Gastown is a quaint little street near the heart of downtown (or rather, City Centre.) The area used to be quite run down, but in the eighties the local business community and the city government began a revitalization project that resulted in the street as it appears now: a street of many heritage buildings, and numerous newer additions with period facades.

Streets lined with
Streets lined with "Gas" Lights
I didn't discover the origin of the name Gastown while I was in Vancouver but the assumption is that it stems from the abundance of the "gas" standards that line the street. Even though they're actually electric, they do cast a friendly glow along the sidewalks; Gastown is one of the few places downtown that remains open into the night (at least on a weeknight.)

I discovered -- much to my dismay -- that much of the town shuts down before nine (some of it as early as six, with the sun still high in the sky) leaving the visiting contingent with little to do. For those of us that are caught attending to business, the few minutes between the end of business for us and the end of business for the shopkeepers seems really quite short. If you find yourself in such a situation, plan your evenings well.

While waiting for the sky to darken, I sat down at this Thai establishment on the street. The food was good, and the surroundings were cosy. But the assumption was that since I'm white and out at this hour, I must be a tourist, and therefore culinarily naive. They tried to suggest what I refer to as "American" food -- sweet and sour pork, for example -- instead of more authentic cuisine. Persistence paid off, though, and dinner with a view was quite refreshing. Thai under a Cobalt Blue Evening Sky
Thai under a Cobalt Blue Evening Sky

Gastown Quiets Down
Gastown Quiets Down
The lul depicted in this shot was short lived. Traffic comes through in fits and spurts, governed largely by nearby traffic lights. Still, I was able to get this shot during one of the quieter moments. By now it's just shy of ten in the evening, and things are beginning to settle down for the night anyway.

I sometimes spend several minutes waiting for just the right picture. In this case, I waited for the traffic -- which would have been an indistinct blur at these shutter speeds -- to disappear before taking the shot. Harbour Center Tower can just barely be seen through the trees. Looking Down the Length of Gastown
Looking Down the Length of Gastown

The Gastown Steam Clock
The Gastown Steam Clock
One of the novelties of the street is a steam-driven clock that toots out the hours and quarter hours in a slightly off-key rendition of Big Ben's chimes. Here it marks the arrival of ten at night.

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