"The Gastown of my childhood: an anecdote" Top 5 Page for this destination Gastown Tip by Carmanah

Gastown, Vancouver: 11 reviews and 9 photos

  The Steamclock on Water Street in Gastown
by Carmanah

Fondest memory: When I was a kid, about once a year my parents would take me and my sister to Gastown for the afternoon. We'd almost always go there on Remembrance Day (November 11th) as we'd have the day off from work and school.

We'd park in the parking lot where Storyeum currently sits, and we'd walk up and down Water Street looking in the stores.

We'd walk into the Landing, a small indoor shopping centre where somebody would be playing a grand piano. There were a few gift shops in there that we'd browse through.

Outside on Water Street, there was the "Games People" which was a really peculiar shop selling every kind of board game you can imagine. The interior was old and shabby and felt like it hadn't changed since the 1970's.

There was also an old fashioned cigar store right across from the Gassy Jack statue, where you had to walk up wooden porch steps to get inside. It felt like a store from the 1880's!

My mom would always go into this gift shop called Calico Cats. It was a typical feminine gift shop selling gift cards, soaps, and ornaments, including ceramic cats.

Next door was a kite shop that we loved to visit. We'd walk by the Steamclock hoping that it would blow its whistle. Then, if we were lucky, we'd have lunch at Brother's restaurant - a family restaurant located in an old brick building where the servers are dressed like monks.

That's Gastown for you in my memory, in the mid-late 80's. Things have certainly changed.

Nowadays Gastown feels a bit more edgy. Begging wasn't common in Gastown in the 80's, whereas these days you can't walk down Water Street without several people hassling you for spare change.

However, the side streets off Water Street are becoming more interesting. There are more independent boutiques opening up, and a real artists community seems to be flourishing. New restaurants are also opening up, greatly improving Gastown's dining scene.

So my point to this is that while Gastown is historic, it's modern identity is always evolving.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 23, 2007
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