Gastown, Vancouver

3.5 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - 62 Reviews

Water Street, Vancouver

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  • Close up of the Steam Clock in Gastown
    Close up of the Steam Clock in Gastown
    by Ann75
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    Good restaurants
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    Architecture
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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Steam Clock

    by GentleSpirit Updated Jul 28, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gastown Steam Clock

    Walking down Gastown is a very relaxing stroll. Here, at the corner of Cambie and Water Streets you will find an interesting tourist attraction that really came about almost accidentally. Actually, it is one of only very few such clocks in the world. It was done by Raymond Saunders in 1977, though at first glance it looks older.

    The whole thing was a neat practical invention. Steam pipes run underground to the generating plant on Beatty /Georgia Street. These pipes provide heat for downtown Vancouver and steam for the clock. Originally, merchants had asked Mr Saunders to create a monument at the site, which was a steam grate that the homeless would sleep on. Problem solved!

    Every 15 minutes the clock blows off steam, every hour it whistles.

    The whistles are powered by steam. Very cool

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Gas Town

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Jan 21, 2013

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    Gastown is the original settlement area of Vancouver established by Gassy Jack in the 1880's. The area is now lined with restaurants and shops. The main attractions here are the steam driven clock and the statue of Gassy Jack in Maple Square.

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    AND I THOUGHT IT WAS OLD!!!

    by davidjo Written Mar 29, 2012

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    NOT SO OLD AS I THOUGHT

    The Gastown Steam clock was actually built in 1977 by Raymond Saunders for a tourist attraction in the newly renovated Gastown. The clock has 4 faces and chimes every 15 minutes. I visited the clock 31 years ago and until earlier this morning i assumed that it was very old, so now we know. It is still worth a quick look!

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    Gift shops and steam clock

    by Ann75 Updated Feb 23, 2012

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    Close up of the Steam Clock in Gastown
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    Gastown is named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton who was a Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep that arrived in 1867 to open te first saloon in the area. The area started to prosper thanks to the Hastings Mill sawmill and the seaport which quickly became a general area for trade and commerse on the Burrard Inlet. Today Gastown is still a bit of historical place that has become a touristy spot filled with gift shops, art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops and of course the steam clock.

    In June 2004, Storyeum opened in Gastown. It was a lively theatrical 65-minute show that re-enacted the history of BC using eight sets that were all located below street level. Unfortunately, due to mounting debt, the attraction closed its doors in October 2006.

    Gastown is just a fun place to walk through and get all the souvenirs one would imagine you can buy in a big city. Enjoy a coffee, a delicious lunch or dinner and much more! Don't miss the steam clock which is a big attraction for people to see. It used to work fully on steam, but now it is electrically operated.

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  • Twan's Profile Photo

    Gastown

    by Twan Updated Feb 5, 2012
    Steam clock
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    One of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods, Gastown is packed with historic architecture, galleries, restaurants, and fashion boutiques. It's also the place to shop for innovative, high-end interior design.

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    Full of tourists but worth a visit.

    by Tricky_Dicky69 Written Jun 7, 2010

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    Gas Town, Vancouver.
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    Home of the steam clock, which isn't really steam driven, and lots of souvenir shops. Sounds pretty negative but a good place for a wander round and the prices were surprisingly good. We enjoyed our wander round and then stopped for a bite to eat and a beer at The Steamworks Brewing Co, 375 Water Street, which was good.

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    GASTOWN & THE STEAM CLOCK

    by balhannah Updated May 16, 2010

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    The steam clock in Gastown

    A stop on our tour of Vancouver was at Gastown, the area where Vancouver was founded in 1867.

    Gastown has been renovated, and is a little touristy. The streets are cobbled, and the Victorian buildings have been restored, and look resplendant. Malls, street vendors, souvenir shops and more!

    Probably, the main attraction would be the Gastown Steam Clock, this one was the WORLD'S 1ST STEAM CLOCK, and was originally built to cover a steam vent to prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather.
    The steam also powers the clock's sound production, as whistles are used instead of bells to produce the Westminster "chime" and to signal the time.

    It weights 2 ton, and the clock whistles every 15 minutes.

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    Some Fun Shopping and Dining

    by DueSer Updated Apr 14, 2009

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    Steam Clock in Gastown

    Gastown is located not far from Canada Place, where those white pointed rooftops make it look like the circus is in town. It's actually where the cruise ships dock so it's a busy area for tourists but Gastown doesn't feel overcrowded or overly touristy.

    There are many shops and nice restaurants, including some galleries displaying Native Canadian art. Also, its most famous attraction, the steam clock is located here. It toots at regular intervals instead of chiming.

    If you're looking for some relaxing time, this is a good place to go to slow down your pace and yet still see some Vancouver sights.

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    Steam Clock at Gastown

    by Mikebb Written Jan 24, 2008

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    Steam Clock & Hanging Flower Baskets
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    This is the most talked about and photographed attraction in Gastown and you will always see tourists waiting to see the smoke rise as the time is chimed. The 5 metre high clock has been operating since 1977 and is located on the corner of Water and Cambie Streets.

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    Gastown - Where It All Began

    by Mikebb Written Jan 24, 2008

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    Main Street Gastown
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    We visited the Tourist Information Office and they told us about a free walking tour around Gastown. We made our way to the meeting point and a young man took us on a one hour tour, stopping in front of the various buildings and giving us the history.

    It is interesting to know that the original buildings were timber and completly destroyed in the great fire of 1886. We were told Vancouver does not have buildings prior to this date and that is the reason the city is so well laid out.

    Gastown is really a tourist precinct with restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops occupying most of the old buildings. You will see the Steam Clock puffing smoke as you walk along the pavement, the monument to Gassy Jack, Goalers Mews , the Hotel Europe built like the Flatiron Building in New York City.

    Walking the streets you will love the hanging baskets of flowers you see on the lamp poles. Enjoy Gastown and have a nice meal when you visit.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Where it all started...

    by Jefie Written Jan 19, 2008

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    Gastown Steam Clock, in Vancouver
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    Even though it now ranks as the third largest city in Canada, Vancouver is still fairly young. Its origins can be traced back to the area called "Gastown", Vancouver's most historic district. In 1867, "Gassy Jack" Deighton opened up a saloon near a lumber mill and just like that, a city was born! For a few decades, Gastown remained at the heart of the new city of Vancouver but when businesses started moving away to new areas, practically the entire district was left to fall into disrepair. In the 1960s, a group of citizens got together to save and restore Gastown, which has now become a very popular tourist attraction.

    Gastown is basically one street (Water Street) lined with historical brick and stone buildings dating back to the end of the 19th century (all of the town's wooden buildings were destroyed in the great fire of 1886). Most of them are now filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. Another big attraction seems to be the Gastown Steam Clock around which people gather to take pictures and hear it whistle every quarter hours (the clock was added in 1977 when the area was restored). But for me the most interesting thing to do in Gastown was to go on the free guided walking tour which runs every day at 2:00 pm, from June 15 to August 30 (tours start near the statue of Gassy Jack, at the corner of Water and Carrall St). The tour was 90 min long and our guide was very interesting, giving us plenty of information about the area's history and architecture, and he kept on with the tour even when rain started pouring down!

    One thing to keep in mind while visiting Gastown is that the rather infamous Downtown Eastside area begins not far from the corner of Water and Carrall St. Nothing to keep you from visiting Gastown, but you might not want to venture too far out up Carrall St.

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  • cinthya_in_victoria's Profile Photo

    Gastown

    by cinthya_in_victoria Written Jan 3, 2008

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    Triangle Building
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    There are so much to see in Gastown. Named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, an English sailor who opened a saloon for the local sawmill workers in 1867. His statue can be found there.
    In front of Gassy statue you find the famous Triangular Building which used to be an hotel in early 1900's and now it's an apartment building.
    Most of Gastown can be seen in Water Street where you find shops, cafes and the world famous Steam Clock which it is said is the world's first steam clock and it toots every 15 minutes. Sit down in the Starbucks in front of the clock and enjoy your coffee while you hear it tooting

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Gastown

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Oct 5, 2007

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    Gastown
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    Vancouver's Gastown is a neighborhood of contrasts: Vancouver's most touristy area meets Vancouver's most poverty-stricken area. While Water Street is lined with restaurants, souvenir shops, and bars, the surrounding streets are full of homeless and what look like frequent drug abusers.

    Some of the key landmarks in Gastown include the Gassy Jack statue, the steam clock, and the old Hotel Europa. The steam clock was built in 1977, and it is one of just a handful of steam clocks in the world, most of which were created by Vancouver clockmaker Raymond Saunders. The Gassy Jack statue was created to honor John "Gassy Jack" Deighton, who opened the first bar in this area that is now named after him. Finally, the unique old Hotel Europa is a triangular concrete building completed in 1909.

    During our visit in Vancouver, we walked the waterfront from near Stanley Park to Gastown. We spent just 30-45 minutes in this historic neighborhood, and weren't overly impressed with its collection of touristy shops and restaurants. We decided to move on to Chinatown via Carrall Street. This area of town was just swamped with homeless people, trash, graffiti, and boarded up buildings, especially the little park at the corner of Carrall and Hastings Streets. I would not want to walk this route at night.

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  • jessicat1982's Profile Photo

    Not Just another tourist trap

    by jessicat1982 Written Jan 16, 2007

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    Steam Clock

    Established in 1867, Gastown was once one of Canada's largest prospering urban cities...today, many feel Gastown is synonymous with tourists, overpriced souvenirs and un-affordable merchandise.

    Although this feels true at first glance, with A mix of old cobbled streets and newly renovated buildings, Gastown is slowly becoming the cosmopolitan neighbourhood it once was.

    With stores like Dream, Tabu, One Of a Few and Deluxe Junk Co. it's hard not to love this little district. Although One of a Few is not to be visited by those with a smaller wallet, the other aforementioned stores are reasonably priced, some downright cheap. At Deluxe Junk Co. (a great consignment store on Cordova) I was able to find a really cute t-shirt for 15 bucks, and although it's hard to find anything under 40 dollars at Dream, it's also hard to buy anything over 100 bucks. Tabu has some great underwear sets in the double digits and they offer local delivery so you don't have to lug it home with you!! for more info on these and more stores, see my shopping tips.

    Gastown also has a couple of really great night spots like The Blarney Stone and Shine, a great club on Water St. not to mention great restaurants like the eclectic Annex.

    Gastown: Go for the steam clock, stay for the shopping.

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  • Old Time Vancouver

    by woodydag Written Nov 20, 2006

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    Gastown is probably the most touristy place in Vancouver, but it is still well worth a visit. Filled with 19th century buildings, it is the old town square of Vancouver and has its charms spread among its souvenir shops. Its number one attraction is the Gastown Steam Clock, which plays a tune and bellows steam every 15 minutes. Just enjoy a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. If you want to learn more about its history, download a free MP3 tour of Gastown (http://www.geogad.com). It will really help explain the history of this place.

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