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GastownVancouver

The birthplace of Vancouver is full of old-world charm with cobbled streets, Victorian buildings, and a unique steam-powered clock. 

Gastown grew up around a tavern, which opened in 1867 to service thirsty sawmill workers and visiting sailors. The bar owner was John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, so called because of his talkative nature.

As the nearest pub was more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, Deighton’s establishment became the heart of the small town in what was mostly wilderness on Canada’s west coast. Both the fledgling town, which took it’s name from Gassy Jack, and the watering hole prospered thanks to the sawmill and the seaport, and would become the world-class city of Vancouver.

After the global Great Depression of the 1930s, the neighborhood hit hard times. The city had expanded westward and changed its name to Vancouver, and Gastown was largely forgotten. In fact, it became so rundown that there were calls for the neighborhood to be torn down. A large public campaign organized by property owners and local businesses managed to persuade the provincial government to spare Gastown from the wrecking ball in the 1970s.

The area has benefited from a major regeneration program and gentrification, and today is a happy confluence of old town history and modern day urban chic.

It may not be the heart of the city anymore, but Gastown has retained its character with cobblestone streets and old buildings, many of which are more than a hundred years old.

Many of those original buildings are now home to bars and restaurants. Enjoy fine dining — from Italian, to French, to Asian-influenced — as well as tap houses with exceptional locally-brewed beer.

Explore this eclectic neighborhood by day and night. Your meandering will take you past nightspots, high fashion boutiques, antique stores and galleries. Several chic home design shops offer elegant, decorative fabrics and tableware from all over the world. Observe the statue of “Gassy Jack” perched atop a whiskey barrel in Maple Tree Square on the site of the area’s first tavern, and there’s a French restaurant on the site of Vancouver’s first jail.

One of the town’s best-known landmarks is its steam-powered clock, which stands on the intersection of Cambie Street and Water Street, and ‘toots’ every 15 minutes. The clock’s timepiece is partially driven by water vapor and while it looks like a Victorian antique, it was actually built in 1977. It was the first of its type ever built. Plaques with information on buildings and landmarks are scattered throughout the town.

Gastown is an easy walk from the surrounding hotel districts, and also accessible by bus or the Skytrain, Vancouver’s rapid transportation system. Parking can be tricky to find during the busy summer tourist season.

Top Hotels in Gastown

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Ramada Limited Vancouver Downtown
Ramada Limited Vancouver Downtown
2.5 out of 5
435 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC
The price is $79 per night

Located in Gastown, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Simon Fraser University - Downtown and Pacific Centre Shopping Mall. Vancouver Convention ...

3.9/5Good! (2,151 reviews)

"Centrally locates which makes it a great location to restaurants and activities!"…"

Reviewed on Mar 18, 2020

Ramada Limited Vancouver Downtown
Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites
Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites
4 out of 5
550 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC
The price is $130 per night

Located in Gastown, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Canada Place, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and Vancouver Convention Centre. Robson Street ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (997 reviews)

"Great hotel. Would highly recommend to anyone visiting Vancouver on business."…"

Reviewed on Mar 22, 2020

Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites
Skwachàys Lodge
Skwachàys Lodge
2.5 out of 5
31 West Pender, Vancouver, BC
The price is $220 per night

Located in Gastown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Rogers Arena, and Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Vancouver Waterfront ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (898 reviews)

"Rick was an amazing host. Very friendly, helpful, personable and made us feel at home. He answered all our questions and we were impressed with his recommendations."…"

Reviewed on Mar 14, 2020

Skwachàys Lodge
Cambie Hostel Gastown
Cambie Hostel Gastown
2 out of 5
310 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC

Located in Gastown, this hostel is within a 5-minute walk of Vancouver Waterfront and Harbour Centre. Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Canada Place are also within ...

3/5 (323 reviews)

"The location is primo. Staff are awesome. The vibe there is definitely upbeat. Loved the sense of security. As a female travelling alone I appreciated the female only dorm and bathroom option. Breakfast is the bomb. Recommend the veggie eggs benny."…"

Reviewed on Nov 3, 2019

Cambie Hostel Gastown
Sterling Suites - Gastown
Sterling Suites - Gastown
27 Alexander Street, Vancouver, BC

Located in Gastown, this condo building is within a 15-minute walk of Gassy Jack Statue, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and Rogers Arena. Canada Place and Harbour ...

5/5Exceptional! (1 review)

"It was a fantastic location in the heart of Gastown very clean, decor was excellent, very welcoming the complimentary coffee and tea was a nice touch. Will definitely book and stay again."…"

Reviewed on Feb 20, 2020

Sterling Suites - Gastown
New!! Stunning Brick & Beam Gastown Heritage Loft
New!! Stunning Brick & Beam Gastown Heritage Loft
Vancouver, BC

Located in Gastown, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Gassy Jack Statue, Rogers Arena, and Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Canada Place and BC Place ...

No reviews
Superb Property, Fantastic Host, Great Location

"The loft was an amazing space in a great location. Very well equipped, especially loved that there were plenty of coat hangers and storage space plus lots of other thoughtful touches! Really comfortable bed and living space - a truly luxury home from home. Central location - close to everything we ..."…"

Reviewed on Mar 25, 2020

New!! Stunning Brick & Beam Gastown Heritage Loft

Popular places to visit in Gastown

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Image for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Imagine you are in Suzhou, China in this beautifully created urban oasis where architecture, rocks, plants and water provide a peaceful, harmonious setting.

Harbour Centre
Image for Harbour Centre

Harbour Centre

4.5/5(10 reviews)

You can learn about the local history of Vancouver when you make a stop at a well-known site like Harbour Centre. Discover the acclaimed art scene and shops in this vibrant area.

Vancouver Lookout
Image for Vancouver Lookout

Vancouver Lookout

5/5(1 review)

You can find out about the history of Vancouver when you stop by Vancouver Lookout. Amble around this vibrant area's beautiful beaches and enjoy its top-notch restaurants.

Hotel Europe
Image for Hotel Europe

Hotel Europe

Find out about the history of Vancouver when you spend time at Hotel Europe. Amble around this vibrant area's waterfront or experience its acclaimed art scene.

Steam Clock
Image for Steam Clock

Steam Clock

5/5(1 review)

Visit Gastown and see this unique fixture that adds a nostalgic bit of novelty to the historic area with delights for three senses.

Gassy Jack Statue
Image for Gassy Jack Statue

Gassy Jack Statue

4.5/5(10 reviews)

Towns and cities often have founders with military backgrounds. Vancouver, however, has one with more colorful beginnings and an unusual name.  

Top things to do in Gastown

Food Tour with Tastings in Historic Gastown
Image for Food Tour with Tastings in Historic Gastown

Food Tour with Tastings in Historic Gastown

90% of travellers recommend
$68
Per adult
Chinatown Culinary & Cultural Tour with Dim Sum Lunch
Image for Chinatown Culinary & Cultural Tour with Dim Sum Lunch

Chinatown Culinary & Cultural Tour with Dim Sum Lunch

94% of travellers recommend
$78
Per adult
Vancouver Brewery Tour
Image for Vancouver Brewery Tour

Vancouver Brewery Tour

100% of travellers recommend
$64
Per adult
Brewery Creek Walking Beer Tour
Image for Brewery Creek Walking Beer Tour

Brewery Creek Walking Beer Tour

$52
Per adult
Gastown Pub Walk
Image for Gastown Pub Walk

Gastown Pub Walk

$60
Per adult
Historic Gastown Photowalk
Image for Historic Gastown Photowalk

Historic Gastown Photowalk

$70
Per adult

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