Welcome to Gastown

Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, the city’s historic centre.

Since its humble beginnings as an industrial district on the water’s edge, the area has ebbed and flowed in prosperity, and transitioned from one district to another: business, warehouse, tourist. In recent decades, it has evolved from a sterile tourist haunt to a vibrant community – but not everyone is happy with the change.

While some praise the popping up of one-off businesses and ambitious mega-projects like the redevelopment of the Woodward’s building, praising it as revitalization done right, others insist the area is being gentrified. What Gastown needs is not more high-end restaurants and furniture stores, critics say, but rather affordable housing and resources for its low-income residents.

In the Gastown Project, Vancouver Sun reporter Andrea Woo and videographer Mark Yuen profile some of Gastown’s residents, capturing their thoughts, concerns and passions for the neighbourhood.

With on-location music from local indie artists and extensive historic archives dating back to the days before Vancouver was a city, The Gastown Project brings you into the cafes, back alleys and living rooms of a neighbourhood like no other. Read more

The Stories

  • Hope grows in Gastown’s revival: Portrait of a modern neighbourhood

    Mike Hildebrandt never saw children.
    “There never used to be anything, said Hildebrandt, now 31. “It was completely dead in the late ’90s, 2000s. A few stores, that’s it. To me, it was where people got drugs and did them. That’s how it was for me.”
    It is a stark contrast from the life he lives now, more than one year clean, with the love of his life and an nine-month-old. Looking down from his bright, sixth-floor unit in the social housing complex at Woodward’s, Hildebrandt now notices families: kids weaving through tourists, parents pushing young children in strollers.

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  • The birth of a city, from humble beginnings as a two-block strip on the Gastown waterfront

    Only “three greenhorn Englishmen” would lay claim to 550 acres of swampy forest in the middle of nowhere. But the Three Greenhorns had the last laugh – although it took awhile.

  • The Gastown Sessions: Chad Brownlee
    The Gastown Sessions is a new Vancouver Sun music project. We invite bands to play in locations across...
  • The Gastown Sessions: ZZBRA starring Moka Only & Evil Ebenezer
    The Gastown Sessions is a new Vancouver Sun music project. We invite bands to play in locations across...
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