Granville island is one of Vancouver’s most iconic tourist attractions, the island attracts more than 10 million visitors per year from across the world. Attractions on Granville island include numerous restaurants, artisan stores and workshops, theater venues with numerous ongoing plays, a brewery, canoeing and kayaking in the harbour and of course Emily Carr University. Granville island from 1915 to the mid to late 1970’s was an industrial centre, featuring corrugated tin clad buildings. By the late 1970’s Emily Carr University had moved onto the island and the Public market had been established bringing about its status as an art hub and tourist destination.
Things however will change, Emily Carr University announced suddenly in 2015 its impending departure from Granville island. This major pending vacancy has created calls for a plan to redevelop the site. Basically, the future of Granville Island is uncertain, even before Emily Carr University announced its impending move to a new purpose built campus the island was becoming a tourist trap; full of gift shops and tour booking agencies, while the original attraction the artists, were being driven out by rising rent.
I photograph sites with uncertain futures, be it controversial closed hospitals or forests endangered by logging or climate change. Before what ever happens to Granville Island happens, be it two years or ten years away I’ve decided to photograph what I notice walking around the island in this case at its most nostalgic, at night when the crowds have left.
The Entrance to Granville Island under the Granville Street Bridge
This sign marks the entrance to Granville island under the Granville Street Bridge, in the daylight particularly during late spring and summer this scene is surprisingly green with Ivy growing up the bridge pillars. To give a different impression of Granville island I’ve used a macro lens with a focal length equivalent to 53mm to take these photographs, this provides a perspective similar to what the human eye perceives in its central field of vision. The composition of these images reflects this in its angles, these images are a series of snapshots, I avoided lining these up geometrically or using undue precision to give the same impression you would get from walking around Granville Island.
Pier 32 is Part of Emily Carr University's North Building
Emily Carr Universities North building is interestingly where most of the photography courses are taught and the location of the universities darkroom one of the largest remaining in North America. The darkroom will be significantly downsized after Emily Carr universities move to its new campus.
An interior hallway of the Emily Carr's north building may be seen above, its unclear what the future of Emily Carr's Granville island campus will entail. Emily Carr University expressed interest in retaining gallery space in its soon to be former Granville Island campus, however, other potential tenants including a craft brewery have shown interest in leasing space within the South Building.
Emily Carr Universities Metal Shop
A work in progress inside Emily Carr Universities metal shop, view-able from outside.
Granville Island Storefront
Colorful hand made silk accessories and apparel are on sale in this typical Granville island shop, this stores apparel is quite expensive, with scarves on sale for prices in excess of $500 when I last visited. A sculpture gallery was formerly located across the street from this store and closed several years ago.
A tapestry being woven on a loom.
Stores and workshops selling hand blown glass and artwork such as the piece being woven above are still spread across Granville island. This tapestry was being woven right next to the window on the floor of the gallery, during regular hours you can watch the artist work from inside.
A view of Yaletown across the Harbor.
Above you may see a view of Yaletown across the harbor. Notice the densely placed condominiums? The city of Vancouver is the forth most densely populated city in North America after New York, San Francisco and Mexico City. The future of Granville island may include condominium buildings such as those seen across the harbor, the islands land is probably worth more than 250 million Canadian, this value will definitely be a consideration in plans for future redevelopment.
Below I've included a few other assorted images from Granville Island. These cover more scenes from Granville island from the same series of images as those above.