Maple Tree Square
Maple Tree Square
4
What people are saying
PookyCake
By PookyCake
Maple Tree Square: Where Politics, Culture and History Meet
4.0 of 5 bubblesOct 2019
At first blush I found it rather queer that Maple Tree Square – as part of Gastown – had its own listing on TripAdvisor, especially with “Gassy Jack” and the Hotel Europe having their own listings as well; however, after reflecting on Vancouver’s history, it does actually make sense. The only thing is, unless you get one of those walking tours of the area, you’ll probably lack context and simply conclude that it’s a “great square,” “atmospheric,” or full of “great pubs and shops.” I mean, those are all great points, but don’t really get to the essence and importance of the Square. So, why is Maple Tree Square so significant to Vancouver and why is it a “must see” attraction? To get straight to the point, Maple Tree Square represents the impetus of Vancouver. It is, in other words, the literal origin of the city. Dating back to the Victorian era, Maple Tree Square quickly became the young city’s cultural and social hub in 1867 – also the year of Canadian Confederation – when John “Gassy Jack” Deighton opened his first pub, not too far from where his statue stands today. Back then, because of its proximity to the waterfront, the area now known as Gastown was a bustling trade and commerce centre. It was only natural that various shops, accommodation and, yes, pubs would spring up in and around the area. And when money is being made, you know the sphere of politics isn’t too far behind. Whenever Maple Tree Square comes up in the historical discourse, politics inevitably enters the discussion – and for good reason. This site is home to the city of Vancouver’s first ever council meeting following incorporation. The meeting took place in and around April 1886 under a large maple tree. What was then “Granville Townsite” was thus transformed into Vancouver. Unfortunately, the original maple tree – along with many historic buildings – was destroyed in the great fire of 1886. In 1986, in honour of the city’s centennial year, Vancouver city council recreated that famous first meeting in Maple Tree Square. Talk about a great photo op! Today Maple Tree Square represents one of the most historic intersections in Vancouver. As already noted, the site features a statue of “Gassy Jack,” the founder of modern day Gastown; the iconic Hotel Europe, which was built 1909 and is historic in its own right; and the old Alhambra Hotel, which is the oldest building in Vancouver still standing and in use today (built 1887). On top of the history, the area is also known for its plethora of attractive shops and restaurants. Indeed, because of this fine synthesis of the historic and the modern, Maple Tree Square is widely photographed. Now, if only more people knew why they took pictures and selfies beyond “Gassy Jack” and the pretty trees and architecture that line the streets . . .

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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Central
How to get there
  • Waterfront • 8 min walk
  • Stadium–Chinatown • 8 min walk

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles38 reviews
Excellent
5
Very good
26
Average
6
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Chris D
New Westminster, Canada3,216 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Well, at least in the historical sense. It is said that this is downtown Gastown, where Gassy Jack's original saloon was located. From here you can see his statue, some original buildings (as in 100+ years old) and the cool looking Europe Hotel.
Tourists interested in architecture and/or history should plan to spend a while here.
Lots of food and drink available close by.
BUT - don't wander to far to the south, especially after dark.
Written July 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PookyCake
Victoria, Canada14,337 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
At first blush I found it rather queer that Maple Tree Square – as part of Gastown – had its own listing on TripAdvisor, especially with “Gassy Jack” and the Hotel Europe having their own listings as well; however, after reflecting on Vancouver’s history, it does actually make sense. The only thing is, unless you get one of those walking tours of the area, you’ll probably lack context and simply conclude that it’s a “great square,” “atmospheric,” or full of “great pubs and shops.” I mean, those are all great points, but don’t really get to the essence and importance of the Square. So, why is Maple Tree Square so significant to Vancouver and why is it a “must see” attraction? To get straight to the point, Maple Tree Square represents the impetus of Vancouver. It is, in other words, the literal origin of the city.

Dating back to the Victorian era, Maple Tree Square quickly became the young city’s cultural and social hub in 1867 – also the year of Canadian Confederation – when John “Gassy Jack” Deighton opened his first pub, not too far from where his statue stands today. Back then, because of its proximity to the waterfront, the area now known as Gastown was a bustling trade and commerce centre. It was only natural that various shops, accommodation and, yes, pubs would spring up in and around the area. And when money is being made, you know the sphere of politics isn’t too far behind.

Whenever Maple Tree Square comes up in the historical discourse, politics inevitably enters the discussion – and for good reason. This site is home to the city of Vancouver’s first ever council meeting following incorporation. The meeting took place in and around April 1886 under a large maple tree. What was then “Granville Townsite” was thus transformed into Vancouver. Unfortunately, the original maple tree – along with many historic buildings – was destroyed in the great fire of 1886. In 1986, in honour of the city’s centennial year, Vancouver city council recreated that famous first meeting in Maple Tree Square. Talk about a great photo op!

Today Maple Tree Square represents one of the most historic intersections in Vancouver. As already noted, the site features a statue of “Gassy Jack,” the founder of modern day Gastown; the iconic Hotel Europe, which was built 1909 and is historic in its own right; and the old Alhambra Hotel, which is the oldest building in Vancouver still standing and in use today (built 1887). On top of the history, the area is also known for its plethora of attractive shops and restaurants. Indeed, because of this fine synthesis of the historic and the modern, Maple Tree Square is widely photographed. Now, if only more people knew why they took pictures and selfies beyond “Gassy Jack” and the pretty trees and architecture that line the streets . . .
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thewayiseeit
Mosta, Russia1,155 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Couples
As a tourist you cannot miss the opportunity of not visiting Maple Tree Square
This idyllic location formats part of the intersection of 4 streets - Namely Alexander, Carrall, Powell and water streets!!
Full of interesting historical information going back to when Vancouver was known as Granville Townsite. Also am other interesting fact of a guy by the name of John “Gassy Jack” Deighton opened the first salon. We were told that the first council meeting was held under the maple tree which still stands. There are places to eat and have a coffee etc in the area and it is an easy walk..A truly lovely experience.
Written November 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

IAN D
Wigan, UK25,563 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Solo
Very nice part of Gastown which includes the statue to gassy Jack. The trees give the area of a boulevard feel. Nice vibe in this area.
Written October 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kate Illinois1
Illinois4,719 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
Beautiful old town charm and architecture. I'm sure this area has to be close to the most photographed area in Vancouver. Gastown has much to offer with shopping and restaurants.
Written August 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rumples
Tucson, AZ11,678 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Couples
This square -- now essentially the intersection of Alexander, Water, Powell and Carrall streets in the Gastown neighborhood -- is where Vancouver began in 1867. That's when John Deighton opened a salon here.. A nearby maple tree (now gone) provided shade for the first city council meeting.

History buffs would likely find a quick stop to be of interest. The "Gassy Jack" statue of Deighton is a big draw and has information plaques. The work is a rather unusual depiction of the man who earned his nickname by talking a lot. He's depicted in caricature, based on a drawing. When I visited the square on a Saturday afternoon, I noted many people stopping to look at the statue and laughing at the name.

As an architecture buff, I liked looking at the Hotel Europe here, a flatiron-type structure, which was the first reinforced concrete building in Vancouver. No longer a hotel, it now offers low-income housing. There are also shops, bars and restaurants in the area around the square.
Written November 23, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RichardN28
Bushey, UK489 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Family
We ate in Gastown one night and it is a great place to be.

Plenty of atmosphere, plenty of bars and restaurants, and some sites (Gassy Jack and steam clock) to see. There are also plenty of large gift / souvenir shops too.

We felt very safe and there are lots of police on patrol.

Definitely a great place to go
Written August 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thomas V
Oakland, CA16,444 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
One of the crossroads of Gastown, used to be gritty and now it's upscale and there are cool cafes on this square. Nice architecture.
Written June 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bl0ndie72
Ko Samui, Thailand3,392 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Couples
Maple tree Square is a lovely part of Gastown. We were very lucky that our apartment overlooked the square. Didn’t realise it was a tourist attraction though...
Written February 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris D
New Westminster, Canada3,216 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Solo
Whether you are a history buff, a tourist looking for some night life, or a local wondering about your past - THIS is where what is now the most beautiful big city in the world (sorry, Sydney and San Francisco) all started.Without even moving, you can see the Gassy Jack statue, and whole lot more TripAdvisor "must-dos". Bring your camera.
Written February 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Maple Tree Square - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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