There are over 300 businesses on Granville Island; from sculptors, to concrete factories, theatre companies, to gourmet pet food. Close to 50% of the small businesses are owned by women, and women make up the business partnership of even more.
Tuesday, March 8th is International Women’s Day, and we wanted to take a moment to thank and acknowledge many of these women. While we can’t name them all, we will mention as many as we can (below).
Miriam, in our Granville Island office, also took the time for a deeper dive into four of these successful women, all who work in fields that are often dominated by men; a Distiller, a Welder and two Executive Chefs.
Lisa Simpson, The Liberty Distillery
Lisa Simpson, MBA, is the owner-operator of The Liberty Distillery on Granville Island, opened in 2013 on Old Bridge Street, as well as Vice President of the Craft Distillers Guild of BC.
With an international career working for and consulting with small and large organizations in Japan, the US and Canada, Lisa has a background in corporate business and previous success in other industries, but taking on the task of securing a lease, to approaching the City of Vancouver to change zoning laws to allow a distillery, still took Lisa 4 years to finally open the doors to the public. With a goal to create world-class spirits made from raw materials grown in BC, to providing a fully immersive experience to visitors, from the grain to the glass, The Liberty Distillery is a sustainable business that supports local growers, and the local economy.
The business of distilling has changed and grown here is BC, and Lisa had to be both creative and resilient to grow with it. In the beginning, when tasting rooms were not allowed, she sold branded shot glasses, and poured samples of the product into them in order to get around this, but, as the market developed, she turned her tasting room into one of the most beautiful cocktail lounges in the city, serving creative, hand crafted cocktails with her, now, multi award-winning spirits.
Cheryl Hamilton, i.e. Creative Artworks
Cheryl is co-owner of one of Granville Islands’ most renowned design studios, i.e. Creative Artworks. While studying animation at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, Cheryl worked at various construction sites, learning how to use power tools, and how to weld. She found herself loving how welding connected things, and honed her skills with the help of basic courses and the guidance of other artists, including Richard Swenson, the artist who did the welding in the giant crab sculpture in front of the Vancouver Aquarium.
Cheryl sees welding as a path to making art, which can be seen in her pieces, co-created with her studio partner, in locations across Canada and the United States, as well as right here on Granville Island. Her newest work in progress, Corvus, combining welding and animation, will be soon be on display in North Vancouver. Visit her studio, i.e. Creative Artworks, at the end of Cartwright Street, to see a miniature working model, and to see her working on the real (big!) thing.
Summer Stewart, Vancouver Fish Co.
Executive Chef, Summer Stewart, found out a young age that she loved to cook, and quickly found it was a creative and artistic way to express herself – “Feeding people is my love language” she told Miriam. Summer has worked alongside famous chefs, such as Robert Clark, the “King of Sustainable Seafood”, in various restaurants across Vancouver, and now finds herself cooking up masterpieces at the Vancouver Fish Co.
Said Chef Summer, “I feel strongly that chefs and restaurant owners have a responsibility to do their part in choosing the best products for guests, and that includes proper environmental choices for today, and the future to come”. “Here at The Vancouver Fish Company we think critically about the environmental impacts of the fish we serve, sell and eat.”
You can taste Summer’s dishes at the Vancouver Fish Co. on Anderson Street, lunch, brunch, dinner and happy hour.
Kayla Dhaliwall, The Sandbar
Executive Chef, Kayla Dhaliwall, joined The Sandbar on Granville Island this past November. Jumping into the culinary world at only 17 years old as a breakfast Cook, Kayla has since worked in an array of environments, from diner to upscale hotel and everything in between. She has held various chef positions at Vancouver institutions, including Corporate Chef for the award-winning Joseph Richards group. Kayla competed in Top Chef Canada, where she showcased her culinary prowess to the world, and is a contributing chef to the cookbook, Vancouver Eats. You can taste Kayla’s dishes at the Sandbar on Johnson Street, lunch, brunch, dinner and happy hour.
Here are just some of the women owned businesses, Granvillle Island
Amity Design Studio
Circle Craft Co.
Devil May Wear
Fibre Arts Studio
Granville Island Broom Co.
Granville Island Hat Shop
Maiwa Handprints & Supply
The Market Kitchen
The Postcard Place
Dussa’s Ham and Cheese
The Nut Merchant
Kroma Artist Acrylics
Gandharva Loka The World Music Store
The Cloth Shop
The Silk Weaving Studio
Karen Cooper Gallery
Zadal Jewellery Design
A Bread Affair
A la Mode
Celine’s Fish & Chips
Chau Veggie Express
Fraser Valley Juice and Salad Bar
Laurelle’s Fine Foods
Olde World Fudge
The Stock Market
Granville Island Toy Co.
Craft Counil BC
Granville Island delivery Co.
Katherine McLean Studio
Amy Stewart Artist
Hillary Morris-Beaver Pond