The town of Richmond lies on a group of islands in the Fraser River, between the North Arm and the South Arm. The largest island is Lulu Island which contains the main part of Richmond. Other islands that are part of Richmond are Sea, Mitchell. Twigg and Deadman. To get anywhere from Richmond you must take a bridge, except of course, to the south where you take the George Massey Tunnel on Highway 99.
Richmond was named by an Australian farming family, the McRoberts, who settled here in the 1860s. They named the area for a place they thought it reminded them of, back in Australia. Richmond is well-known for its farms and fishing. Berry-picking seasons are big around here. Steveston, at the mouth of the mighty Fraser River, is home to Canada's largest commercial fishing fleet, along with the second largest Buddhist temple in North America, a quaint museum, art galleries, shops and restaurants. No. 3 Road has over 800 stores along a 1.5 km stretch.
Located on Sea Island since 1931, Vancouver International Airport, Canada's second busiest airport with ten million annual passengers, just behind Toronto's Pearson Airport. This airport is Canada's connection with the Pacific Rim, with flights daily to most Asian countries, as well as most major airports around North and South America. On the north side of Sea Island is an Indian reservation and the Iona Beach Regional Park, which extends on a long spit from the island's northwest end. This recently created 60 hectare park has extensive tidal flats and attracts large flocks of migratory birds.
Richmond Trails provide 44 km of running paths along the dykes that protect this flat, low-lying area from the sea. Boat tours operate along the North and South arms of the Fraser River. Richmond has more than 100 historical sights and attractions including a Buddhist Temple and Garden and Fantasyland, a theme park. Along No. 3 Road you can experience shopping at six major shopping centres, including some that specialize in upscale Asian goods.
The First Nations were early users of the island, to fish and gather roots and berries from their summer camps. Permanent settlements may have existed near Steveston. Richmond was first settled by Europeans in 1860s. In 1877, Menoah Steves establish a farm at the present site of Steveston on Lulu Island. William H. Steves laid out a portion of his ranch in town lots in 1889, starting the growth of the community.
Fishing fleets plied the waters in the 1880s, and processed their catches in the local canneries. By 1900, Steveston was the busiest fishing port in the world with 14 fish canneries packing more than 195,000 cases of salmon each year. Every summer, the silver harvest of salmon attracted thousands of Native, Chinese and Japanese laborers for seasonal work. Over 10,000 people crowded the boomtown's boardwalks between saloons.
This community takes its name from Hugh McRoberts, who in 1861, established Richmond Farm. The flat land and fertile soil of Lulu and Sea island made them ideal for farming. But dyking and drainage ditches were needed to made the land suitable for the early crops of berries, grain and vegetables. Dairy farming was also common. Richmond was incorporated in 1879 as a municipality and later as a city in 1990. Richmond continues to diversify from its traditional base of farming and fishing. Fresh fish and produce can still be found at water front and farm markets. Amidst the recent changes, the community has continued to place a priority on protecting farmland, preserving its heritage and protecting the natural environment.
Today, Steveston is not only the oldest surviving community in the Lower Mainland, but home to almost 1,000 commercial fishing vessels in the largest commercial fishing harbour in Canada. Visitors delight in buying the tuna, cod, salmon, sole, halibut, ship, prawns and crab directly from the boats at the public fish dock.