The Day Trip: Step Back in Time in Historic Steveston

Turn back the clock with a day out to Richmond’s bustling fishing village

November 22, 2018

By Margaret de Silva / Photo: Tourism Richmond

With its historical buildings, bustling stores, and working fishing docks, Steveston is kind of like Vancouver’s version of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf—only it’s a lot less tacky.

You can discover this charming village in any season, but the holiday season is a great time to soak up the small-town atmosphere and bask in Yuletide joy—or at least get started on your Christmas shopping.

Become a Pacific Canada History Buff

Wander around a few of the well-preserved National Historic Sites in Steveston and you’ll soon be a local history expert.

Learn about the boom and bust of fishing in Western Canada at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. Built in 1894, the cannery was once the largest building of its kind and the leading producer of canned salmon in British Columbia. Today, it’s home to an interactive museum complete with guided tours and interesting exhibits.

Nearby, the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site highlights how wooden fishing boats were made, and houses a number of boat restoration projects, as well as exhibits on how the multi-ethnic workers lived. Get a further history fix by exploring Steveston Museum, housed in a 1905 bank building, or visiting the Steveston Interurban Tram from 1913.

Over the holidays, these popular sites also host an ongoing roster of festive activities, including light displays, Christmas tree displays, concerts, the Heritage Christmas Craft Fair and a Santa Claus Parade, as part of the City of Richmond and Steveston Merchants Association’s Winter in the Village event.

Take a Tea Break

All that learning can make you hungry. Stop for afternoon tea at the Adorabelle Tea Room from Wednesday to Sunday to dine on sandwiches, freshly baked scones and petite sweets. Reservations are recommended.

For a holiday-themed high tea, indulge in the Jingle Bell Tea at London Heritage Farm on weekends from now until December 22. You can enjoy flavours of the season such as white chocolate scones with cranberries, shortbread cookies and gingerbread cake, while dining in an 1890s farmhouse on acreage. Reservations are required.

Explore Storybrooke

If you’re a fan of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, you may find Steveston oddly familiar. That’s because the town has starred as the fictional Storybrooke in the show since it debuted in 2011. Pick up a free walking tour map at the visitor centre and explore the enchanted settings (many of which are historic buildings) featured on the show.

Find Your Catch of the Day

Fishing isn’t just a thing of the past in Steveston—the lively Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place to watch the daily catch come in. Depending on the season, you might pick up shrimp, Dungeness crab, sea urchin, spot prawns or more from the public fish sales float on the pier. See the Steveston Harbour Authority for more information.

Discover Independent Stores

Explore Steveston’s main drag, Moncton Street, and the surroundings to discover a range of local, independent stores.

Although it’s compact, music lovers could spend hours browsing through Beatmerchant, on Second Avenue. The store houses a wide range of CD and vinyl recordings, as well as new and used books, memorabilia and concert posters. Still on Second Avenue, Steve’s Board and Apparel is the place to pick up and customize skateboards from brands including Hosoi, Dogtown, Landyachtz and more.

On Moncton Street, Pieces is an eclectic home decor and gift shop in the historic Hepworth Block building. In the same building, Splash Toy Shop is a family-run Mecca for children, stocking a wide array of games and toys for all ages. If there are too many kids for your sanity, duck into nearby Nikaido, a gift store that offers a touch of zen while you browse for stationary, tableware and tea items.

Unwind Your Way

On a clear day, finish your trip with a stroll at Garry Point Park, where you can see Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. On a wet winter day, though, you may as well head to the pub. Britannia Brewing Co. is a great place to sample local craft beer, or settle in for a meal at the restaurant.

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