This is the gussied up, somewhat gentrified original heart of Vancouver. Nicknamed Gastown, it is named after Jack Deighton, a very garrulous barkeeper back in the 1867, and whose statue now stands in Maple Leaf Park at the epicentre of this fun, slightly kitschy neighborhood.
Attractions include the Vancouver Police Centennial Museum; plenty of 19th-century architecture and historic place names such as Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley; many of the hidden away squares and odd shaped buildings (several are former waterfront warehouses) now serve as coffee houses, restaurants, shops and bars. The Landing is one such example.
Gastown’s Steam Clock is the biggest draw and quite possible Vancouver’s most photographed attraction. Located at the corner of Water and Cambie streets, this wonderful innovation is actually a bit of a misnomer because the clock doesn’t actually run on steam, although every 15 minutes it does ring out the Westminster quarters with steam stream on the hour.
Allow one hour; allow two hours or more if dining or visiting a bar.
Walking west, back to Canada Place, take note of the warehouse style buildings along Water Street. Before landfill set them back, they edged the waterfront with many a dockside opening to exchange goods on visiting vessels. Some are even shaped to the land which, in turn had been shaped by the tide. You’ll also be walking past Waterfront Station (terminal for Canada Line transit and Sea Bus to North Vancouver) and will be within spitting distance to The Lookout, the circular spaceship silhouette of Vancouver’s skyline.
Note: As interesting and picturesque as this area is, be aware of its close proximity to Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, Canada’s poorest postal code. Depending how far east you explore, at night, you may prefer to catch a cab back to the downtown core.