We’d heard a lot about Granville Island and its market – about how amazing it was and that it’s where Vancouverites and tourists alike flock for their market experience. Well, based on our initial experience, they were certainly flocking there, and we were confronted by a queue of cars, mixed with the odd industrial vehicle servicing the on-site concrete factory, trundling round the island’s one-way system in search of a car parking spot.
Granville Island (which isn’t really an island since it’s not entirely surrounded by water…) is located under the Granville Bridge. Given the issues drivers were experiencing, we were glad that we had walked there, and you can see why taking a ferry from downtown is also a good option.
Once on the island and having got our bearings, we found the Granville Island Public Market, which is a food market. It didn’t feel huge in comparison to some markets but it still offered some attractive and enticing fare, and we got to sample some proper maple syrup.
The rest of the island was disappointing though. You could see the idea – turn a former industrial piece of wasteland into a trendy market area selling and hosting artisan foods, crafts, a microbrewery, and artist studios and galleries in former warehouses – but it didn’t really work for us. Too many vehicles, and other than the small but bright food market, all the other traders felt a bit run-of-the-mill. So after the build-up, we felt like our 1 hour and 6km walk each way had been a bit of a waste of time!
Not wanting to end on a downer, now is an optimum time to plug Via Tevere, which is a Neapolitan pizza restaurant near the Commercial Drive area of Vancouver. We visited this restaurant one night, and oh my god, this pizza was amazing!! Cooked in a proper wood fired pizza oven, the pizzas were in the oven for about 90 seconds. The bases and crusts were cooked to perfection, and everything was full of flavour.
Whilst on the subject of food, perhaps it’s time to also give the humble butter tart a mention. The butter tart is something of a Canadian delicacy and a quintessential dessert here. Flaky pastry is filled with a sticky filling consisting of butter, sugar, syrup and eggs, whilst raisins are also added to give some semblance of healthiness. Instead of raisins, other additions such as pecan nuts can also be used.
The verdict: butter tarts are awesome! There are plenty of British foods that we miss here – decent cheese, Marmite, decent chocolate, baked beans – but butter tarts are something that we will miss from Canada one day!