Every July 1st, Steveston hosts its annual Steveston Salmon Festival. While the celebrations revolve around Canada Day (Canada's birthday and national holiday), its also a festival that celebrates local culture and Steveston's fishing heritage.
The City of Richmond is located on Lulu Island, a delta island made of built-up sediment at the mouth of the Fraser River. Essentially, Lulu Island is a vast tidal flat. When it was first inhabited, its perimeter had to be completely dyked, otherwise it would flood as the tide came in. These dykes were put into place in the late 1800's and have been continually rebuilt over the decades.
Due to the massive size of the dykes, some of them have been turned into scenic river-front roads, such as Dyke Road on Richmond's southern shore, or River Road on Richmond's northern shore.
On the western shore, the dyke is a large gravel pedestrian and cyclist path, connecting Steveston's Garry Point Park all the way north to Richmond's Terra Nova neighbourhood which is just across the north arm of the Fraser River from the Vancouver International Airport.
The dykes on Lulu Islands's perimeter host an elaborate system of trails, and they're officially called the Richmond Dyke Trails.
Steveston is located at the south-west corner of Lulu Island. As a result, it's considered to be a popular starting point in the Richmond Dyke Trails. You can start at Garry Point Park and head north along Sturgeon Banks - an estuary mud-flat home to all kinds of species of migratory birds and songbirds, offering panoramic views of the Strait of Georgia, the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and the Coast Mountains up the western shore of the BC mainland.
You could alternately head east from Garry Point, through Steveston Landing, and walk along the newly-built waterfront walkways along the south arm of the Fraser River (as seen in my photo here). You can see Shady Island, an uninhabitated sandbar island, or enjoy the local estuary ecosystem at low tide. It's here where all the canneries once stood, and as a result, there are a lot of historic sites along this part of the dyke, such as Britannia Shipyards, and London Farm House.
The Richmond Dyke Trail system goes on for 80km and is an excellent location for walking, jogging, or cycling.
A national historic site, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery offers visitors a look at the history of the West Coast fishing industry. Worth a visit if you're into fishing machinery, tools, and other artifacts. Tickets are $6.50 for adults.
The Buddhist Temple located near Steveston is definitely a must-see, even if you've been to China. The architecture is amazing and accurately reflects that of temples in China. There are also many amazing statues of Buddhas. The park belongs to the International Buddhist Society. If you're heading to Steveston, you will probably pass by this place and it's worth it to see it. The admission is free.
From the fishing boats straight to you, the Fisherman's Wharf in Steveston offers you fresh seafood at bargain prices. Every morning you will find the best catches and they sell very quickly. Too bad we couldn't buy any of those jumbo shrimp because we didn't have anywhere to cook them.
Steveston has a busy and thriving fishing industry which is great to see. Pedestrianised walkways extending for 10km follows the coastline from east Steveston to North Richmond. There are plenty of museums to visit along the way including Canneries and local history exhibitions. Great for kids and adults alike. There are plenty of oppotunities to stop and whatch the boats go by and also to have something to eat or drink.
This authentic Japanese dojo has been a part of Steveston's landscape for many decades now. Home to the Steveston Martial Arts club, this is where you'll find the local karate, judo, kento and other martial artists practicing throughout the week.
Surrounding the dojo are traditional Japanese rock gardens. If you're going to be visiting the Steveton Community Centre, give these gardens a visit. They may be small, but they're beautifully maintained.
Also, during the Steveston Salmon Festival, the Martial Arts Centre hosts a variety of displays, from traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and martial arts demonstrations, to Japanese doll-making, bonsai exhibits, and Japanese paper art shows.
Keep an eye out for the photographs of the Steveston Japanese community on the walls. Look back in time to an era when the majority of the residents were Japanese.
This restored two-storey structure, surrounded by board sidewalks reminiscent of the turn of the century planked roads, is the only site remaining of the original 350 Northern Banks in Western Canada. The main floor bank manager’s office displays artifacts such as the 19th century furniture, business machines and other displays reflecting the services of the old general stores. Upstairs, the turn of the century dining room and bedroom represent the living quarters of the earliest bank staff who doubled as night watchmen and caretakers.
What else to do in Steveston as watching the ships.
There is always something going on on the water.
The obvious thing to do at Steveston is to walk the boardwalk, watch the people and the boats and enjoy the views.
The day we went there was a Sardine Festival and people milled about shopping for their daily fish. It was a great time walking around on the docks, people watching and just plain relaxing.
Steveston has 2 whale watch companies. They are Vancouver Whale Watch and Steveston Seabreeze Adventures.
Close to Steveston is a very small hamlet called Finn Slough, if you enjoy creating photographs, this is a place you'll want to visit
If we hadn't already planned to take the ferry later, we certainly would have tried one of the Whale Watching companies.
Actually located in Richmond, but on the Steveston Highway. Come here to get a lesson on Buddhism. Reminded me of a temple I visited in Penang, Malaysia.