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ABC TV’S ONCE UPON A TIME DRAWS INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS TO STEVESTON/STORYBROOKE
Once Upon a Time is now in its sixth season, with a loyal following and crews actively filming in Steveston throughout the year. Selected as the show’s backdrop for its quaint charm and historic appeal, “ONCERS” are flocking to Steveston from international markets to visit the Storybrooke Post Office, Granny’s Diner, and Storybrooke Coffee Co. during filming.
Romania Country Bread has truly embraced its fictional alter ego, and maintains their Storybrooke Country Bread signage year-round, while the Candy Dish sells homemade “Snow White” fudge and other treats. Even Tourism Richmond’s Visitor Centre on Moncton Street sells exclusive licensed ONCE merchandise such as T-shirts, tote bags, mugs, hoodies, character prints and posters; and even provides a free, self-guided walking map of Storybrooke.
RICHMOND, BC: A TRIP TO ASIA WITHOUT THE JETLAG
Richmond has a population of around 214,000 people, and nearly 65 per cent are of Asian descent, mainly from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. In the city centre, visitors explore the Golden Village, which boasts some of the best Asian dining and shopping in North America.
Discover more than 300 shops and services including three Hong Kong-inspired malls, Asian specialty grocery stores, jewelry stores, art galleries and the latest Asian designer fashions. It’s also where you’ll find Richmond’s “Wai Sek Kai” or “Food Street,” Alexandra Road, where over 200+ authentic Asian restaurants are packed into three short city blocks. And Richmond’s two extravagant outdoor Asian night markets are considered among the best in the world. Both the Richmond Night Market and the Panda Market see more than 20,000 visitors on a summer weekend, adding up to about a million guests per year.
AN INTRODUCTION TO RICHMOND’S FOOD SCENE
Richmond is most famous for its exceptional Asian cuisine – it has been said that Richmond restaurants serve the best Chinese food outside China. But Richmond is much more than that. It boasts some 800 restaurants offering everything from burgers to banh mi. Ever since the New York Times recognized Richmond as a culinary destination in 2009, visitors have flocked here to try favourite local dishes such as Shanghainese soup dumplings called xiao long bao. Increasingly, those visitors are well-heeled diners from China and Hong Kong, eager to savour what they consider “tsen,” or proper, cuisine.
Richmond began life as a fishing and farming community in the 19th century and more than a third of its area is still farmland. Richmond’s 200+ farms are best known for producing exceptional berries – mainly cranberries and blueberries. And the historic seaside neighbourhood of Steveston is home to Western Canada’s largest fishing fleet. Here, the Public Sales Float is the place to go for fresh seafood straight from the boats, including salmon, crab and B.C.’s famous spot prawns.
ADVENTURES IN RICHMOND: FROM MILD TO WILD
MILD: Bike, walk, or people-watch along Steveston’s Imperial Landing and South Dyke trail. This 6 km, mostly car-free route meanders along the Steveston waterfront, with marshlands, slough, a heritage shipyard and many iconic sights along the way.
MEDIUM: Escape room games are becoming more and more popular, and are a great way to challenge your mind. Groups of six or more are locked in one of the scenario rooms (including a lost ship, prison, a judge's chamber, Las Vegas, Wonderland, and more) and must solve clues and mysteries to find codes in order to escape or reveal what has happened in the room. If you love a challenge, you'll love Exit, Xcape Vancouver, and Trapped Vancouver.
WILD: Explore the pristine waters of the Strait of Georgia with Richmond’s two whale watching companies, Steveston Seabreeze Adventures and Vancouver Whale Watch. It’s not just about majestic Orca whales — porpoises, sea lions, bald eagles, seals and other wildlife can also be seen from the comfort and safety of their eco-friendly vessels.
TOP 5 SPOTS FOR ACTIVE FAMILIES
Here are Richmond’s top five spots for active families:
#1: The $1-million Adventure Play Environment at Terra Nova features natural play elements such as obstacles, slides, climbs and ziplines.
#2: Larry Berg Flight Path Park, where kids will love the exciting views of descending planes thundering overhead as much as the ‘flight path’ playground that comes complete with kid-sized runways, wind socks, and a walkable globe.
#3: Families with tweens and teens will enjoy the 17-acre Garden City Community Park with its sport courts, skateboard park and Arboretum (a collection of more than 100 species of trees planted since 2001), while younger tots will get a kick out of playing with the interactive mini river system that sends water through locks and bridges with the push of a button.
#4: Park play time soars to new heights at the Extreme Air Trampoline Park, which can entertain parents and pint-sized visitors with its trampolines, foam zone and big air sports games for hours.
#5: To burn off even more steam, adventure seeking families can safely do battle at Richmond’s 6Pack Indoor Beach for a game of foam-tipped arrow archery tag.