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Gastown in Peace and War

Where Vancouver Began

GastownGastown, a National Historic Site of Canada, is the area northeast of Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, within Hastings, Main, and Richards Streets and the Burrard Inlet waterfront. Vancouver’s first downtown core, where it all began and where the roots remain visible in cobblestone streets and antique streetlights, all of which look like a slice of history between the high-rises of Downtown and the waterfront train yard. Gastown’s name comes from legendary “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain who in 1867 opened the first saloon.

Early Gastown prospered as the site of a sawmill, a seaport, and, not least, an after-hours resort for loggers, fishermen, and the crews of sailing ships. In 1886, the town incorporated as the City of Vancouver but lost all but two of its buildings in the Great Vancouver Fire of that same year. The rebuilt area thrived again as an important ferry and steamship docking and staging area with Hastings and Main as the town centre.

Preserving the Visible 19th Century

After the Great Depression of the 1930s, Gastown fell into decay, decline, and disrepair as a skid row area of cheap beer parlours and flophouses. In the 1960s, citizen concern over preservation of Gastown’s distinctive architecture, which, as in nearby Chinatown and Strathcona, was to be torn down to clear space for a freeway into Downtown, drove a campaign that in 1971 persuaded the provincial government to declare the area an historical site to protect its heritage buildings.

Perhaps Gastown’s most famous landmark is the steam-powered clock at Cambie and Water streets. Built to cover a steam grate of Vancouver’s distributed steam-heating system, the clock prevents street people from sleeping on the grate in cold weather. The low-pressure downtown-wide steam heating network from a plant adjacent to the Georgia Viaduct powers a miniature steam engine in the clock’s base.

Gastown 1Entertainment and Hospitality

Gastown endured decades of neglect as the derelict part of town. Recent revitalization has turned skid row into a stylish destination of unusual enterprises in entertainment, gastronomy, and hospitality. On Alexander Street near Main in the northeastern corner of Gastown, the Alibi Room has “50 taps of local & imported craft beer,” some exclusive to the pub, for beer lovers. On Water Street, there are great meal deals at Pourhouse. On Blood Alley Square, a banner of an upside-down salt shaker beckons passersby to the Salt Tasting Room, a small, friendly tavern where patrons can “assemble a Tasting Plate from our chalkboard’s selection of 10 cheeses, 10 meats, and 10 condiments. The selections change constantly, making it almost impossible to have the same Salt experience twice.”

Visitor Parking

For visitors to Vancouver, parking is no easier and probably more difficult in the busy nightlife of Gastown than in any other part of Downtown Vancouver. Fortunately, the presence one block west of Richards and Water streets of the SkyTrain Waterfront Station and the terminal of the Seabus to North Vancouver makes Gastown access much easier than by car.

Gastown Riot

Gastown entertainment and hospitality were in unusually short supply on 7 August 1971, when hundreds converged on Maple Tree Square at Alexander, Powell, and Water streets to protest drug law raids. By 10:00 AM, the crowd numbered almost 2,000. After reports of broken windows, the police decided to clear the crowd. After the crowd ignored a warning to disperse, police officers on horseback and in riot gear took action in a battle with people throwing rocks and bottles.

An investigation found that the crowd had not degenerated into a mob and that individual officers had used “unnecessary, unwarranted, and excessive force.” Investigator recommendations were to ban demonstrators from taking over public streets, to train police officers specifically for crowd control, to use horses for crowd control on sidewalks only, and to eliminate the use of plainclothes officers for crowd control.

Information Links:

gastown.org

http://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/hastings.aspx

http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/dtes-local-area-plan.aspx

New Gastown Live MLS Listings

Gastown, Vancouver, BC

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1-10/86
  • 603 12 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "GARAGE" (Vancouver West) : MLS®# R2866682

    603 12 WATER Street Downtown VW Vancouver V6B 1A4
    Main Photo: 603 12 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "GARAGE" (Vancouver West)  : MLS®# R2866682
    $3,188,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2866682
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,752 sq. ft.
    Dont miss this rare opportunity to own a piece of Gastown history at "The Garage" Unique amongst downtown penthouses, this architect designed contemporary penthouse features 1752 sq ft of one level living with floor to ceiling south facing windows, south facing deck, polished concrete floors, Sub-zero, Miele, A/C, 9'7" ceilings and much more. Head upstairs to your private 801 sq ft rooftop deck with a built-in fireplace, outdoor kitchen and city views. Perfect for entertaining or escaping the bustle of the city, this fabulous home is an oasis in the midst of everything Gastown and downtown Vancouver have to offer. 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 2 secure parking spots and storage complete the package for your dream home. Call for your private appointment VIDEO https://player.vimeo.com/video/9300 More details
    Listed by Royal LePage West Real Estate Services
  • 302 141 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale (Vancouver West) : MLS®# R2872790

    302 141 WATER Street Downtown VW Vancouver V6B 1A7
    Main Photo: 302 141 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale (Vancouver West)  : MLS®# R2872790
    $2,880,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2872790
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    2,040 sq. ft.
    Breathtaking million dollar views from this absolutely stunning 2 bedroom loft conversion at the Malkin Bldg on Water Street. Boasting over 2000 square feet on 2 levels, this one of a kind home has so much to offer. 17 ft ceilings; double height french door open to a spacious 445 SQ FT north facing deck; corner gas f/p with s/s surround; floor to ceiling windows (views from all rooms); brick walls, steel beams, 1 parking, storage and the list goes on. Updated gourmet kitchen features corian counters; Liehberr fridge, Viking gas stove & DW. The entire 2nd level is dedicated to the huge master bdrm, spa inspired ensuite, and den. Centrally located in Gastown, this one of a kind home is waiting for YOU! More details
    Listed by Macdonald Realty Westmar
  • 708 27 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "The Alexis" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2882926

    708 27 ALEXANDER Street Downtown VE Vancouver V6A 1B2
    Main Photo: 708 27 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "The Alexis" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2882926
    $1,499,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2882926
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,383 sq. ft.
    Breathtaking DIRECT panoramic views of water, park, and mountains from this AWARD-WINNING, fully renovated MASTERPIECE, meticulously redesigned by international designer Patricia Grey. This home has been featured in ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST & WESTERN LIVING telling a story of opulence and sophistication within the historic charm of Gastown. Boasting an array of features, including Lutron lighting, surround sound, remote-controlled blinds, new windows, radiant in-floor heating. Dining room features a warm gas fireplace framed by custom wall-wall cabinetry. The kitchen is a chefs dream with an expansive island equipped with Miele appliances, and a full pantry with a show stopping kitchen island! B/I Vac, and ample wall to wall storage utilizes every sqft! New windows showcasing breathtaking views! The primary bedroom fit for a king boasts a spa-inspired ensuite with steam shower & separate office. Glass sliders frame bespoke millwork. 2 parking & rooftop view deck! Act Fast! More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Realty
  • 1610 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "WOODWARDS" (Vancouver West) : MLS®# R2851713

    1610 128 W CORDOVA Street Downtown VW Vancouver V6B 0E6
    Main Photo: 1610 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "WOODWARDS" (Vancouver West)  : MLS®# R2851713
    $1,295,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2851713
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,158 sq. ft.
    Coveted Northwest corner 2BR/2Bath 1158sf condo @ iconic Woodwards development, boasting breathtaking 270° panoramic views of City, Ocean & North Shore Mtns, which literally envelop you from the main living space & covered deck. This unique layout is the most revered in the building & it's been almost 2 yrs since one has come avail in this price range. This well-cared-for unit offers stylish modern finishings, spacious room sizes, upscale kitchen, spa-like bathrooms, and a custom built-in Murphy bed in the 2nd bdrm. Nestled in Historic Gastown & steps to the best restaurants, seawall & downtown. Escape to the expansive Club W rooftop - soak in the hot tub, play some pool or hit the gym! Strata fee incl Wi-Fi, gas, heat & HW! PLUS 2 PARKING within the building. More details
    Listed by Oakwyn Realty Ltd.
  • 87 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "Koret Lofts" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2876145

    87 E CORDOVA Street Downtown VE Vancouver V6A 1K3
    Main Photo: 87 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "Koret Lofts" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2876145
    $1,249,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2876145
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,743 sq. ft.
    Rarely available and highly sought-after commercial live/work loft in historic Koret Lofts, a century-old, remade warehouse located in the heart of bustling Gastown. This 1,743 SF loft has those New York vibes coupled with heritage charm, offering 18' ceilings, all original fir beams, brick wall, and wood floors, as well as finished concrete throughout. Comes with in-suite laundry and one secure parking. Gastown's 'it' building, known for its tight-knit community and well-managed strata. Potential cash cow opportunity - this is one of Vancouver's few fully-approved buildings, allowing Airbnb rentals. Guests will love walking down the cobblestones to the area's highly-rated shops, restaurants, and cafes. This ground-level home has endless opportunities. More details
    Listed by The Agency Vancouver
  • PH609 53 W HASTINGS Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "Paris Annex" (Vancouver West) : MLS®# R2879048

    PH609 53 W HASTINGS Street Downtown VW Vancouver V6B 1G4
    Main Photo: PH609 53 W HASTINGS Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "Paris Annex" (Vancouver West)  : MLS®# R2879048
    $1,240,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2879048
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,145 sq. ft.
    Experience modern living at its finest in this stunning concrete and glass penthouse loft designed by award-winning architect Gair Williamson. This luxury live/work space features 2 bedrooms, a den, polished concrete floors, and expansive windows with breathtaking views. Enjoy the outdoors with two terraces, one of which is a 462 sqft rooftop terrace equipped with a gas hookup and enough room for entertainment. The Italian Modulnova kitchen, luxurious bathrooms, air conditioning and custom-built closets make this penthouse a must-see. Pets and rentals are allowed, and the unit comes with 1 parking spot. Don't miss out on this opportunity to experience modern luxury living - schedule your appointment today. More details
    Listed by Team 3000 Realty Ltd.
  • 211 55 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "KORET LOFTS" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2882468

    211 55 E CORDOVA Street Downtown VE Vancouver V6A 0A5
    Main Photo: 211 55 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "KORET LOFTS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2882468
    $1,198,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2882468
    Bedrooms:
    3
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,434 sq. ft.
    THIS IS IT. A RENOVATED NYC inspired loft that has it ALL. STYLE, SPACE & FUNCTION. Soaring 10'4 ceilings with huge timber beams/brick feature walls, a corner unit surrounded by 7' windows flooding in natural light/air and a nearly perfect 2 BR layout with huge office (could use as 3rd bedroom). Lovingly renovated, design cues and sophistication are evident at every angle. New kitchen/cabinets/appliances & beautiful dining area look over the expansive living room. The master suite is stunning, including a walk in closet, free standing claw-foot tub/shower and fireplace, Right in the heart of Gastown, live/work zoning steps from shopping/restaurants. Best private parking spot in the building too... More details
    Listed by Dexter Realty and Rennie & Associates Realty Ltd.
  • 3A 34 POWELL Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "The Globe" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2859639

    3A 34 POWELL Street Downtown VE Vancouver V6A 1E7
    Main Photo: 3A 34 POWELL Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "The Globe" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2859639
    $1,155,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2859639
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,342 sq. ft.
    The Globe, a Gastown boutique loft conversion done in 1995. Historic 100+ year old building. Character with exposed beams, polished concrete and laminate floors. Huge space facing North at front overlooking Gastown's cobblestone streets and restaurants. Entertainer's open kitchen. Common BBQ roof deck. Suite is looking for new decorating ideas. Both bedroom areas have doors but no exterior windows. Only 10 owners, 2 suites per floor plus coffee shop on main entrance for morning croissants. More details
    Listed by Multiple Realty Ltd.
  • 309 27 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "Alexis" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2890134

    309 27 ALEXANDER Street Downtown VE Vancouver V6A 1B2
    Main Photo: 309 27 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "Alexis" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2890134
    $1,099,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2890134
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,109 sq. ft.
    You move in ready dream loft awaits! Expansive city and mountain views from towering 2 storey windows and soaring 17' ceilings are sure to impress. The exposure offers an impressively tranquil and quiet environment. Flexible living is offered with a large primary bedroom on the top level, and den that doubles as a second bedroom with murphy bed on the main. This is one of only three North facing lofts in the impeccably maintained Alexis building. Windows and piping recently replaced and upgraded. This home was freshly painted with new flooring and tiles, upgraded lighting throughout, and new custom gas fireplace mantle installed in 2023. Bathrooms have been remodelled and feature a 76" soaker tub, rainfall shower heads, and let smart mirrors. OPEN HOUSE SAT-SUN, JUNE 8/9, 2-4PM. More details
    Listed by Rennie & Associates Realty Ltd.
  • 314 55 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "KORET LOFTS" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2849895

    314 55 E CORDOVA Street Downtown VE Vancouver V6A 0A5
    Main Photo: 314 55 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "KORET LOFTS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2849895
    $1,075,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2849895
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,148 sq. ft.
    This customized character loft is a rare find in the heart of Gastown! Enjoy a flexible layout with endless options set in stylish exposed brick walls, lustrous concrete flooring, large picture windows, original timber beams, unique restoration style bookshelf/library, large storage space, and several fine touches that provide a unique and modern feel. A sleek kitchen lines one wall, lending to the sense of openness. Nicely updated throughout in 2020. Two commercial BBQ areas located in the courtyard, perfect for entertaining. The highly coveted Koret Lofts is located near several popular restaurants and bars, shopping, transit, and a short walk to Canada Place, Waterfront Station, and all the eclectic spots in historic Gastown. More details
    Listed by Stilhavn Real Estate Services
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Data was last updated June 13, 2024 at 10:05 AM (UTC)
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