“From Industry to Artistry… From a declining 37-acre industrial wasteland in Vancouver’s False Creek, to one of the most successful urban redevelopments in North America,” reads the “Island Heritage” tab on the Granville Island website. True story. Remnants of Granville Island’s past are obvious and abundant. It is still the home of a fully operational concrete factory.
It has also become the home of myriad artists and craftsmen, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, theatres, restaurants, a hotel, a kids’ zone, a brewery (yes, please), marina, house boats, you name it. It is a quirky, excellent blend of semi-industrial, commercial and residential – the ultimate urban re-birth. I love it there.
When I graduated university – waaaay back in the late ’80’s – Glenn and I got an apartment on West 8th in Kitsilano, only a short walk from GI. We spent every Saturday morning we were in town walking there, day-dreaming of owning a boat we could moor at the marina steps away from the condo we also dreamed about. We would inevitably end up at the French bakery and buy croissants or pains au chocolat, before entering the market to buy a steaming hot mocha. Yes, chocolate plus caffeine plus chocolate. Happy days.
Many years later (aka now), we take our children there on forays into the city. The ‘burbs are great for schools and “affordable” housing, but culture is sorely lacking. Not much has really changed with regard to our visits though. We still stop for the requisite chocolate pastries and yummy drinks and then wander through the shops and ooh! and ah! at all the wares on display. It is our absolute favourite place to “idea-drop” for Christmas. The year our then-6-year-old son asked for a lithograph from Malaspina Printmakers for his main Christmas gift was the year we knew we were doing something right. It was a bit of an indulgence at the time – or so it seemed – but that sea serpent still adorns the wall of his bedroom and he still loves it. Pretty sure I can’t say that about anything else he got that Christmas. Same goes for all of us. We all have art, photography, jewelry, something from Granville Island.
These photos were taken the day my friend, Jennifer, at coffee & couch and I went to Chinatown. It was a great field trip day, full of fun and laughter…. Not to mention alcohol. If you check out her post about our day, you will notice that our final photo is wildly similar. I wonder where we ended up?! Enjoy! xoxo