Turn right out of hotel. Head up Hornby Street for approximately 2 miles. Walk until you're at the water's edge and you'll find a rainbow colored little boat called the "Aquabus." Pay 5CAD (so yes, stop at the cash machine on your way) for a round trip ticket across the narrow water to Granville Island.
Once landed on Granville Island (which really isn't an island...but more like a man made peninsula, but who's keeping track anyway?) there are plenty of things to do. It's like a Pike's Place market divided by 20. Small and intimate but still full of stuff for all the senses.
The real draw for me at Granville Island were all the artist studios and galleries. The Emily Carr University of Art and Design is a small art college on the island. Emily Carr is one of BC's most famous artists. The school seems to be pretty cutting edge and the student work on exhibit was really great. I was definitely impressed. Back on the streets/galleries, there were glass blowers, bronze and metal workers, jewelry makers, weavers, and basically anything that can be sold. The artists have realized how to merchandise their product, and as Granville Island draws many tourists, it's a really smart move. I was told that it is federal subsidized housing for artists (much like the Tilsner Building in St Paul, MN) which is pretty cool that their shops are located right there.
I had a wonderful lentil soup at Bridges, a very yellow building, and continued walking "off the island" into South Granville. If Granville Island is the home of the hippie artists, South Granville is where their rich parents live. There are some really neat galleries and also some pretty fancy antique shops and art dealers. I always feel so awkward going into art dealers "galleries." For the most part, there is not much quality present, and if the odd Chagall, Picasso, or Matisse is present, its the leftovers that the museums don't even want. However the employees always make a point to judge me as someone not sophisticated enough to drop 100 grand on a painting. Well, they're right in a way. If there's something I like, I'll most likely make a mental note to paint something similar some day. There were also some great little shops and cafes thrown into this eclectic yet expensive neighborhood. It seemed like the ideal place to exhibit...there are enough galleries that I can't imagine it would be too hard to get some space, and I definitely wasn't the only person spending my Saturday gallery hopping, so sales potential is there for sure.
After hours and hours and hours of walking, my feet HURT. I had finally seen everything in Granville Island and seen all the galleries that stood out to me in South Granville, so I headed back to downtown. What a hike! Good thing it was a rare sunshiney day in Vancouver!