From the core of Downtown Vancouver now to a constantly growing and developing location of boutique shopping and delicious restaurants. Vancouver's Gastown has grown over the years of it's first development but it still pays tribute to its original humble beginnings, even with all its modern twists.
Gastown was Vancouver's first downtown core and is named after the area's first saloon owner, "Gassy" Jack Deighton. He was a Yorkshire seaman and captain who established his bar on his arrival in 1867. The town quickly began to bloom with the Hastings Mill sawmill and seaport quickly became a general center of trade and commerce on Burrard Inlet. It also became an attraction for crews and captains of the many passing ships and the develop of warehouses in 1886 brought workers to the area.
In the 1890s the area fell victim to the Great Vancouver Fire, losing all but two of its buildings, but everything was completely rebuilt and began to thrive again. Merchandiser came to the area and development of department stores and warehouses took place over the many years creating Gastown into the centre of the city's wholesale produce distribution.
Unfortunately like many places across North America the area was greatly affected by the Great Depression in the 1930s and became a largely forgotten neighbourhood of the larger city. It transformed from once blooming shopping and bars to become a continuation of the Skid Row area with cheap beer parlours, flophouse hotels and loggers' hiring halls.
In the 1960s citizens became concerned with preserving Gastown's distinctive and historic architecture, which like the nearby Chinatown and Strathcona was set to be demolished to build a major freeway. A campaign was created that managed to gain enough traction to save Gastown and with the opening of the "Exposition Gallery," an art gallery on Water Street, created encouragement for other business to startup in Gastown's core.
Designated a National Historic Site in 2009, the storied neighbourhood still offers an insight back to the architecture of the 1800s, including the influences of Victorian Italianate, Edwardian Commercial and Romanesque architecture.
Now Gastown offers a thriving fashion district, impeccably curated decor boutiques, one-of-kind galleries and some of the best culinary fare in the city. It is the hub of the creative enterprises, with many of the building filled with graphic designers, architects, film students and photographers. It is no surprise that in 2012, Gastown was named the fourth most stylish neighbourhood in the word, setting trends right from the city's historic heart.
Even now Gastown continues to develop and thrive while still preserving their historic past. Make sure your next visit to Vancouver includes the most interesting part of the city, Gastown.