As tenants of a Gastown workshare space known as The HiVE, staff at The Vancouver Observer have  a ringside seat for the historic district’s radical urban transformation.

To many Vancouverites, Gastown’s history is a bit of a checkered one, despite the fact that live music clubs such as the Town Pump and Savoy played host to  alternative rock acts like X, the Replacements and the Blasters. Those who live west of Burrard still only come down when the parents are in town for a night out at perhaps the oldest Old Spaghetti Factory in, like, the world.  

Now, hipster bible Complex Magazine has named Gastown as one of the 50 Most Stylish Neighborhoods in the World. Before you go all a-Twitter about this as the mainstream media has done, you should know that Complex produces a LOT of lists.

 Is it any coincidence, for example, that Gastown is home to a Stussy store, and that Stussy was in top spot in the 50 Greatest Streetwear Brands earlier this year? (If you don’t know what streetwear is, you might want to check out Complex’s 25 Reasons Why Streetwear Is Still Relevant. We’re not kidding.)

Complex or not, what others see is not always visible to locals. Author Julian Kimble writes: “Gastown's blocks are full of gorgeous Victorian buildings that provide unique scenery for what's currently an emerging neighborhood. It also offers a mix of cool boutique fashion shops, interior design stores, restaurants, nightclubs, and real estate.”

Indeed, the much-anticipated completion of the Woodward’s building just before the 2010 Winter Games kicked off a heritage building boom that’s happening to this day in iconic apartments like Garage, 21 Doors, Koret, and Carrall Station. 

To those of you who pay $250 for your raw denim jeans at The Haven in Blood Alley, this recognition will make perfect sense.