Surrounded on three sides by water, Richmond, British Columbia, is a city defined by nature and agricultural heritage. It’s also known for its Asian influences, and is home to many cultural institutions and hundreds of Asian eateries and shops clustered in the Golden Village district. Here are some of the best things to do in Richmond and what makes B.C.’s fourth largest city ideal for a quick day trip or weekend getaway.
Start the morning off right with a coffee and waffles with all the fixings at the Flying Beaver Bar & Grill. Located on Sea Island, home to the Vancouver International Airport, the Beaver affords views of seaplanes as they lift off and land on the Middle Arm of the Fraser River.
Travel across the No. 2 Road bridge and west to Terra Nova Rural Park. Part of the Pacific Flyway and BC Bird Trail, the park provides some of the best birding opportunities in the province, along the salt marsh and Fraser River estuary. In the fall and spring migratory seasons, thousands of snow geese and other international avian visitors arrive to feast on tender marsh grasses. The park also teems with raptors, blue herons and myriad smaller birds that are easily visible along the West Dyke Trail, a 5 km gravel trail ideal for walking or biking that ends in the historic fishing village of Steveston.
In Steveston, enjoy a self–guided tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. Built on wooden piles over the Fraser River, the building is typical of the more than 75 salmon canneries that once dotted B.C.’s coastline during the industry’s heyday in the early 20th century.
Enjoy lunch on the patio of Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant, overlooking Steveston’s fishing harbour, the largest active commercial fishing port in Canada. As an Ocean Wise Seafood partner, Blue Canoe specializes in sustainable seafood like Fraser River sockeye salmon and Salt Spring Island mussels, as well as local farm ingredients.
Stroll along the Steveston waterfront towards the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, a rare surviving example of a once–thriving community of canneries, boatyards and residences, with some of the oldest heritage buildings along the Fraser River.
Travel east along Steveston Highway for a guided tour of the International Buddhist Temple. Modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, it highlights the temple’s Chinese imperial architecture, including majestic Buddha statues, intricate stonework and spectacular ceramic murals.
Next, whet your appetite for a delicious journey along Richmond’s Dumpling Trail, a collection of 20 restaurants serving some of the most delectable dumplings this side of the Pacific.
Savour guo tie potstickers and sui mai steamed dumplings at Dinesty Dumpling House, fresh and juicy xiao long bao dumplings (also known as soup dumplings) at R & H Chinese Food and silky Vietnamese bánh bột lọc tapioca dumplings from Bánh Mi Très Bon.
End the day with a nightcap at the Jetside Bar at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s Globe@YVR, overlooking the runway at the Vancouver International Airport. The aviation–themed cocktail menu includes the “spirit–forward” Paper Jet, Chamomile Collins and Jetside G&T.
If you’re saving your visit till summer, the Richmond Night Market has all the buzz and liveliness of traditional outdoor Asian night markets. A short walk from Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station, hundreds of food and retail vendors offer everything from “hurricane potatoes” and takoyaki to rainbow cheese toast and Japanese–style poutine made with crispy pork katsu.
Make It a Weekend
Longing to linger? The luxury Fairmont Vancouver Airport was awarded the best airport hotel in North America by Skytrax Awards. The soundproofed hotel and spa is located within Vancouver International Airport and offers a newly renovated Fairmont Gold club floor with private lounge, full–service health club and complimentary BMW bike service for guests to explore Richmond’s extensive parks and trails.