Meet Gassy Jack

It’s one of the most famous landmarks in Gastown, it doesn’t spew steam on the hour and it almost got run over last night. The “Gassy” Jack statue is the starting point for walking tours, seen in countless Flickr shots and photowalks but when I told someone the other day that Gastown is named after that man, they had no idea.

So just who is John “Gassy Jack” Deighton and why name a historic neighbourhood after him?


Photo Credit: Uncleweed on Flickr

Quick facts from the Wiki:

  • John started out as a Steamship operator for many years of his early life. However he was eventually forced to pursue other lines of work once he developed health problems (swelling of the legs and feet).
  • Between 1862 and 1867 John Deighton ran a bar in New Westminster, British Columbia. It was quite prosperous due to the Cariboo Gold Rush of 1862, however by 1867 business slowed down and he had to close it down.
  • He later opened a bar on the south side of Burrard Inlet at the behest of his old friend, Captain Edward Stamp (does Stamp’s Landing ring a bell?). He later named it the Globe Saloon.
  • Deighton was known as Gassy Jack because of his talkative nature and his penchant for storytelling


Photo Credit: SqueakyMarmot on Flickr

Little-known fact from VancouverHistory.ca:

  • In 1867 when newly-arrived John “Gassy Jack” Deighton arrived at Burrard Inlet he told the mill workers there they could have all the whiskey they could drink if they helped him build his saloon. The Globe went up in 24 hours.

Now you know a bit more about the namesake for Gastown – and knowing is half the battle.

2 Comments so far

  1. Ryan Cousineau (unregistered) on October 18th, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

    Hey, if you click through to SqueakyMarmot’s pix, you’ll notice that the photo of Gassy Jack’s grave marker in the Sapperton cemetary is bracketed by pix of the graves of two other notables buried there:

    long-time Canucks trainer Larry Ashley, and Raymond “Perry Mason” Burr.


  2. DaveO (unregistered) on October 18th, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

    Wow i took that photo? Had no idea my skillz were so dank ;-) totally forgot about that one and i was just blogging about ole Jack today at Raincity Studios blog.



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