In the early 1900s, Granville Island was home to factories, plants and sawmills. Things are a little different today—Granville Island is both a locals’ favorite and a huge draw for visitors. Technically a sandspit and not an island, the neighbourhood sits just south of the downtown peninsula, right under the Granville Bridge. The Granville Island Public Market acts as a hub of activity, but it’s also one of the city’s most important cultural districts with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios.
Seeing and Doing
One of the best ways to get to Granville Island is one of the adorable mini-tugboat ferries that criss-cross False Creek – they’re favourites among young and old! Once you’re there, the biggest attraction on Granville Island is the Public Market. Housed indoors, there are endless rows of stalls that feature fresh produce, gourmet foods, baked goods, and seafood. For the food-focused, a walking tour of the market can be a great way to get an insider’s insight. Outside of the market, catch a show at one of the many theatres on the island, browse an art gallery show, or appeal to your outdoorsy side with a kayaking or paddleboarding tour.
Eating and Drinking
The market itself is often described as a “food lover’s paradise,” and an impromptu picnic is easily picked up between vendors offering cheese, charcuterie, bread and fresh produce. If you’re looking for something casual but already put together, try the popular food court at the end of the market building. If a restaurant is more your style, there are some great seafood offerings down here, and there’s nothing like dining by the waterfront. Don’t forget to fill your glass while you’re down here! The area is home to an artisan sake maker (the first in Canada), a spirits distillery, and two breweries.
Shopping and Souvenirs
With a mix of unique crafts, skilled artisans, outdoor outfitters and deluxe gourmet stores, Granville Island is one of the best places in the city to purchase souvenirs for back home. The public market is a great place to start; pick up smoked salmon, exclusive teas, and other gourmet goodies. Check out the stores in the Net Loft building for First Nations artworks, B.C. wines, and other unique gifts. Take a stroll along Railspur Alley and the far end of the island to peek into artisan studios where glassblowers, potters, jewellers and even a broom maker ply their crafts.
For more information, visit Granville Island online.