Richmond is an island city and you can only get in and out by bridge or tunnel--or by airplane (since it is home to Vancouver International Airport). Most of Lulu Island, on which Richmond sites, is rural in nature, becoming more urban as you move west. The west side of Richmond has the usual urban mix of single family homes with shops, restaurants and other business clustered along the main streets. Most of Richmond's buildings are not too high, given the proximity to Vancouver International Airport, and that building foundations must be built on very deep Fraser River sediment and not bedrock like some other parts of Vancouver. The area around the City Centre has some apartment/condo high rises that are up to 20 storeys tall and of course, some larger shopping malls.
Farms still predominate in the east, and the west remains a middle- and upper-income bedroom community, but central Richmond is one of the most heavily developed areas outside of downtown, home to many strip malls and big boxes, not to mention almost a dozen shopping malls, half of them geared to an Asian clientele. Over the past decade a tremendous influx of Asian immigrants has transformed this island in the delta.
Vancouver International Airport is just to the west of Richmond, so you can always see and hear jets flying overhead, which is a bit noisy for some. Most of Richmond is only a metre above sea level, which means there is a high water table, making basements a rarity in Richmond.
Richmond is served by two freeways: the north-south Highway 99, which connects Vancouver to the United States, and the east-west Highway 91, which connects Delta, New Westminster, and Richmond. Richmond is served by the TransLink transit system and in 2009 becomes the terminus of the Canada Line of the SkyTrain, which will connect downtown Vancouver, Richmond's city centre and Vancouver International Airport.
Richmond has a number of shopping malls, which are clustered along Westminster Highway and No 3 Rd, the city also has a concentration of many "big box" superstores. Richmond also has a large Chinese population and has a large number of specialty Chinese shopping centres, stores, and restaurants centered around "Golden Village". Many businesses display their store names in large characters both in English and Chinese (including non-Chinese businesses such as Staples).
Richmond is surrounded by a system of dykes, which have recreational pathways atop them (unpaved). The seawall along the western edge of Lulu Island along Sturgeon Bank offers great Island views while running, biking, or inline skating. The city has over 1,200 acres of park land and many pools, tennis courses, golf courses, and playing tracks. There two main locations for recreational "sportsplexes": around Minoru Park at the city centre, and near Steveston highway & Number 6 Road, to the east. Both areas also have a number of movie theatres.
Richmond has excellent cultural facilities, both performing & visual arts as well as "sun stuff", ranging from movie theatres, to amusement parks, waterslides, and golf courses. Richmond is home to the Richmond Sockeyes Junior B hockey team, and the Richmond Budgies Senior Men's Baseball Club, the Kigoos summer swimming club and the Richmond Rapids (winter) Swim Club. The new UBC Boathouse is home to rowing and dragonboat racing in the Vancouver area. The Richmond Oval will be the site of speedskating events at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Attractions in Richmond include the historical fishing village of Steveston where boats still sell fresh fish at the wharf, and there's also the Kuan Yin Buddhist Temple, with its exquisite Chinese architecture.
Richmond has an excellent school system, and School District 38 Richmond has 11 secondary schools and 38 elementary schools, including two late French Immersion schools and six early French Immersion schools. Richmond is also home to a campus of Kwantlen University College, and British Columbia Institute of Technology runs its aircraft maintenance courses at facilities at Vancouver International Airport.
Housing is mostly suburban-style single-family low-rise homes in the south and west. The central area is predominantly highrise condos.
Homes in Richmond run $705-735,000; attached homes run $442-456,000 and condos run $303-311,000. Richmond Neighbourhoods
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