Forbidden Vancouver – Prohibition City

Forbidden Vancouver Prohibition CityDo you know what a blind pig is?

Neither did I until I went on the Forbidden Vancouver – Prohibition City tour earlier in October. A blind pig is the Canadian name for a speakeasy, infamous during prohibition. If you couldn’t afford a private club and wanted to drink outside your home, you would go to these rundown illegal drinking dens that served industrial alcohol, toxic stuff. There were other ways to obtain alcohol during prohibition but you’ll have to figure those out on your own or go on the Prohibition Tour.

Tanya Bennettstoryteller and guide, plays a lead reporter along with the participates on the tour. We were armed with a newspad and pencil as we walked in alleys and down streets.  We heard about the darker side of Vancouver’s history and how people lived before, during and after prohibition in British Columbia, their relationship with alcohol and why things happened the way they did.

As we walked around, we tried to figured out the answers to questions that were presented to us while information about the people, building and neighbourhoods we visited was shared. The tour guide’s stories brought to life the history and I could imagine what it would have been like here when prohibition began on October 1, 1917.

At the end of the tour, the top newshound was announced. A tie between Adelina from Pack Me To and myself. A tie breaker round was announced which stumped us both. Adelina let me win with my multiple guesses and I was awarded a prize. The questions during the tour were a bit challenging due to the tour being at night. However, the darkness added to the atmosphere, and we had to investigate and take some educated guess. How often do you find out more about a place while walking in an alley?

I had a lot of fun on this tour being a “journalist” for the night. I find that living here, you sometimes accidentally take for granted your home city. Finding ways to learn more about the colourful history of Vancouver is something I’m eager to explore but I’m not going to sit in a library or in front of my computer all day. I like doing something a bit more active.

As long as you can walk a couple of blocks at a time and over sixteen, you can go on this tour. This is the second Forbidden Vancouver tour that I went on and enjoyed both. The first one was the Lost Souls of Gastown,  which is a different style and educates you on different parts of the less well known Vancouver history. It would be hard to pick one over the other. The Lost Souls of Gastown tour, you are taken back, living history through a character where the Prohibition tour, you are looking back into the past.

One of the biggest takeaways from the tours is now when I’m walking in Gastown, I’ll remember different facts and look at the buildings differently. One of the interesting things I learned was a pub that I use to go to on a regular basis was the first beer parlour in Vancouver, any guesses on which one it is?


My tour was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own and their was no expectations of coverage.

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