If you don't arrive or depart from Granville Island via one of the tiny miniferries operated by Aquabus Ferries or False Creek Ferries, you haven't really conducted your visit correctly. But these signature little boats (the Aquabus vessels tend to be rainbow-hued while the False Creek Ferries are blue) don't only transport passengers from the north side of False Creek to the market on the south side. Both have several additional ports of call around the shoreline here and, if you have time, a 'cruise' of the area is a great way to see the city from the water. An all-day pass on each service costs up to $16 (unfortunately tickets are not interchangeable between the operators, which remain cut-throat rivals). There are several highlight stop-offs to consider along the way.

Aquabus can get you to Yaletown's David Lam Park, a waterfront space that's ideal for watching the gently lapping waters of False Creek from a grassy promontory (preferably with a picnic). On the opposite shoreline, you can also step off at Stamps Landing, one of Vancouver's first urban waterfront housing developments: there's a pub here in the delightfully medieval-sounding Leg-in-Boot Sq. Back on the northern shoreline, there's a stop at the bottom of Davie St, which is a short stroll into the heart of Yaletown. You'll find the fascinating Engine 374 Pavilion here, home of the locomotive that pulled the first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in 1887.

You can see how things have transformed around False Creek in recent years at one final stop. The south shoreline here used to be crammed with grungy industry but in 2010 the Olympic Village opened. Providing housing for the athletes at the 2010 Winter Games, this development is now a slick new city neighborhood. It's also just a short stroll from here to Science World, one of Vancouver's most popular family friendly attractions.