The area south of Richmond’s sprawl might not be on top of the list of weekend spots for Vancouverites, but if fresh wild salmon is of interest to you, it’s worth thinking twice about. Steveston is home to one of the oldest fishing villages in the province, and aside from having an interesting heritage to show for itself, it is a must for any seafood lover with a thriving off-the-boat market.
With the recently completed network of greenways in Richmond, getting there on two wheels is as comfortable and safe as you could hope. Taking the SkyTrain will spare you the hilly trek across Vancouver to Richmond, saving your energy to enjoy the casual trail along the Fraser river estuary.
After getting off the train at Aberdeen, head westbound on Cambie road to meet the trail waterfront trail on River road. As you make your way down, watch out for the plentiful curious spots along the way to take a breather, some of which feature interactive public art and sound installations.
Take a turn down Mccallan road which will take you to the beginning of the Railway Greenway, guiding you down the path of a historic railcar trail down to the fishing town. There are also some alternative options for biking, such as the more scenic West Dyke trail along the waterfront.
Steveston’s history as being the centre of BC’s fishing industry has been carefully preserved in the unique old lumber buildings at Britannia Shipyard heritage site. I highly recommend taking a peek into the Murakami house by the shipyard, for its perfectly preserved, and tasteful garden and minimalistic interior – a hybrid of traditional Japanese styling and West Coast heritage architecture.
The waterfront boardwalk leading from the shipyard to the fishing village is full of eye-candy as well as stories of the village’s past. The village itself makes for a quaint stroll with its coffee shops, stores, and outdoor fish & chip joints, although you might have to navigate the waves of tourists that populate the piers in the summer.
The main attraction here is the fisherman’s wharf, where you can buy freshly caught seafood right off the boats of local fishermen. The selection of wild sockeye salmon, sole, tuna, prawn, urchin, and other offerings reflects what’s happening in nearby waters, and changes frequently. Both the freshness and the prices here make the seafood section in supermarkets pale in comparison, and you could even find out just when and where your fish was caught.
Don’t forget to ask for some ice to keep your dinner-to-be fresh throughout your trip home!