Exploring Gastown, Vancouver’s Trendy Historic District

by  Celeste Moure | Feb 19, 2010
Gastown, Vancouver
Gastown, Vancouver / MJ_Prototype/iStock

Join our Vancouver stringer, Celeste Moure, for daily happenings from the host city.

Named after a fellow (“Gassy Jack” Deighton) with a fondness for spinning tall tales, Gastown is Vancouver’s historic district where cobblestone streets are lined with century-old brick buildings that now house trendy wine bars, chic boutiques and gourmet restaurants.

Located down a small alley that once served as a hangout for some seriously sketchy characters, Salt Tasting Room is a great place from which to start or end the district’s exploration. Inside the informal room, which features exposed brick walls, concrete floors and a long communal table surrounded by Philippe Stark-designed stools, the knowledgeable and good-looking servers pair local artisanal cheeses and small-batch cured meats with interesting wines from the region and abroad. The building also houses Obakki, a design collective founded by Treana Peake, wife of Nickelback guitarist Ryan Peake. The rustic-cum-chic collection for men and women hangs like works of art from polished steel bars that protrude from the brick walls. Taking over Gastown and nearby Chinatown is ArtWalk Vancouver 2010, a celebration of more than 250 artists working, living and creating in the city's historic core. ArtWalk's 13 temporary “Pop Up Galleries” bring contemporary art into public spaces—abandoned warehouses, store fronts, studios and galleries—and expand traditional concepts of where art belongs.

For hotel reviews, restaurant recommendations, and general trip-planning advice, check out our Vancouver Travel Guide and Whistler Travel Guide. Score cheap airfare and bargain hotel rates with our Vancouver travel deals.

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