This is Gastown




Step into Gastown, the epitome of Vancouver's vibrant history and contemporary flair, and find yourself immersed in a neighbourhood that's both trendy and timeless. Named after John "Gassy Jack" Deighton, a Yorkshire saloon owner whose whiskey-fuelled construction escapade led to the area's first bar, Gastown is where cobblestone pathways intersect with chic eateries and edgy fashion studios.

Fancy a historical deep dive? Embark on an architectural walking tour to unearth the district's storied past (and maybe spot a ghost or two). More in a shopping mood? Water Street is your go-to for chic boutiques and unique souvenirs. When hunger strikes, meander through the cobblestone lanes for an array of gastronomic delights—from wine and charcuterie to Pacific Northwest fare, modern Asian cuisine, trendy cocktail joints, and hip craft beer pubs. It's a smorgasbord of cool, served Gastown-style!

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Italian Trulli
With a sawmill and a port nearby, the genesis of Vancouver quickly came about, and Gastown not only became a place of business but also a place to party. Fishermen, loggers, adventurers, prospectors, ships' captains and crews were all there for different reasons at different times.
Ian Gibbs, British-Canadian author.

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Before it became Gastown, the Coast Salish people recognized this area as a crucial portage route between False Creek and Burrard Inlet. During high tide, a canoe could be used navigate between the two bodies of water along a route akin to where Carrall Street is now located. A indigenous landmark known as Lekleki—meaning "grove of beautiful trees"—on the Burrard side, hosted a large, culturally significant maple tree that served as a gathering spot until it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1886. This legacy lives on in today's Maple Tree Square, a bustling area featuring restaurants and bars with gorgeous patios where you can meet and reconnect with friends and family.

A walk down Water Street unveils a seamless blend of old and new. Admire the preserved Victorian architecture while exploring souvenir shops, independent art galleries, and home décor boutiques. Don't leave without hearing the Gastown Steam Clock's iconic whistle, partially powered by underground steam pipes that heat most of downtown Vancouver. The clock also had its moment in rock history—it's featured on the cover of Nickelback's "Here and Now" album.

Food lovers will rejoice in a culinary landscape that spans from gourmet sandwiches to the freshest local seafood. As twilight descends, cocktail lounges buzz with life, often to the melodies of live music from the Vancouver International Jazz Festival venues throughout the neighborhood. For sports fans, the international criterium cycling race, the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, transforms the streets into a high-speed course annually.

Accessibility to Gastown is a breeze. Its proximity to Waterfront Station provides easy connections to the Skytrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus Terminal, making it a central hub. With its fascinating history, sumptuous dining, and diverse shopping, Gastown is an essential destination for any visitor to Vancouver!

Vancouverites might be known for their mellow ways, but when they decide to shake things up, watch out! Case in point: "Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971," by award-winning Canadian photographer Stan Douglas. This large-scale photograph vividly captures the Battle of Maple Tree Square, a violent and bloody clash between anti-establishment protestors and police in Gastown. Marking a turning point in the area's history, Douglas's work serves as both a historical snapshot and a poignant commentary on social upheaval. It immortalizes a transformative—and uncharacteristically rowdy—moment in the heart of peaceful Gastown. Check it out in the atrium of the Woodward's Heritage Building at 111 West Hastings Street.
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