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Living on my back, people come, telling their stories, singing their songs. They celebrate together, their significant days and their creative ways. I am the spirit of the island they once called Snauq, born of the ocean. Like a sand castle I may be moulded and used, remoulded and used again. Like nature itself, the possibilities abound. I am a mirror in which humanity can see the best of itself reflected, a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. I am a spirit, a vision, a community, an island in the creek that over time, has become Granville Island. http://m.granvilleislandworks.com
As I walk under the welcome arch 'Granville Island' I experience the cool sea breeze mingling with the all- purpose air of joggers, tourists, cyclists, school kids on day outing, the pile of yachts, boats, steamers, the clang of cranes, trucks and heavy duty vehicles servicing the left over industries. In short a 'peoples' place which a few decades back was two sandbars that submerged under the waters to rise again with the next receding tide to welcome its visitors.
Located in False Creek directly across Downtown Vancouver the original Granville Island was a fishing and meeting place for the First Nation (indigenous) people. In the 1880's Granville island was converted into an industrial hotbed with shipyards, sawmills, slaughter houses, iron works and brewing, two local brewries still supply the wines. Fires and industrial depression put an end to its industrial dreams and in the 1970's Granville was listed for a touristy conversion.
The warehouses and factories received makeovers as art studios, lofts and stores. In between the new and old construction there are still visible signs of industrial activity but is soon lost in the crowds spilling from buses and ferries to relax in the cafeterias, pubs and the Creekside stores, the Dragon Spaces with 'dragons' in every available size and color ( photography not allowed) or the Silk Weaving Studio with gossamer thin stoles. The Net Loft on Johnston Street is afloat with more treasures.. the Circle Craft Co-op with products ranging from furniture to glassware by local artists or 'Not Made in China' labels; handwoven textiles at Maiwa Handprints Ltd. from India and other Asian countries or the picture perfect 'Postcard Place' for postcards for every occasion and communication.
The Inukshuk Gallery and Jade Vancouver are a must if interested in First Nation products , totems, masks, paintings and jade products of British Columbia.
It was mid afternoon and very few takers for the theater though the art scene is prolific with the Island playing host to gravitating artists, a newer development, from Vancouver and other cities. I was disappointed in not seeing any singer/ musician strumming on violin/ guitar but the chatty tourists, school children, families made up for the missing musical notes.
The Island lives up to its "people's place' image with activities for all age groups and sensibilities from Water park, the Kids Market, fishing charters, whale-watching tours, boat tours, sailing adventures or simply loosing one self in the intangible aromas of freshly baked goods, fresh sea food, veggies, fruits, dairy products flowers all under one roof the Granville Public Market, a converted factory.
The evening shadows are creeping up on the waters and I return to board the bus for downtown Vancouver encapsulated in the essence of this 38 acres of land.... its effulgent timelessness.