Locals and visitors will be flocking to Steveston this month for the much-anticipated return of Metro Vancouver’s favourite nautical celebration. Anchored in and around the shoreline heritage buildings of Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, the family-friendly Richmond Maritime Festival promises a treasure chest of fun-loving activities and performances.
Running from 11:00am to 6:00pm on both August 20 and August 21, 2022 marks the free-entry festival’s 19th year. Growing since those early days like a well-fed pirate’s parrot, several features have been added over the years––including the chance to check out a mini-fleet of beautifully restored heritage boats up-close.
If you’re a festival first-timer or you haven’t been for a while, read on for our exclusive 2022 insider’s guide. Then, start planning your perfect voyage to this brilliantly ship-shape event––sea legs not required.
What is there to see at the festival?
The eight-acre Britannia Shipyards festival site––complete with wooden boardwalks and gabled historic buildings––will feature a series of themed areas this year, each profiling a different aspect of seafaring culture. Costumed interpreters will also be wandering the festival area, colourfully evoking B.C.’s yesteryear maritime heritage. You’ll also find fascinating woodcarving and model boat displays plus immersive art installations. The best way to drink it all in? Slow down and explore every corner.
Are there any hands-on activities?
As in previous years, the festival will have plenty of activities for you and your family to enjoy. There will be hands-on workshops where participants can design their own boat flag or build a floating cork boat. There will also be old-fashioned lawn games to play, a cool-down water zone for kids and even a family portrait sketch artist available onsite.
It looks like there will be plenty for children –– what else can they do?
The festival is very family-friendly, with lots of activities and performers to keep your kids fully entertained. Festival favourite Rikki the Rat and his crew will be back to keep the crowds smiling, but youngsters will also want to look out for characters such as Mimi the Mouse, Lulu the Mermaid and Tabby the Cat. Junior seafarers will also enjoy the event’s storytellers, dance displays and other live performances.
Will I see any boats?
Alongside the fascinating boat craft displays, there will also be the chance to view some lovely heritage vessels. Down on the docks, you can expect to find a plethora of restored boats––including the 1903 Providence sailing ship, the century-old SS Master tug boat, the lovely 1954-built MV Gikumi and even the hardworking Delta Lifeboat. Experiencing the vessels up-close is very popular so you are advised to make this a priority when you arrive onsite.
Will there be any live music or other performers?
The festival is offering a boatload of live performances to check out on both days. The community stage will host acts including the Tsatsu Stalqayu Salish singers and dancers, sea shanty specialists the Irish Wakers and energetic Japanese-style drummers Go Taiko and Taiko 55. There will also be plenty of other acts popping up across the site––including The Seabillys and the Cannery Mermaids––so keep your eyes and ears open throughout your visit.
Will there be anything to eat?
There will be onsite food trucks serving the festival on both days. Alternatively, why not bring your own picnic blanket and snacks and find a spot on the grass? In addition, Steveston has a full menu of excellent eateries to dive into if you’re hungry for a sit-down meal before or after your visit.
What else is there to see at Britannia Shipyards?
If you haven’t visited Britannia before, you’re in for treat. Built as a cannery in the 1800s but transformed into a boat-building complex a century ago, this highly evocative National Historic Site has a rich and authentic story to tell. Explore the preserved living quarters and tool-lined boat sheds and you’ll discover just what it was like here back in the day. The attraction is free to enter at any time, so planning a return trip outside the festival weekend should definitely be on your agenda.
How do I get there?
The Richmond Maritime Festival is at Britannia Shipyards, located at 5180 Westwater Drive. It’s a scenic shoreline stroll from the heart of Steveston Village, but if you’re planning to drive to the site, you’ll find special festival parking at nearby Homma Elementary School (by donation). The free Richmond Discovery Shuttle will also be running during the festival weekend. Board the shuttle bus at one of several Richmond stops (including Lansdowne Canada Line Station) and alight at Homma Elementary. Alternatively, ride your bike to the site or plan your public transit journey via the TransLink website.
Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Tourism Richmond