Open-Air Markets in Vancouver for Expats
There are many open-air markets and the like in the Vancouver area. Holiday markets are operated by groups of vendors around the city and are a prime attraction in December. In the spring and summer, farmer’s markets and the annual Chinese Night Markets, offered in different locations, are seasonal favorites worth visiting. Year-round, the indoor, covered markets offer the best of Vancouver’s local shopping scene, with the added bonus of being housed in an environment well-protected from inclement weather, an oft-daily occurrence during the fall and winter months.
Open-air farmer’s markets are held in locations throughout the city in the summertime, and in selected, covering locations in the wintertime. The BC Association of Farmer’s Markets operates a website that provides information on locations, times, weekly produce availability, and venue changes due to inclement weather and can be accessed here: http://www.eatlocal.org/. The regular market locations are: East Vancouver, West End, Main Street Station, Kitsilano, and Gastown (trial). Check the website for current days and times. The Association also runs an annual indoor Holiday Market in December.
It is worthwhile buying your produce from these markets when you can, as it is typically picked just prior to being sold, thus it is very fresh. Bring cash, as most vendors are not set up to accept debit or credit cards. Bargaining is not unacceptable, but generally, there are fixed prices on most items offered for sale at the market. If you happen upon a market toward the end of the day, you might be able to offer a lower amount of money for certain items as vendors will likely be eager to get rid of their daily inventory.
The public markets of Vancouver are similar to the farmer’s markets, except that they are more of an indoor mall of farm stalls, food shops, and eateries.
Granville Island Public Market
Granville Island Public Market is the largest and best-known of the lot and offers a myriad assortment of places to eat (common and dockside seating areas), farm-fresh produce, local food and gift items, a gorgeous assortment of fresh-cut flowers and plants, specialty coffees, fresh seafood and meat, deli items, and live entertainment, all under one roof. Some vendors here will accept debit and/or credit cards, but most prefer cash. An ATM is conveniently located on-site.
Granville Island’s Public Market is something you will want to experience over and over again. Parking is always limited, and you may or may not be able to park near the market, but Granville Island is small and the market is always just a short stroll away. There is a limited amount of free parking here and there and also paid parking in covered garages and small lots. The market is at its busiest on the weekends, especially when the sun is out, and is open 7 days a week. Check the website for hours and other information: https://www.granvilleisland.com/
Robson Public Market
The Robson Public Market, 1610 Robson Street, (604) 682-2733, is similar in concept, but on a much smaller scale. The light-filled glass and steel construction provides a certain funkiness that characterizes the atmosphere of this market. You can buy fresh produce, inexpensively, and a quick bite to eat from one of the many upstairs eateries. Aesthetic services are also offered, along with insurance services, a Fed-Ex outlet, and a few other shops and businesses. For local residents, the Robson market is a convenient and budget-friendly alternative to higher-end shops and restaurants further down the road in the business district. For more information, visit http://www.robsonpublicmarket.com.
Lonsdale Quay Market
The Lonsdale Quay Market, located dockside on the North Shore, features a farmer’s market, international food court, shops and vendors offering local food and gift items, and more. Getting there is half the fun when you travel by Seabus, Coast Mountain Bus Company’s passenger-only ferry across the Burrard Inlet. Hop on at Waterfront Station, located at the southeastern end of the downtown, and arrive 12 minutes later at the Seabus Terminal in North Vancouver, located at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue. The Seabus watercraft are catamarans, hold an unparalleled record of service and safety, and offer a smooth and comfortable ride across the inlet. Bicycles can now be accommodated on the Seabus, and each ferry can hold up to 6 bikes per sailing. Visit https://www.lonsdalequay.com.