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Steveston was originally a small town founded in 1880 by William Herbert Steves  near Vancouver, British Columbia. It has since been absorbed into the city of Richmond, British Columbia.
Steveston village is a historic salmon canning centre at the mouth of the South Arm of the Fraser River, on the southwest tip of Lulu Island in Richmond, British Columbia. Since 1945 it has hosted an annual Steveston Salmon Festival on July 1, Canada Day.
The most southwestern tip of this southwestern suburb contains Garry Point Park, the site of the Steveston Fisherman's Memorial.
The village is named for Manoah Steves, who arrived with his family around 1877-1878 from Moncton, New Brunswick via Chatham, Ontario. Born Manoah Steeves, a second cousin of William Steeves, he dropped the second 'e' en route. Manoah and his family were the first white family to settle in the area. Steves' son William Herbert actually developed the townsite, which became Steveston in 1889. Salmon canning began on the river in 1871, with the first major cannery being the Phoenix, developed in 1882 by Marshall English and Samuel Martin; by the 1890s there were 45 canneries, about half at Steveston. Salmon-canning was so much part of the life of Steveston that it was also known as Salmonopolis.
Each summer large numbers of Japanese, Chinese, First Nations, and European fishermen and cannery workers descended on the village, joining a growing year-round settlement. The fishery also supported a significant boatbuilding and shipbuilding industry. Sailing ships from around the world visited the harbour to take on cargoes of canned salmon.
The peak of civic aspirations was pre-World War I, when Steveston was promoted as Salmonopolis, a supposed rival of Vancouver, but canning activity slowly declined and finally ceased in the 1990s. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery, built in 1894 and at one time the largest plant in British Columbia, was reopened as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1994, and remains open today, recently given an award for Canada's best historic site.
The post office, which is also now The Steveston Museum, was once the location of a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, until it moved in the late 1970s to its current location across the street.
The people of Steveston have come together every year since 1945 to celebrate Canada’s birthday and the rich heritage of our community. Thanks to the tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteers and the generous support of our sponsors, the Richmond Agricultural and Industrial Society organizes one of the largest Canada Day celebrations across the country! On average, over 80,000 people from across Richmond, Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest spend Canada Day in Steveston!
The day begins at 6:30am with a pancake breakfast, followed by the kids bike parade at 9:30 then the big Canada Day Parade at 10:00am. The parade winds through historic Steveston village, and includes floats, marching bands, celebrities, politicians, community groups, vintage vehicles, mascots and much more. Then, the Festival is officially kicked off at our Opening Ceremonies on the Main Stage at noon with dignitaries, speeches, and the singing of O Canada.
After the official opening, the stage bursts with great entertainment all afternoon, extending into the early evening hours. Festival highlights include the Japanese Cultural Show, Trade Show, Horticultural Show, an awesome Children’s Festival, Youth Festival, Martial Arts Demonstrations, Food Fair, and an Artisan Gallery, plus an inflatable carnival and midway, and a local favourite pie and ice cream parlour. A new addition in 2017 is a food truck festival.
The main attraction is our famous salmon barbecue where over 1200 pounds of wild salmon filets are grilled over open fire pits. This popular treat sells out every year! $16 per plate. (Price subject to change.)
Whatever your age… Whatever your interests… There is something for everyone at the Steveston Salmon Festival!
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This page was last updated August 4th, 2020 by Kim.S
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