For most of the last hundred years, Vancouver's Granville Island looked nothing like what it is now: a haven for foodies, artisans and shoppers.
Originally muddy tidal flats, in 1915 the island rose from the sea with the help of one million cubic yards of fill. Then, the heavy industries moved in: lumber mills, construction firms, machine shops and shipping companies. Slowly, the need for industry to be on the water declined, the factories became firetraps and most of the buildings were abandoned. In the 70s, with a metropolis growing up all around, Granville Island was renovated into something unique. While technically more peninsula than isle, Granville Island does feel like an oasis in the city.
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The first stop should be the Public Market. Housed in one of the original factory buildings, the colourful aisles are full of fresh produce, meat, flowers, fishmongers, bakers, buskers and crafts. Families, hit the Kids’ Market with its specialty vendors and the Adventure Zone, a giant indoor play park.
Granville Island Brewing
Bring your appetite and nosh on something down at one of the many restaurants also located on the island, including its own brew pub, Granville Island Brewing.
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
The Island is also an artist hot spot, home to the Emily Carr University of Art + Design and several art galleries and artist studios.
As for getting to and from Granville Island, you can walk from downtown on the waterside paths, or hop aboard the Aquabus, the quaint ferries that chug through False Creek making eight stops along the way.