Looking for the perfect Canada Day party this year? Preparations are being fine-tuned for Richmond’s massive and much-anticipated July 1 celebrations—and Steveston is once again the sparkling focus of the festivities.
The Steveston Salmon Festival has been hooking in-the-know Metro Vancouver locals with its unique Canada Day merrymaking for more than 75 years. And the 2023 event promises to be bigger and better than ever, offering a jam-packed day of free and low-cost fun for all the family.
But what do you need to know before digging out your red T-shirt, grabbing some handheld mini flags and painting your face with a maple leaf or two? Read on for our insider’s guide to planning the perfect Canada Day visit to Steveston.
WHEN SHOULD I ARRIVE?
It depends on what you want to see and do! If you want to make a really full day of it, get here for the Pancake Breakfast in the Steveston Community Centre parking lot. It’s served from 8:00am and costs $5.
After that, there’s a full menu of events and activities, concluding with a grand shoreline fireworks display at 10:15pm. The day’s must-see highlight, though, is the Parade. It starts at 10:00am and weaves from Garry Point Park to Third Avenue and along Moncton Street. Arrive early for the perfect viewing spot!
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE PARADE?
Metro Vancouver’s biggest Canada Day street parade is a smile-triggering cavalcade of dozens of decorated floats, marching bands, vintage vehicles, and—of course—a hotly-anticipated appearance from the Festival’s Sammy the Salmon mascot.
If you’re here early enough, look out for the 9:30am Kids’ Bike Parade, which preempts the main parade with its host of grinning local kids proudly riding past on their bicycles.
WHAT ELSE CAN I SEE?
And if you’re in the mood for some shopping, peruse the market stalls and artisan stands plus the Trade Show where vendors will be offering everything from gourmet products to home improvement ideas. Walk around the village and discover these activities for yourself or plan ahead before you arrive.
IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC FOR KIDS TO DO?
Steveston’s Canada Day event is very family-friendly and there are lots of attractions and activities for children of all ages. Younger kids will love Sammy’s Fun Zone, complete with crafts, entertainment and face painting. There’s also a Bouncy Town area with inflatables and carnival games (admission by $10 wristband or $25 for a Family Pack of three). Older kids can also check out the Youth Zone, complete with music, arcade games and specially priced snacks.
WHAT ABOUT LIVE MUSIC?
There’s a huge, toe-tapping playbill of great live music on stage here from noon to 5:00pm. Among the diverse musicians performing this year are crowd-pleasers the Irish Wakers and local Elvis tribute artist Aaron Wong. You’ll also find Orchard Sky, John Michael Lind, Ginalina, the Gastown Strutters and many more. Consider snagging a spot in the Spirit of Steveston Zone, with its own mainstage, food trucks and adult beverages bar.
Appearing on foot around the village, you’ll also spot dancers, living sculptures, stilt walkers and popular Japanese-Canadian artist Yuki the Juggler. Check out the full roster of performers here.
WILL THERE BE ANYTHING TO EAT?
You’ll find it hard not to eat here! The day’s culinary highlight is the giant Salmon Bake, a cherished annual tradition. Running from 11:00am and until supplies are exhausted, it typically serves more than 1,200 pounds of barbecued wild salmon along with a bun, potato salad and a beverage. It costs $20 per plate; arrive early to avoid the long queues.
The popular Chow Mein noodle tent will also be back this year and there will be dozens of tasty food vendors dotted around the village. Many of Steveston’s excellent restaurants and cafes will also be open to serve hungry visitors.
WILL THERE BE ANYWHERE TO GET OUT OF THE SUN—OR TAKE A BREATHER FROM THE CROWDS?
The free-entry Steveston Museum and Post Office, Steveston Tram and Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site will all be open on the big day, as will the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, where admission fees are being waived as part of the July 1 celebrations. And if you need a breather, head to shoreline Garry Point Park and find a relaxing spot by the water.
WHAT ABOUT THE FIREWORKS?
Yes! Don’t miss Steveston’s Canada Day fireworks display, taking place later in the evening on the Fraser River shoreline. It’s the first time the July 1 pyrotechnic show has been staged here since 2019. The display will start at 10:15pm at Imperial Landing, located on the boardwalk between Fisherman’s Wharf and Britannia Shipyards. It’s the perfect way to end your evening and raise some rousing cheers for Canada’s big day.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
Try to avoid driving. The roads around Steveston will be full and some will be closed on the day. Parking will also be extremely limited. It’s far better to make alternative arrangements.
Consider the handy Discovery Shuttle, a free bus service that will be running throughout the day. It picks up at the Executive Vancouver Airport Hotel, Lansdowne Canada Line Station and McArthurGlen Designer Outlet before making two stops in Steveston. There are also plenty of transit services that can deliver you to and from the village. Plan your transit trip here.
Alternatively, why not hop in the saddle and enjoy a summertime bike excursion? There are some great cycling routes that lead to Steveston, and there will be a free bike valet parking service at the event. This year, the valet service will also be extended to include strollers, scooters and skateboards.
Steveston Salmon Festival
Date: Saturday July 1, 2023 (Canada Day)
Location: Steveston Village
Click here for festival map.
Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by Tourism Richmond