Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cheap Date

As an independent designer, I'm usually 2 steps away from being broke, so I'm always on the lookout for ways to amuse/entertain myself and others on a low budget. Welcome to the first installment of Cheap Date - with many more posts to come.

My first Cheap Date is also my current favorite: Taking the False Creek Ferry to Granville Island. Seriously! It's like a mini vacation - like being a tourist in your own town. But please note: there are a few "rules" to adhere to.

1. It is essential that this Cheap Date takes place in the winter months when the ferries and Granville Island are not overrun by hoards of tourists.

2. Remember to bring your own shopping bag because you *will* end up buying something at the market

3. Bring your own mug with some hot chai or coffee to sip on the journey. If you are feeling especially frisky, you many want to "spike" the chai with some rum. Just saying.

4. Bring your camera. Remember, you are a tourist.

Now, we live in East Van (OK just barely - Ontario St.), so we go down to the Science World ferry dock. You can also catch the wee ferry from Yaletown, or the foot of the Cambie St. bridge. Check here for the schedule.

It costs $9.00 return from Science world to Granville Island. Once you hop on the ferry you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery from the unique perspective of the water. Unless you have a boat, or friends with a boat, most people never get to see the city from this perspective. This is what it's all about.

On the way, you can get a great view of the new twisty condo development designed by Arthur Erikson. It's pretty rad.

The last mini-vacation I took was when Van City was socked in with all that fog. It was sunny when we left Science World and then we coasted into the mists! Very dramatic.

After about 20 minutes, you'll land at Granville Island near the back entrance to the Public Market. I usually hit the Net Loft first for some browsing/inspiration at the Circle Craft Gallery. Then window shop at Dream. Then if I'm looking for dinner inspiration, a little browsing at Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks.

If you're feeling adventurous and want to expand your pallet, wander over to Railspur Alley where you can experience a sake tasting from Canada’s first fresh premium artisan sake making studio. It think it only cost about $3.00 for a tasting of their 3 different premium sakes. This sake is nothing like the crappy hot sake they serve in most sushi places - trust me! it's more like a fine wine.

You can wander around the Island all afternoon, checking out everything from glass blowing to the free art gallery at Emily Carr. Plus, there's a lot of free entertainment / buskers even in the winter. If you're not too broke, toss them a few loonies.

After you've had your fill of wandering, head over to the public market to pick up some ingredients for dinner. There's everything you need right at your fingertips. Some favorites of mine are Oyama Sausage Co.

and the South China Seas Trading Company.

Take all your goodies over to the ferry dock and relax on the journey back. I always find it a bit depressing stepping back into the real world after these mini vacations. Especially having to get on the bus at the Main St./Sky Train station. Bleah. Oh well, until next time!


Courtney said...

I couldn't agree more. I pretty much grew up on Granville Island as my Nana and Papa live in False Creek. Amazing place for people watching [not to mention for eating]. Yum.

tanisalexis said...

oyamaaaaa...the saddest part about not working down there anymore. (course NOW I can be a tourist again..instead of a jaded granville isle employee. lol)
little suggestion tho...go to the Gran. Isle tea company ('round the corner from the Stock Market) and order a Macha Chai... You'll thank me for the true green frothy heaven that it is.*wink*