Historic Sites in Richmond, BC
Richmond’s bountiful fishery and the rich delta soil provided by the Fraser River has been the basis for our economy and industrial development. Learn about the people, places, and artifacts that are important to Richmond’s history at the city’s historic sites. Engaging displays and interactive activities are just the start of your journey back in time!
National Historic Sites
Richmond is home to two National Historic Sites of Canada, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and the Britannia Shipyards, and both are located in Steveston.
The first of these, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, was once the largest of Richmond’s canneries, where as many as 2.5 million tins of salmon were packed each year until the 1930s. The Cannery finally closed in 1979, but these days it's an interactive museum commemorating the fishing industry through a variety of fascinating exhibits and displays. Watch a 15-minute film about the story of the West Coast fishing industry, go on a guided tour of the historic salmon Canning Line and Herring Reduction Plant, and check out the wonderful gift shop. Kids will love boat-spotting from the Harbour Viewing Deck, being the captain of their own fishing boat in the model wheelhouse, and visiting the Cannery Kids' Corner.
**Tip: Admission to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery is free in 2017 in honour of Canada 150!
The Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site was also once a part of Steveston's Cannery Row. It features 11 buildings that tell the story of the lives of multicultural workers and their families at the Britannia Cannery and Britannia Shipyard. Walk along the historic boardwalk and learn about the history of the site through interpretive signage; take a complimentary tour of the Shipyard; and tour four stilt houses and a Chinese bunkhouse that demonstrate living conditions from 1910 –1930, featuring innovative audio and video exhibit displays.
Farms, Trams and Museums
For a slightly different take on history, visit the London Heritage Farm. It’s a four-acre historic site that aims to recreate life in Steveston from 1880 to 1930 with its furniture, clothing, quilts, farm implements and other artifacts, and its lovely heritage garden. Visitors can enjoy afternoon tea, stroll through the herb gardens and participate in one of the many special events that take place regularly throughout the year.
If railway history is your thing, be sure to visit the Steveston Interurban Tram on Moncton Street. The BC Electric Railway Company (BCER) ran 28 tramcars on the Lulu Island rail line. Tramcar 1220 is now the largest artefact in the Richmond Museum’s collection, and is one of only 7 BCER operated interurban trams left.The trams were originally purchased from the St. Louis Car Company in Missouri and contributed to the development of Richmond’s city centre.
The Richmond Museum and the Steveston Museum & Visitor Centre are also great places to explore the diverse culture and history of Richmond. Don’t miss out on the Japanese Fishermen's Benevolent Society Building, a part of the Steveston Museum that showcases the triumphs and struggles experienced by Steveston’s Japanese Canadian community.