With the sights, sounds, smells and crowds on Granville Island it's easy to overlook some of the more hidden businesses or to take the more than three-decades-old locale for granted.
But the Granville Island Business and Community Association and ZenHouse Media hope to open the eyes of tourists and locals alike to the history of and stories of the owners whose businesses populate the island.
The two groups launched the 84-page Granville Island Works: The Insider's Guide to Granville Island last week that's meant to be distributed to coffee shops, restaurants and community centres in Kitsilano, Yaletown, the West End and False Creek this week.
"We need to become a tighter community if we want to survive the future," said Stephen Bell, president of the business and community association and maintenance planner for Ocean Concrete.
A newspaper edition of Granville Island Works was published in 2009 and again to coincide with the launch of a Granville Island Works website in 2010 just before the Winter Olympics.
"Granville Island is a very, very diverse place and it's hard to tell the whole story in one bus ad or what have you," said Shireen Nabatian, operations manager for ZenHouse.
She says the Granville Island Works website overlaps with and complements the official Granville Island website managed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which includes a video series that documents people on the island.
But businesses wanted another Granville Island Works publication, Nabatian said, because they found it to be an effective form of promotion. "Some of the folks who are really, really in the heart of the community and have been around for a long time have really seen the benefit of Granville Island Works as a community building tool and really strengthening the voice of community," she added. "Granville Island is in a period of flux. They've had a very successful 33 years or so. And now a couple of the community members who've been there forever- are saying OK, what's Granville Island going to be for the next 30 years."
Emily Carr University of Art and Design's hope to expand and relocate from Granville Island to the Great Northern Way Campus between Main Street and Clark Drive is a concern to some, according to Nabatian.
"Emily Carr brings the youth down to Granville Island and that's a huge part of keeping a community vibrant and interesting and evolving," she said.
Bell said the Granville Island Business and Community Association wants to have a say on what would replace Emily Carr should it leave. "We don't want to have too much gentrification going on where artisans can no longer afford down here," he said.
Businesses featured in the Granville Island Works guide paid to be included and ZenHouse raised funds and secured sponsors.
Granville Island Works has also hosted storytelling contests and produce I Love Granville Island merchandise.
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