This is another city highlight our tour guide Albion took us to. Gastown is an area of Vancouver British Columbia, located between Downtown and the Downtown Eastside. This section of Vancouver received its name from a British settler Jack Deighton AKA "Gassy Jack". "Gassy Jack" arrived here in 1867. He was dubbed this nickname because people felt he was full of hot air. According to Albion, he only had six dollars to his name and he promised some men if they would build him a community center (a bar) he would share his whisky with them. As a result of the offer, the area’s first saloon was built. Now, there is a statue of "Gassy Jack" in Gastown.
After the salon was built, a sawmill, a seaport and general trade and commerce became present. Then in 1886, the town was incorporated as the City of Vancouver. However, the "Great Vancouver Fire" happened the same year it was incorporated leaving it with only two buildings. But Vancouver was rebuilt again and prospered until the Great Depression in the 1920’s. This then caused Gastown to become a neighborhood of the larger city which became in decline and rundown until the 1960s. As a result, residents concerned with keeping Gastown’s unique and historic architecture influenced the provincial government to declare the area a historical site in 1971. Hence, this action has protected its heritage buildings today.
As we viewed Gastown, I noticed the different sections of it. For instance, it has a tourist-oriented business area with restaurants and nightclubs but there is also general poverty here. This is mostly restricted to Water Street. Along with this, a notable site is present. This site is called The Warehouse Studio. It is located in the refurbished brick building that once was the home of Vancouver’s City Hall on Powell Street. Among other musicians in Vancouver (Avril Lavigne. R.E.M., Sarah MCLachlan, David Foster, etc.) Bryan Adams has recorded here. There is also one part of Gastown which has a lot of the 1970’s look. Coffee houses, thrift stores, head shops and cafes like the Cannabis Café are present here. In addition, there are youthful, trendy restaurants and expensive boutiques here.
Our tour also viewed the most famous attraction here that sits on the corner of Cambie and Water Street. This landmark is the steam-powered clock. After being powdered by electricity for a long time because of is previous breakdown, the steam mechanism has been restored because of the financial donations from local businesses. It is interesting how it works: Low pressure district heating steam is the type of steam used. It powers the miniature steam engine in its base, which in turn causes a chain lift. As a result, the chain lift moves steel balls upward where they are released and roll to a descending chain. Consequently, the weight of the balls on the chain going down causes a conventional pendulum clock to release, which is geared to the hands on the four faces. In addition, the steam also powers the clock’s sound production. Instead of bells, whistles are utilized instead. This is so it will produce the Westminster "chime" and to signal the time.
It is also intriguing to note, that Gastown has popular annual events. These include the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Tour de Gastown international bicycle race.
I highly recommend this section of Vancouver to tour. It not only has the statue of "Gassy Jack", the steam-powered clock, the vintage buildings, restaurants and boutiques but it has a lot of culture to learn about and history to inhale.
Gastown is located between Downtown and the Downtown Eastside. It can be seen if you take a tour company such as Landsea, drive to it yourself, or if you take public transportation.
Public Transportation: Skytrain, Vancouver’s rapid transit system, Seabus (ferry service from the North Shore), West Coast Express and city buses, from all areas of Vancouver and the Lower mainland can bring you to Gastown.
Walking: The Cruise Ship Terminal and Trade and Convention Centre are located just two blocks west of Gastown. It is just a five-minute walk from here.
Land sea Tours include this attraction in their city highlights tour of Vancouver. This tour is 3½ hours long. The tour current charges are the following in American money: $48 for adults, $45 for seniors, and $30 for children. Their phone number is 800/558-4955. Their website is firstname.lastname@example.org.