Granville Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada – and no wonder: with the bustling Public Market, stunning views of False Creek, hundreds of unique artisans and studios, a bevy of theatres and performances spaces, and dozens of restaurants and cafes, there’s so much to discover. Now, we can’t take credit for Granville Island’s greatness, but over the past 30 years, we’ve gotten to know it pretty well, and we wanted to share a few of our favourite hidden gems that we hope you’ll take the time to explore during our 2017 Festival.
1. Studio 1398 (3rd Floor, 1398 Cartwright St.)
We can’t help be partial to Studio 1398 – our office is directly underneath it! All year long, this 100-seat black box theatre features a range of events, including theatre, dance, panels/discussions. Check giculturalsociety.org/studio1398/now-showing/ for info about upcoming shows.
2. Craft House (1386 Cartwright St.)
This beautiful gallery features handmade jewelry, pottery, housewares and more from some of BC’s finest artisans. We particularly recommend checking out the ongoing free exhibits at the back of the gallery – last year, they featured an exhibit about the beauty of the book, including a 6-foot tall book sculpture, during the Festival.
3. Free Little Library in Railspur Alley
Once you’re done wandering through the shops in Railspur Alley, rest your weary feet in the park behind Emily Carr University and pick up a book from the Free Little Library. The library is regularly stocked by inhabitants of False Creek, and, if you’re lucky, you might find a new copy of a book by a Festival author!
4. Boca del Lupo in The Fishbowl (100-1398 Cartwright St.)
Boca del Lupo is a theatre company that presents “extraordinary performances in unconventional spaces.” One of these unconventional spaces if the Fishbowl, located between Festival House and Waterfront Theatre. This micro-performance space (named for its floor-to-ceiling windows) features shows and exhibits year-round that will excite and intrigue you. Learn more at bocadellupo.com.
5. Liberty Distillery (1494 Old Bridge St.)
While nothing can beat the combination of a dram of scotch and a good book, a gin and tonic made with Liberty Distillery’s signature blend makes the perfect beverage for the warmer months. No visit to Granville Island will be complete without a tour of the distillery and a tasting flight. Make sure to try their signature pink gin!
6. Go Fish (1501 West 1st Ave)
If you want to beat the lunchtime crowds at the Public Market, we can’t recommend Go Fish highly enough. This tiny establishment is located on the south side of the Marina, along the seawall, and features a simple menu with delights such as fish tacos, fish and chips, grilled salmon, oyster po’boys and more. The seafood couldn’t be fresher – it literally comes off the boats mere steps away from the restaurant! Go Fish is Granville Island’s worst-best-kept secret, so we recommend going early.
7. Sen Pad Thai (1666 Johnston St.)
Sen Pad Thai is the newest addition to the NetLoft. Inspired by street food vendors in Thailand, Sen Pad Thai serves up delicious stir fried noodles, including the eponymous Pad Thai. Grab your food to go, or sit in the bustling heart of the NetLoft, where you can window shop at all of the artisan shops.
8. Granville Island Broom Company (1406 Old Bridge St.)
Located across from Ocean Cement is the Granville Island Broom Company, one of the Island’s most unique artisans. Sisters Mary and Sarah Schweiger craft beautiful brooms that are made to withstand years of use. Whatever needs sweeping, Granville Island Brooms an implement that will do the job. If you’re lucky, you might just catch a broom-making demonstration in store.