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Vancouver Neighbourhood Guide: Gastown

Gastown: Vancouver’s Historic and Trendy Neighbourhood


Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, is a fascinating blend of historic charm and modern vibrancy. Known for its cobblestone streets, unique boutiques, and trendy eateries, Gastown is a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists. The area’s distinct character and rich history make it a standout neighbourhood in Vancouver.


Gastown’s history dates back to 1867 when it was founded by John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman and pub owner. What started as a small settlement around Gassy Jack’s Tavern quickly grew into Vancouver’s first downtown core. Today, Gastown retains much of its historic charm, with well-preserved Victorian architecture and landmarks that tell the story of its storied past.


Living in Gastown means immersing yourself in a vibrant urban lifestyle. The neighbourhood is bustling with activity, offering a unique mix of old and new. Residents and visitors can enjoy trendy cafes, eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and a lively nightlife scene, all set against a backdrop of historic charm.


Gastown attracts a diverse mix of residents, including young professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs. The neighbourhood’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in its many independent shops, innovative restaurants, and vibrant cultural scene. Gastown is also a hub for tech startups and co-working spaces, making it a dynamic place to live and work.

Real Estate

Gastown offers a variety of housing options, from historic lofts and warehouse conversions to modern condos. The neighbourhood’s unique character and central location make it a desirable place to live, with properties often in high demand. Real estate in Gastown is known for its distinctive architectural features, including exposed brick, high ceilings, and large windows.

Parks and Recreation

While Gastown is an urban neighbourhood, it is close to several parks and recreational areas:

  • Victory Square: A historic park that commemorates the soldiers who fought in World War I. It’s a peaceful green space in the heart of the city.
  • CRAB Park at Portside: Located nearby, this waterfront park offers stunning views of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet, as well as picnic areas and a playground.

Dining and Nightlife

Gastown is renowned for its diverse and innovative dining scene:

  • L’Abattoir: A chic restaurant offering French-inspired cuisine with a Pacific Northwest twist.
  • Tacofino: Known for its delicious tacos and vibrant atmosphere.
  • The Flying Pig: A popular bistro serving comfort food with a contemporary twist.

Gastown’s nightlife is equally vibrant, with a variety of bars, pubs, and clubs that cater to different tastes:

  • The Diamond: A stylish cocktail bar offering expertly crafted drinks in a cozy, intimate setting.
  • Guilt & Company: A live music venue known for its eclectic performances and lively ambiance.
  • The Cambie: One of Vancouver’s oldest bars, offering a laid-back atmosphere and affordable drinks.


Gastown’s shopping scene is a mix of independent boutiques, vintage shops, and artisanal stores:

  • Rodney Graham Studio: Offers unique art pieces and photography.
  • Old Faithful Shop: A lifestyle store featuring a curated selection of home goods, stationery, and gifts.
  • John Fluevog Shoes: A flagship store of the iconic Canadian shoe designer, known for his distinctive and creative footwear.


Gastown is well-served by public transportation, making it easy to get around the neighbourhood and beyond:

  • SkyTrain: The Waterfront Station is within walking distance, providing access to the Expo and Canada Lines, as well as the West Coast Express.
  • Bus Routes: Several bus routes run through Gastown, connecting it to other parts of Vancouver.
  • Walking and Biking: The neighbourhood’s compact layout and pedestrian-friendly streets make walking and biking popular modes of transportation.

Schools and Education

Families living in Gastown have access to several educational institutions and resources:

  • Lord Strathcona Elementary School: Located nearby, offering education from Kindergarten to Grade 7.
  • Vancouver Community College: The downtown campus is within easy reach, providing a range of programs and courses.


Healthcare services in and around Gastown are easily accessible, with several clinics, pharmacies, and wellness centres located nearby. St. Paul’s Hospital, one of Vancouver’s major healthcare facilities, is also situated close to the neighbourhood, providing comprehensive medical services to the community.

Events and Festivals

Gastown hosts numerous events and festivals that celebrate its unique culture and community spirit:

  • Gastown Grand Prix: An annual cycling race that attracts top cyclists from around the world.
  • Vancouver International Jazz Festival: Gastown is a key venue for this renowned music festival, featuring performances by local and international artists.
  • Gastown Thursday Nights: A summer event series featuring live music, food trucks, and extended shopping hours.


Gastown is a neighbourhood that seamlessly blends historic charm with modern vibrancy. Its unique character, diverse community, and dynamic cultural scene make it one of Vancouver’s most fascinating places to live and visit. Whether you’re drawn to its rich history, trendy eateries, or vibrant nightlife, Gastown offers an unparalleled urban experience.

For more information about Gastown and other Vancouver neighbourhoods, visit Vancouver Page.


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