Neighbourhood Spotlight: Gastown, Vancouver
When you think of Gastown in Vancouver, you cannot help but conjure up images of the lofty Victorian brick buildings, the red cobblestoned streets, the lively bars, trendy restaurants and boutique shops. This enchanting mixture has long made Gastown one of Vancouver’s most sought after neighbourhoods.
A brief history of Gastown
It all began back in 1867, when an Englishman called John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton opened a tavern on the shores of the Burrard Inlet. From this unassuming beginning a town quickly grew. Helped largely by its proximity to the water, it was the perfect place for trade and commerce.
After the Great Depression the neighbourhood fell on hard times, but in the 1960s a group of locals began a campaign to save Gastown’s heritage buildings. The area thrived once again, and in 2009 was made a National Historic Site.
Modern day Gastown
Nowadays as you walk along the cobbled streets lined with vintage lamp posts, it’s evident that this is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. But the beauty of Gastown is that its historic charm sits seamlessly alongside the new.
Lining its streets you’ll find top of the line fashion shops, cocktails bars, pubs and independent restaurants to suit every budget. Which is exactly why the area is so popular with tourists and locals alike.
If you are donning your tourist hat, then there’s plenty of things to do and see in Gastown. And there’s no need to find change for a bus ticket, as Gastown is compact enough to be explored entirely on foot.
First up, you cannot visit the neighbourhood without stopping by the famous steam clock. One of only a few clocks in the world to be powered by steam, it whistles and steams every quarter of an hour.
Next, shop for souvenirs along Water Street, then check out Vancouver’s Police Museum, located in the former city morgue. Continue strolling along the streets, taking in the Victorian architecture and stopping by any boutiques that take your fancy.
Don’t forget to visit some the city’s best First Nations art galleries, such as Hills Native Art and the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver. To better get your bearings, head up to The Lookout for 360 degree views of Vancouver and the surrounding mountains.
If all this causes you to work up an appetite, you won’t be short of cafes and restaurants to enjoy. For a coffee and a sweet treat, there’s a vast selection at Purebread. For something more decadent, check out Wildebeest, or MeeT in Gastown for vegan fare.
As for nightlife, Gastown more than has it covered. It’s known for its cocktail bars, while there’s also an extensive range of pubs and late night venues offering up craft beer, live music and dancing into the early hours.
Living in Gastown
But Gastown isn’t just a draw for tourists. The neighbourhood is much loved amongst buyers, investors and renters. Back in 2012 Gastown was named the fourth most stylish neighbourhood in the world, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s not just the trendy cafes, hidden alleyways, independent shops, endless restaurants, lively bars and palpable sense of history. It’s also a business hub, with many tech start-ups, creative agencies and film production companies making Gastown their home.
Then there’s the property itself – you’ll find heritage buildings, Victorian townhouses, lofty condos and basement suites, all steps away from the fantastic amenities Gastown has to offer.
The neighbourhood is also close to Chinatown and the waterfront. With beautiful views across the Burrard Inlet, the excellent transport links of the Waterfront Station, and North America’s second largest Chinatown right at your doorstep, Gastown is hard to beat.
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