Lonsdale Quay: Vancouver’s other public market

Photo: colliersmn.com

Pretty much anyone who has been to Vancouver knows about the Granville Island Public Market.  The giant marketplace on the False Creek waterfront is a can’t-miss destination, with row after row of fresh produce, meat and fish, as well as gourmet delicacies ranging from homemade soups to hand-rolled doughnuts.   In fact, more than 10 million people visit Granville Island every year – more than twice as many visitors as the Coliseum in Rome gets!

But, many travelers (and even some Vancouverites) are surprised to find out that there’s another public market in Vancouver, and it’s jam-packed with nearly as much fresh meat and produce, as well as shops and ethnic restaurants.  Situated on the city’s North Shore, along the Burrard Inlet, Lonsdale Quay is like a mini Granville Island.   There’s the same rustic charm, waterfront views and great eats, but it’s a whole lot less crowded than its more famous counterpart.

The easiest way to get to Lonsdale Quay is by hopping on the Seabus, which leaves from downtown’s Waterfront Station and zips across the Burrard Inlet in less than 15 minutes.  The Seabus docks right at the Lonsdale Quay, easily identifiably by the big red and white Q that spins around high atop a pole.

Photo: BCFishmonger.comInside the main floor of the Lonsdale Quay you’ll find fresh food markets featuring local products.  There’s daily-caught seafood on ice.  There’s a gourmet butcher offering succulent cuts of beef and artisan sausages.  Not to mention fresh baked goods, award-winning soups and sauces, specialty wines and handmade chocolates and candies.

And, of course, if you’re in the mood for a meal, there are plenty of restaurants in the international food court.  Hungry for Greek?  Mexican? Vietnamese? Indian?  A whole United Nations of eateries is housed in Lonsdale Quay, not to mention the ever-popular Soup Meister, for fresh soups and stews made from scratch.

Several larger, sit-down restaurants offer patio seating with great view of the water and the downtown Vancouver skyline.  Among the local favorites are the Cheshire Cheese Restaurant and Bar, a British-style pub with traditional fare, as well East Side Mario’s, a popular Italian bistro.

But this is actually just the tip of the iceberg at Lonsdale Quay.  Cruise to the second level of the complex and you’ll find a whole floor of boutiques and shops selling fashions and accessories from local designers.  In addition to handmade Canadian souvenirs, you can score natural wellness and aromatherapy products, original jewelry and gifts with a Celtic flair.

Photo: cnv.org

After you’ve worked your way up to the third floor, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of downtown from the observation deck.

Any other fans of Lonsdale Quay out there?  Do you think it stacks up to Granville Island?

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