Storm Clouds and Parisian Love Songs- Granville Island

Photo by: Keri-lee Griffiths

There I was, minding my own business, and suddenly my face contorted in a peculiar way. Tugging. Twisting. What was going on? What was happening? Should I be afraid? No, no, I think… You know what? I think they call it a smile? Will wonders never cease!

Shock. Gasp. Perhaps this deserves an egads. Mm, it’s kind of weird, but I don’t hate it. 

Through no fault of my own, I’d stumbled across the most perfect moment that ever was. I dare say that a more splendid moment couldn’t be found for miles and miles. Oo, wait, what country am I in? Kilometres and kilometres. Yes, that’s better.

Go on, look hither and thither. Search over dale and hill. Turn over rocks and cross fallen trees. A quest may be had, but it will be for naught. This moment is as good as it gets. 

Well, as good as it gets for me. I can’t think of anything better. Sigh, smile, and bathe in perfection. Mm, yes, this is it for yours truly. A mood wrapped in a vibe with just the right amount of good energy. If I was prone to such things, I’d start dancing in a giddy, happy sort of way. Alas, a quiet giggle is all you’ll get.

Butt first! Let’s rewind just a bit. 

Photo by: Keri-lee Griffiths

There was a major storm front on its way, so I thought, if I was going to have an adventure, I’d better get on with it. It was a last-minute sort of thing. I didn’t have much of a plan. I knew I wanted to go out and explore, but where? I had two ideas, and they were equally tantalizing. Naturally, I did the mature thing. 

I played rock paper scissors with myself. What? Do you have a better solution? Nah, this seems fair.

The best out of three means we’re going to Granville Island. Oo, I can’t remember the last time I went there. More than ten years, but slightly less than a lifetime. Doesn’t it matter? Nope, let’s set out before this atmospheric river becomes a waterfall.

Granville Island started as nothing more than two sandbars that indigenous peoples used to fish and gather supplies. Eventually, a permanent village was created. It was called Sen̓áḵw in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish language), or sən̓aʔqʷ in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Musqueam language). By 1899, however, colonizers had forced these people off their land and onto a reserve in False Creek.

In place of the village, an industrial complex was built. It started as sawmills, but by the second world war, forty companies were producing ropes, chains, and supplies for mining and logging. However, the end of the war signalled the start of the islands’ slow decline. Eventually it became an eyesore that no one knew what to do with.

Photo by:Keri-lee Griffiths

In the 1970s, a group of people came together to do something about the ghost town that was haunting the cityscape. They took these rundown, burnt-out buildings of industry and turned them into art galleries, theatres, shops, and artisanal breweries. Parks, restaurants, and children’s play areas took over. The centrepiece is The Public Market, where local farmers, bakers, crafters, and more can sell their goods.

There’s still a bit of industry tucked to one side, but for the rest, these old warehouses now create things of beauty rather than tools of war. Bright colours, live music from buskers, delicious food from around the world, and very demanding seagulls create a laid-back vibe. 

I walked along the seawall and down an alley. An ironworker bent metal to his will and turned it into an owl. How? So cool. A carver chipped away at a piece of wood and somehow found the face of a wise old man hidden inside. I’m in awe of anyone who can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. 

I turned around another corner, and there it was, the sweetest melody I’d heard. It took me a minute to really hear the words. Words I didn’t understand. French? I took eight years of it, and all I can say is, “I don’t speak french. Do you speak english?” But sometimes you don’t need to speak the language to understand the words.

Sometimes you just feel it in your soul or your heart. Understanding on a deeper level. A spiritual level? Ah, the power of music.

The music had a gentle rise and fall. The singer’s voice was smooth with a raspy edge. The song was caught in the wind and flowed through the air as if it had a life of its own. It moved through me and drew me in. I didn’t have a choice. I had to follow it to its source.

 The last time I’d heard something like this, I was in Paris. The music was coming out of a cafe’s speaker. Here I am, walking through Granville Island in Vancouver, hearing a familiar yet out-of-place song. At first, it struck me as odd, but then I felt my face do the twisty thing. With a gasp, I thought, “I think I’m kinda happy right now.”

Egads! I love a good egads. 

Photo by: Keri-lee Griffiths

It was slightly chilly, the air was crisp, and the smell of rain was growing stronger. The Burrard Street Bridge, the West Coast Mountain Range, and English Bay created an epic background. The dark storm clouds on the horizon were ominous but added an art noir feel to the performance.

I felt like I was on the cusp of time travel or some other bizarre adventure. Caught up in a moment of unexpected magic. That thought made me smile wider and chuckle to myself. A bit dramatic with an overactive imagination? Yeppers, that’s me, but it set my smile in place and ensured that it wasn’t going anywhere for a while.

The song ended, and I applauded the musician (or, should I say, magician?). He tilted his caped and bowed ever so slightly. Chivalry is alive! I laughed, and so did he. Two strangers in a single moment of happiness and humour. 

The moment ended, and I had to move on, but I couldn’t ask for a more perfect moment. Peace at the edge of the storm. Happiness in a fleeting moment. A smile from the simplest of pleasures.

Mm, does it get better than that?

Subscribe to my channel for more videos

Granville Island At A Glance:


  • I found that this is one of the most accessible places I visited. Most of the main sights are on the ground floor. There are elevators in the multi-story buildings. There are ramps for most of the outdoor locations as well as a few stairs.
  • Plenty of places to sit and enjoy the scenery if you need to rest.
  • Unlike most parts of the city, this is one spot where people aren’t in a hurry. Even in the most crowded place— I’m looking at you, Public Market—there’s a very laid-back energy.


  • This location is well over a hundred years old, so the ground isn’t flat or even. There are old train tracks that aren’t in use anymore. The pier has small gaps where a cane or walking stick could get stuck.
  • Space can be limited inside some of the older buildings like the Public Market. When busy, it might be challenging to get a mobility aid through the space. That said, most people are happy to give space or make accommodations if needed.


  • According to their website (, there are 28 accessible parking spots spread out over the Island. I recommend finding parking in the outdoor space. The indoor parking lots are quite narrow.
  • Public toilets have disabled stalls.
  • Plenty of benches throughout the Island. If you sit at a table near the Public Market, looking towards False Creek? You will get into an argument with a demanding seagull. Argue back. No one will judge you.

Safe travels, friends.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: