When we see Vancouver today it’s hard to imagine what the city looked like 150 years ago; well, the fact is, there was no city! A couple of mills had been opened up in the 1860s and these started Vancouver‘s long love affair with lumber. The mills also attracted workers and where there were workers drinks were required, so the first saloon was built. This signalled the start of the construction of Vancouver’s original downtown, all thanks to one man named Gassy Jack Deighton.
Gassy Jack opened the first saloon in 1867 and this neighbourhood of Vancouver was later named Gastown in his honour. Many more saloons and stores followed suit and the area attracted not only the mill workers, but seamen, fishermen and more who’d all come here to enjoy a drink or two. It was in many ways the centre of the historic city, but in 1886 all but two of the original buildings were destroyed in the Great Vancouver Fire. Despite this, Gastown rose out of the ashes and continued to be hugely popular; that is, until the 1960s when it became an undesirable, run-down neighbourhood and a blight on Vancouver’s otherwise good looking repertoire.
Gastown nearly faced destruction for a new freeway but it was saved when it was declared a historic site in 1971, and in more recent years it’s become a trendy part of the city with some great restaurants, clubs, bars, caf