Heading to the public market on Granville Island at the weekend is a bit of a rite of passage if you live in Vancouver. It’s where many locals come to pick up fresh produce for the week ahead, and to grab fresh bread for breakfast. Likewise, if you’re a tourist, you’ll likely be there for the samplings and nibbles, and to grab lunch from one of the many tempting counters or stalls.
Arriving at Granville Island
You can reach the island in a number of ways – drive (limited parking spaces, so I wouldn’t recommend), cycle via the path, walk, or catch the False Creek ferry from downtown Vancouver, which is always fun.
Granville Island doesn’t just boast market goods from fresh fruit and vegetables to gourmet sausages, but there are also restaurants and shops. There’s also a Kids Market to keep the little ones occupied, and residential areas including a number of houseboats.
Inside the Public Market
The market is a colourful array of stalls, mixed aromas, and an exciting mishmash of fresh produce and homemade goodies with samples to try. You’ll probably come across some foods you’ve never heard of.
Exploring Granville Island Public Market
Past the market stalls, you’ll also find the food hall within Granville Island Public Market. Here, you can grab a tasty meal or a light bite. Favourites include perogies, fish and chips, pizza, and also Mexican food. Whatever your palette fancies.
Everywhere you look, there are fresh vegetables, pastries, fruit, and cheese in all directions. I was happy to discover in amongst the many exotic cheeses some Double Gloucester! Yep, even across the Atlantic and the other side of North America, it’s still a hit.
Just check out those beauties! Freshly baked cakes of all different varieties, it’s so hard to choose one. You can also buy pretty much any ingredient you could possibly need for the fridge, freezer, or cupboard at home, from oils to vinegars.
It’s lovely to see little reminders from home too. What can possibly beat a good Cornish pasty?
There are several Italian stores selling tasty goods including fresh pasta. You may even catch it being made in front of you! It’s pretty fascinating to watch. Just look at the stripy ravioli. I really want to try it next time, it’s so pretty and would make any pasta dish look amazing. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to olives, too.
Why not finish it all off with a tasty cup of tea from the Granville Island Tea Company? There are so many varieties to choose from, it’s difficult knowing where to start, but there are always samples to try. I’m so happy that tea’s popular in Canada. I’ve tried so many different types already since I arrived – bubble, black, Rooibos, chai spice, you name it.
There are plenty of other foods to browse too – from pickles to fresh fish (don’t miss sockeye salmon or sablefish), to beautiful fresh flowers.
Outside Granville Island Public Market
If the sun’s out and you’d rather be outside the market on Granville Island, there’s plenty going on outside. Check out Bridges‘ patio for a gorgeous views across to English Bay, or grab a bite at Edible Canada. The latter sources the vast majority of its produce from Canada, ranging from duck poutine to chicken pot pie. Tradition on Granville Island is to head to Go Fish on Fishermans Wharf for fish tacos or tasty fish and chips. Here, you can eat outside and watch the seagulls.
Once we completed a good circuit or two of the market, we set off for the Granville Island Brewery. Dad was determined to introduce me to the popular ‘craft beer’ fad, which is just crazy in Vancouver at the moment. It all began when Canadians got tired of imported beer or the same old stuff on tap in pubs and bars. Nowadays, you’re never far from a brewery in Vancouver.
The Granville Island Brewery is one of the most popular, and also a real hit with tourists. Not prepared to do anything by halves, we ordered the entire taster menu. They’re small glasses so it only adds up to a few pints, and there were all varieties, from IPA to lager. I found my favourite – a typically girly raspberry ale. This was all washed down with a tasty traditional poutine – the full Canadian experience today. For anybody who’s not heard of poutine, let me tell you! It’s essentially skin-on fries, with cheese curds and a rich gravy-style sauce (and we added pulled pork). Oh my goodness, it’s good. You can pair it with other combos – chicken, guacamole, sour cream, bacon, and the list goes on.
A Walk Around False Creek, Vancouver
We left the brewery with slightly woozy heads, and went for a bit of a walk around Granville Island. It was such a beautiful day.
False Creek is another beautiful neighbourhood of Vancouver that’s a short inlet. It separates downtown Vancouver from the rest of the city, and has a seawall that runs all the way around. It’s here that you get some of the most spectacular views across the city skyline.
That evening, we were off to the Vancouver International Film Festival. As a city famous for its film reputation, and with the nickname Hollywood North, it’s important to get behind the city’s film festival. We went to see The Editor – a slightly crazy film, and a little too much gore for me. It was also selected at the Toronto International Film Festival, a pretty big affair. You can see a trailer for The Editor if you’re interested. All in all, it was a wonderful day exploring more of Vancouver.
Are you a local, or love to visit Granville Island? What are your favourite things to eat at the Public Market? Let me know in the comments below.