Walking Vancouver: Forbidden Vancouver’s Prohibition City Tour

Prohibition City walking tour

Prohibition City tour; Photo credit: Suzanne Rushton

One of the best ways to really get to know a city is by getting outside and walking. And in Vancouver, due to its fabulous “walkability,” you don’t need a car to explore some of the best sights our beautiful city has to offer.

Whether you’re hoping to gain a sense of our rich history, spot our stunning architecture, learn more about a particular topic, or discover where the best grub is, we highly recommend taking a guided walking tour — and there are lots of great ones to choose from.

Each month, we lace up our über-comfy walking shoes and explore Vancouver with one of the city’s top walking tours. This month, we decided to learn about Vancouver’s slightly seedy past during the “prohibition” years with the popular walking tour company, Forbidden Vancouver.

Will Woods

Will Woods; Image credit: Josh Hite

Will Woods, an avid history buff, decided to reinvent the “walking tour” in the spring of 2012, by staging unique, interactive and theatrical experiences that bring Vancouver history to life, and launched Forbidden Vancouver. This guy is so knowledgeable on Vancouver, that he contributed to the book, Vancouver Confidential, a collection of essays that document the city’s colourful past.

On the Prohibition City tour, you’ll adventure through some of Vancouver’s oldest streets and visit the city’s most iconic and fabled buildings, the Dominion Building and the Sun Tower. You may even get to venture into the oldest bar in Vancouver.

The Sun Tower

The Sun Tower; Photo sourced from www.suntowerbuilding.com

Though we love seeing the sights, it’s the bizarre history and stories that we can’t get enough of on this tour. Vancouverites seem like such lovely, polite, laid back folk, but in the early twentieth century, they weren’t as congenial — it was a fiery, corrupt and dangerous time.

Yvonne de Carlo

Image sourced from IMDB

You’ll hear what life was like under prohibition, with stories of blind pigs, private members clubs, corruption, bootlegging, and free-flowing medicinal liquor. And did you know that Vancouver’s most beautiful showgirl was Yvonne De Carlo (a.k.a. Lily Munster)?

Spice up your Vancouver vacation with this fascinating history tour. You won’t be disappointed.

Cost: $22 for adults; $19 for students and seniors
Tour length: 90 minutes
What to bring: Rain jacket and an umbrella on inclement nights. In the summer, a bottle of water is a good idea.

Follow Lesley on Twitter @lesleyemirza

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