granville island

Raincouver is currently in full swing, so these sun-drenched photos of last Friday's trip to Granville Island are a timely form of visual relief.

This picturesque neighbourhood in Vancouver reminds me of Sentosa's Quayside Isle, but with a lot more laidback charm.

I cross a bridge on foot to enter, and am greeted by pavement-less roads so I get a little lost (as usual, sigh).

I meet up with my friend Angeline, and we proceed to get some caffeine into our systems at Petit Ami because I've read that the coffee here is affordable and good (and you can't always have this combination!).

The reviews are proven right, and because the sun is out we plant our butts on a bench in an open-air deck where dotty pigeons and hungry seagulls linger. Our spot overlooks the charming False Creek, which little seabuses ply.

Butts warmed, we head back indoors for a jaunt. The artisan's market is full of fresh fruit, cured meats, cheeses and pastas, with booths hawking handmade crafts. Other buildings house trinket shops, a specialty hat store (where I lay eyes on a gorgeous red wool beret), sculpture studios and ceramic art galleries.

A gazillion snaps of fall foliage later, we wander further away from these touristy enclaves and chance upon the island's residential area. There's a big park and a bunch of schoolboys excitedly getting kayaks into the water.

Then we stumble upon another unique characteristic of the island - houseboats. The Sea Village, as they are known, are a cosy cluster of 13 two- or three-storey houses, each with their own distinctive design. I gush and fawn over them (yeah weird I know) but the idea of living on one enthralls me - existing both as permanent and impermanent space, with the ever-present lure of uncharted waters beyond.

My top tips for visiting Granville IslanD:

  • Wear comfy shoes. I walked a total of 9km that day, so good footwear is absolutely essential.
  • Go on an empty stomach. The food and drink options here are abundant so you definitely won't go hungry. There are also tons of organic choices if you're so inclined.
  • Plan your route. The Granville Island website has a handy feature for this, where you can toggle activities based on the amount of time you spend there (ranging from a few hours to a full day). Smart.
  • Visit Emily Carr University of Art + Design's old campus. The school recently moved out to new digs, but it offers some of the most Instagram-worthy spots around (that concrete wall covered with red leaves can be found here).
  • Check out what's playing in theatres. If you've got time to spare, a play sounds like a lovely way to cap off the day here. There are a number of theatres on the island, like Arts Club Theatre Company and Waterfront Theatre - I haven't caught a show but it's definitely something I'm going to strike off my to-do list!