top of page
  • The Anonymous Hungry Hippopotamus

Vancouver Part 2: Granville Island

This is the second installation in my Vancouver series dedicated to my nephew and his fiancée, who are soon to be full-time Vancouverites. Let's jump right in and discover Granville Island, one of my favorite places in the city.

Granville Island

Today, the mention of Vancouver's Granville Island conjures up images of theaters, restaurants, craft studios, art galleries, and a public market.  With its perpetual energy, and year-round visitors, it's hard to believe that in the late 1800's, Granville Island was a mere mudbank.

In order to promote industrial development, after the creation of the Granville Street Bridge in the 1890's, the Canadian government erected an artificial island on top of the mudbank and unimaginatively called it Industrial Island. The plan achieved temporary success, as the island became home to many sawmills and other industrial operations.


By the 1960's, the sawmills were deteriorating and whatever success the island had enjoyed was waning. A man named Ron Basford however, saw potential for the area as a mixed use space for shopping, dining, education, the arts and more. His vision became a reality.

Today, all that remains of the island's industrial legacy are the six silos pictured above. Even those have been updated thanks to identical twin brothers and street artists, Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo from Brazil. To beautify the concrete structures, the two brothers spray painted a mural entitled, "Giants" across the silos, using 14,000 cans of spray paint.

To reach Granville Island, you can take the bridge, or jump on one of these mini tugboat ferries, avoid the traffic, and enjoy the views, which is what I did.

In a matter of minutes, I had crossed False Creek and was ready for my Granville Island adventure to begin.

Granville Island Public Market

My first order of business was to head for the Granville Island Public Market, the hub of all activity on the island. Here, you can find dozens of food stalls, fresh produce, artisan goods, desserts and more. I wandered around for over an hour before hunger started to settle in.

À La Mode

There was no dearth of options to choose from and all the food from the various stalls looked enticing. In the end, I settled on lunch at À La Mode.

À La Mode is a restaurant that sells all kinds of homemade, sweet and savory pies.

Chicken Pot Pie

I opted for a chicken pot pie and a mixed green salad.

The pie crust was golden, toasty, flakey and buttery. Poke through the top and you'll find tender pieces of chicken and mushrooms, in a rich, creamy, sauce. This dish was quintessential, comfort food.

Granville Island Duck Pond

After lunch, I strolled around the island, visiting art galleries, and artisan studios to see the handiwork of painters, glassblowers, potters, jewelers, and even a broom maker. I wrapped up my walk at the pond pictured above, where I saw more than a few ducks and some turtles as well.

Watermelon Jalapeno Margarita

The weather was so pleasant, and the vibe on the island so inviting, that I decided to extend my stay a bit and enjoy this refreshing margarita made with fresh watermelon puree, jalapeno and lime, at an open-air restaurant, before jumping on the ferry to head back to my hotel.

Granville Island is a must-see if you find yourself in Vancouver. Come for a show, a meal, a walk, some shopping, relaxation, or take the whole day and do a little bit of everything.

That concludes my second post on Vancouver. I have one more post left in this series, featuring some of Vancouver's best restaurants.

32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page