Granville Island

What was once a run-down industrial area in Vancouver is now a thriving entertainment and shopping centre, with a vibrant market central to the island's activities, as well as the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, a theatre and brewery. The island is easily accessible, located in the middle of Vancouver under the Granville Street Bridge on the south shore of False Creek, and linked by a road to the city, barely seeming like a separate entity, but a relaxing 'city break' nonetheless.

The public market is a riot of colours, smells, tastes and fresh produce, fresh meats and fish, flowers, tasty treats, crafts, clothing and souvenirs are all on offer. The separate Kids Market is a must for children, with toy stores, games and more, and the Maritime Market is a showcase for boat-builders, with a museum and tours, as well as appropriate boating clothing and supplies. Visits to the Granville Island Brewing Company and taste-tests of their brews are possible, or, for something more cultural, one can catch a show at the Island's theatre or enjoy a student art show at the Emily Carr Institute. The island has the biggest free waterpark in British Columbia, open May to September. Perhaps the best way to enjoy the island, however, is to grab something to eat from one of the many stalls, choose a table outside and watch the people go by, or take a self-guided tour, being sure not to miss the picturesque houseboats.

Website: www.granvilleisland.com

Transport: Granville Island is accessible by car, bus, on foot, or by Aquabus or ferry. The #50 False Creek bus travels from Gastown in the downtown area, along Granville Street, stopping just off the island