"Where it all started..." Gastown Tip by Jefie
Gastown, Vancouver: 69 reviews and 115 photos
Even though it now ranks as the third largest city in Canada, Vancouver is still fairly young. Its origins can be traced back to the area called "Gastown", Vancouver's most historic district. In 1867, "Gassy Jack" Deighton opened up a saloon near a lumber mill and just like that, a city was born! For a few decades, Gastown remained at the heart of the new city of Vancouver but when businesses started moving away to new areas, practically the entire district was left to fall into disrepair. In the 1960s, a group of citizens got together to save and restore Gastown, which has now become a very popular tourist attraction.
Gastown is basically one street (Water Street) lined with historical brick and stone buildings dating back to the end of the 19th century (all of the town's wooden buildings were destroyed in the great fire of 1886). Most of them are now filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. Another big attraction seems to be the Gastown Steam Clock around which people gather to take pictures and hear it whistle every quarter hours (the clock was added in 1977 when the area was restored). But for me the most interesting thing to do in Gastown was to go on the free guided walking tour which runs every day at 2:00 pm, from June 15 to August 30 (tours start near the statue of Gassy Jack, at the corner of Water and Carrall St). The tour was 90 min long and our guide was very interesting, giving us plenty of information about the area's history and architecture, and he kept on with the tour even when rain started pouring down!
One thing to keep in mind while visiting Gastown is that the rather infamous Downtown Eastside area begins not far from the corner of Water and Carrall St. Nothing to keep you from visiting Gastown, but you might not want to venture too far out up Carrall St.
Address: Water Street
Directions: Downtown Vancouver, begins at the corner of Water and Richards St.
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