Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours, Vancouver

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The Forbidden Vancouver Tour

Explore Vancouver’s dirtiest Prohibition-era secrets. From mobsters and rum runners to corrupt politicians and opium dens, this historical walking tour winds through Gastown and Chinatown’s most historic streets and alleyways – and most illicit stories.



The Lost Souls of Gastown Tour

Step inside a world of murder, revenge, and true grit in a dramatic history of Victorian Gastown. Stories of deadly fire and smallpox emerge from the shadows as you venture through cobblestone streets to the shocking finale in this unique performance-theatre experience.



The Art Deco & Chocolate Tasting Tour

Saunter through Downtown Vancouver of the 1920s and 1930s to discover the riveting stories (Glamour! Intrigue! Deceit!) behind the city’s best Art Deco architecture, all while sampling decadent delicacies from the finest chocolatiers in town.



The Dark Secrets of Stanley Park Tour

Discover the jaw-dropping beauty – and sinister stories – of Stanley Park. Behind those majestic forests, picturesque gardens and stunning beaches lies a history of hidden graveyards, shocking crime scenes, and the ghostly lore of Deadman’s Island.



The Really Gay History Tour

The wild history of Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community comes alive with stories of struggle, unity, and oh so much humour. From Downtown Vancouver to the Davie Village “Gaybourhood,” meet a history of outrageous drag queens, bookstore bombings, and brave citizens who fought for acceptance.

A Forbidden Vancouver Special Event: Secrets of the Penthouse

A night of intrigue, scandal and humour behind the scenes at the infamous Penthouse Nightclub. Hosted by club owner Danny Filippone – with guest appearances, including retired Vancouver Police officers who once raided the club – and topped off with a hearty Italian dinner and cabaret show.



TOUR INFO

- Tours are 90 minutes - 3 hrs in length

- Meet at various easy to find locations in Downtown Vancouver

- Rates starting at $28.00 per person

- Private tours available



RAVE REVIEWS!

As featured on the BBC, CBC, Vancouver Sun, The Province, Westender, Vancouver Courier, Miss604, Vancity Buzz, Global TV and Shaw TV. Forbidden Vancouver has been awarded the Top Choice distinction by Lonely Planet and is rated 5 stars on TripAdvisor.
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Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
2,244 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • TEELA was a great guide. A lot of anecdoctes but also a high level of historical and political knowledge. Highly recommended 
    TEELA was a great guide. A lot of anecdoctes but also a high level of historical and political knowledge. Highly recommended  more »
  • Had a great time, learning a lot about the history of Gastown. Eric (playing the role of George) was awesome! Would definitely recommend! 
    Had a great time, learning a lot about the history of Gastown. Eric (playing the role of George) was awesome! Would definitely recommend!  more »
  • Excellent tour with Rowan. Explored Gaston and some of the surrounding area. Rowan did a nice job weaving together the history of the area, Canada, and more. Nice way to see the city. 
    Excellent tour with Rowan. Explored Gaston and some of the surrounding area. Rowan did a nice job weaving together the history of the area, Canada, and more. Nice way to see the city.  more »
Google
  • Walking tours are one of my favorite ways to see any city, and the Forbidden Vancouver tour has to be one of the best I've ever experienced! The founder, Will, led our tour and he was fantastic - a very gifted storyteller who obviously has a passion for history, Vancouver, and sharing both with others. He was knowledgeable, patient, kind, encouraging, and so much fun! I loved that the tour highlighted stories from among Vancouver's less-often discussed populations, and that Will brought along pictures of many of the places and people he told us about. (The doctor's prescription for whiskey was definitely my favorite. 😆) He encouraged us to ask questions and never once made anyone feel silly for asking about anything. The actual walking part of the tour didn't cover too much ground, and there were plenty of stops for stories that gave everyone an opportunity to rest. Will encouraged us to take all of the pictures we wanted and made sure no one got left behind. This tour is definitely doable even for people who feel they're slow or not up for a strenuous walk!
  • TWO REVIEWS HERE - LOST SOULS OF GASTOWN & THE REALLY GAY HISTORY TOUR LOST SOULS On our trip this May to Vancouver, my daughter and I chose to do the "Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tour". While we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the weather could have been better. But, it is spring, and it is Canada., and we are Canadians, so we sucked it up and enjoyed the day anyhow. Still, the weather could have been better. The tour met up at a place in Gastown. Although we were on time, others had arrived earlier and another tour guide took half the group. Our party was nice and intimate. There were 10 including my daughter and I. The walk and talk took close to two hours, although the description said an hour. But, let me tell you, this was not a dragged out production. I found the pace of both the walking and the talking to be at a reasonable place for this 63 yr old gal. Our tour guide, Janet Goodford, was exquisite. She is a fine actor! Her characterization and recreation of her character from the late 1800's was fantastic. Truth be told, I kinda welled up with tears at one point. Her stories wandered around like the tour until they reached their climax somewhere else on the tour. Now it is true that not all of the things she told us were factual. Some were embellished or added to help the story flow. But the historical facts were true. And they and the story that Janet incorporates them into will astound you! And her telling of it will enthral you. I didn't notice until the end that we had come full circle and ended back where we started. It was a great time. And would have been just a tad better if the weather had been better. Unfortunately, we still haven't gotten into the habit of carrying cash with us. We were disappointed we could not give Janet a tip. She did an excellent job and we were appreciative. So remember to bring some so you can show your appreciation. Thanks again, Janet. We enjoyed ourselves and your story telling. We look forward to the "Really Gay Historical Tour" we booked for Sunday!! THE REALLY GAY HISTORICAL TOUR I am somewhat disappointed I could not write another separate review for this tour on Google because it really deserves to have its own review. Both tours were excellent and totally different. The Gastown tour was more of a storyline while the Gay tour is based on fact and events. Glenn Tkach, the tour's INSANELY AWESOME guide, is so knowledgeable about the history of LBGTQ2+, you will be gobstopped!! The reason he is so knowledgeable is because he personally did all the research for this tour which included interviewing some of the key players. His first hand knowledge is a rare gift he extends to his audience. He is also quite a wordsmith and spins a tale you can't help but get drawn into. There were several places Glenn's passion brought me to tears. The stories are very poignant. Being as old as I am, I remember these days and these events but the perspective Glenn brought to them was thought provoking and emotional. I learned so much about the LBGTQ2+ community history, my worldview shifted to a more grounded understanding. The day was dismal as it was pouring rain but the tour group all showed up to meet at the YMCA on Burrard. I was amazed that more than half of our group had already been on this tour and were doing it for the second time. I think that speaks volumes about Glenn and this amazing tour. This is a definite MUST for EVERYONE!!
  • I always do a walking tour when I’m travelling, and this did not disappoint. Our tour guide was great. At the end he also offered to let us know any places we would like to eat nearby or offered to let us know any other information. He made sure everyone was caught up while walking across streets. He let the younger people on the tour hold his lantern, and made sure they all got a turn. ( sorry I am terrible with names, and I forgot it) would do another tour with them for sure if I am ever back in Vancouver.
  • “Lost Souls of Gastown” Firstly, visiting from Newcastle Australia this was something that is very different then anything offered back home so I tried to go into it with an open mind. The actress (I’m so sorry I forget her name) was absolutely brilliant and you could tell she was a professional of her field! She truely loved her job and could command our very very large group in the centre of a bustling city. The tour itself I suppose was exactly how it was described- a theatrical retelling of Vancouvers early history within the Gastown area. However the reason why I only rated it three stars was for a few reasons: 1) I was surprised that the performance wasn’t based more on actual history e.g the characters werent real people from the time. They were made up and were very loosely used to try and tell some historical facts about the city. This made it very difficult walking away from the tour knowing what was fictional and what was actual history. 2) There wasn’t seating available at many of the stops. Although yes it was a walking tour, I didn’t expect to be stationary at some stops for anywhere up to 15 mins without a seat. This might not be an issue for most however having several mobility issues, it did become quite a distracting factor towards the end of the experience. Overall however it was a very unique experience although it wasnt quite my cup of tea. In saying that however, if you appreciate the artistry of theatre and would like to see some back streets of Vancouver some other tours don’t venture too, then this is still a worth while experience!
  • My wife and I went on the "lost souls of Gas Town" we had the owner Will Woods as our guide. I wasn't sure it would be for me, however I was blown away with the experience. We both found it very interesting learning the history of Gas Town. Will was great with explaining the history and answering any questions that came up along the way. If your looking for a great activity after supper I would highly recommend.

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