This ain’t where they take you on the tour buses! Explore Vancouver’s dirtiest Prohibition-era secrets. From mobsters and rum-runners to corrupt politicians and rioters, this historical walking tour winds through Gastown’s most historic streets and alleyways – and most illicit stories.
Back alley “blind pigs”
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
Our tours are designed for adult audiences and do contain some references to adult themes. Our age recommendation is 14+ but certainly children aged 10+ can attend and enjoy our walking tours if parents are comfortable with their children hearing mature subject matter.
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 do not include fees and taxes. Student and senior pricing available on all walking tours. Contact us to arrange a private tour.
“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
“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
WINNER TRIP ADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE 2012 – 2022
WINNER LONELY PLANET “TOP CHOICE” 2022
WINNER CITY OF VANCOUVER HERITAGE MEDAL OF HONOUR
WINNER MUST DO CANADA FEATURED EXPERIENCES 2022
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.
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. Vancouver’s longest-running mayor L.D. Taylor emerged from the chaos, soon notorious for his shadowy past, raucous parties and underworld ties. 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!