Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown grew from a single tavern founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton back in 1867. Today, the district retains its historic charm and independent spirit. Victorian architecture houses a thriving fashion scene, impeccably curated décor boutiques, one-of-a-kind galleries and some of the best culinary fare in Vancouver. It’s a gathering place for stylish locals and an ideal neighbourhood to explore on foot. Gastown lies along the north of the downtown Vancouver peninsula, from Richards east to Main Street, and south to Hastings Street.
Photo: Djordje Cicovic / Flickr
Seeing and Doing
Gastown is a neighbourhood that seamlessly combines old with new, history with the way forward. An essential part of Vancouver’s history, a visit to Gastown should include a stroll along Water Street, where you’ll find a picture-perfect collection of old buildings, cobblestones, the Steam Clock, and vintage lampposts. Continue to the end of Water Street to visit a statue of the man who started it all, Gassy Jack Deighton. Architecture and history buffs can take organized walking tours of the area to further explore. Get a bird’s eye view of the area from the Vancouver Lookout, which rises 167-metres (548-feet) to give visitors a 360˚ panorama of the city.
Eating and Drinking
Gastown is home to many of the city’s hottest restaurants, making it a great pick for a special night out. From European cuisine with farm-to-table flair, through to Asian-inspired molecular gastronomy and everything in between, Gastown’s restaurants will not disappoint. If you’re not ready to commit to a whole meal, consider stopping by a wine bar for a cheese and charcuterie course, or watch a game at one of the pubs and sports bars. This neighbourhood is also the epicentre of the city’s cocktail scene, and whether you’re looking for a classic Collins or a modern swizzle, you’ll find it here.
Photo: Gastown BIA / Flickr
Shopping and Souvenirs
If you only have time to shop one neighbourhood while you’re in Vancouver, it should probably be Gastown. With its combination of traditional souvenir stores and art galleries, as well as lots of independent fashion boutiques and modern gift stores, you’ll find plenty of things for both yourself and those you need to buy souvenirs for. The area has some excellent First Nations art galleries which are worth checking out for unique keepsakes such as silver jewellery, art pieces and carvings.
For more information, visit the Gastown Business Improvement Society online.