I’ve been to a lot of markets in my time. And unless I happen nearby, I’ll usually go once, enjoy myself throughly, and never go back. But I loved the Granville Public Market so much that I went three times in a one week — and could happily have returned given a longer stay in Vancouver.
Long ago, the island upon which the Granville Island Public Market stood was a fishing site for First Nations peoples. Then it became an industrial manufacturing area, which would explain why most of the buildings look like warehouses (the island is in the lower half of the photo below).
I thought that this would be the kind of market that would attract throngs of tourists and no one else, but I was wrong. This market brings plenty of locals shopping for their weekly supply of beautiful cheeses, meats, fruit (which the vendors stack in precarious pyramids)…
… flowers …
… and bagels.
I loved watching the bagels being made — I’ve never seen bagel flinging in action before!
Side note: if you want to buy bagels from Siegel’s Bagels or meat products from Oyama Sausage (pictured below) get there early — or be prepared to wait in some serious lines.
Beyond the staples, there are products that might delight residents and tourists alike, including handmade chocolates (I love that there was a chocolate dirigible) …
… tea (my favorite Granville Island Tea blend right now is Fruit Basket, which I make iced) …
… maple products …
… and beautiful artisanal soaps, jewelry, and ceramics:
There’s entertainment, too — this is a prime location for street performers (if you want to see them out in force, come on a sunny weekend after about 11:00 am).
Oh, and this hawk appeared as I was walking around outside! It turns out that he belongs to local resident who was just bringing him out for some exercise.
There are plenty of prepared food options at Granville Public market. But I opted to buy supplies for a picnic so that I could sit outside on the benches, listen to the live music, and admire the surroundings.
Granville Island gives you a great view across False Creek to downtown Vancouver …
… and down the length of the creek all the way to Burrard Bridge:
The area on the south side of the island is clogged with boats:
There’s plenty of shopping on Granville Island beyond the Public Market — nearby buildings house everything from toys to outdoor gear to Canadian souvenirs to fancy dresses. There’s even a stationary store called Paper-Ya that has an unusually complete selection of sealing wax implements (for all of your many scroll- and letter-sealing needs):
You can even have an overpriced but delicious fish dinner at The Sandbar right under the Granville Street bridge:
It’s all pretty wonderful (and easily accessible by bike from downtown). Just thinking about it makes me smile — I can’t recommend this place highly enough.