If you’re visiting Vancouver, your first stop should be Granville Island, the city’s colourful entertainment and shopping area that’s a microcosm of this vibrant city.
Some 275 tenants call Granville Island home and, reflecting Vancouver itself, the businesses are eclectic. You can have a decorative and functional broom handcrafted just for you at the Granville Island Broom Company, catch a play at the Arts Club Theatre Company, buy First Nations art at Granville Island Treasures or entertain the wee ones at the Kids Market.
Even the Ocean Concrete plant – a remnant from pre-1972 when Granville Island was zoned for industrial use – recently received an artistic makeover when Brazilian artists Os Gemeos created a giant spray-painted mural on the company’s six concrete silos. The fascinating and Instagram-worthy artwork, appropriately titled Giants, is part of the Vancouver Biennale.
Granville Island’s marquee attraction is its Public Market, open seven days a week. This is where locals seek out their favourite bakers and butchers; where they shop for fruit and vegetables trucked in fresh from suburban farms; where they eye the salmon and prawns, caught hours earlier, that they will have for supper that evening. The market also includes 100 vendors selling everything from soup and soap to jams and jewelry.
When hunger pangs strike, there’s no shortage of choice: There is a brewing company on the island, as well as a steakhouse and numerous casual dining restaurants. If you’re seeking delectable Canadian cuisine try the elegant Edible Canada, where chef Eric Pateman wows diners nightly with menu items such as grilled bison and Fanny Bay oysters gratin.
Finally, round out your experience with a ride around False Creek on the the rainbow-coloured Aquabus, and you’ll have accomplished a perfect, very Vancouver day.