One of our favourite parts of Vancouver, Canada, has to be Granville Island. We were totally unprepared for how cool this little part of the city was. And it has a great story as well.
Once an industrial manufacturing area built on a sandbar across from downtown Vancouver’s peninsula, the area was originally called ‘Industrial Island’, but the name didn’t stick and Granville Island was named after the bridge that spans overhead. The very first tenant, B.C Equipment Ltd. set that standard by building a wooden framed shop clad on all sides by corrugated iron.
Nowadays, even after the region has been transformed from an unattractive industrial area in serious decline into an eclectic and people-friendly place to which locals and tourists alike flock for its public market, cool shops and art galleries. The areas heritage is still acknowledged with the use of corrugated iron and industrial architectural influences everywhere you look.
In the pedestrian-friendly zones, licensed buskers provide a melodic background harmony to your visit and the atmosphere is fun and busy as visitors mill about enjoying the area.
Vancouver’s Markets and Fresh Produce
We LOVED the public markets here. You can buy all kinds of amazing local produce, from B.C. berries to maple syrup to deli items, beautiful pastries and salmon. We had a chat with salmon vendor Scott who has been selling the famous fish here for more than 30 years, following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather. The bounty of salmon in this part of the world has made it famous, with numbers in the nearby Fraser River some of the greatest on earth. And the Canadians sell salmon in every which way; candied, smoked, jerky, fresh, and all packaged up to take home to Australia!
Vancouver is consistently named one of the most liveable cities in the world. The people are friendly, the city is clean and beautiful, and from the rooftop of our hotel at the Fairmont Waterfront, you can see iconic Canada Place and amazing harbour and mountain views.
But we have another reason to be up on this rooftop, and it’s quite unexpected. We are meeting the hotel’s Sous Chef Mark, who doubles as the hotel’s beekeeper. This is part of the Fairmont Hotel’s commitment to sustainable hotel management and in 2008, the Fairmont Waterfront welcomed two hives of honeybees for their apiary on the 3rd-floor roof.
It is amazing to see a bee hive here in the city. The hives are positioned adjacent to the hotels 2,100-square-foot herb garden and are a little patch of green oasis in the CBD jungle that surrounds it.
Chef Mark is a third generation beekeeper and under Mark’s management, the hotel produces honey each year to serve to their guests in the hotel in many different ways. This year, the hotel is on track to harvesting 800-1000 lbs of honey. We can attest that the honey truffles in our rooms that night were absolutely delicious.
Clint had the chance to get up close and personal to the resident honey bees – there are about 60,000 of them per hive – and afterwards had to admit it was scarier than going shark cage-diving, but we really applaud the initiative.
Have you ever been to Vancouver? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the city in the comments section below!