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The Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tour

THE FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER WALKING TOUR

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.

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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!

DURATION: 2 HOURS

WHEN: THURS – SAT 7 PM | SUN 4 PM

PRICE: $32 ADULTS / $29 SENIORS AND STUDENTS

BOOK YOUR TOUR

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 do not include fees and taxes. Student and senior pricing available on all walking tours. Contact us to arrange a private tour. 

TESTIMONIALS FROM TRIPADVISOR

“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 

OUR AWARDS

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

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 Vancouver Women’s Health Collective. Since it was founded in 1971, the VWHC has worked to empower women to take control of their health. With a focus on providing information and resources to women, the VWHC’s work has included producing publications, educating media, hosting workshops, and staging community events.  

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. 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!

MEETING PLACE

Tours start at the Gastown Steam Clock at Water and Cambie Streets
Tours end at Maple Tree Square in Gastown