The coastal city of Richmond is part of the Metro Vancouver area, although it alone is an interesting place. The city, which is made up of four separate islands, is filled with history and culture, and is an overall beautiful place.
Farmland, parks and green spaces are part of Richmond’s topography, which has also been mixed with modern high rises, shopping malls and other new architecture. Still, it still has some of its fishing village charm.
In the past, Richmond was often overlooked by tourists, but today tourism plays a big part in the economy. And it shows. The city has really developed to accommodate this, and there is much to see and do here.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Richmond:
1. Visit a cannery
The Gulf of Georgia Cannery was built in 1894 and was once the leading producer of canned salmon in the province. Today, it is a National Historic Site and a museum.
The cannery is in the village of Steveston right at the mouth of the Fraser River. Visit the cannery to learn about its history and its importance to the province.
Guided tours of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery are available from 10am to 4pm daily. There are various exhibits, including the Canning Line, the Herring Reduction Line and The Pull of the Net: Commercial Fishing in Canada.
2. Pray to Buddha
You can also just wander around the International Buddhist Temple and its picturesque grounds. This is the largest authentic Chinese Buddhist temple in North America.
People of all religions can visit the temple and admire its magnificent architecture. The traditional Chinese Imperial style temple was designed to resemble the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Other features of the International Buddhist Temple include a classical Chinese garden, the magnificent Siddhartha Gautama Pool and its five great Buddha and Bodhisattva statues. After wandering around the temple you can shop in the gift shop or enjoy a vegetarian lunch in the café.
3. Hike through a forest
The Richmond Nature Park is an 81 hectare bog-forest that is dominated by mosses, shrub-like trees and Heath Shrubs. Hike through the forest and enjoy the flora and fauna.
There are four main trails in the nature park that range from 1.8 to 0.35 kilometres long. On your hike you may spot coyotes, douglas squirrel, black tailed deer, eagles, owls and garter snakes.
All trails in the Richmond Nature Park are wheelchair and stroller accessible, so anyone can enjoy an afternoon here. There is nowhere to buy food onsite, but there are picnic areas, washrooms and a playground.
4. Taste wine
British Columbia is known for its wines, of which three producers are right in Richmond. Go on a tour of any of these vineyards and enjoy the taste of BC wine.
Of the three, Lulu Island Winery (which was previously called Blossom Winery) is the most renowned, especially for its ice wine. Sanduz Estate Winery has a large portfolio of grape wines, with a spacious tasting room to enjoy them in.
Isabella winery specialises in Old World-style wines. Visit any of these wineries and taste their fantastic selection. Afterwards purchase your favourite bottle at the winery’s shop.
5. Have full tea
The historic London Heritage Farm is a 1880s family farmhouse that overlooks the Fraser River. The farmhouse has a lovely tea room where you can have full tea from fine bone china.
In addition to having tea, you can also wander around the beautiful gardens, which feature berries, herbs, perennials, annuals, bulbs and vines. There is also a rose garden that was planted in memory of the original farmhouse owners; the Londons.
The farmhouse itself is now a museum, with rooms being furnished as they were between 1880 and 1940. Amongst the rooms is a bedroom, a corridor, a baby room and a weaver’s room.
6. Go to the market
The Richmond Night Market is open every year from May until October. It is a famous market that attracts people from all over the world and has become one of the city’s must sees.
It is more than just a market, as it boasts food, rides, games and more. Excite your taste buds by sampling a wide variety of food, while watching live entertainment.
Explore the Magical Dino Park where 18 dinosaurs roar as you walk around. Finally, go on a thrilling ride or play an arcade game.
7. Play at the casino
The River Rock Casino Resort is the largest and most popular casino in all of British Columbia. In fact, there are an average of 10,000 people per day visiting the casino.
Poker, slots, roulette, blackjack, craps and baccarat can all be played here. There are even high limit tables for the elite.
It is also possible to bet on horseraces in the casino’s 55 seat racebook. Races are shown on screens, while food and drinks are served.
8. Spend time at a park
Not just any park, but Minoru Park, which sits on a former airstrip and horse-racing track. Today, the park is a major centre for culture and the community.
Minoru Park is so much more than just a park. It is also an aquatic centre, a cultural centre, a library and an arena. It also has two large tracks.
The park portion of the ‘park’ features football fields and tennis courts. It is easy to spend time at this park, going swimming, ice skating, soaking in a hot tub or playing tennis.
9. Watch the planes take off
Vancouver International Airport – which is Canada’s second largest airport -, is actually located in Richmond. If you are flying in or out of this busy airport you will of course be able to watch the planes take off.
It is also possible to watch the planes take off from the Globe@YVR and the Jetside Bar. Both of these establishment are located in the luxurious Fairmont Vancouver Airport.
You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to be able to enjoy dining in its award-winning restaurant or having a cocktail in its sports bar. You can just head over there and indulge in what they have to offer, while admiring the runway views.
10. Go for a walk
Being a city surrounded by water, it should be of no surprise that Richmond has a few great places to go for a walk. Particularly along the waterfront.
There are seven waterfront trails that are maintained by the city that can be walked or cycled. It is even possible to go horseback riding and enjoy the spectacular views across the water.
Trails range from six kilometres to 43.5 kilometres, and vary in terms of difficulty. There are also a few parks and viewpoints along the way.
11. Head to the beach
There is not much on Iona Island except for Iona Beach. The beach is part of the Iona Beach Regional Park and sits at the mouth of the Fraser River.
Iona Beach is known for its rare sand dune plants. It is also a mecca for migrating birds. In fact, there are over 300 species of them.
The beach itself is quite a long strip and makes for a great place to spend a sunny day. It is also possible to go hiking, horseback riding and cycling here.
12. Visit a bird sanctuary
If you really love birds, visit the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The bird sanctuary is in Delta, which is just on the other side of the Fraser River.
The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary has been designated as a site of Hemispheric Importance. There are over 250 species of birds living in the 300 hectare sanctuary.
Bald eagles, sandhill cranes, spotted towhees and lesser snow geese all reside at the sanctuary, as do many others. There are also walking trials and lookouts onsite, as well as a nice little gift shop.
13. Explore a fishermen’s village
Steveston was once a small fishing village at the southwest corner of Lulu Island. Today it is a historic area of Richmond with much to see and do.
In addition to being home to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Steveston is also home to a fishermen’s wharf, a park and a few historical buildings. Explore this area of the city for a fascinating look at its history.
The Steveston Museum is a must, which tells the story of the village’s history. It is also worthwhile to head to the wharf to watch the ships coming in and out.
14. Discover the diversity
Richmond is such a multicultural city with so much diversity. This can be distinctly be seen if you walk along No. 5 Road.
This road has numerous religious shrines to showcase the multiculturalism in the city. It is home to the International Buddhist Temple as well as the Vedic Hindu Society, Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, Jama Masjid and Cornerstone Evangelical Baptist Church.
There is also a Buddhist centre, an Indian cultural centre and a Jewish day school along this strip. Walk along No. 5 Road and truly get a feeling for the different cultures and religions that live peacefully together.
15. See the White Rock
The 400 ton rock sits in the middle of a beach in the community of the same name. The entire White Rock community was named after the rock, which is major attraction for the little village.
White Rock is located around a 20-30 minute drive from Richmond. Apart from the rock, it also boasts a large beach that is great for picnics and playing frisbee.
The village is also famous for its pier, which shoots out 500 metres from the shore. Walk along the pier, relax on the beach and enjoy a meal at one of the beachfront restaurants. And don’t forget to actually see the white rock.