If you are looking for some culture in your Vancouver vacation, look no further than Gastown. This iconic neighborhood is the heart of the city’s arts community and is bursting with great museums and art installations.
At the heart of Gastown is Commodore Park, a public park designed by Atkinson and Davidson. The park opened in 1967 and quickly became known as “the art park.” The park has now changed hands several times but is still in essence a public park housing a number of museums, restaurants, cafes, art installations, a skate park, a stage for live performances, a farmers market, a film festival, a book store and a music venue. You can find local artists, jewellers, sculptors, painters and photographers using the park to practice their craft.
The park is home to a very popular sculpture known as “The Bean.” The sculpture was designed by Campbell and Davis and was inaugurated in 1970. They nicknamed the sculpture “The Bean” because of its resemblance to a mature beanstalk which is a symbol of Vancouver and Canada.
There are also great theaters and performance spaces in the area. One of the most famous is the Power Plant Theatre on Hornby Street. It was designed by Donald Desborough and Richard Scott and opened in the 1970s. The theatre hosts local musicians and singers who perform and give concerts including country music and world music stars.
There are numerous eateries in the Gastown area. For sports fans there is the Gastown Burger, a sports bar and grill on Canada Road. In the restaurant you can watch games on a 50 foot screen and eat fast food as well. In the Powerhouse Theatre there is a performance like area where you can sit and watch a play without breaking the bank. The Gastown Theater is a place where you can watch dance, music and plays.
While in Gastown be sure to take in the Children’s museum on Hornby Street. There are interactive exhibits and a play area for children. The museum has been in the same family for over 40 years. Many families also keep the museum on their wish list of places to visit while on vacation. The Gastown Art Gallery has been open since 1932. The gallery hosts annual exhibitions that feature both local artists and international artists. It is a great place to browse and learn about the history of Gastown and Canada in general. You can also tour the Gastown Public Library which was built in 1929 and has an amazing collection of books and pamphlets.
* Gastown Market:
The Gastown Market is the oldest public market in Canada. It was originally named Fort Gastown but was later renamed when it was built on a piece of land once belonging to the British navy. Today’s market is situated on Canada Road and has been in existence since 1797. You can purchase a wide range of products from clothes to furniture and even food.
* Stanley Park:
Located on the shores of Stanley Lake, the Stanley Park has been a site for sunbathing, picnics, walking and strolling for over 50 years. The park is open year round and can be accessed on foot or bike.
* Canadian Warplane Museum:
The Canadian Warplane Museum was opened in 1945 to honor the veterans of the First World War. The museum has a lot of exhibits pertaining to the Second World War as well as the Korean War. The Korean War exhibit has been opened in 1950 and has a collection of war memorabilia from Korea. The museum is situated at the site of the Canadian army base of Cherry Point in the city of Halifax.
The Nova Scotia Aquarium is one of the most visited attractions in the city and a tourist attraction.