Historic Walking Tours of Jewish Strathcona & Gastown

National Council of Jewish Women Neighbourhood HouseDiscover the fascinating tales of life in the heart of the early Jewish community in Vancouver.

In the 1880s and 1890s, the town of Granville quickly became the city of Vancouver following the arrival of the transcontinental railway. Jews participated in the city’s economic growth, political incorporation and cultural development. Jewish businesses opened in Gastown and a wave of Eastern European immigration from the 1890s to the 1920s made Strathcona the new centre of British Columbia’s Jewish population. In Strathcona, the Eastern European Jewish immigrants shared the Yiddish language, a religion, and concerns common to new immigrants in a foreign land. They soon established a synagogue, a mikvah (ritual bath), and cheder (Hebrew school) to meet their religious needs.

"...I remember when I went to Strathcona School, where I went until I was 8 years old, there was a statement going around then that Strathcona was the home of 95 different nationalities. And it may very well have been true. So I went to school with Chinese and Japanese, there were substantial colonies there. There were Italians, Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, lots of immigrants of various kinds. But it was the centre of Jewish life." - Sam Rothstein

A tour guide from the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC will provide insight into the landmarks, architecture, events and evolution of Gastown and Strathcona districts, while sharing anecdotes of Jewish daily life in the area. The tour lasts 2 hours and is approximately 2 kilometers in distance.

The Strathcona & Gastown summer walking tour season runs from May through August. Special private tours can be happily arranged for groups of 10 or more, anytime, by calling (604)257-5199 or emailing info@jewishmuseum.ca

2014 Summer Schedule:

  • Sunday, May 25 at 11:00 AM
  • Sunday, June 22 at 11:00 AM
  • Wednesday, July 20 at 11:00 AM  

Tours meet at 700 E. Pender St. (corner of East Pender Street and Heatley Avenue) in Strathcona, in front of the original Schara Tzedeck Synagogue. Click here to see a map of the area.

Parking is available on nearby residential streets. Tour site is also accessible by Public Transit, visit www.translink.ca to plan a route.

$10 per person & includes a complimentary copy of the booklet, In the Footsteps of Jewish Vancouver – 1886 to 2006.

Group Rates: Please contact us to discuss a special tour for your group. RSVP and a minimum of 10 pre-registered participants are required for each tour.