This is a blog about Gastown, the historic inner city area of Vancouver, Canada. I have lived in this neighbourhood on and off since 1992, when Woodwards Department Store and the Pantages Theatre were still open and the area was quite vibrant. Since the closing of those two key cultural anchors in 1994, Vancouver’s downtown eastside has been in a period of steady decline. “Skid Row” has gone from notorious to epidemic, and many of the heritage landmarks have been boarded up or demolished.
In the past few years, however, some new developments, heritage restorations and infrastructure upgrades have begun to spring up. The long-anticipated Woodwards redevelopment has dramatically altered the landscape with its glassy twin towers. Some herald this as a new beginning for our historic district; others fear it is a harbinger of hard gentrification and community displacement. Either way, I believe this is an important time for Vancouver’s historic inner city. I hope to document the changes as they occur through photos and the occasional commentary on new developments.
* * *
Note: I moved from Gastown in July 2011, and though I still float through fairly regularly, I feel like such an old-timer now, a half dozen apple tarts the only indulgence I can afford, all the good live music long gone…