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The Forbidden Vancouver Tour

Discover Vancouver’s dirtiest Prohibition-era secrets. From rum runners and mobsters to corrupt politicians and opium dens, The Forbidden Vancouver Tour winds through Gastown's historic alleyways, streets, and most illicit stories.
Where:Vancouver, British Columbia
Age restriction:Minimum age for participation - 14 years
Price for:1 Participant
Picture of The Forbidden Vancouver Tour
The Forbidden Vancouver Tour
Price shown is per person.
Learn the real story of Vancouver - Mobsters! Opium! Booze! 

Explore the scandalous side of Vancouver’s history on a walking tour delving into former speakeasies, back alleys, and opium dens of Gas Town and Victory Square. You’ll visit some of the Vancouver’s key landmarks while learning how the Prohibition era cultivated an underworld of crime and gambling in the frontier city.

Your tour begins in the world of the saloon. You’ll hear tales of enterprising bootleggers, corrupt mayors, and “blind pigs”. Your guide will lead you through the alleyways and lanes of Gastown and Chinatown, where Vancouver’s history is soaked into the cobblestones and brick walls of Prohibition closed saloons, forcing law-abiding citizens into an underground world of illicit activity and bootlegged spirits. You’ll venture down an alleyway once teaming with over 40 bawdy houses and see first-hand evidence of infamous opium dens.

Along the way you’ll see some of the city’s greatest heritage buildings like the Sun Tower and the Dominion Building, which once battled to become the tallest building in the British Empire, and the cobblestone streets of Maple Tree Square, where the tour wraps up close to top restaurants and attractions.

Tour highlights: 

  • Walk the alleyways and lanes of Gastown and Chinatown to learn about Vancouver's notorious past.
  • Learn how Vancouver cops pursued back alley "blind pigs" and bootleggers while fortunes were amassed rum-running across the border.
  • Be entertained by guides who are storytellers that love to inform and delight their guests.
  • Get the scoop on urban legends with hidden truths.

What's included:

  • Friendly, informative and professional guide.

  • A fully narrated tour

Duration: 2-hours


  • Tours available April - November
  • Fridays and Saturdays 7:00pm
  • Sundays  4:00pm

Where: Cathedral Square, Dunsmuir & Richards streets.  VIEW MAP

Need to know: 

  • This unique sight-seeing tour is designed for adult audiences as the tour does contain references to adult themes. The tour is not recommended for young children. However, teenagers have come on tours and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As a benchmark, if you are comfortable with your teenager watching CSI, then you won’t have a problem with them coming on one of the tours.
  • Walking distance: 1 km.
  • In the summer please bring a jacket or sweater, as it can get chilly in the evenings. In the spring or fall please bring gloves and a hat.
  • The tours happen rain or shine.It is recommended you bring an umbrella. The tour has been designed with routes that have scenes under cover wherever possible, using archways, roofs, awnings or even indoors.
  • The tour is wheelchair accessible.

Whether you are looking for fun things to do in Vancouver or you’re looking for the perfect gift for Canadian history buffs, this  Vancouver sightseeing tour will show you the city from a new perspective.


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