Bright Lights in Gastown

Photo: Rob Weiss

They say the neon lights are bright in Gastown! Now that has a certain ring to it, wouldn’t you agree? As an outdoor fanatic, my preferred walk or hike is usually along a beach or an alpine trail, but every once in a while, I find myself drawn to Gastown. I fondly remember my first visit to this iconic neighbourhood. Like many others, I enthusiastically planned a vacation to Vancouver during Expo 86. During this special time, the city welcomed the world, we came, and we fell in love. It was while strolling along these cobblestone streets, so many years ago that Vancouver first touched my soul and captured my imagination.

Photo: Rob Weiss

Famous for the whistling Steam Clock and “Gassy Jack”, Gastown is considered to be the historic centre of Vancouver and one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. I adore the architecture and ambience of the area. It tickles my funny bone to think that Gassy Jack, the founding father of Gastown, was an adventurer, river boat pilot, captain and bar owner best known for his ability to talk endlessly or “gas.” Now his fabulous bronze statue, complete with whisky barrel, stands proudly at the intersection of Water Street and Carrall Street. Countless visitors, myself included, feel compelled to stop for a picture with the infamous barkeep and our unofficial founding father.

Photo: Flickr, Colin Knowles

Although anytime is an excellent time to visit Gastown, I enjoy strolling the streets in the early evening. As the sun sets, the magical lights of Gastown come to life. Professional and amateur photographers flock to the area to capture this fantastic mix of old and new. Mystical is the best way to describe the atmosphere of this unique neighbourhood.

Photo: Rob Weiss

Of course, should you tire of cobblestone, antique street lamps and a rich history, Gastown is home to a wide variety of restaurants, eateries, boutiques, souvenir stores, funky art galleries and coffee shops, all begging you to step inside.

Photo: Rob Weiss

Interested in a self-guided walking tour? Grab your umbrella and check out this fantastic itinerary and map.

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