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THE FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER TOUR

HEAR TALES OF MOBSTERS, BOOTLEGGING, AND VICE

THE FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER TOUR

HEAR TALES OF MOBSTERS, BOOTLEGGING, AND VICE

This ain’t where they take you on the tour buses! Explore Vancouver’s dirtiest Prohibition-era secrets. From mobsters and rum-runners to rioters and crooked politicians, this historical walking tour uncovers Gastown’s most historic streets – and most illicit stories.

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ON THIS WALKING TOUR YOU’LL DISCOVER…

Illicit speakeasies

Back alley “blind pigs”

Prohibition-era saloons

Famous rum running routes

Architecture of early Vancouver

The tale of mob boss Joe Celona

The infamous Gastown “Grass” riot

The battle between bootleggers and the Dry Squad

Urban legends with hidden truths

And more!

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KEY INFORMATION

MON-WED-FRI 10 AM,
SAT 7:30 PM, SUN 4 PM
TOUR RUNS 1.5 – 2 HOURS
AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE TOURS
$33 ADULTS
$30 YOUTH AND SENIORS
MEET OUTSIDE OF MONACO CAFE – 356 WATER ST

*IMPORTANT*

Our namesake tour is our longest running, and often sells out. To get your preferred date and avoid missing out, we highly recommend you book as soon as possible.

FLEXIBLE CANCELLATION POLICY

You can cancel your experience for a full refund up to 24 hours before your tour start time. Less than 24 hours before the start of your tour, you can receive a full credit for future use. No questions asked! Prices exclude fees and taxes. 

TESTIMONIALS FROM TRIPADVISOR

GREAT WAY TO SPEND AN EVENING

“Had the best time! The tour is super interesting and uncovers wonderful secrets about the city that were a surprise. Best part was our tour guide Lenard. Knowledgeable, and a great sense of humour. I’m going to try and squeeze in one of the other tours next month.”

– LIZ P, VIA TRIPADVISOR

FANTASTIC

“Such a great way to get out and see the city, learn about the prohibition area of BC and have some laughs along the way! Our guide Rob was hilariously captivating and kept the tour interesting the entire time. Would recommend to anyone visiting the city.”

– KELSEYPRUDEN01, VIA TRIPADVISOR 

OUR AWARDS

WINNER TRIP ADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE 2012 – 2024

WINNER LONELY PLANET “TOP CHOICE” 2024

WINNER CITY OF VANCOUVER HERITAGE MEDAL OF HONOUR

WINNER MUST DO CANADA FEATURED EXPERIENCES 2024

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What do I need to bring?

There’s plenty of shade in Gastown, but do bring sunscreen, hat, and a bottle of water on hotter days. We recommend you bring a jacket and sturdy footwear during the cooler months.

You’ll definitely want your smartphone charged so you can take photos of the incredible sites and views!

Is it suitable for children?

We carefully crafted this experience to suit the interests and preferences of adults, making it an ideal choice for teenagers seeking engaging and thought-provoking content. However, due to its mature themes and potential for intense or sensitive content, we don’t recommended it for children under the age of 12.

How much walking is involved?

The tour is a leisurely stroll through Gastown. There is one short hill right at the end of the tour. The total distance covered is about 1.5 km, or 1 mile.

Does my guide accept gratuities?

Absolutely! Our guides accept cash or cards (via a portable Square device). If you enjoyed your guide’s performance then a tip is greatly appreciated.

Where does the tour start and end?

The tour starts at the corner of Water and Cordova Streets, beside Monaco Cafe. The end point is at the Main Street Overpass at Main and Alexander streets, nearby plenty of food and beverage options!

Can I get to the start point on transit?

It’s super easy! The historic Waterfront Station is only a block from our starting point. Take any line to Waterfront Station and exit on Cordova Street. Turn left out of the exit and walk one block towards Monaco Cafe.

Hot tip: Use Translink’s online trip planner for more options.

Can't I just wander around Gastown by myself?

You can, and Gastown is a lively neighbourhood full of shops, restaurants, and bars. But you’ll miss out on the historic neighbourhood’s roots in prohibition, mob history, and more!

Can I buy my ticket cheaper on another site?

We guarantee our website has the lowest prices for our walking tours. Beware reseller sites that display their prices in $USD to appear cheaper than they really are.

Do I qualify for a senior or youth ticket?

Anyone aged 65 or older qualifies for a seniors ticket.

If you’re 18 or younger, or a full-time student of any age with valid photo ID, you qualify for a youth ticket.

What are the Terms and Conditions?

All minors must be accompanied by an adult.

We do not permit guests on the tour who are, or appear to be, intoxicated. Guests who are intoxicated or disorderly will be asked to leave the tour and no refund will be issued.

While the tour is not strenuous, walking is involved and guests will be on their feet for the duration of the tour. Guests are responsible for making sure they are able to complete the tour.

You and your party knowingly and freely assume all the risks with participating in this experience. We are not responsible for illness or injury of guests during a tour. By participating in this experience you release and hold harmless Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours with respect to any injury, disability, death, or loss or damage to person or property whether cause by the negligence of Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours or otherwise.

Is the tour wheelchair accessible?

Yes, this tour is wheelchair accessible and is led on mostly flat terrain (with some historic cobblestones). There is a wheelchair ramp on the short hill at the end of the tour.

Can I park near the start point?

There are several parking lots near the starting point at Monaco Cafe. The closest is at 450 W Cordova at Harbour Centre. There’s also one at 160 Water Street near Pourhouse.

Is there a bathroom break?

There isn’t an official bathroom break on the tour. We recommend you visit the bathroom before the tour starts. However if you do need to go during the tour it’s no problem at all. Simply let your guide know and they will advise you of a nearby cafe or restaurant you can duck into.

MEET OUR FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER WALKING TOUR GUIDES

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

When you buy a ticket for this walking tour, two percent of the ticket cost goes to support the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. Since 1978, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre has provided a safe space for women and children in the Downtown Eastside.

AS FEATURED ON

TOUR DESCRIPTION

THE REAL STORY OF VANCOUVER

In 1917, Prohibition hit Vancouver harder than a slug of bathtub gin. Saloon doors swung closed for good, forcing law-abiding citizens into an underground world of bootlegged spirits and illicit activity.

Mob bosses set up scores of illegal drinking dens, while dirty cops took bribes to look the other way. When the U.S. followed suit with their own prohibition three years later, enterprising Vancouver rum-runners made millions smuggling booze on midnight voyages down the coast.

By the 1920s Vancouver had became a hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and opium. Thirsty loggers, sailors, and miners poured in from the nearby port, ready to blow their wages while crime kingpins Shui Moy and Joe Celona lined their pockets with the ill-gotten gains.

On the Forbidden Vancouver Tour you’ll walk the alleyways and back streets where it all went down. So discover the real story of Vancouver – this ain’t where they take you on the tour buses!

MEETING PLACE

Tours start outside of Monaco Cafe – 356 Water St
Tours end at the Main Street Overpass at Main and Alexander Streets

Book your Forbidden Vancouver Tour today

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