10 Places to Find Unique Vancouver Artisan-Made Goods

Bon Macaron on Granville Island; Photo: Tara Lee

Vancouver has a thriving maker culture, with creative individuals producing all sorts of specialty goods, including pottery, jewelry, gourmet food items, and skincare products.

It’s particularly lovely to be able to visit Vancouver and take home gifts for friends and family (or for yourself) that were crafted by someone that calls the city home.

Here are ten spots for finding local artisanal goods:

Granville Island

Snag culinary souvenirs at The Granville Island Public Market. (Flickr/MattMangum)

Granville Island is not only picturesque, but also a hub for local food and handmade goods. In the Public Market, there are a variety of food vendors, such as Preservatory Provisions and Bon Macaron Patisserie, that sell specialty gourmet products made in British Columbia, in addition to regular day-stalls. These day-stalls include precious and semi-precious jewelry by David Friedman, pottery by Iris Wong, and skincare products by Ravenwood Soap. Browse all the offerings before exploring the rest of the Island beyond the Public Market. The Net Loft building is also a great spot for discovering artisan goods, particularly at boutiques like Circle Craft Co-op, which features artists from a range of mediums (e.g., textiles); the U.E.L., which spotlights the goods of local Black businesses, and Fibre Art Studio, which sells yarns and knitted, felted, and handwoven items.

Granville Island also contains a host of artist studios, many concentrated in the Artisan District. There, you can purchase hand-painted silks from Alarte Silks, locally-made sake from Artisan Sake Maker, and handcrafted brooms from Granville Island Broom Company. You can spend a whole day exploring all the vendors and stores on the Island, as well as a grabbing a bite at one of its many delicious eateries.

Gallery and Museum Shops

Dorothy Grant; Photo sourced from Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery

Vancouver has some fabulous museums and galleries, many of which have gift shops attached to them where you can buy local art and crafts. If you’re particularly interested in shopping for Indigenous-made items where artists receive proper credit and are compensated fairly, consider shopping at places such as the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art or the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Other gallery/museums shops that have local items that may be of interest include The Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Vancouver.

Craft Fairs

There are plenty of unique gift ideas at Got Craft; Photo credit: Got Craft

Vancouverites love supporting local craft fairs, which appear periodically throughout the year. For over 15 years, Got Craft has been showcasing handmade Vancouver goods at their own markets, on-line, as well as through collaborations with other events in town, such as the BC Home and Garden Show and the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival. They also hold an annual Foodie Virtual Market in the fall. Their curated roster of vendors includes those specializing in paper goods, candles, clothing and textiles, and food and drink.

Other popular craft fairs that happen around town include Made in the 604, Portobello West, Vancouver Etsy pop-up markets, Bespoke Markets, Eastside Flea, Make It, and First Pick Handmade. At each fair, you’re bound to find lots of interesting and specialty items for a range of different tastes and interests.

Farmers Markets

Photo: Vancouver Farmers Markets – Downtown market

Vancouver Farmers Markets are all about supporting local producers, and over the years, have expanded their vendors to include those selling specialty drinks and food items (e.g., pastries, kimchi, dips, vegetable chips, kombucha), as well as artisan products. There are a range of different markets, with more locations open during the summer months when outdoor shopping is particularly enjoyable. On any given market day, you can browse diverse creative goods, such as skin serums, jewelry, and pottery. The line-up of vendors changes every market so make sure to check the schedule and market map for the most up-to-date list.

Artist Studios and the Eastside Culture Crawl

eastside culture crawl 2019

Image sourced from the Eastside Culture Crawl

The Eastside Culture Crawl happens every year in November and is a fabulous opportunity to visit an impressive variety of artist studios, admire their talent, as well as purchase their creations. East Vancouver contains a ton of studios with makers producing everything from custom hats to leather bags. Outside of the Crawl, many artists have open studio times for guests to drop by, or visitors can get in touch with the artists to set up an appointment. Use the Crawl map or directory to look for artists/mediums that may interest you. Certain buildings, like the Parker Street Studios with 146 artists, can maximize the number of artists you visit in one day.

Festivals and Events

Photo: Khatsahlano Street Party

There’s always something happening in Vancouver, with festivals and events picking up considerably in the spring and summer months. At any given festival or event in the city, you’ll find food vendors and trucks, and frequently artisan vendors selling locally-made goods. Metro Vancouver features popular recurring night markets, such as the Shipyards Night Market in North Vancouver, that have unique items for purchase; as well as a wide range of neighbourhood and cultural festivals (e.g., Greek Day on Broadway, car free days, Khatsahlano Street Party) that also feature artisan goods. Depending on the theme of the event/festival, you’ll find matching creatives. For example, the Powell Street Festival has vendors of Japanese Canadian ancestry. Meanwhile, the Vegan Night Market contains vendors who share a similar commitment to plant-based ingredients and materials.

Specialty Local Grocery Stores

Photo: Rise Up Marketplace

Recently, cafes that also have a retail element have emerged and become popular in Vancouver. These neighbourhood spaces sell coffee and other drinks, baked goods, and light meals, such as sandwiches, salads, and pastas. In addition, they often support the local creative community by offering specialty food and drink products, such as hot sauces, dumplings, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as craft items, such as pottery, blown glassware, and candles. Some of the well-known hybrid cafes/stores include The Garden Strathcona, Coco et Olive, Rise Up Marketplace, Their There, and The Drive Canteen. The combination of drink, food, and specialty retail items makes these cafes unbeatable for relaxing and shopping.

The Nooks

Photo Source: The Nooks – Kitsilano Facebook

With three stores in the Lower Mainland—one in Gastown, one in Kitsilano, and one in North Vancouver—The Nooks offers multiple ways to support local. This retailer specializes in Canadian handmade items, many of them from creatives who are based in Vancouver. Their stores contain a wide selection of products, including candles, jewelry, art work, pottery, leather goods, clothing, hair accessories, and skincare items. Part of The Nooks philosophy is about nurturing and mentoring small businesses so that they have a higher chance of being successful. Their nookSTART business course is part of this business goal.

Main Street

Photo: Mount Pleasant BIA

Main Street, with its friendly Mount Pleasant neighbourhood vibe, has numerous shops that spotlight local goods. Nineteen Ten Home Boutique curates a beautiful selection of homeware, paper products, lifestyle items, décor items, as well as bath and body selections. For example, they showcase art by Rebecca Chaperon, an artist based in Vancouver who uses surreal representations to tell stories that reimagine time and place. A selection of stoneware is both functional as well as attractive while small batch soaps from Vancouver prioritize natural ingredients that are good for the skin. Other shops on Main Street where you can find special local finds include Giving Gifts, Much + Little, and The Storehouse. Start roughly at West Broadway and walk south and you’ll find numerous stores to pop into as you enjoy the neighbourhood as well as search for artisanal items.

Specialty Stores Around Town

Photo: The Coast Goods Facebook

Many of the other neighbourhoods in town feature charming boutiques that focus on local producers and their specialty goods. Walrus in Cambie Village celebrates design-forward functional items for the home, as well as for gift-giving. Many of their items are Canadian, if not Vancouver-made. For example, they carry ceramics by Ball + Cup from B.C., whimsical screen prints by Banquet Atelier and Workshop, and even merino wool dryer balls made here. Meanwhile, The Coast Goods in East Vancouver is a wee shop that is packed with local small batch items, particularly pottery, self-care items, weaving, and art work. Whether it’s wall hangings made in Squamish, or abstract paintings by Chelsey Hornsby from New Westminster, you’ll find something unique at The Coast Goods.


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