Walking Tours

Next Up - Foundations of the Jewish Community in Gastown & Strathcona

Various dates and times
Regular walking tours $16 (incl. tax)

Special event walking tour prices will vary


Seasonal walking tours return this spring. Join returning guides John Atkin and John Belshaw for their series of walks, as well as Michael Schwartz, Director of Community Engagement at the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC.

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2019 Walking Tours with Michael Schwartz

Register Here, $16
Select Sundays from 10am to 12pm

July 14: Foundations of the Jewish Community in Gastown & Strathcona
Strathcona and Gastown contain some of the oldest homes and commercial buildings in the city and were where many immigrant communities got their start, including Vancouver’s Jewish community. Join Michael Schwartz, Director of Community Engagement at the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC for a tour of these historic areas. Hear about the men and women who made a new home here, started businesses and laid the foundations of a tight-knit community. We will visit the city’s earliest synagogue and learn about schools, social service organizations, and pioneers in business and politics who rose from humble beginnings to make their mark on the city and province.

August 25: Pioneers of Vancouver’s Jewish Community at Mountain View Cemetery
The Jewish section of Mountain View Cemetery is the final resting place of over 450 members of Vancouver’s Jewish community, including many early pioneers. Neglected for many years, the cemetery underwent a major restoration between 2012 and 2015. A new plaza was added, headstones were restored and stabilized, and a new landscaping plan was implemented by Landscape Architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. Through this process, much information was learned about the people buried at Mountain View Cemetery, and their roles in building the local Jewish community. Join Michael Schwartz, Director of Community Engagement at the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC for a tour of this city landmark.

2019 Walking Tours with John Atkin

Please note all of John Atkin’s walks are at capacity. If you would like to be added to the waiting lists please email or phone 604-264-9642.

Select Saturdays from 10am to 12pm

In 2019 join John Atkin to explore Vancouver’s industrial heritage and history

May 4: The Waterfront
Vancouver’s non-native settlement begins with the water’s edge. This walk looks at the layers of history found along the shore between Main St and Granville St.

May 25: Railtown
A proposed train station, purpose built rail-oriented warehouses, brothels and graphic designers are all found in this emerging design district.

June 8: Vernon Street
A lost waterfront, duck hunting ground, indigenous portage route and home to the arts and taxis.

July 6: From Creek to Trains
The eastern reaches of False Creek were filled for rail yards, passenger depots and a home for industry in the early years of the 20th Century and change is once again on the horizon.

July 20: Shipyards, Salt and the Olympics
The southeast corner of False Creek has become one of the city’s newest residential neighbourhoods leaving behind its heavy industrial past.

August 10: Beer, Boxes and Tents
Once home to a number of industries including a brewery, Jones Tent and Awning and a host of other firms attracted by the rail access, the district today is an interesting mix of modern construction and heritage buildings.

August 31: Vegetables, Furniture and Flowers
Chinese vegetable wholesalers and retailers rubbed shoulders with other small scale industry on the edge of Mount Pleasant and the fertile valley between Main St and Fraser St.

September 7: Lumber and Telephones
Commercial Street, once the main business section of Cedar Cottage, is an eclectic streetscape of industry, restaurants and new residential development.

October 5: Foundries, Lumber and Baseball
Before the construction of the Granville Street Bridge, the area was home to the Capilano Stadium and the local baseball team. Foundries and lumber yards were mixed in with a collection of houses and churches in the surrounding neighbourhood.

October 19: Take Me to the River
For thousands of years the Fraser River and its shoreline has been an important food source and transportation corridor. It has long been a major industrial artery and is now an emerging residential area.

2019 Walking Tours with John Belshaw

Please note all of John Belshaw’s walks are at capacity. If you would like to be added to the waiting lists please email or phone 604-264-9642.

Select Saturdays from 10am to 12pm

April 27: Gore: The Avenue That Slashes the East End

Look at a map of early Vancouver and you’ll see that Gore Avenue is at an odd angle. One of the first streets laid out by loggers before surveyors, Gore Street existed before most adjacent streets. From Hastings Mill through Railtown, the Japanese District, past the elements of church and state, along the old boundary of Chinatown, to the original margin of False Creek, no other street in Vancouver delivers so much in nine blocks.

June 22: From Cedar Cove To Port Town
Less than a century ago, the area around the foot of Victoria Street was a humming hive of industrial activity, working class homes and breweries. Now it’s a bustling borough of hip restaurants, old structures and vacant lots ripe for gentrification, and more breweries than ever. Explore these streets for signs of what once was the Port of East Vancouver and see how some patterns have evolved and survived.

September 21: The Narrows
Once upon a time, False Creek was much bigger. The first bridge to cross it did so at what is now Main Street, stretching from one thin peninsula to another. This was the Narrows. The saltmarshes and mudflats of False Creek are long gone, but their imprint remains on the built environment. This walk will explore how the Narrows shaped the businesses and industries of a neighbourhood marked by dive bars, flea trap hotels, scrap merchants, and the city’s morgue.

Each walk earns 2 non-core LUs from AIBC.

About John Belshaw

John Douglas Belshaw is a second generation Vancouverite who lives in the East End. He is a graduate of Douglas College, UBC, SFU and the London School of Economics. John is a history professor with Thompson Rivers University and currently teaches courses online. He is the author and co-author of several histories of BC and Vancouver, including Vancouver Confidential (2014), Vancouver Noir: 1930-1960 (2011) and Becoming British Columbia: A Population History (2009). He is also the author of two truly mammoth histories of Canada, both of which are used in university classrooms across the country.

Completed 2018 Walking Tours with John Atkin (Click to View)

March 18: Gastown Revisited

April 7: China Creek Basin (NE Mount Pleasant)

April 21: China Creek Ravine (SE Mount Pleasant)

June 16: Davey Creek (SE Mount Pleasant)

June 24: A Brewery and A Stump (Kensington-Cedar Cottage)

July 21: The Lake Bottom (Renfrew Heights)

August 11: Bogs, Farms and a Dairy (Killarney)

September 8: Memorial Park (S Kensington)

October 27: Skunk Cabbage and Tudors (W Point Grey)

November 3: A Country Lane and the Mid-Century (Southlands)

Completed 2018 Walking Tours with John Belshaw (Click to View)

May 5 & July 7: Gore - The Avenue That Slashes the East End

June 9: From Cedar Cove To Port Town

June 23: The Narrows

Completed 2018 Walking Tours with Adrienne Brown (Click to View)

May 12 & August 25: Vancouver’s Waterfront - History Found Near the Seawall

July 28 & September 22: Open Spaces of Vancouver’s Downtown

Completed 2018 Special Event Walking Tours (Click to View)

May 13: Revitalizing UBC - Cultural Landscape and Twentieth Century Design Legacies

October 27: Historic Powell Street Walking Tour 

Completed 2017 Walking Tours with John Atkin (Click to View)


April 15: The Southern Sunny Slope (Kerrisdale)

May 13: Royal Nurseries (South Kerrisdale)

June 10: Pleasant View (Fraserview)

June 17: Bon Accord Park (Renfrew-Collingwood)

July 15: Welton Heights (Riley Park)

August 12: Strathcona Place (West Side)

August 19: Selkirk Heights (South Shaughnessy)

September 9: Strathcona Hill (South Cambie)

October 14: On the Edge of Shaughnessy (North Shaughnessy)

October 28: Tatlow Park (Kitsilano)

November 19: Chinatown Walk & Dim Sum Lunch

Completed 2017 Walking Tours with Maurice Guibord (Click to View)

April 28 & July 29 - The Viaducts Quandary

May 6 &  June 23 - East Fraser Lands

May 20 & August 18 - Vancouver’s Art Deco

June 9 & Sept 30 - Vancouver's "Francophone Village"

June 24 & Oct 20 - False Creek South