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About the Granville Island Public Market

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The Public Market is a piece of art, shaped by many hands.
– Scott Fraser, Marketing & Communications Officer, Granville Island

Edible Canada-small

This week marks the one-month anniversary of our partnership with Edible Canada and the launch of our Granville Island Market Tour. Upon “docking” at Granville Island, the VFT team was fully aware that the Granville Island Public Market has some of the best places to eat in Vancouver and some of the richest history in the city. And I was excited. I still am. I wanted to know all the stories. I was ready to learn all the ins-and-outs that ever were and ever could be and use my Granville Island prowess to wow you all on our Granville Island Market Tour.

What I’ve discovered is that it’s impossible to know the whole story. It truly is. When the Public Market first opened in 1979, there were just 21 permanent vendors (compared to the 50 that exist today). The first stories of the Public Market are, therefore, largely intertwined as this handful of farmers, artists, and artisans established their businesses and forged new friendships.

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I’ve accepted that I’ll never master all the stories of Granville Island, but, I’m inspired by the promise that there is always something new to learn. And, of course, I’ll always share the best tidbits with you in this Vancouver food blog.  This week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Scott Fraser, Marketing & Communications Officer for Granville Island about the spirit, culture, and little-known facts about the Public Market…

The spirit:
Scott described the spirit of the Granville Island Public Market as “inclusive, creative, and cooperative.” As I consider his selection, I can’t help but smile because it is a perfect summary of the interactions VFT has had on Granville Island. We have been welcomed and inspired. 

The culture:
The Public Market has a natural allure simply because there is so much to see, taste, and discover. I asked Scott “what it takes” to be a vendor in the coveted Public Market and what are the most important requirements for aspiring vendors. His response was so eloquently put together, so I quote:

“I think that having a passion for your craft and wanting to share it with others. That is what tends to be the consistent factor with our most successful tenants. Whether it is soup, meat, pasta, seafood, tea or chocolate, people that have knowledge about what they sell, and willingness to share that knowledge, tend to fit well into the Market Community.”

How novel, in the corporatized, streamlined world that we live in, that we have this opportunity to be sincerely interested in what we are purchasing and have someone on the other end equally passionate about sharing the details with us. It’s people. People who care.

GI Tea-small

5 little known facts about the Public Market:

  1. All of the Market buildings were factories making things like industrial cables and chains. If you joined us on our Granville Island Market Tour, you might recall the old industrial hoists that we point out!
  2. The Granville Island Public Market is open until 7pm every day (with a few exceptions in December and January). Hint: The best shopping is around 6pm as it is much less crowded!
  3. There are 42 day vendor spaces at the market. These are sometimes compared to “blanket vendors” at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, however, all of the day vendors at Granville Island are artists who actually produce their wares (as opposed to resold goods often found at blanket vendors).
  4. Who gets sell their crafts at the Public Market? It’s a juried process that happens every 2 years! This is to say that photographers evaluate photographers, and jewelry-makers evaluate other jewelry-makers. Selections are made using educated opinions and by considering the mix of vendors in the Market.
  5. Almost every vendor in the Public Market loves to experiment! Check back often in your favourite stores as you never know when creativity hits and a new flavour has been invented. Some of our favourites like Oyama Sausage Company will let you know on Facebook if you Like their page!

There’s a lot in our noggins from just one month on the Island! It’s hard to say what stories we’ll uncover as the days unfold! Good thing we like brain food almost as much as we like food-food…



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