Vancouver’s Granville Island

Granville Island, one of Vancouver’s most popular visitor destinations, is remarkable for many reasons: its origins, its diversity, its free entertainment and its sheer fun.

Getting There: Granville Island is under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. The best way to access it is to take either the Granville Island Ferry or the Aquabus, tiny ferries that cross False Creek. The number 50 and 51 buses will also take you to Granville Island.

If you want to drive, change your mind. Parking and major congestion at Granville Island can be a nightmare, so bad on the weekends that you your visit will be ruined long before you find a parking place.

Not only that but Granville Island has a very strict towing policy and a three hour parking limit. In short, if you plan to visit Granville Island, take public transportation or park off the island and walk.

If you just MUST drive, go south on the Burrard Street bridge (be sure you’re in the left lane). Turn left at Second Avenue and continue along Second Avenue to the signs that lead you to Granville Island. (Or, if you want, just follow the traffic jam.)

History: Granville Island, a 37-acre manmade peninsula, was created in the early twentieth century as an industrial site. Originally called Industrial Island, it was home to businesses related to the forest, mining, construction and shipping industries. The Island was full of prosperous businesses during the twenties and thirties before the onset of the Great Depression and again during World War II.

After the war, Granville Island businesses began to fail and by 1950, the Island was in serious decline. It wasn’t until the seventies that Granville Island was reclaimed as a visitor friendly public space.

Today this 37-acre island is shared by a wonderful food court, unique shops, a kids’ market and water park, fruit, vegetable, meat, fish and flower markets, artists’ studios and galleries, the famous Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, three excellent museums housed in one building, a theatre, restaurant, a comfortable hotel in a great location,kayak and yacht rental facility and a concrete factory, a remnant of the Island’s industrial past.

The Sand Bar, Granville Island’s best restaurant, is famous for its patio, often voted the best outdoor patio in town.