Information Vancouver

GASTOWN, VANCOUVER, BC

Gastown is a national historic site located in Vancouver, British Columbia, located at the northeast end of Downtown adjacent to the Downtown Eastside.  Its historical boundaries were the waterfront (now Water Street and the CPR tracks), Columbia Street, Hastings Street, and Cambie Street, which were the borders of the 1870 townsite survey, the proper name and postal address of which was Granville, B.I. (“Burrard Inlet”). Today’s official boundary does not include most of Hastings Street except for the Woodward’s and Dominion Buildings, and stretches east past Columbia St., to the laneway running parallel to the west side of Main Street.

HISTORY:

Gastown was Vancouver’s first downtown core and is named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Geordie seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon. The town soon prospered as the site of Hastings Mill sawmill, seaport, and quickly became a general centre of trade and commerce on Burrard Inlet as well as a rough-and-rowdy resort for off-work loggers and fishermen as well as the crews and captains of the many sailing ships which came to Gastown or Moodyville, on the north side of the inlet (which was a dry town) to load logs and timber. The Canadian Pacific Railway terminated on piles on the shore parallel to Water Street in 1886. From this the area became a hive of warehouses. Part of Gastown, which is Carroll Street, was particularly swampy owing to it being low ground between False Creek and Burrard Inlet. Bridges overcame this obstacle and the low ground and beach was slowly filled in with refuse. In 1886, the town was incorporated as the City of Vancouver. It fell victim to the “Great Vancouver Fire” ” that same year, losing all but two of its buildings. The area was completely rebuilt and continued to thrive. As said Hastings and Main was the traditional centre of town, and the foreshore became an important staging area with the North and West Vancouver Ferries, and Union Steamships all having docks there. Evans, Coleman, Evans a longtime merchandiser had a warehouse; also, Fleck Brothers, and Koret distributors had buildings. Department stores such as Spencer’s, Hudson Bay Company warehouse, Woodward’s, Fairbanks Morse, Army and Navy stores, and food retailers Malkins and Kelly Douglas traded and were based there.

Gastown found new life as the centre of the city’s wholesale produce distribution until the Great Depression in the 1930s. It also was centre of the city’s drinking life (there were 300 licensed establishments the twelve-block area of the former Granville, B.I.) After the Depression Gastown was a largely forgotten neighborhood of the larger city and fell into decline and disrepair until the 1960s. It was a continuation of the Skid Road area with cheap beer parlors, 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 were scheduled to be demolished to build a major freeway into the city’s downtown. A campaign led by businessmen and property owners as well as the counterculture and associated political protestors, pressured the provincial government to declare the area a historical site in 1971, protecting its heritage buildings to this day. A riot between the hippies and the police in 1971 over marijuana has gone into legend, a throwback to the more serious Post office riot of 1938.

The Gastown has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2009.

TODAY:

Gastown is a mix of “hip” contemporary fashion and interior furnishing boutiques, tourist-oriented businesses (generally restricted to Water Street), restaurants, nightclubs, poverty and newly upscale housing. In addition, there are law firms, architects and other professional offices, as well as computer and internet businesses, art galleries, music and art studios, and acting and film schools.

Gastown has become a hub for technology and new media. It has attracted companies such as Idea Rebel, BootUp Labs Entrepreneurial Society, and Marketer.

Popular annual events that take place on the cobblestone streets of Gastown include the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Tour de Gastown international bicycle race.

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.

THE GASTOWN STEAM CLOCK:

Gastown’s most famous (though nowhere near oldest) landmark is its steam-powered clock, located on the corner of Cambie and Water Street. Built to cover a steam grate, part of Vancouver’s distributed steam-heating system, the clock was built as a way to harness the steam and to prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather. Its original design was faulty and it had to be powered by electricity after a breakdown. The steam mechanism was completely restored with the financial support of local businesses as it had become a major tourist attraction, and is promoted as a heritage feature although it is of modern invention. The steam used is low pressure downtown-wide steam heating network (from a plant adjacent to the Georgia Viaduct) that powers a miniature steam engine in its base, in turn driving a chain lift. The chain lift moves steel balls upward, where they are unloaded and roll to a descending chain. The weight of the balls on the descending chain drives a conventional pendulum clock escapement, geared to the hands on the four faces. 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.

Gastown retains few vestiges of its 1970s role as “Haight-Ashbury North”. with the area now mostly coffee shops, galleries, native art and import stores, restaurants and nightclubs.

NIGHTCLUBS:

Among Gastown’s clubs are Canvas, Modern, Fabric and Shine. Bars (a different licensing category in Vancouver) include 19 Below, The Cambie, Chill Winston, Columbia Club, Lamplighter Public House, Mao Mao Bistro, One Lounge, Revel, The Annex, and The Columbia. The Town Pump, now renamed <Fabric> was one of Vancouver’s premier live music venue since the hippie-era of the 1960s. The Blarney Stone is one of the more popular Irish-style party houses in Vancouver.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge

CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a simple suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.   The current bridge is 136 meters (446 ft) long and 70 meters (230 ft) above the river. It is part of a private facility, with a charge for admission, and draws over 800,000 visitors a year.  The Capilano Suspension Bridge is located at 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver, BC V7R 3J1.  For more information, call (604) 985-7474.

The bridge was originally built in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and park commissioner for Vancouver. It was originally made of hemp ropes with a deck of cedar planks, and was replaced with a wire cable bridge in 1903. In 1910 Edward Mahon purchased the Capilano Suspension Bridge. “Mac” MacEachran purchased the Bridge from Mahon in 1935 and invited local natives to place their totem poles in the park, adding a native theme. In 1945, he sold the bridge to Henri Aubeneau.  The bridge was completely rebuilt again in 1956.

The park was sold to Nancy Stibbard, the current owner, in 1983. Annual attendance has since increased, and in May 2004, Treetops Adventures was opened. This new attraction consists of seven footbridges suspended between old-growth Douglas Fir trees on the west side of the canyon, forming a walkway up to 30 meters (98 ft) above the forest floor.

As well as the bridge itself and Treetops Adventure, the park also features rain forest ecotours, award-winning gardens, nature trails, North America’s largest private collection of First Nations totem poles, period decor and costumes, and exhibits highlighting the park’s history and the surrounding temperate rain forest. Guests can also witness a First Nations performance, featuring their traditional Regalia (ceremonial dress), masks, dancing and storytelling.

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Canada Place Vancouver

CANADA PLACE, VANCOUVER, BC

Canada’s national icon and a hub of activity. Whether strolling the scenic Canada Place pier, watching majestic cruise ships head to sea, attending a convention or enjoying a luxurious weekend getaway, visit Canada Place for your Inspirationally Canadian experience.

They are located in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront at 999 Canada Place between Howe Street and Burrard Street. Pay parking is available at the Canada Place parkade. They are steps away from Waterfront Station and easily accessible by Seabus, Skytrain, Bus and Canada Line. Visit Translink for public transit information.

Your Canadian experience starts at Canada Place. Step onto Canadian soil and make your first stop at the Welcome Centre in the Main Plaza for information on what’s happening at Canada Place. Look up at Canada’s Storyboard for stunning imagery and video montages of our country. As you approach the Canada Place Pier, take in the striking views of Burrard Inlet, Coal Harbour, Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains. The Canadian Trail will guide your walk along the Pier, as you journey across Canada’s ten provinces and three territories – from British Columbia to Newfoundland to the Northwest Territories. Each evening, watch as Canada Place’s sails light up in a dynamic display of imagery, light and animation during the Sails of Light. As home to the largest Canada Day celebration outside the nation’s capital, be sure to visit us for free Community Events throughout the year including Canada Day at Canada Place, the Burrard Inlet Fireworks Show and Christmas as Canada Place.

Canada Place is a building situated on the Burrard Inlet waterfront of Vancouver, British Columbia. It is the home of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver’s World Trade Centre, and the world’s first permanent IMAX 3D theatre (which ceased operation on October 1st 2009). It is also the main cruise ship terminal for the region, where most of Vancouver’s famous cruises to Alaska originate. Construction on it began in 1983, finished in late 1985, and was open for Expo 86 as the pavilion for Canada and was the only venue for the fair that was not at the main site on the north shore of False Creek. The building was designed by architect Eberhard Zeidler.

It can be reached via the SkyTrain line at the nearby Waterfront Station terminal. The white sails of the building have made it a prominent landmark for the city, as well as drawing comparisons to the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia and the Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado.

The structure was expanded in 2001 to accommodate another cruise ship berth. In 2009, a companion building immediately to the northwest was completed which, like Canada Place, contains additional Convention Centre facilities as well as served as the International Broadcast Centre for the 2010 Winter Olympics while Canada Place served as the Main Press Centre.

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Robson Street Vancouver

ROBSON STREET,VANCOUVER BC

Robson Street is a major southeast-northwest thoroughfare in downtown and West End of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.   Its name honors John Robson, a major figure in British Columbia’s entry into the Canadian Confederation, and Premier of the province from 1889 to 1892.  Robson Street starts at BC Place Stadium near the north shore of False Creek, then runs northwest past Vancouver Library Square, Robson Square and the Vancouver Art Gallery, coming to an end at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.

 

Robson is Vancouver’s most famous shopping street set in the heart of downtown Vancouver.  In the three block stretch between Burrard and Jervis you will find an area which includes premier fashions stores, fine dining, services and all the amenities a tourist or local might need.

Robson-goers may spend their day people watching and sipping coffee on an outdoor patio; they may start off shopping at unique boutique stores before being pampered at a day spa and then relaxing at a hotel.  At night, the streets come alive with colorful buskers and performers.  Visitors enjoy delicious drinks and fine foods at some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants.  The street is recognized both on a worldwide level as well as locally as it remains Vancouverites’ favorite shopping destination.  Robson is undoubtedly the street to see and be seen on.

Robson Street’s position as a consumer district continues to the present day although the original style of the street, which was all small neighbourhood-market stores, has been expanded and redeveloped by brand-name chain stores and high-end restaurants.  Robson Street is particularly famous for the popular fashion shops and large example of different cuisine which extends from Granville Street in the southeast to Denman Street in the northwest.

The street’s intersection with Thurlow Street is known for having two Starbucks coffee shops on opposite corners, one of which that doesn’t allow smokers, and the other one does.  The location on the west corner is known as a major meeting place for the biker culture, with Harley-Davidsons, Japanese bikes, and cafe racers alike parked in a special bikes-only strip of parking painted on the pavement.

When it comes to shopping, Robson Street is one of the most craving spots to spend money.  Containing famous brand stores including Banana Republic Apparel, Bluenotes, Buffalo Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger, Bebe, Espirit, Zara, and lots more! And don’t forget one of the most known mall in Vancouver, the Pacific Centre! At the edge of fashion in the heart of downtown, Pacific Centre is Vancouver’s premier shopping destination featuring:  Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen, MaxMara, Hugo Boss, Hollister, Sephora, Apple, Coach, Browns Shoes, Atmosphere/Sport Chek, enormous food court, the Four Seasons Hotel and so much more.

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Ballantyne Pier Vancouver

The Port of Vancouver is homeport for the Vancouver-Alaska cruise, one of the world’s most popular cruises. The Port has two cruise terminals, Canada Place and Ballantyne. Ballantyne, Port of Vancouver second cruise facility, is located near the city centre and just minutes away from Canada Place. The entire terminal underwent a major expansion and renovation in 1995, ensuring modern and efficient services to the cruise industry.  Ballantyne Pier is located at 655 Centennial Road, Vancouver.

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