Richmond is a Canadian city, located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the territory of British Columbia. It is the fourth largest city in British Columbia and is known for its stunning mountainous scenery, gorgeous waterfront, and vibrant urban living. The city was founded by the First Nation people and was named after a local farmstead established by Hugh McRoberts. The old fishing village of Steveston which lies at the southwestern tip of the Lulu Island which forms a part of Richmond was settled by the Europeans and the Japanese. The city has the highest concentration of Asians in Canada. It was designated a city in 1990 and has an approximate population of 210,000.
Richmond is located at the mouth of the Fraser River on the Pacific coast. It is 25 minutes away from the US border and 25 minutes south of downtown Vancouver. It consists of four main islands – Lulu Island, Mitchell Island, Iona Island, and Sea Island. The city has an average elevation of 1 meter above sea level and dykes have been constructed to protect the city from the occasional flooding of the Fraser River. The region is very fertile as it is a river delta.
The city enjoys a temperate west coast climate. Distance from the mountains and nearness to the sea means the city gets no snowfall and rain is about 30% less than in Vancouver. The weather is pleasant though fogs are common in winter.
How to reach (transport)
The easiest way to reach Richmond is to fly to the Vancouver International Airport which is located within the city limits. Sky trains and taxis are commonly used to travel within the city. An excellent network of roads and railways connect the city with neighboring places in Canada. In addition, there are two international seaports in Richmond.
When to visit
Summer and fall are the best time to visit as the temperature is mild and the weather is dry. Winters are often too foggy though there is no snow.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions
Richmond enjoys a very vibrant urban culture. The Asian influence is quite strong because of the large Asian Canadian population here. The various events and festivals celebrated in the city are as follows:
- Asian summer night markets are celebrated throughout the summer months. You can browse the stalls offering apparel, gadgets, and other merchandise while a number of booths offer exotic foods and drink. In addition, there is a carnival-like atmosphere with live music and dance programs, rides, and cultural performances.
- Since 2008, Richmond has celebrated the Doors Open festival on June 7 and 8. For these two days, fifty sites in the city including artist studios, museums, religious institutions, and parks allow free entrance to visitors who can enjoy the culture of the city.
- The ship-to-shore festival is celebrated from 29th June to 1st July. The Tall ships festival is an important part where a flotilla of vessels arrives at the Steveston harbor under full sail.
- Canada Day is celebrated on 1st July with great pomp at Steveston. Marches, parades, Japanese cultural shows, children’s festivities, crafts fairs, etc mark the day.
- The Maritime festival celebrates the sea-going heritage of the city for three days from August 9 to 11.
- Tourists can also witness other popular festivals like Chinese New Year and Halloween which are celebrated in January/February ( date may vary) and October respectively.
Points of interest (places to visit)
The most interesting places in Richmond are:
- The International Buddhist temple surrounded by the serene and classical Chinese garden is the largest authentic Buddhist temple in North America. It houses the largest Buddha statue on the continent and contains murals, calligraphy, paintings, and other art pieces.
- The beautiful fishing village of Steveston offers breathtaking views of the sea and is a great place to stroll around.
- The Gulf of Georgia cannery established in 1894 and opened in the year 1979 is an interesting historic landmark.
- The London heritage firm is a four-acre site that preserves the life in Steveston as it was from 1880 to 1930. Costumes, artifacts, tools, quilts, etc are on display, surrounded by a heritage garden.
- The No. 5 road is unique as it contains a large number of religious shrines of different faiths.
Those planning for a good stay can find plenty of options in Richmond. Whether you are on a luxury tour or on a budgetary one, Richmond caters to all needs. There are a vast number of hotels in Richmond. Hilton, Fairmont, and Marriott are the most expensive and luxury hotels – all located near the airport. Radisson and Holiday Inn are others in this category. Budget accommodations include Hampton Inn, Sandman Hotel, Best Western, and a number of bed and breakfasts.