Culture / Travel

Discovering the Wonders of Vancouver’s Granville Island — a Wondrous Market, Seafood Restaurants Galore and Much More

Island Hoping Canadian Style

BY // 09.06.22

Our annual sojourn to Vancouver Island for salmon fishing wouldn’t be complete without a stopover in the metropolis of Vancouver and a visit to Granville Island, the speck of terra firma jutting into False Creek which is a bustling waterway that cuts through the city. The 35-acre Granville Island is actually peninsula (though they call it an island) and it is flush with seafood restaurants, live theaters, shops, art centers, a renowned market and a nifty hotel restaurant with grand views of the city skyline.

Granville Island Public Market, Vancouver, B.C.

Our initial visit via taxi from downtown was to explore the Granville Island Public Market, a bountiful cornucopia of produce fresh from nearby farms, fresh seafood from local waters and all manner of foods fresh from commercial ovens.

The kaleidoscopic array of vegetables (oh, the eggplant and asparagus!), special sausages and the Dungeness crab had us yearning for a kitchen as we do love to cook. But we made due with the mounds of luscious Okanagan cherries and Fraser Valley strawberries, and the mammoth figs that went into our shopping bags and served us through much of our trip.

On our most recent visit, Lee’s Donuts had a crazy long line of fans as did Oyama Sausage Company while all the vendors — ice cream, candies, pastries, clam chowder, even tacos — seemed to be doing a brisk business. The island sees 10 million visitors each year with the market as the primary destination.

Back to that initial Vancouver visit when we stayed downtown at the Four Seasons and taxied over to the island. We had dinner overlooking the bay and the downtown skyline at Dockside Restaurant, a charming spot that is part of the Granville Island Hotel. The tree-shaded patio is completely charming perfect for al fresco dining and/or drinks. During the summer months, getting  reservations early are recommended.

We have also stayed on two trips at the 82-room hotel, which meant the possibility of having breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the appealing waterfront terrace. However, on two mornings we opted for the five-minute walk over to the market for a breakfast of fresh pastries and coffee consumed on the vast plaza overlooking False Creek.

SHOP

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EXPERIENCE
ELEGANCE
RADIANT
VERSATILE
BRILLANT LOVE
GRACE
BREATHTAKING
NOMADIC SPIRIT
PRECIOUS
INDULGE
EXPLORE
ELEVATED
QUALITY
BEEF CARPACCIO
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022
  • River Oaks District September 2022

Rooms in the Granville Island Hotel are nicely outfitted if small and are reasonably (not cheaply) priced. Interestingly, the hotel is built around its own brewery and bonus is that it backs up to a Ron Basford Park, a verdant linear park along a narrow waterway. The park pathway leads to the Granville Island Water Park, a hit with families with kids of various ages.

Granville Island is one of Vancouver's top destinations drawing some 10 million visitors annually. (Photo courtesy of Granville Island)
Granville Island is one of Vancouver’s top destinations drawing some 10 million visitors annually. (Photo courtesy of Granville Island)

Part of the fun on the island is hopping aboard one of the charming “little” ferries that scoot to various interesting points along False Creek. Two companies operate the water transport — Aquabus Ferry Ltd. and False Creek Ferries. Check their itineraries for your preferred flat trip. Hop on an off or opt for a round-trip excursion, lasting about 30 minutes.

Granville Island is a year-round destination, enjoying Vancouver’s friendly climate on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The market is open seven days a week from 9 am to 6 pm. If not staying on the island, we encourage taxi transport as parking is at a premium.

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