Anyone can sit down, open Google, and put together a list of places to visit in Vancouver’s Granville Island. It’s a pretty easy thing to do. That however is not what I did. Nope.
One of my favourite places in Vancouver, and has been for the last 8 years or so. In fact it is my go-to spot as soon as I arrive. Sure, the island attracts tourists, but that is not why I go. I go because there are shops and merchants on the island that I love and over the years I’ve developed a kind of odd routine which involves my going to Granville within an hour of arriving in Vancouver – it’s similar to how I can be found eating shawarma in Bangkok within hours of arriving.
While there are shops galore on Granville Island, I do have my favourite shops. Shops I’ve been visiting for the last 8 years because, well, they are awesome. Awesomeness should always be rewarded. Always!
Located in a small building across from the Public Market, Paper-Ya has been in business on Granville Island for 27 years, and as a paper and notebook geek it is one of my favourite places to go. I love wandering through this shop looking at the fun and funky notebooks, little buttons, papers, tapes, stamps, and the expensive leather handbags. I also buy a new notebook every time I go. Yes. Every. Single. Time. Thankfully their notebooks are reasonably priced, otherwise I’d be too broke to eat!
My obsession with Terra Breads is similar to that of a crackhead looking for his/her next hit. No, really, I am 100% serious. The pizza bianca is pretty much the only bread I buy – aside from the occasionally blueberry bread. I LOVE this bread as it’s light, moist, and still tastes amazing the next day. I always buy two loafs. One I will devour within minutes of buying it, the other I save until late at night, or for the next morning.
Terra Breads makes a wide variety of breads, as well as orgasmically delicious tarts. They have shop locations on W 4th Ave, Granville Island, W 5th Ave, and The Village on False Creek.
The Stock Market
If I actually lived in Vancouver I’d be at The Stock Market almost every week. This is the best place within the public market for buying homemade soups, stocks, sauces, and butters. The later being my ultimate weakness. Particularly the garlic butter. This isn’t just any garlic butter, this is very strong garlic butter. As in I’ll-have-to-soak-my-mouth-in-Scope-for-an-hour-to-get-rid-of-the-smell garlic butter. It is the perfect mate to my pizza bianca.
Truth be told I’m dipping chunks of pizza bianca in ‘Serious Garlic Butter’ right now. Which means that in an hour I’ll be soaking my mouth in Scope. I don’t care though. It tastes amazing!!
I’m not 100% sure why, but I am absolutely attracted to the houses floating on False Creek at Granville Island. They are cute, trendy, and in some small way, I kind of wish I owned one – and a sailboat to park outside as well! I love walking by the houses, taking photos, becoming that crazy stalker chick for awhile. I mean, it’s not like they have anything to worry about, I only come and covet those houses every couple years or so!
Oyama Sausage Co.
This is hands down my favourite vendor for sausage and cured meats at Granville Island Public Market. Oyama is a family run business and the owner, John, is a 5th generation charcuterie producer. Whenever I’m in town I stop by Oyama to pick up some cured meats, which I’ll enjoy with the pizza bianca from Terra Breads! They also have a small cheese case that features international cheeses, but some local cheese from Salt Spring Island as well. Yumgasm!!
Their website has some yummy recipes that you should totally check out.
Maiwa is my guilty pleasure shop. Established in 1997, Maiwa features products made by artisans from small villages. It’s similar to the Ten Thousand Villages concept, but a little more upscale. Maiwa sells everything from furniture, to textiles, to jewelry, to clothing. OMG I love this store. I have to make sure I’m already broke when I go though, otherwise I’ll spend way too much money on things that I don’t actually need!!
Granville Island is full of shops and restaurants, and I have spent I don’t even know how many hours there. It is truly one of my favourite places in the city, and every time I go, there is something new to check out. The above list is small, but that is because those are the places I ALWAYS visit whenever I’m on the island. There are other spots worth checking out as well:
Arts Club Lounge: A great place for a drink and light meal before or after a performance. Or if you’re in the area and want to check it out.
Emily Carr University: If you’re a huge fan of Emily Carr’s work, pop by and see if you can get into the library. Tons of books and references for art geeks.
Liberty Wines: This small wine store is the best place in the market if you’re looking to purchase wines made in the Okanagan, Mission Hill being one of the more popular brands.
Granville Island Brewery: The only micro brewery on the island. If you’re a beer lover stop by for a tour and tasting. There are several varieties to choose from.