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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

1-10/18
  • 139 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Townhouse for sale in "ALEXANDER ROW TOWNHOMES" (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2173906

    Main Photo: 139 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Townhouse for sale in "ALEXANDER ROW TOWNHOMES" (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2173906
    $2,586,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2173906
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    2,469 sq. ft.
    Located right in the quiet part of Gastown, this four level townhome designed by renowned architect Paul Merrick boasts unobstructed ocean, mountain and city views from all four levels, plus a bonus 484 SF private rooftop deck in addition to three balconies! This bright unit features expansive windows and beautiful hardwood and marble floors. There's a private attached garage with direct suite access, a sound proofed below grade media room, in-floor radiant heating, two fireplaces, air conditioning, and so much more. Come see the largest of only six architecturally designed units in this extraordinary townhome complex where you will experience penthouse living. Call for your private viewing today! More details
    Sutton Grp-West Coast (w.blvd)
  • PH1 141 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "THE MALKIN WAREHOUSE" (Vancouver West) : MLS(r) # R2163954

    Main Photo: PH1 141 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "THE MALKIN WAREHOUSE" (Vancouver West)  : MLS(r) # R2163954
    $2,115,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2163954
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    1,907 sq. ft.
    As soon as you walk through the iron gates to the private cobblestone courtyard you know you are somewhere quite special & unique. 141 Water St. is a boutique heritage 17 unit building and Penthouse 1 is like no other. Located on the northwest corner of the top floor, this addition to the original building offers 1900 sq/ft of unobstructed views stretching across the city and water towards the north shore mountains. PH1 is a double height Loft style 2 bedrooms with 16'7" ceilings, 3 bathrooms with recent updates throughout that include the custom kitchen & bathrooms. Enjoy the always changing canvas views from the walk out deck. Plenty of storage including a locker & 1 secure Parking stall in the building. Gastown at its finest! More details
    Dexter Associates Realty
  • 157 ABBOTT Street in No City Value: Out of Town House for sale : MLS(r) # R2068067

    Main Photo: 157 ABBOTT Street in No City Value: Out of Town House for sale : MLS(r) # R2068067
    $2,000,000
    Residential Detached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2068067
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,800 sq. ft.
    DEVELOPER ALERT!! 1.193 acres in the Penticton Uplands waiting for your project. Close to wineries, marina, shopping, beaches, Lake Okanagan, and downtown. RM-4 zoning for multifamily. Invest in Penticton today! Call for more info. More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
  • 303 36 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale (Vancouver West) : MLS(r) # R2161539

    Main Photo: 303 36 WATER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale (Vancouver West)  : MLS(r) # R2161539
    $1,599,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2161539
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,612 sq. ft.
    Welcome to the Terminus in historic Gastown! This rare 2-storey loft conversion is comprised of 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, raised living room with vaulted 16' ceilings, Raumplus glass sliding walls, sleek modern kitchen w/Bosch & Liebherr appliances, walnut edge-cut flooring, concrete stairs, and custom speaker system throughout. Second floor loft features large master suite with smart glass technology for added privacy, dressing room, 4 piece spa-like ensuite, and plenty of additional closet space. Building features Geothermal heating and cooling, spacious lounge/party room, and common rooftop terrace with BBQ. Don't miss out on this exceptional 2-storey loft conversion with modern features. Rare 1 parking included. Call to book your private showing. More details
    Sutton Grp-West Coast (w.blvd)
  • 2510 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "WOODWARDS W43" (Vancouver West) : MLS(r) # R2177091

    Main Photo: 2510 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "WOODWARDS W43" (Vancouver West)  : MLS(r) # R2177091
    $1,499,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2177091
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,165 sq. ft.
    The quintessential Vancouver view! The most sought after corner units (10 plan) at the Woodward’s W43. Million dollar VIEWS!!! 270° city, ocean, & mountain views. Watch the helijets take off & land, and the cruise ships dock at Canada Place, while sipping your mojo in your living room or BBQ'n on your massive deck! Newer kitchen counters, custom closets, & washer/dryer. One of Vancouver’s most iconic towers, located in the birthplace of downtown Vancouver. Gastown, a national heritage site. The building boasts some of the city’s best rooftop amenities, including; Penthouse Gym & Yoga. Lounge, kitchen, pool table & library. Outdoor rooftop BBQ patio & hot tub. You cannot take your eyes off the water and you will not want to leave. More details
    Coronet Realty Ltd.
  • 135 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Townhouse for sale in "ALEXANDER ROW TOWNHOMES" (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2160541

    Main Photo: 135 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Townhouse for sale in "ALEXANDER ROW TOWNHOMES" (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2160541
    $1,449,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2160541
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    3
    Floor Area:
    1,702 sq. ft.
    Located steps from trendy Gastown. SPECTACULAR INLET & MTN VIEW ALEXANDER ROW TOWNHOUSE! 5 lvl, 2 bdrm & den unit has reno'd TOP to BOTTOM. The upgrades include new kitchen w/high end SS appliances, 3 new baths, new carpet & wood flooring, new lights & electrical, new high performance instant tankless hot water, new ASKO washer & dryer, new glass & stainless steel railings, new gas F/P, new closet organizers, new heat pump & air conditioning system, etc! Includes new private rooftop deck to enjoy fabulous panoramic sunsets & Vancouver views. NOTHING else to do, but move in & enjoy the lifestyle that awaits. Lots of strange & private secured garage. This rare home provides an urban lifestyle, steps from Chinatown & City centre. More details
    RE/MAX Sabre Realty Group
  • 2503 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "WOODWARDS W43" (Vancouver West) : MLS(r) # R2169365

    Main Photo: 2503 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "WOODWARDS W43" (Vancouver West)  : MLS(r) # R2169365
    $1,228,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2169365
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,019 sq. ft.
    Rare unimpeded view unit with full views of Burrard Inlet, Pan Pacific, North shore mtns, fireworks and more. Private balcony and access to rooftop Club W deck to enjoy the summer. Convenient access to Club W amenities which include a well-equipped gym, indoor games room, lounge, expansive patio & hot tub all with breath-taking views. At the heart of downtown, you have your choice of international cuisine, unique shops, bars, pubs & clubs, and skytrain only minutes away. 24 hour security plus concierge service. Pantry custom built by the developer using German Inform cabinetry. Custom designer shelving in storage area. 2nd bedroom modified with a sliding door so it can be used as open space or 2nd bdrm. More details
    Coldwell Banker Westburn Rlty.
  • 101 53 W HASTINGS Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "Paris Block" (Vancouver West) : MLS(r) # R2170830

    Main Photo: 101 53 W HASTINGS Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "Paris Block" (Vancouver West)  : MLS(r) # R2170830
    $1,150,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2170830
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,990 sq. ft.
    Gastown has been flourishing for several years and is home to great local businesses, the best restaurants, coffee shops & retail shops. It's also a historic place that pulls the artistry out of many people and this is why Gastown is an amazing neighbourhood to live and work. This property is a rarity, not only to Gastown but to Vancouver in general. The live/ work designation offers several possibilities that presents a highly unique opportunity. The loft is located in the Paris Block, an award winning restoration by the Salient Group which was completed in 2008. You'll also have access to a perfect roof top patio to hang out with friends, fire up the BBQ or simply lounge around. More details
    Engel & Volkers Vancouver
  • 2402 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "Woodwards" (Vancouver West) : MLS(r) # R2175354

    Main Photo: 2402 128 W CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VW Condo for sale in "Woodwards" (Vancouver West)  : MLS(r) # R2175354
    $1,088,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2175354
    Bedrooms:
    2
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    916 sq. ft.
    Woodwards W-43! 2Bed/2Bath unit with unobstructed views of the North Shore mountains and Burrard Inlet from every room. The unit features engineered hardwood floors, high polished concrete ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, custom Eggersman kitchen with stainless AEG, Panasonic & LG appliances, glass tiles and stone tops. Incredible 4,600 SqFt Penthouse Level Amenities include gym, media, lounge, roof-deck, climbing wall and 'W'-shaped hot-tub. Secured under building parking stall is owned (NOT leased or off-site). Maintenance includes heat. More details
    Sutton Group - Seafair Realty
  • 205 55 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "KORET LOFTS" (Vancouver East) : MLS(r) # R2182301

    Main Photo: 205 55 E CORDOVA Street in Vancouver: Downtown VE Condo for sale in "KORET LOFTS" (Vancouver East)  : MLS(r) # R2182301
    $699,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2182301
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    910 sq. ft.
    KORET LOFTS! Originally built in 1906 and converted to residential in 2006, this building exudes character and a hip Gastown vibe. This loft has the WOW factor you're looking for - wood beams, brick walls, industrial style windows, and polished concrete flooring. Upgrades include sliding doors to enclose a bedroom area, new walls to enclose the shower for added privacy, and fabulous custom closets running the length of the living area to give you ample storage. There's even a den you may use as an office. If you've been waiting for the "perfect" Gastown home, look no further, this is it! Open Houses, Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2, 2-4pm. Monday July 3, 2-3pm More details
    RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
1-10/18
Listing information last updated on June 29, 2017
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