Down the Gas Town area of Vancouver you can see the famous Steam clock which blows out steamand every hour it whistles.
It is a very clever piece of engineering and well worth a visit.
There are some very nice little gift shops and a shopping mall nearby too.
Fondest memory: Every part of the city is different to the next area.you find.
Life does not stop in Vancouver when it rains... and there's something about the atmosphere of a rainy afternoon in Vancouver that I enjoy, particularly in the neighbourhood of Gastown. Perhaps it's the way the light reflects over the city... and the buildings and people are reflected in the wet pavement. There's something cozy about it though: the crowds tend to stay indoors, the windows in the coffee shops fog up, and I feel like I have the whole city to myself, wandering the streets in my rain jacket.
While Vancouver is known for its rain, essentially the rain is only a drizzle. There are exceptions of course, but generally, rain in Vancouver is random; on and off, misty, spitting, and gentle.
When I was a kid, about once a year my parents would take me and my sister to Gastown for the afternoon. We'd almost always go there on Remembrance Day (November 11th) as we'd have the day off from work and school.
We'd park in the parking lot where Storyeum currently sits, and we'd walk up and down Water Street looking in the stores.
We'd walk into the Landing, a small indoor shopping centre where somebody would be playing a grand piano. There were a few gift shops in there that we'd browse through.
Outside on Water Street, there was the "Games People" which was a really peculiar shop selling every kind of board game you can imagine. The interior was old and shabby and felt like it hadn't changed since the 1970's.
There was also an old fashioned cigar store right across from the Gassy Jack statue, where you had to walk up wooden porch steps to get inside. It felt like a store from the 1880's!
My mom would always go into this gift shop called Calico Cats. It was a typical feminine gift shop selling gift cards, soaps, and ornaments, including ceramic cats.
Next door was a kite shop that we loved to visit. We'd walk by the Steamclock hoping that it would blow its whistle. Then, if we were lucky, we'd have lunch at Brother's restaurant - a family restaurant located in an old brick building where the servers are dressed like monks.
That's Gastown for you in my memory, in the mid-late 80's. Things have certainly changed.
Nowadays Gastown feels a bit more edgy. Begging wasn't common in Gastown in the 80's, whereas these days you can't walk down Water Street without several people hassling you for spare change.
However, the side streets off Water Street are becoming more interesting. There are more independent boutiques opening up, and a real artists community seems to be flourishing. New restaurants are also opening up, greatly improving Gastown's dining scene.
So my point to this is that while Gastown is historic, it's modern identity is always evolving.
I browsed through VT's Gastown pages and the famous Steam Clock is shown in 8 out of 10 photos. Many of them are from the exact same angle as mine. By adding my own page, I wonder if I can add anything new, photo or words, to such a tourist obligation.
Anyway, for my own completeness, here it goes. I visited Gastown early Sunday morning at 7:40am (according to my own steam clock photo). Streets were still empty, and the waitresses from the coffee bar next door just began to set up tables at sidewalk. No night life or fancy shops for me. I guess this is the kind of place that you have to stay long to sink into...
Fondest memory: Being in Gastown early in the morning, I didn't have to wait for tourists to clear my Steam Clock shot. The photo shows Steam Clock and Harbour Centre (the tall building behind).
The town was founded in 1867 when a certain saloon keeper named John 'Gassy Eye' Deighton opened his doors to the public. At the start of 1971, it was declared as a heritage zone when the government designated Water Street as a historical area. Gastown was literally transformed into streets filled with shops, stores, restaurants and coffee bar thus becoming on the most frequent tourist stop.
Born John Deighton (b.1830 d.1875) in Hull, England, this ambitious saloon keeper was affectionately known as Gassy Jack.
This is a picture of me with Gassy Jack.
Favorite thing: Before a former riverboat captain named John Deighton came to town in 1867, Canadian mill workers had to hike ten miles through bear-infested forests to New Westminster if they wanted a drink. Deighton recognized their plight and told the men they could have as many drinks as they wanted from his barrel of whiskey if they helped him build a saloon. Remarkably, the bar was built in less than 24 hours. Named the Globe Saloon, the mill workers now had a place to drink and gather. It was then that a tight-knit community was born. The area, dubbed Gastown, was incorporated as the city of Vancouver on April 6th, 1886. Two months later a fire roared through the streets turning all but two of Vancouver’s 400 buildings into ashes. Rebuilding began at once and prosperous times followed until the Great Depression left Gastown flooded with poverty. It wasn’t until devoted locals revived the area in the 1960s restoring its historic, neighborly character that you find today.
I don't think much of it. But it does have some history of Vancouver so I am including it for completeness.
Be aware that you will encounter people asking you for change, for money to get food, and once someone even honestly said "can you spare five bucks for a bum to have a beer?" I see lots of tourists being intimidated to give them money. I never do. If I feel like helping them, I will just buy them a burger or hot dog.
Now back to history, the photos shows the location of the first Vancouver jail. Can you find it? The entrance to the courtyard is near the maple tree by the Gassy Jack statue.
Fondest memory: This is a picture taken of a description of Gastown located underneath the steam clock. Gastown is famous for being a significant part of Vancouver's history, but other than that I think Gastown is not as fun as some of the other places in Vancouver.
Favorite thing: Gastown is great for window shopping, as there are lots of nice souvenir shops but at expensive prices. Gastown is great for walking, but be careful not to go outside of Gastown as those places can be a little dangerous.
I love the gaslight district: by day a funky, artsy and touristy shopping area. By night, very proximate to a heavy area frequented heroin addicts and prostitures. Also, there are streets where prostitution is generally permitted in Vancouver - I am not advocating or decrying this practive but you will see this if you walk about. If you like to 'explore' the grittier side of a city in a relatively safe way, check out the gaslight district at night.
Fondest memory: I love eating in Vancouver, but my favorite memory is a co-worker of mine (we visit Vancouver every two years for a conference) introduced me to duck-pin or nine-pin bowling. Small pins, a ball about like a shotput in size (lighter, tho)and three throws a frame. It was fun.
Favorite thing: WE visited on foot---Gastown and Chinatown which were not to far from our Hotel but a good long walk.