A 37-acre (14.97-hectare) industrial wasteland until the late 1970s, Granville Island is today one of Vancouver’s greatest assets. Built upon two giant tidal flats that jut above False Creek, the area was transformed into a creative oasis—home to glassblowers and potter’s studios, farmers markets, theaters, and hotels. You could easily spend a day poking around Granville Island, but this tour can be done in a leisurely afternoon.
Start your tour near the entrance at the (1) Granville Island Brewery (1441 Cartwright Street; www.gib.ca/). Opened in 1984, it’s Canada’s first microbrewery and the source of such brews as English Bay Pale Ale. Tours are available at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. daily.
Head directly across Cartwright Street to 1496 and the (2) Kids Market (www.kidsmarket.ca). Built in an old factory, the market houses two floors of shops, a supervised play area, hair salon, and other services, all dedicated to kids. Behind it is a water park, so if you have the kids, let them blow off some energy here.
Leaving the Kids Market, take a right and hit a barrage of worthwhile stops. On your right, at 1386 Cartwright Street, you’ll see (3) Crafthouse (www.cabc.net), a nonprofit gallery that houses work by B.C. artisans. Across the street is the (4) Gallery of B.C. Ceramics (1359 Cartwright Street; www.bcpotters.com), where you can purchase high quality, locally made bowls, cups, and sculptures. Just a few steps farther down Cartwright, on your right you’ll see (5) Forge & Form (1334 Cartwright Street), an unobtrusive site selling noteworthy silver and gold jewelry.
Keep heading along Cartwright, past the (6) Performance Works at 1218, a public theater built in an old 1920s machine shop. A bit farther, at 1253 Johnston Street, is the (7) Granville Island Hotel. Take a left on Johnston Street, and you’ll come upon the (8) Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design (1399 Johnston Street; www.eciad.ca). Inside the school, there are three impressive galleries exhibiting student and alumni work, along with that of other B.C. artists.
Continue along Johnston just past Old Bridge Street. Take a soft left that’ll bring you across Anderson to Duranleau Street. Take a right on Duranleau and look for (9) Malaspina Printmakers Gallery (1555 Duranleau Street; www.malaspinaprintmakers.com), which holds workshops, courses, and demonstrations on wood engraving, lithography, and printmaking. The (10) Net Loft has a good collection of shops, including the excellent Blackberry Books (www.bbooks.ca). Leave the Net Loft and head across Johnston Street to the (11) Granville Island Public Market (1661 Duranleau Street), the highlight of the area. Inside the market you can buy jumbo prawns, giant pomegranates, savory scones, or steamy lattes, as well as fresh sunflowers, oysters, goat cheese, or wine—the market has it all. Food stalls on the west side serve take out—everything from pierogies to veggie burritos, pizza to pad Thai. Pick up a snack and take it outside, where buskers perform and kayakers swoosh by on False Creek.
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