Neighbourhood Playlist: Gastown

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Spotify Neighbourhoods Project: Gastown

With worn cobblestone streets and opulent Victorian buildings, Gastown has Vancouver’s rich history etched right into its brick and mortar. Established the same year that Canada became a nation, our city’s oldest neighbourhood has long been a proprietor of culture, starting with its early whisky-washed days as the stomping grounds of its namesake, “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a pilot, steamboat captain, and barkeep instrumental in developing Gastown into one of the country’s most cosmopolitan little districts.

In the 1920s, Gastown was the epicentre of Vancouver’s nightlife, housing at least 300 watering holes and attracting performers from the vaudeville circuit, such as Klondike Kate. Following a period of destitution elicited by the Depression, Gastown underwent a renaissance in the 1960s, rising out of the darkness and poised to become the vibrant centre of entertainment, business, and community that it was destined to be.

Today, the strips running North-South along Cordova Street and Water Street and East-West between Richards and Columbia Street are filled with boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and nightclubs that stay true to the area’s historic charm yet maintain their own modernity. Gastown is once again a focal point of Vancouver’s nightlife with a wonderful array of diverse venues, from Guilt & Company, a moody, intimate lounge offering eclectic live performances, to the Cambie, a legendary dive dating back to 1897, known for its cheap food and even cheaper beer.

Like the neighbourhood it was inspired by, this Spotify playlist is composed of local soundscapes that veer between the cutting edge and the familiar; keeping in mind both the future and the past while staying sophisticated, compelling, and effortlessly cool — a soundtrack, for the next time you’re wandering down those worn cobblestone streets.

Feature Image: colink.

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Yasmine Shemesh is a freelance writer who was born in Vancouver and raised on The Rolling Stones.
@yasmineshemesh

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