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Vancouver Gas Town

Established the same year that Canada became a nation, Gastown grew into Canada’s third largest city and one of its most cosmopolitan. But the Gastown district today retains its historic charm, independent spirit and distinctiveness. There’s no mistaking Gastown for any other area of Vancouver, or of Canada for that matter.

Today, Gastown is a refreshing mix of old and new, downhome and upscale, a place for tourists, Vancouver residents and office workers alike. Various shops have the streets buzzing during the day. A host of restaurants and nightspots keeps the area humming into the wee hours. And, more and more, Gastown is becoming home to permanent residents…just like in the old days.

Visit the world's first Steam Clock - each 1/4 hour the clock sounds Westminster chimes on 5 brass steam whistlers. The 1875 replica movement is powered by a 'falling ball' drive. Designed and built by Raymond Saunders in 1977, it has a cast bronze case and weighs over 2 tons.

'Gassy" Jack Deighton's historic saloon/hotel was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1886. The fire, that completely destroyed Vancouver, was started by a Canadian Pacific Railway clearing fire that burned out of control. In less than an hour, only two of the 400 original houses were left standing. The statue of the loquacious Gassy Jack stands in Maple Tree Square.

The Fisherhead Water Fountain stands near the Lamplighter Pub in the Dominion Hotel - it was the first Vancouver establishment to serve alcohol to women.

Historical references, such as Bloody Alley and Gaolers Mews , date from 1850s, where bloody brawls within the former resulted in incarceration in a small unlocked cabin in the latter. Gastown's first constable, Jonathan Miller, ankle-chained the prisoners who were then guarded by John Clough, a one-armed drunkard.

The Europe Hotel , was built in 1892 by Italian businessman, Angelo Colari. Known in its day as the finest hotel in town, it was the first fireproof building in western Canada.

Gastown is home to several prominent galleries representing the finest selection of Canadian Native art and sculpture in Western Canada.

The 300 block of West Cordova Street is one of Vancouver's best kept secrets. Nowhere else will you find collectibles, antiques, Canadian designer fashions, and funky eateries on one block.

A popular walking tour of Gastown is conducted daily from June through August. The free 90-minute tour starts from the Gastown Steam Clock and Gassy Jack statue in Maple Tree Square. For tour schedules, contact the Gastown Business Improvement Society, (604) 683-5650.

Vancouver Gastown is close to Vancouver's downtown business core and hotels. To the west is the spectacular Canada Place, it is an easy five minute walk from the Cruise Ship Terminal or the Trade & Convention Centre. To the east where Gastown and Chinatown meet is the Sun Yat Sen Gardens. To the south are BC Place, GM Place and International Village.

Vancouver Gastown is easily accessible by SkyTrain, Vancouver's rapid transit system, SeaBus (ferry service from the North Shore), West Coast Express and city buses from all areas of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.