Design Mom had a fab idea about gathering together a number of posts by her readers about something they love about where they live. Here's one of my favourites - it's a place where I take anyone who visits Vancouver - Granville Island Public Market.
A public market - aren't there public markets everywhere? Why this one? Come take a look with me.
I love Granville Island because it IS an island in the middle of the city. Only one way in and out by car or on foot. Otherwise, it's by water. And because of that, when you enter it DOES feel like you are someplace special, a different place, something out of the ordinary.
I love it too because but for one restaurant, all of the businesses are independent. You are somewhere unique. So often now when you travel it's the same old national and international chains. You could be anywhere. Go to Granville Island - there is nothing like it.
Down each lane and alley there are artists and artisans making and selling their work. Because Granville Island is run by the Federal government, the studios are subsidized allowing artists to live and work here. There are metalworkers, ceramicists, textile artists, painters, sculpters, glass blowers. And not just shops - their studios were designed so that you can see them at work and meet with them.
It isn't a theme park. Because people live here, it has a vibrancy that goes beyond a tourist destination. They even live in floating homes on the water.
And because people live here, the market is well used. You can buy anything - organic and local produce, meat, artisanal breads, pasta, bagels, plants, flowers, fish, freshly prepared takeaway meals - it's all here.
Wherever you turn, there is public art. And much of that public art reflects the island's industrial past. The architecture also reflects the island's industrial past with corrugated steel and douglas fir beams and steel cables and old train tracks buried in the sidewalks.
Granville Island also has space for its First Nations heritage. Near the middle of the island First Nations carvers make totem poles out of cedar.
It's not only a place for professional artists and artisans, it's a place for adults and children learning to make art. The Arts Umbrella is an incredible kids art school. Hundreds of students take classes from visual arts to media arts to dance to theatre. The girl studies pottery here. And for adults, there is Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
It's also a place welcoming to families with many parks and playgrounds.
So if you come to Vancouver, make Granville Island one of your first stops. I know that it won't be the only time that you visit.