supply is 110-120 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second). Electrical outlets (sockets, wall plugs) are either Type A or B.