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Back to Granville Island for the fun of it

May 27, 2015


Monday evening, a spot of part-time work brought me back to Granville Island. Of course I brought my camera.

Of at least three entrances available, I used the official one, which is Anderson Street. This took me under the vaulting convergence of the Granville Street Bridge proper and its Hemlock Street on-ramp.

The effect of having the eight-lane bridge span 27.4 metres over my head, supported on massive concrete pillars, was as powerful as standing in a cathedral (I would imagine). But only I was gawking — some people can get used to anything apparently.


The English poet John Donne was right when he wrote of Granville Island:

“No man! It isn’t an island entire of itself; it is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”.

Or words to that effect. At least I think that was what he was writing about.

It’s certainly true of Granville Island, which is an island only because it says so over the Anderson Street entrance in big neon letters and because the government of Canada agrees and because “island” (which means, surrounded by water) is routinely listed as an acceptably synonym for “peninsula”, which doesn’t mean surrounded by water at all; it means: a piece of land bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland.

I won’t quibble. Granville island is an island that just happens to be permanently moored to the south bank of False Creek, okay?

The wonder down under (the Bridge)


Granville Island after dark. Looking north from Cartwright Street.

With that bit of pedantry out of the way, I should explain that the work I was doing on Granville Island was for the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. It was very straightforward and uneventful. Basically I was working so that children could play which, if you stop and think about it, is a good sort of work for an adult to be doing.

The kids festival, which runs all this week, is sited in white tents along the south side of Cartwright Street in Sutcliffe Park.

Across from the main entrance to the festival is a water park — a wonderful convenience to have, especially in the summertime. When I investigated it on Monday evening, I found a big fancy water slide to race down and a clever water spray to run around under but unfortunately I  couldn’t find anything so basic as a water fountain — though I may have just missed it.

After 38 years these people know how to have fun

Behind the scenes (literally) of the Vancouver International Children's Festival.

Behind the scenes (literally) of the Vancouver International Children’s Festival.

The 38th iteration of the Children’s Festival looked to me like some highly evolved species of organized chaos; wonderful fun and frivolity brought off with pitch-perfect organization. And after all, isn’t that what practice makes?

Everywhere, examples of whimsey and creativity rubbed shoulders with experience. There were the modest little strands of hot pink tied at intervals on all tent ropes — they looked cool and colourful but they were certainly there to help keep people from walking into and tripping over the ropes.


Clever solutions like this site “fencing” are child’s play to Children’s Fest organizers.

And then there was that wacky “fencing”around the tents in Sutcliffe Park — a zany, crazy mixture of fluorescent colours made up of sailboard sails and string and nylon webbing and sashes; knotted, strung, tied, wrapped around branches and tree trunks — and sometimes through hedges — altogether woven into a soft, firm, unmistakable boundary, with neither a nail nor a staple in sight.


The fencing is an oh-so-clever solution to the problem of fencing off a variable, woody terrain and it perfectly suites the event, looking as it does like something kids would and could make.

Crazy like foxes these Children’s Festival organizers. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Fairview

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