Gastown was never an official place name for what later became Vancouver, even though it shows up on some historical maps.
It was a local sobriquet, an
- assumed name.
nickname; or fanciful appellation
affectionate or humorous nickname
The tiny place, officially named Granville, aka the Old Granville Townsite (OGT) was only a few blocks long in each direction and the majority of the businesses there were saloons servicing the men who lived and worked outside the town limits, at Hastings Sawmill.
And, like everywhere, it had a local character who put a stamp on the place – in this case Jack Deighton, who kept the Deighton House Salooon. He was the kind of guy who liked to talk and had a quick wit and a boisterous voice to boot. You can almost hear his hearty laugh as he sipped whisky and teased one of the millworkers who frequented his saloon.
Someone who talked alot was said to be Gassy – hence his nickname, Gassy Jack. And in the guys from the mill who headed over to Granville to drink and gamble started calling it Gastown, the name stuck and evern shows up on maps.
As an aside, Hastings Townsite was much further east – closer to where Renfrew Street is now. It was a vacation spot with a few houses and hotels.