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Here's how Gastown is surviving the pandemic (VIDEO)

Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood is hangin' in there.

It's one of Vancouver's most iconic historic areas and it relies a lot on tourism.

Suffice to say, Gastown had a rough 2020.

In the early days of the pandemic, many local businesses were boarding up (mainly because of vandalism) and didn't fully reopen until last summer. It meant tough times for a neighbourhood that depends on a steady stream of cruise ship passengers for much of the year.

"When we were boarded up, our business fell about 90%," says Jackie Haliburton, owner of Angel Hand-Painted Fashions.

Shops here have also struggled recently, as most ground-level stores reside under offices - many of which are virtually empty during COVID-19 - rather than residential units; with fewer people living in the area, it makes the hyperlocal economy tough to stimulate.

Resilience has always been a cornerstone of Gastown's vibrancy and persevering spirit so many store owners are simply riding the wave.

Kimprints founder Kim Brisoce says, "We just keep going forward. It might be three steps forward, one step back, but we just keep going."

The Gastown Business Improvement Association recently met with Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart, who expressed a willingness to help bring back local foot traffic.

Over 85 per cent of businesses are currently open in the area, including more than 70 clothing and footwear stores, salons, galleries, bars, restaurants, and cafés with patios - all within a few blocks of each other.