About Granville Island
In the early 1900s, Granville Island was home to factories, plants and sawmills. Things are a little different today—Granville Island is both a locals’ favorite and a huge draw for visitors. Technically a sandspit and not an island, the neighbourhood sits just south of the downtown peninsula, right under the Granville Bridge. The Granville Island Public Market acts as a hub of activity, but it’s also one of the city’s most important cultural districts with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios.
Living in Granville Island
Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district located in False Creek directly across from Downtown Vancouver, under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. The peninsula is a major tourist destination and working neighbourhood.
Granville Island provides amenities such as a large public market, an extensive marina, the Granville Island Hotel, False Creek Community Centre, fine arts galleries, and a variety of shopping areas.
The Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Arts Umbrella education centre for children, Arts Club Theatre Company and Carousel Theatre are also located on the island. There are two businesses remaining from the island’s industrial heyday: a machine shop and concrete plant.
Things to do in Granville Island
Since its redevelopment in the 1970s, Granville Island has maintained a community of craft studios, including art galleries, boatbuilders, a glassblowing studio, two co-op printmaking studios, a fine art print studio, a luthier, a master saké maker, various jewellers, the BC Potter’s Guild Gallery, the Crafthouse Gallery, the Circle Craft shop, a wood co-op shop, and woodworkers studios. The Granville Island Directory contains an extensive listing of businesses on the peninsula.
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Granville Island Brewing is the name of a beer company that originated on Granville Island in 1984. The company’s main base of operations was later moved to Kelowna, British Columbia. It was purchased by Molson’s Brewery in 2009, and continues to brew small batches of its varieties at the company’s original site, and offers beer-tasting and tours of their brewing facilities.
Granville Island offers many activities on the water. Visitors to the peninsula can rent a boat or a kayak, go for a dinner cruise, a scuba diving excursion and whale watching. See the Granville Island Directory for a listing of businesses offering these services.
With a mix of unique crafts, skilled artisans, outdoor outfitters and deluxe gourmet stores, Granville Island is one of the best places in the city to purchase souvenirs for back home. The public market is a great place to start; pick up smoked salmon, exclusive teas, and other gourmet goodies. Check out the stores in the Net Loft building for First Nations artworks, B.C. wines, and other unique gifts. Take a stroll along Railspur Alley and the far end of the island to peek into artisan studios where glassblowers, potters, jewellers and even a broom maker ply their crafts.
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