Last Halloween our walking tour the Lost Souls of Gastown sold out 20 straight dates. This year they are back with three new storytellers, two alternate endings and the same gothic adventure into Vancouver’s earliest and darkest years.
Lost souls of Gastown is a macabre adventure deep into the heart of Victorian Gastown. Guests visit Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood and many of its most interesting buildings and places, including the Hotel Victorian, Byrnes Block, Gaoler’s Mews and Homer Arcade. It’s a chance to hear true stories from Vancouver’s turbulent early years, woven into a compelling and dramatic plot.
The tour brings to life Vancouver as it once was, a wild frontier-town with only a few thousand inhabitants. In the 1880s the city barely extended beyond the borders of Gastown, a town which had a brothel before it had a school. Stories covered on the tour include:
- The great fire of June 1886, which burned the city to the ground in just 20 minutes. Only a handful of buildings survived and many inhabitants died. Witnesses said the fire swept down Water Street faster than a sprinting man.
- Vancouver’s first madam, Birdie Stewart, and her Water Street bordello.
- The Klondike goldrush and the frenzy it wrought on Vancouver, including the tale of infamous Klondike Kate and her lover Alexander Pantages, a man who went on to build two of Vancouver’s greatest theatres.
- The smallpox outbreak of 1893 and the truth about Deadman’s Island.
- The notorious unsolved murder of John Bray, a man shot in the head three times but who took two weeks to die.
The stories are told from the perspective of one of Vancouver’s earliest residents, George Turle or Sarah Briars. Depending on the storyteller, guests will witness one of two alternate and shocking endings to the tour.
- Cost: $22 + GST (adult) / $19 + GST (senior/student)
- Duration: 90 mins
- Start point: Cathedral Sq, opposite the Holy Rosary Cathedral on Dunsmuir St
- Booking: Online at forbiddenvancouver.ca
- Dates: Oct: 2/4/5/9/11/12/16/17/18/19/23/24/25/26/28/29/30/31 and Nov: 1/2/7/8/9
- Tours take place in the evening
- Check website for times
- Not recommended for under 16s
- Private tours may be arranged
Each tour is led by a member of Forbidden Vancouver’s cast of storytellers. This year, Founder & Chief Storyteller Will Woods is joined by:
- Tiffany Anderson. Star and co-creator of 2013 Vancouver Fringe show Naked Love.
- Corwin Ferguson. Nominated for two 2013 Jessie theatre awards.
- Mark Turpin. Actor in five seasons of Theatre-under-the-stars.