Steveston offers a wide variety of opportunities for visitors from near and far to explore and learn about the rich history and living heritage in the area.
Steveston is a historic fishing village located in the southwest corner of Richmond, BC. Settled by Europeans in the second half of the 1880s, early Steveston supported robust farming, fishing and boatbuilding industries. The First Nations Halq’eméylem speaking peoples were in this region for thousands of years prior to this settlement. The world-renowned salmon fishing and rich farming soil soon drew others from China, Japan, United States and Europe, who were interested in making a living from the abundance of the Fraser River.
Steveston is still a community shaped by fishing, commerce, and farming. The fishing tradition continues with Steveston serving as the homeport to Canada’s largest fishing fleet. The waterfront and the harbour with its continuous maritime activity, annual maritime festival and, in season, fresh seafood sold off the docks, attract visitors and residents alike. The nationally recognized Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Britannia Shipyards are key attractions illustrating the role Steveston played in the development and economy of Canada’s west coast.
Explore the area’s events, programs, and activities to immerse yourself in the living history that has shaped this diverse waterfront community. Don’t miss these remarkable places that illustrate Steveston’s rich history and living heritage.
Steveston’s Museums and Heritage Sites
Be transported in time as you explore the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site and learn about the historical significance of Canada’s West Coast fishing industry. As one of British Columbia’s few restored canneries, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society honours this history by sharing stories of the fishing industry and its communities through interactive exhibitions, collections, and events.
Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site is an 8-acre heritage park set on the scenic banks of the Fraser River. The site is the original location of early canning, fishing, and boatbuilding operations. With its unique landscape and collection of heritage buildings arranged along a wooden boardwalk, the site tells the stories of the diverse community of people who lived and worked in Steveston over the past 150 years.
The Steveston Museum and Post Office located in the heart of the community, serves as a working Canada Post Office and as a museum to preserve, promote, and tell the history of Steveston. The site includes an exhibit telling the fascinating story of Steveston’s Japanese Canadian community in the Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society building.
The Steveston Tram museum features Tram Car 1220, one of the last interurban tram cars which serviced the city from 1913 to 1958. Visitors can learn about interurban travel in Richmond through fun, interactive exhibits and programs.
London Farm brings to life early Richmond’s farming history through the stories of the London family. Visitors can experience rural life in Richmond during the 1880s to 1930s in the London family’s Edwardian farmhouse and the surrounding heritage gardens, barn, and agriculturally-themed park.
Visitors are encouraged to explore Steveston Village along historic Moncton Street to get a glimpse in the commercial district of Steveston’s early days. Many of the buildings’ exteriors have been preserved to illustrate the original streetscape. Walking tours of the village are offered seasonally by the Steveston Historical Society.
Another area of interest is the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Martial Arts Centre, located to the east of Steveston Tram. Situated on the Steveston Community Centre complex, these buildings’ designs are based on traditional Japanese architecture. Inside, community members can join traditional Japanese cultural programming, including language classes and martial arts training. While not generally open to public, these facilities offer cultural demonstrations during special events.
Steveston Harbour is home to more than 500 commercial fishing vessels and encompasses over 43.24 acres (17.5 hectares), making it the largest small craft harbour in Canada. The Harbour includes Fisherman’s Wharf where local fishers can sell fresh caught products to the public directly off their boats. Visitors may go down onto Third Ave. Pier to get a closer glimpse of the fishermen in action and, during the fishing season, see nets loaded on and off of boats. The Harbour also is home to dozens of maritime businesses related to fish packing, net mending and boat repair. On the path from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site to Garry Point Park, visitors can enjoy views of the maritime industry at work and colourful fishing-related murals.
Parks and Trails in Steveston
Garry Point Park is a large waterfront park, located at the western end of Steveston. The park provides spectacular vistas across the Salish Sea and the tidal flats of Sturgeon Bank. The park includes the Japanese-style Kuno Garden, beaches, interpretive signage, the Fisherman’s Memorial Needle, and a concession stand.
Also found in Garry Point Park, Scotch Pond is a designated heritage site consisting of a pond, floating docks offering moorage for fishing vessels, and a storage facility for fishing gear. Beginning in 1905, Atagi Boatworks operated at the head of the slough, until the family was forced to leave the Boatworks in the 1940s, as part of the forced uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. In the 1950s, the Canadian Fishing Company dredged the slough to create a moorage pond for their expanding fishing fleet. Local fishermen built the net shed and floats, and continue to operate the moorage facility there.
The Dyke Trail system runs along the shoreline, connecting North and South Richmond for pedestrians and cyclists. The system runs atop the historic and modern dykes that encircle Richmond to prevent flooding. Check the local Birding Map to find out what bird species can be seen along these trails. The South Dyke Trail runs through Steveston, connecting Garry Point Park to London Landing. Users will enjoy views of the active Steveston Harbour and get glimpses of the remnants of the former canneries and boat building facilities along Cannery Channel, and the former location of the well-known Hong Wo and Co. store that served Steveston residents for over 75 years. The West Dyke Trail offers users a chance to enjoy views of Sturgeon Flats and the Fraser River and the diverse natural life that they support. Passersby can get a glimpse of the original Steves farm, still in operation.
Along South Dyke Trail is Imperial Landing Park, a 6.5 acre waterfront park, linking Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site and Steveston Village. The park includes an observation tower overlooking the Fraser River and Steveston Harbour, a structural representation of the former Imperial Cannery, and historic fishing industry artifacts and signage telling the story of BC Packers Company and the Imperial Cannery. Central to the park is a 600 foot dock which offers public moorage and fishing year round.
London Wharf Park is located at the south end of No. 2 Road approximately where the London Landing and the London family’s dock was located. This park site is just under 4 acres in size and features the No. 2 Road Pier, expansive river views, connections to the trail networks, a playground, public art, and picnic tables.
Railway Greenway is a 5-kilometre recreational trail running north/south from Britannia Shipyards to the north end of Richmond. The greenway follows the original BC Electric Railway route connecting Steveston to the Vancouver. Along the Greenway, users can see Branscombe House, a recently restored Edwardian style building located in the residential area of Steveston. One of the earliest settler homes built in the area, the house is significant for its connection to the Branscombe family’s general store which was located in the young town of Steveston. Branscombe House currently serves as the location for Richmond’s Artist in Residency program bringing interesting new artists to the area each year.
Steveston’s Public Art
One way that community members have expressed the importance of the heritage and history of Steveston is through public art. Steveston is home to more than 17 public art installations that tell the stories of Steveston’s history and people. This Public Art Map of the area allows visitors to learn more about these fascinating pieces and the artists behind them.
Of particular interest is the award-winning Steveston Nikkei Memorial park. This park was designed in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the forced removal of Steveston’s Japanese Canadian community in 1942 during the Second World War. More importantly, it celebrates the 70th anniversary of their return as members of a resilient community and honours their contributions in rebuilding Steveston.