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Exploring Gastown’s Iconic Clock Like Never Before!

Guide to Gastown's Steam Clock in Vancouver
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Dad Joke Time: “Why did the steam clock always get to work early? Because it couldn’t stand to be “pressed” for time!”

And that, my dear readers, is how I became interested in the Gastown Steam Clock. From a joke I overheard on the cobblestone streets of Gastown.

This beautiful antique gem is a must see in this neighborhood! Once you’ve heard that steam powered whistle, you’ll never look at clocks the same way again. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got the best guide to get you started right here! So read on to find out more about the Gastown Steam Clock!

Best Time to Go

The best time to go and check out Gastown’s Steam Clock is during the weekdays, preferably early in the morning, to avoid the volume of tourists waiting for the clock to whistle.

The clock is a popular attraction in Gastown and can get quite crowded on weekends, so visiting during the week will allow for a more peaceful experience.

What is the history of the Gastown clock?

What is the history of the Gastown clock

Gastown’s Steam Clock in Vancouver is a historic landmark revered for its unique steam-powered mechanism and melodic chimes. 

It serves as a cherished symbol of the city’s heritage, attracting tourists and locals alike, offering a glimpse into Vancouver’s past and a sense of pride for its community.

Gastown Steam Clock, one of only six functioning steam clocks globally and potentially the second ever made, was crafted by Raymond Saunders back in 1977. 

You can spot it nestled at the corner of Water and Cambie Streets in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district. As you stroll down Water St, you can’t miss this quirky attraction drawing in tourists with its playful steam whistle. 

Despite its vintage appearance, it’s interesting to note that while the clock’s pipes emit steam, its inner workings are powered by electricity, a fascinating blend of old and new.

What does the Gastown steam clock do every hour?

What does the Gastown steam clock do every hour

The Gastown Steam Clock releases a burst of steam from its apex on the stroke of each hour with a whistle chime echoing the iconic Westminster Quarters. This clock chime is the same melody that London’s Big Ben uses.

How to Get to Gastown’s Steam Clock

By car: head to Burrard Street and keep driving until you see W Cordova Street. Make a right there, and another on Abbot, and you’re there.

By public transit: hop on the Skytrain and get off at Burrard station. From there, the neighborhood of Gastown is a few minutes by foot.

Where to Stay near Gastown’s Steam Clock

Victorian Hotel

Address: 514 Homer St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2V6, Canada

Phone: +1 604-681-6369

Pricing: $

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The Victorian Hotel is a boutique style hotel that was originally built in 1898. The property blends historical finishes, such as its European-style architecture, and modern rooms with exposed brick walls and contemporary design.

Sure, they don’t have a lot of amenities on-site, but it’s a draw that the hotel’s location is a stone’s throw away from multiple bars and restaurants.

The Cambie Hostel

Address: 310 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2N3, Canada

Phone: +1 604-684-6466

Pricing: $

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The Cambie Hostel is centrally located in historic Gastown. It’s a heritage building over 120 years old, so don’t expect it to be all fancy; instead, think of it as a cozy and charming place to stay with a unique character.

They have mixed and single-sex dorm rooms that can fit up to eight people. There’s also a lively bar and cafe on-site with a cozy sidewalk patio.

Georgian Court Hotel

Address: 773 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2M4, Canada

Phone: +1 604-682-5555

Pricing: $$

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First opened in 1983, the Georgian Court exudes a stylish vibe, starting from when you enter the lobby and you’re greeted by a calming water feature and plush seating. They’re a four-star boutique hotel, after all.

They’ve got some cool extras like a Jacuzzi, steam room, and gym, plus you can use their free bikes and hop on their downtown shuttle.

St. Regis Hotel

Address: 602 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1Y6, Canada

Phone: +1 604-681-1135

Pricing: $$

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At the St. Regis, don’t expect flashy glamor, but you’ll fall for its historic charm and prime downtown spot. It’s not about fancy themes or quirky vibes here; it’s just a classic, no-nonsense hotel.

Their rooms blend art deco influences with modern decor and furniture. When it comes to dining, you’ve got choices like a top-notch steakhouse with live tunes on the patio, or a laid-back sports bar with pub-style vibes.

Pan Pacific Vancouver

Address: 999 Canada Pl #300, Vancouver, BC V6C 3B5, Canada

Phone: +1 604-662-8111

Pricing: $$

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Nestled right by Vancouver’s waterfront, you’ll find the Pan Pacific, a fancy hotel offering rooms with breathtaking views of the harbor, mountains, Stanley Park, and the city skyline.

They’ve got a laid-back café and a fancy restaurant to choose from. And if you’re in the mood to relax or get active, they’ve got an outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, and a spa on-site.

Where to Eat near Gastown’s Steam Clock

Water St. Café

Address: 300 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B6, Canada

Phone: +1 604-689-2832

Pricing: $$


Since 1988, the Water St. Café has been dishing out Pacific Northwest cuisine with a touch of Italian flair. And let’s talk about that view – catching a glimpse of the Gastown Steam Clock from here is simply iconic.

Now, onto the food. Their flavored fries are seriously top-notch, some of the best we’ve ever tasted. And if you’re craving burgers, their salmon and chicken options are absolute winners.

Nuba in Gastown

Address: 207 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1K6, Canada

Phone: +1 604-688-1655

Pricing: $$$


In Gastown, there’s this gem called Nuba, a Lebanese joint where almost everything on the menu is vegan and halal. Their falafel plate and Najib’s special – they’re seriously delicious. 

When you order a plate, you get a side salad, brown rice or potatoes, and your choice of pita or romaine.

Pourhouse Restaurant

Address: 162 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, Canada

Phone: +1 604-568-7022

Pricing: $$


Tucked in a 100-year-old building built in 1910, the Pourhouse Restaurant’s historic charm lies in its Douglas fir ceilings, antique furnishings, and good food.

We went for the truffle tater tots and the fried chicken. Those tots had the perfect crunch, and the sauce was just so tasty. As for the fried chicken, it came out piping hot and crispy. We loved the honey butter.

Steamworks Brewpub

Address: 375 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B8, Canada

Phone: +1 604-689-2739

Pricing: $$


At Steamworks Brewpub, you’re in for a treat with their house beers and a variety of pub grub like steaks, pizza, and chili. Their beers are top-notch – you really can’t pick a bad one, but if we had to recommend, go for the pumpkin ale. 

Now, if you’re looking for advice on what to eat, definitely go for The Brew House Burger. It was absolutely awesome, and don’t even get us started on their poutine – real cheese curds make all the difference!

MeeT in Gastown

Address: Inner Courtyard, 12 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4K7, Canada

Phone: +1 604-696-1111

Pricing: $$


Situated in the charming Gastown district, MeeT in Gastown is your go-to spot for vegan and gluten-friendly classics, as well as a full brunch spread.

We highly recommend the Korean fried chicken – that spicy sauce coating the chicken is just divine. And if you’re there during a hot noon, the Big Yum Bowl is a refreshing choice.

What to Do in and around Gastown’s Steam Clock

Admire Gastown’s Steam Clock

Media credit: jerry4tom

Address: 305 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B9, Canada

Phone: +1 604-873-7000


What sets Gastown’s Steam Clock apart is its rarity – there are only a handful like it worldwide. If you take a closer look, you’ll see it’s powered by steam, with a whistle chime marking every quarter hour.

Its detailed design and cool steampunk style make it a hot spot for tourists visiting Vancouver. People come from all over just to check it out. It’s more than just a clock – it’s a symbol of Gastown’s history and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Take Aesthetic Photos

Media credit: lydiachen34

Address: 305 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B9, Canada

Phone: +1 604-873-7000


Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest commercial district, is famous for its stunning Victorian-style architecture. Along the cobbled streets, you’ll spot plenty of plaques and Victorian buildings – perfect for snapping some great photos.

For the best shots, head to the steam tower area, right in the heart of those cobblestone streets. Water Street is another hotspot where you can capture the neighborhood’s historic charm in all its glory.

Embark on a Food Tour

Media credit: mygastown


The Gastown Historic Walking Food Tour takes you through a leisurely stroll through Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. Along the way, you’ll treat your taste buds to seven delicious food tastings and three alcohol tastings.

Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to savor the city’s signature dishes, but you’ll also get to soak up the rich history of Gastown and Vancouver, courtesy of your knowledgeable guide.

Grab a Pint at Blarney Stone

Address: 216 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J1, Canada

Phone: +1 604-687-4322


The Blarney Stone holds the title of being the longest-running Irish Pub in Vancouver. But it’s not just any Irish pub – it’s a cornerstone of Irish cuisine and entertainment in the city.

Whether you’re seeking a laid-back chat with locals or some solo time catching a game, this spot has you covered. Plus, it’s got live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to keep the vibes just right.

Have a Look at the Flatiron Building

Media credit: mygastown

Address: 1277 Melville St, Vancouver, BC V6E 0A4, Canada

Hotel Europe stands tall as Gastown’s own version of the Flatiron building in Vancouver. Constructed between 1908 and 1909 by architects Parr and Fee, it underwent a transformation into affordable housing in 1983. 

This iconic structure, located near Gassy Jack in Gastown, holds a significant place in the city’s architectural history.

Head to the Vancouver Lookout

Address: 555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6, Canada

Phone: +1 604-689-0421


For an unparalleled view of Vancouver, head to the Vancouver Lookout. Offering stunning 360-degree views of the city, it’s the perfect spot to take in the dynamic skyline of downtown Vancouver and its surrounding neighborhoods.

To experience it yourself, simply purchase tickets on the ground floor and hop on the elevator to ascend to the top.

Join the Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour

Media credit: linda_c_v


The Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour is where you get to experience the neighborhood. The tour includes the steam clock, the Gassy Jack statue, Byrne’s Block, Hotel Europe, and Maple Tree Square.

You also get to weave through the back streets, alleyways, and secret spaces of Gastown, where your guide will share haunting tales of the neighborhood’s past and the lost souls that still linger in the area.

Where to Shop near Gastown’s Steam Clock

Shop Makers

Address: 38 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0B7, Canada


At Shop Makers, you’ll discover a treasure trove of goodies from over 100 Canadian makers and artisans. From home decor to beauty products, fashion to jewelry, accessories to candles, and beyond.

Whether you’re hunting for a gift or treating yourself, you’re sure to find something perfect here for anyone on your list. Just be aware that during peak times, the space can get quite crowded, and the aisles are on the narrow side.

Old Faithful Shop

Address: 320 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1E8, Canada


Old Faithful Shop is hands down one of the most stylish stores around. Inside, you’ll find yourself in a meticulously curated space that oozes tranquility, showcasing an eclectic mix of items.

From coffee grinders to knives, bowls to posters, perfumes to socks, and beyond, they’ve got it all. It’s like being treated to a crash course in the finest goods across every category they offer.


Address: 170 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, Canada

Phone: +1 604-423-5460


MAKE is a fantastic store packed with locally made and Canadian products. You’ll find a wide range of one-of-a-kind Canadian-made items, from t-shirts and embroidery to mugs and other customized goodies.

It’s a blast just wandering through the store, and we highly recommend stopping by to pick up something special for yourself or a thoughtful gift for someone else.

Community Thrift & Vintage

Address: 11 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G4, Canada

Phone: +1 604-629-8396


Established in 2011, Community Thrift & Vintage is your go-to destination for men’s and women’s clothing as well as home decor, all while supporting the PHS Community Services Society.

They boast an impressive array of vintage attire alongside timeless classics like the inSite hoodies and t-shirts. Plus, you’ll find a plethora of local community artist cards, patches, and other unique treasures.

Out & About Boutique

Address: 321 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1E5, Canada

Phone: +1 604-682-0462


Out & About Boutique stands out as a unique Asian-inspired gem nestled in Gastown. This boutique offers a curated selection of Japan-made items, including jewelry, home decor, stationery, clothing, accessories, and ceramics.

The building housing the boutique itself is a standout jewel in the area, adding to the allure of the shopping experience. If you’re looking for something special and distinctly Japanese, this is the place to explore in Gastown.

Apps to Download for a Trip to Gastown’s Steam Clock

Vancouver Transit Live: provides real-time bus schedules as well as live updates on buses approaching stops near you. 

iOs | Android

Street Food Vancouver: Locate the nearest food trucks on a map, along with their operating hours.

iOs | Android

GPSmyCity: offline tour guide with built-in GPS navigation functions that guide you from one tour stop to the next.

iOs | Android

Uber: arrange a ride anywhere in Vancouver. Allows you to track the driver’s whereabouts in real time on the app and provide an anticipated arrival time.

iOs | Android

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