Gastown Historical Tour

Free Walking Tour Vancouver

Vancouver's unfiltered history!

2-hour tour

Pay what you feel

Dig into Vancouver’s tumultuous history and discover the story of Gastown’s transformation on the most dynamic free walking tour in Vancouver! Originally a Musqueam settlement and portage route, Gastown grew as a rough-and-tumble timber town in 1860s and now sits as both a unique hub and flashpoint in the city. We’ll bring the hidden histories to life while exploring the buildings, public art, streets and alleyways of Granville Street and Gastown that would otherwise be missed.


Sinclair Centre

Granville Plaza and its sweeping views over Gastown and the Port of Vancouver

Waterfront Station

Water Street

Steam Clock

Gaoler's Mews

Maple Tree Square

Vancouver Art Gallery

Tour Details


If you’re on time, you’re on tour!

Bookings are highly recommended, as we assign the number of guides according to the number of people booked. To avoid large groups with just one guide please complete your booking below.


2 hours


Free! We only ask that you tip your guide at the end if you enjoyed the tour.

Comparable tours will cost you $20-$30 per person plus gratuity. Our tours are free but our guides work for tips only. A tip is the best way to say “thank you” for a great tour.

Meeting point:

Pacific Centre, 701 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC , V7Y 1G5. Please note our meeting location in 2019 has moved across the street! Both our free downtown tours start from the entrance to Pacific Centre on the North East corner of Georgia Street and Howe Street (in front of the large glass dome). We are across from the TD Bank, Hotel Georgia, and kitty-corner from the old meet point at Vancouver Art Gallery’s North Plaza. Look for your guide with an orange and green Tour Guys lanyard.

End point:

Maple Tree Square in Gastown. Your guide will be happy to provide directions to wherever you are headed after the tour.

Distance covered:

Approx. 2km (1.25 miles)

Weather contingency:

Our tours run rain or shine!

Participation requirements:

Please note that we cannot accommodate school groups on public tours. Plan your school group tour here.

Vancouver’s Sordid History & Dynamic Present

Gastown is a thriving, creative hub where old historic buildings are full of new youthful energy. On this free two-hour walking tour, your entertaining Tour Guy will lead you through Vancouver’s original settler neighborhood, where the town was “born around a mill, but raised around a pub.” The original Musqueam name of ‘Luck Luckee’ (‘Grove of Trees’), gives a hint of what lay here before Gastown developed as a rough-and-tumble timber town in the 1860s.

From the rise of the industrial port economy to the current struggles between revitalisation and gentrification, the area has always been at the heart of the city’s happenings. Your guide will paint a colourful picture of the day-to-day life of early settlers in a lawless timber-town and illustrate how the city has transformed through the eras.

Meet some of the interesting characters who have helped shape the city, walk the cobblestone streets, and learn the hidden history behind the area’s famous sites, including Water St., the Woodward’s development, and the “Old Steam” Clock. This sweeping tour of Granville Street neighbourhood and Gastown takes you through Vancouver’s rough and reckless past to its hopeful present.

Good to Know

Each tour is unique! You’ll see the main tour stops plus your guide’s favorite spots along the way.

Our tours run rain or shine. Please dress for the weather!

We do not charge anything for this tour and our guides are not paid for it, so please tip your guide if you enjoyed the experience!

While we can’t accommodate school trips on our free public tours, we would be happy to lead your school group on this tour route! Check out our school groups offers here.

The modern city of Vancouver was founded on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. These territories were never ceded through treaty, war or surrender. Click to learn more about Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

Keep exploring Vancouver with Tour Guys!