Gastown is among the world’s most unromantic names for a neighborhood. But this oldest quarter of Vancouver is among the city’s most charming, with pretty brick warehouses now occupied by shops and restaurants. The neighborhood, at least for now, has a concentration of upscale galleries focusing on top-quality First Nations art. But more than one gallery owner complained to me of skyrocketing rents, and some of them plan to relocate in the near future.
Striking masks, stone carvings, bentwood boxes and wall hangings crowd this gallery on the west end of Gastown; I can see why the owners plan on moving to a larger space in spring. Look also for intricate (and expensive) basketry and Bill Reid-inspired jewelry. The surreal and rather terrifying “Shaman Transforming” mask by Ron Telek, which combined multiple human and animal forms, was unforgettable.
312 Water Street. Tel. (604) 684-9222