Gastown © Todd Van Hoosear
The fascinating little historic enclave of Gastown, in the central core area of Vancouver, alongside Chinatown, transports visitors back in time to envision the city in days of old, with its cobbled streets, antique gaslights, Victorian architecture and maze of narrow alleys, courtyards and passages wherein hide boutiques and restaurants. Gastown was named after Vancouver's first settler and saloon owner, Jack "Gassy" Deighton, whose historic hotel was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1886 along with much of the city. The fire swept through the town in less than an hour, leaving only two of the 400 or so houses standing.
"Gassy" Jack has been immortalised with a statue in Maple Tree Square in Gastown. Another point of interest is the Lamplighter Pub in the Dominion Hotel, which was the first Vancouver inn to serve alcohol to women. The Europe Hotel was the first fireproof building in western Canada, having been built just after the fire in 1892. Gastown keeps time with the world's first steam clock, which plays the Westminster chimes every 15 minutes on five brass steam whistles inside its cast bronze case. These and many other interesting corners of Gastown can be explored on a daily walking tour, offered at 2pm each day between June and August, which starts at the Gassy Jack statue and takes 90 minutes.
Transport: Gastown is easily accessible by Vancouver’s Rapid Transit System, SkyTrain, and city buses