I live on the edge of Gastown, technically in Railtown, one block east.
Given what was going on all over with the Covid-19 lockdowns, I resisted what seemed to be almost a “trendy calling” to run out and photograph a city in closed mode, and it was also out of a sense of responsibility in respecting our Dr. Bonnie Henry stay-at-home requests.
As we approached the stage of opening up, and with an easing of home restrictions, I decided to take my camera and venture out from my building and through Gastown and area.
I knew it wouldn’t be pretty, but I wanted to capture some of the neighbourhood intensities that existed, in an area that was usually vibrantly crowded with tourists, street life, shopping and ongoing business activities.
The irony of course, is that the only stores open where those that catered to tourists, in a city that had no more tourists.
I’ve seen Gastown through various stages and come to life from the darkness of its past, and I must admit I see extreme challenges coming in an area that thrives on restaurant and tourist activities, at a time now when those two attractions are the most elusive in bringing people back.
Gastown always has its intensity of character, and the neighbourhood changes from one side of the street to the other, and through the various alleyways, some of which have even been incorporated into new trendy business opportunities.
I don’t know what it’s future holds, but Gastown will always have its unique character in streetscape, architecture, the personalities drawn to it, living in the area, all coming together to be part of its unique everyday existence.