In 1867, Captain John "Gassy Jack" Deighton (a loquacious man) hauled a barrel of whiskey ashore near Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, B.C., and built the city's first saloon. And just like that, Gastown was born. After years of decline, the neighborhood has been revitalized, showing off a range of galleries, restaurants, and uncommon shops housed in the century-old brick and stone buildings that line its cobbled streets. Here are some Gastown treasures. Area code is 604.
- Need a silver trumpet, a silk scarf, or a phrenology skull? Salmagundi West lives up to its moniker as a Collection of Interesting Things with two floors full of curios, including an old Chinese herbalist's chest with goodies in every drawer. 321 W. Cordova St., 681-4648.
- Whiskeyphiles should ask the barman at the Irish Heather pub to reveal the back passage to the Shebeen, a snug bar lined with rare single malts, blends, and other venerable bottles. Tuck into excellent fish-and-chips, bangers and mash, or potpie. 210 Carrall St., 688-9779, www.irishheather.com.
- Dress up that vintage sweater at Button Button, a boutique that stocks new and vintage buttons made from such materials as glass, bone, and raffia. 318 Homer St., 687-0067.
- To find the true meaning of fresh, try the maguro tuna with five-color sauce at Kitanoya Guu with Otokomae , a restaurant that specializes in izakayastyle dishes—small portions that are like Japanese tapas. 105–375 Water St., 685-8682, www.guu-izakaya.com.
- Several galleries feature fine Inuit and First Nations art. Browse through the large and varied selection of sculpture, jewelry, prints, masks, and wooden plaques at Hill's Native Art. 151 Water St., 685-1828, www.hillsnativeart.com
Photography courtesy Robert Kent/Tourism Vancouver
This article was first published in January 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.