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Steveston was settled in the mid-late 1800s, and began as a fishing village. At one time, 13 salmon canneries lined the banks of the Fraser River. Eventually, industry consolidation and declining fisheries saw the number of canneries decline, until today there are no operating canneries, and only three of the original cannery buildings remaining. One is still used for the fishing industry, and two have been turned into historic sites. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery NHS is owned by Parks Canada, and tells the story of the West Coast fishing industry. It is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Be sure to take one of the guided tours, on the hour. The other is Britannia Shipyard NHS, originally built as a cannery, but converted fairly early on into a shipyard. It is operated by the City of Richmond.
Steveston is also well known for its excellent cuisine, ranging from extremely casual (top notch fish and chips on the dock), to sophisticated (Tapenade, Papi's and the Steveston Seafood House are top notch). In between are a number of medium priced restaurants, including a number of fine ethnic selections (Japanese, Greek, Malaysian). As well, there are a number of eclectic shops along the waterfront (Bayview St.), and the 'main drag' (Moncton St.).
The biggest day of the summer is July 1st — Canada Day to the rest of the country, but Salmon Festival Day to Stevestonians. Up to 60,000 people jam the little village for the day, which is essentially a giant community fair. Salmon barbeques, cultural displays and a parade are highlights of the day. Other festivals include the Maritime Festival at Britannia Shipyard, and the Seafood Festival on the BC Day long weekend (first Monday in August).
People often complain about the lack of parking in Steveston, but it's a myth! There is plenty of parking, just not right in the village core. Go west along Chatham St. and park on the south side, between Fourth and Sixth Avenue, or a bit futher along at Garry Point. There's also parking on the east end of Chatham St., go down the long driveway past the ANAF, and park by the lacrosse box.
Or, for those without a vehicle, Steveston is a transit terminus, served by five bus routes. It's very easy to get there from the center of Richmond, via the #401, #402, #407 or #410. The #C93 will take you to Riverport.