Chinatown and the Old East End

Walking Tour Vancouver

In depth visit to two founding neighbourhoods

2.5 hours

$28 CAD per person

Explore two of Vancouver’s founding neighbourhoods – Chinatown and Strathcona (once known simply as the East End). For nearly a century Vancouver’s original Chinatown was the largest in Canada and 2nd largest in North America. Today it sits at a crossroads between recognition, preservation, and development. As one of the original neighbourhoods of the city, its residents faced undue discrimination and challenges, yet persevered in helping to create the distinct city we have today. From there we will move east to Strathcona, Vancouver’s first residential neighbourhood that grew around the saw mills, fish canneries, and shipping piers of Burrard Inlet. Nicknamed the League of Nations due to its multi-cultural mix of residents, the east end was home to working families from Italy, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, China, a sizeable Jewish community and Hogan’s Alley, a black community that had emigrated north from the U.S in the early 1900s and was displaced by a freeway in the 1970s. Also learn the tragic story of the old Japanese district, who’s residents were interned during WWII. Historically a culturally diverse but economically challenged area, the East End (mostly) survived the threat of ‘slum clearances’ and is now considered one of the most unique and best preserved slices of ‘old Vancouver’, with charming architecture and a tight knit community.


Millennium Gate

Shanghai Alley

Chinatown Memorial Monument

Sam Kee Building

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Park and Garden

Traditional Chinese Medicine Pharmacy

Jimi Hendrix's Grandma's House

Charming Architecture

Vancouver's first 'neighbourhood'

Tour Details

Starting May 1, 2020


2.5 hours


$28 CAD (plus GST) per person

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:

Maple Tree Square in Gastown, by Gassy Jack’s statue. This is also the end point of our 10a.m FREE Gastown historical tour if you want to go back to back for a truly immersive day!

Please note this is the Georgia Street side of the gallery, between Howe Street and Hornby Street, and facing the Hotel Georgia and HSBC.

End point:


Distance covered:

Approx. 2.2km (1.3 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.

Discover Vancouver’s Multicultural Heritage

Leaving from our meeting point, this tour moves south to Chinatown, where your guide will walk you through the tumultuous early history of Chinese immigration to Canada. Beginning with the origin story of Asian immigration to Vancouver, you’ll learn about the racism, exploitation, and hardships experienced by the earliest immigrants who came over to ‘Gold Mountain’ (the west coast of North America) and ‘Saltwater City’ (Vancouver).

Your local guide will introduce you to the Association BuildingsDr. Sun Yat-Sen Parkthe Sam Kee Building, and the amazing stories of resilience of Chinese immigrants who played a major role not only in Vancouver’s history, but also in shaping the nation of Canada as a whole.

Moving east to Strathcona, Vancouver’s first neighbourhood was originally nick named the League of Nations for the diverse background of it’s residents. Starting out as a collection of shacks and cottages for workers at the Hastings Mill, it grew into a vibrant neighbourhod known simply as the ‘East End’. Many cultural groups in Vancouver got there start in the area, and it has weathered the storm of ‘slum clearances’, redevelopment schemes, and freeway plans to retain a string sense of pride and identity in a rapidly changing city.

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!

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.