Forbidden Vancouver

Our Trips

It's time for Vancouver's secrets to come out of the closet. The wild, untold history of Vancouver's LGBTQ2+ community comes alive through stories of struggle, unity, and celebration on an adventure through Downtown and the West End. You'll meet a history of outrageous drag queens, book store bombings and the unsung heroes who forever changed the social fabric of our city.

Stroll along Stanley Park’s glistening shoreline and walk beneath its towering trees as students hear the inside story of one of the world's most remarkable parks. They’ll discover the famous seawall, dark forested trails, secret cemeteries, the Lions Gate Bridge, historic totem poles, bizarre public art, notorious crime scenes, and the secret of Deadman’s Island. Students will learn about the First Nations who have lived in what would become Stanley Park for 3,000 years, and how these communities were affected by the creation of the park in 1888.

We offer a custom version of our walking tour, The Forbidden Vancouver Tour – specially adapted for school groups – that provides an interactive forum for students to learn about BC and Canadian social history through Vancouver’s past. The tour recounts the results of the temperance movement’s push to make BC liquor-free in the early 20th century. Their successful campaign in 1917 made Vancouver a dry city. But only in theory. In reality, the city was overwhelmed by illicit activity, including bootlegging, gambling and vice. The tour charts the influence of women’s rights, religious fervour, war, corruption and crime on the city’s morals during a time of huge economic growth. Lasting 2 hours, the walking tour makes a unique field trip for any secondary-level student group: the tour discusses the effects of WWI on Canadian society; puts a human face on the pre- and inter-war periods in Vancouver; explores Canadian prohibition and involvement of Canada in later U.S. Prohibition; discovers the role of women in social, political, and economic change through the temperance and women’s suffrage movements; visits some of the most historically significant buildings and places in Vancouver, including the Hotel Victorian, Dominion Building, Sun Tower, Abbott Street, Hastings Street, and Water Street; discusses the race riots of 1907, including the events leading to it and the aftermath for Chinese and Japanese people in Vancouver; draws parallels in contemporary attitudes toward drug prohibition and poverty with social issues and remedies of the early 20th century.

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