Once you’ve had time to explore, it’s easy to see why Steveston is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. It’s like taking a trip back in time. The busy docks at the fisherman’s wharf are a hive of activity in the summer time. Fishing has always been the backbone of Steveston, from its early days in the late 1800s until today. Because the Fraser River was a source of income for the early European settlers , this made the settlement of Steveston an important part of what would eventually become greater Vancouver. The salty breeze coming from the ocean mixes with the distinct smell of fish and chips to create an ambiance that can’t be found anywhere else.
This small community retains a small town feel despite the boundaries between it and Richmond slowly having dissolved over the years. There are still over 600 fishing boats that call the harbour here home (the largest fleet in Canada). Early European settlers to the Vancouver area had to situation themselves close to the fishing industry. This small community retains a small town feel despite the boundaries between it and Richmond slowly having dissolved over the years. This former fishing village turned tourist destination is likely Richmond’s best attraction.
It is a popular place for tourists to explore, especially on a long summer afternoon. The docks are busy with fishermen and tourists preparing for whale watching tours. This small village has retained it’s charm despite the exponential growth of the surrounding regions
What makes Britannia Shipyards so amazing?
Steveston is probably the most popular spot for visitors to Richmond, as the small village has retained its charm, making it an incredible place to spend the afternoon as a tourist (or as a local). Views of the Georgia Straight / Salish Sea and the occasional towering cargo vessels that come up and down the river are a reminder that the area is still very much connected to the Fraser River and the Salish Sea.
Britannia Shipyards is a national historic site of Canada, and has reconstructed and maintained the historic buildings used in the early 1900s. Many of the buildings here were used as bunkhouses, canneries and shipbuilding facilities. It shows off the historic importance of the area.
Steveston is home to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, a historic building built in 1894 which is now a museum. Fishing boats still call Steveston home, and its possible to take whale watching tours or enjoy fresh seafood from some of the many restaurants here, including Vancouver’s best fish and chips. Wander to Garry Point located to the west to watch the sunset over the Georgia Straight.
Where is Britannia Shipyards and how do you get there?
Steveston is a historic township located on the riverbanks of the Fraser River, located at the south-west corner of Lulu island. It has retained it’s small town feel despite being just another part of Richmond.
Today the harbour is still filled with fishing boats and often you will find locals fishing off the nearby docks. Steveston was founded in the 1880s and with the abundance provided by the Fraser River, and close proximity to the Salish Sea, the town of Steveston became important trading center. It was the heart of the local fishing industry, located next to the abundance of the Fraser River and its access to the Salish Sea meant that Steveston would become an important piece of the Vancouver puzzle. By the 1890s there were over 35 canneries in the area.
It’s a fairly easy trip from downtown Vancouver to Steveston. If you have a car, the journey can take as little as 30-40 minutes depending on traffic. The region is well connected by transit, and can be reached by Skytrain and bus (the 401 travels from Bridgeport Station to Steveston).
Take the trip just for lunch or stick around for a whole afternoon, but don’t miss an opportunity to explore Steveston. You won’t be disappointed.
Steveston’s Britannia Shipyards