Forbidden Vancouver historical tour of DTES is awesome

Not only is there an increasingly popular and crazy underground immersive game going on right now in the Hastings Crossing area but a great new guided tour of the DTES called Forbidden Vancouver is also available to the public. I had a chance to take the tour, expertly given by actor/historian Will Woods and I learned more about Vancouver in that hour and a half than I have in the past several years. It was eye opening and fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s curious about the architecture, economic, cultural and political history of the area, with a peek into the lives of the incredible characters who have flown under the radar in most historical accounts of the city. We’re too prim and proper to acknowledge that kind of salacious drunken riff raff in our tourist information!

The tour is educational in an interactive and fun way and the group we were with had plenty of good discussions and good guesses whenever Will asked us why we thought something would be the way it was in prohibition era Vancouver. Why was the Sun Tower, then known as the World News Tower, a beautiful work of architectural expression and at one time the tallest building in the British Empire, so hard to fill with offices and businesses after it was built? Why does Vancouver have the thinnest building in the world? Why are there glass tiles along Chinatown’s sidewalks and where were the city’s most bawdy illegal taverns located and who frequented them?

The answers may surprise you.

Check out the Forbidden Vancouver website for yourself and have a go!

The site also has some great archival photographs of early 20th century Vancouver like this one below. What the hell exactly happened here??? You’ll find out if you take the tour, and man was I shocked to know the truth.



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