Granville Island: Favourite Places & Today’s Disaster

I got this question from a local mom last time I posted about Granville Island, and I thought I’d share…

It looks like you guys go to Granville Island a lot. This summer my son will be at the age where he can enjoy these sort of outings, but the trouble is, I usually only go to the Public Market when I go to Granville Island. Where are all of these cool little spots you take your daughter to? Any tips?

I’m actually really happy to answer this question, because although I’ve always loved Granville Island, the truth is, up until we moved back to Vancouver from the Middle East, I was a Public Market and boardwalk kind of girl too.  Here’s what our normal visit looks like now:

1. First off, free parking!  I know that many of my friends pay for parking off the island and walk on, or park in pay lots on the island. Not necessary!  If you park in the lot right beside Bridges restaurant (near the public market, but not in front of it – off to the side) you can have a free stall for 3 hours!  And as long as you arrive before 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. (even on weekends) you shouldn’t have a problem finding a spot.  

2. Public Market.  We normally stop and get a little treat for Mama and a little treat for Grae when we visit.  Grae’s treat often comes from Terra Breads.  They have amazing fresh-baked bread of all sorts and can quickly tell you the ingredients in any of their homemade goodies as they keep a recipe binder on hand under the counter.  Grae’s favourites are the cheese flutes (an extra special treat because they are made with white flour) and the walnut bread.  If not bread, we normally stop at The Grainry.  They have all kinds of natural and organic goodies for purchase in small quantities, and Grae almost always ends up choosing their no-sugar-added/unsulphered dried mango or apple.  For me, it’s coffee!   My newest stop of choice is Nons.  They’re quick, they accept debit, and they’re located right beside the bank machine if you need to take out some cash. 

3. Public Seating Area.  After gathering our goodies, we almost always head outside to enjoy the seating area in front of the Public Market.  Gracen watches the birds (while I put on my brave face and try not to pass my ridiculous fear of feathery friends down to my daughter), we watch the boats come and go, and enjoy the musical performances that are often happening.  The only thing I don’t enjoy about this part of our day is the incredibly greedy/aggressive small dog-sized seagulls who are always trolling above head.  Although it has gotten much better now that the crowds are out, we’ve been swarmed twice and let me tell you, it is FREAKY.  The first time actually resulted in blood after Gracen’s finger was bit by a seagull desperate for her bread, and I’ll tell you all about today after this list. Best advice – keep all food completely tucked away.

4. Boat play structure. After our fill of aquabuses, birds, and bands, we normally stroll over to the Kid’s Market.  While the Kid’s Market itself is not my favourite place, Gracen does love all of the  at-toddler-eye-level toys for sale in the shops, so sometimes we take a quick browse. Most days, however, we head straight out back to the little boat play structure.  Gracen rotates between the role of captain and passenger inevitably makes a new little friend or two.

5. Water park & playground. After finishing up with the play boat, we walk along the little path to the water park and playground area.  The water park is still fairly new to us because we weren’t here last summer and it’s not been quite warm enough lately, but she did experiment with it a little today, and I can tell that it’s going to be a summer favourite.  On the other hand, the playground is an old favourite.  Between the saucer swing, the climbing structure/merry-go-round, the slides, the sand pit, and the kid-operated river, we can easily spend a couple hours there. The plus is that the False Creek Community Centre is right next to it, and we almost always duck in for a quick potty break.

6. Ron Basford Park. After coaxing Grae away from the playground, we head along the little seawall to Ron Basford Park.  I personally think it’s Granville Island’s best kept secret.  It’s a basically a giant grass-covered hill that is has a little path that leads to a Canadian flag at the tippy top.  It’s the perfect place to let your little one run off some energy, and even better yet – it’s the perfect place for a snack stop or picnic.

7. Seawall. After leaving the park, we usually follow the seawall in front of the Granville Island Hotel and past the Sea Village.  I’m not sure who loves the Sea Village more – me or Grae…  How cool would it be to have your house on the water?!  By the time we reach last one, without fail, Gracen’s request is loud and clear, “More home! More home!”

8. Performers.  On the way back to our car, I always try to scope out one or two performances that are live in action.  Grae normally gets out of her stroller so she can let loose and dance or sway to the music.  After a few songs, we head back to our vehicle, load up our things, and make our way home for some lunch and a nap. 

Now onto today…

What’s worse than being attacked by greedy dog-sized seagulls?  Being shit on by said seagulls first, then being attacked.  True story.  Ugh…

Grae and I were minding our business while watching the aqua buses come and go this morning when I felt a series of warm, goopy plops hit my arm and hand. Sick. As I’m one-handedly attempting to open the diaper bag and retrieve a handful of wipes, 3 giant seagulls start swarming us.  Globs of shit still all over me, I abruptly grab Gracen’s bread flute out of her hand, chuck in into the bag, and start fending off seagulls left and right.  Grae’s now crying, the bird crap is dripping off of my hand, and the best part? I realize that this is all taking place in front of a row of busy window seats.  I look up to see 3 people waving.  Oh, let me die now…

Even worse? Me literally washing my sweater with hand soap in the bathroom sink, then ringing it out and putting it back on soaking wet because it was chilly, I had a strapless dress on, and didn’t bring anything else. FML. One thing was for sure, I wasn’t going to let a large load of bird crap ruin our morning. We had driven all the way there and Gracen was excited to explore, so on our way we went, albeit dripping wet. Here are a few photos from the better parts of today’s Granville Island adventure…

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2 thoughts on “Granville Island: Favourite Places & Today’s Disaster

  1. I LOVE GRANVILLE ISLAND SO MUCH!I’m in the UK but my family are Canadian and we go out to Vancouver every other year…took Ivy last year and she had a blast chasing pigeons and dancing to music! It was great to take her because I have such amazing memories of going there myself as a kid, I remember how exciting I found it that the Kids Market and it’s own special little door just for children.
    Poor you though, being pooed on by a bird is an actual phobia of mine! Your little girl is a cutie 🙂

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