Granville Island is due for a makeover.
Only 40 years ago, Granville Island was an industrial area without any of the waterfront restaurants and artisanal attractions we’ve come to associate with it today. Its industrial origins and subsequent transformation into a prominent public space make Granville Island a beloved success story for urban planners.
The popular tourist attraction and celebrated cultural hub for local shopping and entertainment is currently in a state of disruption. With one of its biggest tenants, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, set to part ways for a bigger campus on Great Northern Way in 2017, it’s time for Granville Island to change things up.
The absence of Emily Carr’s art and design students will be felt by the daily inhabitants on the island. As anyone that’s taken a stroll on Johnston St can attest to, the student population (numbering almost 2000 enrolled) contribute to the thriving scene of subcultures that can be spotted on the island. The exodus of its creative youths leaves Granville Island and its arts and crafts atmosphere in the position of rebranding its future.
It’s become a case the federal government is taking on with last week’s launch of Granville Island 2040, a development plan initiative for figuring out the long-term strategies for this iconic neighbourhood’s future.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, along with guidance from community leaders in Vancouver, will be establishing plans that will focus on revitalizing the public market, improving the arts and culture industry, and addressing housing concerns.
Interestingly, despite its proximity to Kitsilano and the Granville St Bridge, Granville Island’s nightlife has generally been overlooked with few, big attractions catering to evening patrons.
Granville Island has no plans to radically change its reputation for supporting local industries in arts and culture, and this extends to its prohibition of retail chains and corporations on premises. Outside of these confines, Granville Island has the chance to be reinvent itself for new and returning visitors with its vision for Granville Island 2040.
What do you think Granville Island will look like in 25 years?
Image Ashley Murphy / via Flickr