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  • Cecilia Teixeira

12 Interesting Things About Granville Island

1. Granville Island is not an island anymore. During the 1950s the city needed more industrial space and filled the back-channel creating an area where now we find the Sutcliffe Park and the Waterpark.

2. Granville Island was a man made Island. It was completed in 1916 dredging material from False Creek. At the time it was completed, Granville Island was named "industrial land" but the name didn't stuck. Everyone started calling it "Granville Island", named after the bridge that runs overhead.

Vancouver Island ca. 1916 before filling. Photo by Rognon. Vancouver Archives
East half of Granville Island before filling. Photo by Rognon, ca. 1916. Vancouver Archives

3. The island opened for business in 1917, with the company "BC Equipment Ltd" repairing and assembling equipment for the forest and mining industries.

4, Granville Island wasn't pretty until 1970's. There were no trees, grass or landscaping.

Consolidated Coal trucks [being loaded with] sawdust [at Granville Island]
Granville Island, 1934. Photo by Thomson, Stuart. Vancouver Archives
Granville Island today, viewed from Island Park Walk
Granville Island today, viewed from Island Park Walk

5. The buildings where the Public Market are now located were previously used by companies that manufactured and sold equipment for mining, logging and shipping industries.

Granville Island Public Market
Granville Island Public Market

6. The Public Market is as popular with locals as it is with tourists.

7. The superb Canadian Haida artist Bill Reid had his studio on Granville Island. Today we can see a plaque in the Net Loft.

8. Over 10.5 million people visit Granville Island each year.

9. Granville Island is home of more than 300 businesses! You will find all kinds of businesses, from a concrete factory (with a beautiful artwork decorating the silos), to blown glass artists, painters, potters, decorative brooms, sake factory, brewery, and jewelry created by renowned artists. There are dozens of places to eat, from simple booths to top rated restaurants. There's always something to please everyone's taste and budget.

Vancouver Island artwork "Os Gemeos".  Silos belong to the Concrete Factory
Concrete Factory. Granville Island. Silos artwork by Brazilian artists "Os Gemeos"

You can taste excellent beers at Granville Island Brewing. This picture shows 4 samples
Granville Island Brewing

10. Granville Island revenue is over $ 14.1 million dollars / year.

11. When you visit the local Market you will find fresh seafood, local strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, sausages, 100% authentic maple syrup, artisan breads, sweeties, ice creams, donuts, and all kind of delicacies you can think of.

12. There's always good music being played on Granville Island. From modern to classics, you can enjoy live performances on Granville Island, along its cobblestone streets and squares.


How long you should spend on Granville Island?

It depends on your interests and the amount of time you have during your visit to Vancouver.

I would say that at least one hour. It can be a shorter visit in case you are on a pre-cruise or post-cruise tour, and only have three hours to visit the whole city.

On the other hand, if you are staying in Vancouver for a couple of days, you can spend many hours on the island, as there are dozens of attractions & activities like:

  • shopping

  • having lunch or dinner

  • renting a kayak

  • renting a water bike

  • renting a boat

  • go whale watching

  • explore the Net Loft

  • buy wines from all over the world

  • see artisans at work

  • visit the brewery and taste several samples while eating delicious charcuterie

  • watch a play in one of the theatres

  • go shopping for the kids in your family at the "Toy Company"

  • walk the whole island's perimeter and photograph some lovely boathouses

  • take the kids on a "pirate boat" with lots of adventure

  • see artisans creating jewelry, or glass, or brooms

  • take a ferry

  • visit the galleries, many of them featuring works by First Nations peoples


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