“Prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great.”

― Rose Kennedy

That’s a wrap! 2020 got the not-so-subtle hint to take a hike and we can finally take comfort in the sweet embrace of 2021.

While we are still a long way away from normal, this year proved just how resilient our neighbourhood can be in the face of adversity.  With every takeout order, curbside pickup, and mural painted, we continued to find hope and strength. Our community rallied together, showing unequivocally that this is #OurGastown.

As we put this chapter to a close, it’s time to reflect on the truly iconic moments that 2020 brought us.

Arts + Culture

Murals of Gratitude 

What started as a grassroots initiative quickly gained momentum as our local businesses came together to provide their boarded-up storefronts as canvases to local artists. The acrylic odes were testaments to the influence the frontline workers had, and continue to have, on our community.

The program revitalized the community, served as glimmer of hope for news stories and inspired other murals citywide.

Following the re-opening of business and the removal of the boarded storefronts, the Murals of Gratitude art exhibition, gave many Gastown visitors an opportunity to take in the narrative of the murals throughout the summer months. Curated by the Museum of Vancouver, the gallery was situated in the alleyway north of Water St. between Carrall and Abbott St. from July – September.

Dr. Bonnie Henry Visits Gastown

At the beginning of the July, we were lucky enough to pay homage to British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry first hand with a sneak peek of the Murals of Gratitude exhibition and a pair of the famous Dr. Henry Fluevog shoes.

Not only did the rock star leader take in the wonders of Gastown, but she did so looking extra fabulous in her pink patent kicks. Special thanks to Dr. Bonnie Henry for taking the time out of her extremely busy schedule to visit #OurGastown.

Gastown BIA x Vancouver Firefighters Charities

We’re not sure if we can think of anything sexier than a bunch of firefighters posed all over #OurGastown for a good cause. We partnered with Vancouver Firefighter Charities and the 2020 Hall of Flame Calendar to give back to our community and our heroes.

Van Mural Fest x Waste Wear Garbage Bin Project

‘Waste Wear’ is a mural series featuring 7 dumpsters in Powell Street alley, painted by artist Tyler Toews with bold images. The collection seeks to spark conversations around the current and future impacts of garbage on the planet, and the need for not just greater awareness, but action. Although Van Mural Fest may have “officially” come to an end, these new and improved garbage bins are here to stay. The dumpsters have found a permanent home in the Powell Street Alley.

Kiss Me in Gastown: Valentine’s and Holiday Edition

#KissMeInGastown returned for 2020 with a large rose filled heart installation at Maple Tree Square. The perfect photo opportunity and a magic moment to share between sweethearts during the month of February. As if love wasn’t already in the air, Cupid fluttered through the neighbourhood on Valentine’s day to play match maker.

For the holiday season, 10 beautiful mistletoe swags were hung throughout the neighbourhood, inviting patrons to spread the love, safely of course, on social media using the hashtag #kissmeingastown and sneak a masked smooch while they were at it!

Augment Your Reality – Glow Up! Gastown

In partnership with Vancouver Mural Festival, patrons were able to catch glowing trees sprout from the cobblestone streets through the magic of augmented reality. By using the tag #glowupgastown, you were entered for a chance to win one of four $200 Gastown Gift Cards, courtesy of Global Relay,

Food + Drink

Extreme Makeover COVID Edition

Your favorite Gastown businesses got a COVID facelift. From revamped bar designs, to pick-up window aesthetic, to slaying the masked look, our businesses not only operate safely, but look good doing it. It doesn’t appear these new looks are going anywhere – so we might as well embrace them!

Happy Days Every Thursday

Gastown Thursdays came back for the summer and we celebrated the best way we knew how – with a full day of Happy Hour specials. Patrons could shop and dine at participating hot spots and be treated like Gastown royalty all day long. Besides, who ever said that Happy Hour needed to be constricted to a couple of “hours”?


Over the summer, Gastown transformed into Patiotown – The city’s largest patio per capita district offering delectable sips + eats against the aesthetic backdrop of our ‘hood.

We teamed up with On the Table BC and the Vancouver Foundation to encourage Vancouverites to hold their events at Patiotown; a great way to reconnect with friends and support local businesses, safely.

From patios to picnics – we partnered with Dine Out Vancouver and invited foodies to safely savour our city’s exceptional restaurants and pubs by not just dining out, but by dining outside, Gastown style.⠀

Maple Tree Square Plaza

Carrall St. between Powell and Cordova transformed into a pop-up plaza as the City of Vancouver’s latest measure to help Gastowners safely return to community life. Patrons can meet at the plaza for a coffee, lunch date or breath of fresh air.


Gastown Unplugged

Once Patiotown was in full swing, Gastown businesses brought you outdoor pop-up music events across the ‘hood to support our local artists.

From jazz to slow jams and everything in between, Gastown Unplugged brought patrons live music to be enjoyed from the comfort of their favourite patio or while walking down the cobblestone streets.

Mariachi Man – The Viral Sensation 

This Mariachi singer became a viral sensation overnight when caught trudging through Gastown in a snowstorm while donning his charro suit, on his way to film a music video. This iconic photo was captured by local photographer Banana Cam Photo.



Gastown is nothing without the amazing entrepreneurs, artisans and local heroes that make up the mosaic of our colourful ‘hood. #IAMGASTOWN brought you stories from our cobblestone streets, from all walks of life. Trust us, nobody has more tales to tell then a Gastowner.


Click here for more Gastowner features.


Hello & Goodbye

Gastown said goodbye to many old friends this year, and welcomed many new faces to our ‘hood.

Business Openings:

Athena Shoes
Avelyn Florist & Event Stylist
Gravity Pope
Gowon Café
Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre
Joanna Keller Boutique
Lemon Square
Primp & Proper
Roba Da Matti
The Frying Pan
The Nooks (Pop-up)
Torre & Tagus
Twisted Fork
Zoomak Korean Tavern

Temporary Business Closures:

Community Thrift & Vintage (spring)
L’Abattoir (January 22nd)
Make (March)
Six Acres (indefinitely)

Business Closures:

Ampersand Bistro & Bar
Army & Navy
Clough Club
David’s Tea
Gastown Grooming Room
Gastown Int. Language School
Lululemon Lab
Mia Melon
Nouvelle Nouvelle
Ollie Quinn
Orling & Wu
Parliament Interiors
Pony Hair Salon
Poppy & Rye
The Good Spirit
The Poke Shop
The Praguery
The Sardine Can
Tuc Craft Kitchen
Wallace Mercantile

Open With Care

As your favourite businesses re-opened and patrons walked the streets once again, we put together a series of safety materials, including floor + window decals, signage, face masks and sanitizer free for our members.

All this in effort to collectively showcase that Gastown is cautiously following all WorkSafeBC guidelines, while welcoming customers back to #ourgastown. We greeted our community with clean streets, fresh hanging flower pots, a couple of new murals and socially distanced open arms.

Serving this community has been, and will continue to be, our greatest pleasure. The businesses, artists and leaders that make up our neighbourhood have kept the heart and soul of Gastown alive during one of the most challenging years on record. Time and time again, we prove our community is strong and that we aren’t going anywhere.