The Vancouver district known as Gastown, situated at the northeast corner of the downtown area, is the area where Vancouver was founded in 1867. It is now situated east of the main downtown area, near Chinatown. Most of the major events that occurred since Vancouver's story began, happened in and around Gastown. Over time, the city grew westward and changed its name to Vancouver. Gastown became known as Old Vancouver and had been a run-down area until it was suggested to tear down the historic site. Under the pressure of the community, it was designated a historic area by the provincial government in February 1971.
The main tourist attractions in Gastown are the unique steam clock and the statue of 'Gassy Jack' Deighton. The Gastown Steam Clock was the world's first steam clock and was originally built to cover a steam vent. The 2 ton weighing oddly looking clock whistles every 15 minutes.
Underneath Vancouver, a gas system provides heat to most of the downtown core, and provides as well steam for the whistles of the Gastown clock. If you think the clock is a a remnant of the Victorian era you are mistaken, the Steam Clock is actually built in 1977 by Raymond Saunders.
Every quarter hour, the two-ton Steam Clock shows off a bit, whistling and shooting steam from its five whistles. Gastown is nowadays totally integrated into Vancouver’s activities and attractions. More information at