Cruising in the NorthwestThings to Do and Places to SeeWaggoner eNews


After a few days editing for the Waggoner Guide and other computer work, we departed North Vancouver for Steveston, rounding Point Grey in a northwesterly wind with 4-foot swells. Numerous commercial and sport fishing boats were off-shore near the North, Middle, and South Arms of the Fraser River. Winding our way through the fishing fleet, we turned east and followed the marked channel along the Steveston Jetty and entered this charming fishing community.

The Village of Steveston

Steveston looks like a movie set with its prominent wharf filled with shops and eateries and is a delightful place to visit possessing historic significance. The community was named in honor of Manoah Steves, who arrived here with his family around 1877. It was his son William who developed the townsite, becoming Steveston in 1889. Today, Steveston is one of several communities within the City of Richmond.

Harbour Authority docks at Steveston Village.

The Quaint fishing village of Steveston and Harbour Authority Docks.

Salmon Canning in Steveston

Salmon canning began here in 1871, and by the late 1800’s 15 canneries were operating along the Steveston waterfront. The Britannia Shipyard, a timber-framed structure built on pilings in 1889, is located east of today’s public wharf and is the oldest surviving building on the waterfront. This traditional L-shaped building first served as a cannery; but when the salmon stocks hit a downturn, canneries closed including the Britannia Cannery which stopped operation in 1917. The Britannia shipyard maintained the cannery’s fleet of boats for many years and constructed new boats.

Britannia Shipyard in Steveston Village.

The historic Britannia Shipyard.

Cannery Life

During the height of cannery operations of the late 1800’s, Chinese, Japanese, First Nations, and Europeans came to work in the canneries.  Single men of minority descent, lived in barn-like barracks and made up 90 percent of the workforce but were paid half that earned by their white counterpart.

Bunkhouses at the Shipyard in Steveston Village.

Shipyard with Chinese Bunkhouse in distance.

Europeans lived in relative comfort in homes along a boardwalk which connected to other buildings that stretched over the tidal land. Homes, canneries, and net sheds were constructed on pilings with the boardwalk serving as the main street.

Cannery homes in Steveston Village.

Homes on pilings connect to a main boardwalk at the old cannery site.

As the cannery became a shipyard, some people stayed, and others moved to the site. One well-known Japanese family, the Murakami family, lived in House #40.

The Murakami Home and Boatworks in Steveston Village.

The Murakami Home and Boatworks building.

Otokichi Murakami built a Boatworks in 1929 next to his home. Today the Boatworks building is used for boat building programs and maritime demonstrations. Otokichi and his wife Asayo lived in the small house on the boardwalk with their ten children until interned in 1942 during WWII.

The Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site is within easy walking distance from the Steveston Public Wharf along a new, wide promenade overlooking the channel.

The promenade in Steveston Village.

A wide promenade with new condos extends between Steveston village and the National Historic Site.

City of Richmond Public Dock – Imperial Landing

New condos, with businesses on the lower level, have recently been constructed along the promenade and a new moorage facility now provides visiting boaters another viable option when staying at Steveson. Located east of the Public Wharf down the channel is the new City of Richmond Parks dock (604-244-1208) offering 600 feet of moorage with side-tie on both sides of this substantial concrete dock.

The first 3-hours are free, and rates for stays over 3-hours are posted at the automated pay-station at the head of the ramp. 30amp power on the dock, no water or shower facilities. The village of Steveston to the west and the National Historical site located to the east are within walking distance from this new dock named Imperial Landing.

City of Richmond's 'Imperial Landing' facility.

The new City of Richmond ‘Imperial Landing’ facility.

Visiting Steveston

Steveston is a wonderful destination for boaters looking for a village experience with good eateries, fun shops, character, and opportunities for hiking to several points of interest.

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In addition to the historic cannery/shipyard site, visitors will find a trail leading west from the village out to Garry Point with views of the Strait of Georgia. Don’t forget to visit the impressive Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum on the west end of the public wharf. If you haven’t visited here recently, the village of Steveston is worth a stop.

To find out more about Steveston go to

~Lorena Landon

(originally posted on

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