Richmond History

Culturally diverse with a unique geographic community that is located on Canada’s west coast makes Richmond a great place to be. 20 minutes to downtown Vancouver and 25 minutes to the US border. Because it lies where the river meets the ocean, the shores surrounding Richmond provide a habitat for fish and migrating birds.

 

Richmond has grown very well, very quickly, changing from a rural community to an international city combining both sub-urban families with rural areas. Due to the 2010 winter games and the building of an Olympic Speed Skating Rink Richmond is sure to keep its transformations going.

 

For whatever reason it is that you are visiting, whether it is for business or leisure, you’re sure to enjoy your stay. But know that once you have experienced Richmond’s history, culture, and extraordinary diversity you will want to return.

Located on Canada’s Pacific Coast in the far South end of British Columbia just below Vancouver, Richmond is made up of a series of islands that are nestled in the heart of the Fraser River. The coastal mountain range serves as the beautiful backdrop for this area.

History

First incorporated as a municipality in 1879, Richmond was not designated as a city until 111 years later on December 3, 1990. The might and force of the Fraser River created the islands that make up Richmond is also what created the growth for the community. Without the river, this community would not have the efficient business of fishing, agriculture, shipping, aviation and manufacturing that it has today. The history of these industrial developments and the Fraser River go hand in hand.

 

In the 1860’s the first group of European settlers came to the area and moved down by the river where the land was promising for farming. The Fraser River also became more than just a means of supply; it also became a main mode of transportation. The river provided easy access to Richmond from the nearby city of New Westminster.

 

Once the hard and repetitive work of dyking, clearing, and draining the land had begun, the agricultural world in Richmond grew rapidly. In addition to grain and feed crops, berry and vegetable growing was becoming more popular and successful. In the past and even today, the most popular facets of agriculture are dairying and berry growing (blueberries in particular).

 

A local government was needed in order for dykes, roads, bridges and other services to be made and in 1879 Richmond was granted the status of a municipality.

 

With the abundance of fishery occurring on the shores, many more people were settling in the area. Fishing fleets would bring their catches to one of the many new canneries that had been built alongside the river. Even the boat-building world thrived thanks to the river.

Many Japanese fishermen were migrating to Richmond because of the strength in the fishing industry. This added to the industry and the richness of the community as well. Among the migrant workers brought to the area by the growing cannery and boat building industries, were first nations people and Chinese contract workers who were originally in BC to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Steveston became the main centre of the fishing industry due to the superb quality of its canned salmon, gaining international fame. Steveston has survived and strived to stay at the top as a unique, and diverse community that has always held strong ties to the sea.

 

With the area and land, Richmond has always been the centre for aviation in British Columbia. The first flight was made on March 25, 1910 from the Minoru Racetrack, and the first international airport for Vancouver was built on Lulu Island where it remained until 1930 when it was moved to Richmond’s Sea Island.