If you visit Steveston, located in the south west area of Richmond, you’ll find a quaint little village with a lot of history.
CKNW’s Jon McComb recently paid a visit and caught up with Richmond-Steveston MLA, John Yap.
Once known as the salmon capital of the world, Yap says it’s a community with its roots in fishing.
” As you may know, one hundred years ago this was a thriving commercial hub of fishing and canning. There were probably two dozen canneries along the riverfront here in Steveston, and hundreds of fishing boats in those days, and even today it remains an important fishing center.”
Over the years, says Yap, it’s also evolved a very unique sense of community.
“People that I’ve come to know who live in Steveston, really care about Steveston. And there’s a real connection and bond, and a desire to make this a wonderful place.”
Canning industry through the years
Selling the “catch of the day”
Fishing and canning was a major part of life in Steveston, but as Fisherman Gordon explains, it’s taken some blows over the decades. Now it’s hard for fishermen to make money selling to the processing plants.
“Well it’s been changed so much that all the big processors just pay us next to nothing for our fish, so we’re forced to sell directly to the public for $8 a pound. The processors are only paying us $1.20 and we can’t afford to fish – the fuel, nets insurance, boats, everything costs so much money and you can’t make money at $1.20 a pound – so we sell directly to the public ourselves.”
It’s either that or go out of business.
“And then you gotta realize”, says Gordon, ” that all these licenses are owned by big corporations. Lawyers sit at home, doctors sit at home owning quotas for salmon, halibut, crab. Licenses are worth a million dollars now. Every day “Joe Schmo’s” like myself can’t afford a 1 million dollar license.”
Gordon would like to see the government step in and eliminate all the lawyers and corporations owning all the licenses.
He says they do actually make a decent living selling off the docks, but they aren’t getting rich from it.
Farmers & Artisans Market
With fishers selling straight to the public, Steveston has become a great place for locals and tourists to visit the wharf and buy fresh fish right off the boat.
And while you’re there, head over to the new Farmers Market and pick up some locally grown produce and other hand-crafted products.
You can even try beer produced by local crafters Fuggels and Warlock, whose motto is “keeping beer weird”. With names like Shiva session White IPA, and Bean Me Up Espresso Milk Stout, they seem to be living up to it.
Filming Industry loves Steveston
If you’ve ever seen the TV show “Once Upon a Time” you’ll notice some similarities between Steveston and Storybrooke.
Die-hard fans can pick up a Once Upon a Time walking map at the Tourism Richmond Visitor Centre on Moncton Street where much of the filming takes place, and go on their own self-guided tour of Storybrooke/Steveston.
Historical walking tour
Visitors can also take the Treading Through Time self-guided walking tour. Map provided below courtesy of the Steveston Museum.