Vancouver – Granville Island: Artisans in windows or an exhibition of artisans?

Vancouver is built in an area with hundreds of small islands. One of them has a special surprise for visitors. We are talking about Granville Island, just near the financial district. The island is so close to the city that you can take a water taxi or walk over the bridges.

 

The first view of Granville Island verifies that the landscape of the island is different from the green glaze skyscrapers that characterize Vancouver. Buildings are small and multi-coloured and 1800’s old style. And it is different from a similar tourist areas in other cities. Concrete is manufactured at one end and dispensed by colored cement mixers promoting fruit which roll past the oldest Fish & Chips Restaurant, the Yacht Club and hundreds of shop windows, but not filled with clothes or fashion.

We parked the car and immediately were attracted by a window with pottery. On closer attention, we could see an artist who was turning a pot. The next window was a jewelry maker, then another pottery maker, then a carpenter, then scale model artisans, then another carpenter, …

Granville Island is a haven for small business and each of them has glass windows and everybody can see what is happening inside the workshop. It reminded us of a similar walk in the red light district of Amsterdam, but without the porno and, interestingly, more attractive.

Our attention has been captured by a glass blowing workshop where an artisan was creating a wonderful orange vase. We couldn’t resist stopping to watch the experienced movement of the hands and the old tools that were creating this vase. The hand moulding of the red hot glass was accomplished while the glass blower chatted to his assistant.

It was impossible to stop to watch all these people and at the end of the day one thought arose: did we visit an exhibition of artists or artists at an exhibition? I have no answer. Probably both. And for certain the example of Granville Island could be duplicated in many other parts of the world with great success.