Creative Districts: Granville Island

The 2021 Crafted Vancouver festival introduces the Craft District Series, a cluster of events within a short walking distance of each other. This year we debut with five official Craft Districts; Armoury District, Gastown, Granville Island, Parker Street Studios | Mergatroid Building & Railtown, each with its own unique character and identity.

Each district will host a number of Events throughout the festival calendar, along with its own Spotlight Day, where Event Partners will host a variety of intimate events designed to introduce you to the makers & designers behind each unique product.

Granville Island

As the summer of 2020 winds down and Vancouver is roused from its slumber, we felt it was timely to check out Granville Island and its vast array of craft stockists, boutiques and galleries.

Here at Crafted Vancouver, we chose a balmy afternoon in late August and explored some of the less travelled lanes in this well known corner of Vancouver which continues to attract creative people and appeal to consumers with an eye for beautiful objects. There has always been plenty of activity at Granville Island, in the market, the theatres, workshops, restaurants, eclectic galleries and shops but we were curious to examine the ‘new normal’ in one of our most visited and colourful arts and crafts centres.

Crafted Vancouver has a unique relationship with established and up-and-coming skilled craftspeople and designers that inhabit this rather extraordinary space and we took advantage of this unusual time to see how some of our craftspeople were adapting to the predicted drop in footfall. Our conclusion was that the passion for making appears to be as strong as ever.

Wandering through the surprisingly busy alleys, there was very little visible change on Granville Island as people were actively working on intriguing projects with workshop doors wide open, where individuals were happily labouring on their crafts with palpable focus and the smells and sounds of working machinery could still be detected beneath the deep rumble of traffic crossing the Granville Street Bridge. Stores and galleries across the district have prominently placed hand sanitizer, signage to promote safe distancing, were encouraging wearing face coverings, as well as leaving their doors and windows ajar to let in as much fresh air as possible. British Columbia is known for its outdoor space and its fresh air and thus Granville Island seems like the perfect antidote for months of confinement.

Our Event Partners are finally opening up once again and as further encouragement to visitors, parking on the island is free at the time of print. Our first stop was to visit the displays at Craft Council of British Columbia Gallery at 1386 Cartwright St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8 which is currently open from 11-4 Wednesday to Sunday and exhibiting Laura Murdoch’s Looking Glass: Apertura Series and Debbie Katz’s Beneath the Salish Sea, a window installation. Both feasts for the senses, Murdoch so collected, smooth, and cool, and Katz tactile, vibrant, and full of movement.

Layered glass vessels by Laura Murdoch

The neighbouring workshop Search and Rescue Denim Co. at 1359 Cartwright St #100, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R7 was alive with activity. The staff were immersed in their tasks but engaging and enthusiastic to our inquiries about the fruits of their labour. They are currently open from 12-5 Monday through Friday.

S&R new location on Granville Island


Down the same street, towards the Granville Island Hotel, we find the new home of Propellor – a multi-disciplinary art and design studio that has recently opened its doors on Granville Island. Nik Rust and Toby Barratt, both designers at Propellor, meet us to show us around, and talk to us about their new work and recent experiences on the Island. You can visit them at 1247 Cartwright St, Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.


Propellor Studio on Granville Island