16 things you might not know about Richmond

Apr 4 2017, 12:01 am

Sitting south of Vancouver, Richmond can often be overshadowed by its northern neighbour, or simply passed through by those going to, or returning from, the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.

Richmond received its designation as a city in 1990, and is rich in cultural identity and interesting attributes, if you know where to look.

Richmond is made up entirely of islands

Islands in the Fraser River (Josef Hanus/Shutterstock)

Islands in the Fraser River (Josef Hanus/Shutterstock)

Sitting in the Fraser River delta, Richmond is flanked by the river to the north, south, and east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Richmond’s main island was named after a showgirl

LuLu island makes up the majority of Richmond, and was named in 1862 after showgirl Lulu Sweet bough property on the island.

The Vancouver International Airport is actually in Richmond

Image: seaislandspotter / Instagram

The airport sits on Richmond’s second biggest island, Sea Island. So you’re technically flying out of Richmond, not Vancouver!

Richmond has the highest percentage of immigrants in Canada

At roughly 60%, Richmond boasts the highest percent of foreign born citizens in the country. Only 26% of the population was made up of caucasians at the time of the 2011 census.

The city is home to the popular Richmond Night Market

The Richmond Night Market vendors (Richmond Night Market/Facebook)

The Richmond Night Market vendors (Richmond Night Market/Facebook)

When it is open in the summer, the Richmond Night Market attracts roughly 30,000 visitors a night, and at its peak has over 400 booths.

The entire city is in danger of flooding

Richmond sits approximately one metre above the sea level, and is in danger of flooding from the Fraser River. A massive system of dykes have been constructed to protect Richmond, over 49 km in length!

So its buildings are limited

Due to the dangers of flooding, most houses in Richmond don’t have a basement, and because of its close proximity to the airport, buildings cannot exceed above 46 ft tall.

It’s (a little bit) sunnier on the island

A sunrise in Richmond (Max Lindenthaler/Shutterstock)

A sunrise in Richmond (Max Lindenthaler/Shutterstock)

Richmond receives approximately 30% less rain than Vancouver, as it is further away from the mountains.

Richmond is BIG

With a 2017 population estimate of 218,307, Richmond is the fourth largest city in British Columbia, smaller than only Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby.

And so are its Buddhist Temples

The two largest Buddhist temples in North America are in Richmond: The International Buddhist Temple and the Ling Yen Mountain Temple.

…And its cranberry farms

Cranberry farmers in Richmond, BC (Anton Bielousov/Shutterstock)

Cranberry farmers in Richmond, BC (Anton Bielousov/Shutterstock)

Being one of Richmond’s two biggest crops (alongside blueberries), Richmond is home to approximately 47% of BC’s cranberry acreage.

Richmond can also be known as Storybrooke

The ABC TV series Once Upon a Time is filmed in Richmond, and the streets of Steveston would be familiar to anyone who has seen the fictitious town of Storybrooke.

Richmond has sister cities

Richmond calls two cities its sister: Pierrefonds in Quebec, Canada, and Wakayama in Japan.

It has quite the impressive port

Boats moored at the Steveston port (Rigucci/Shutterstock)

Boats moored at the Steveston port (Rigucci/Shutterstock)

Roughly 600 boats work out of the port at Steveston, making it the largest commercial fishing harbour in Canada.

…and for good reason

The salmon industry was so big in Steveston that the town was also known as Salmonopolis, for the large amount of canning factories in the area.

Richmond has an island that can only be reached at low tide

Shady Island across from Steveston (Josef Hanus/Shutterstock)

Shady Island across from Steveston (Josef Hanus/Shutterstock)

Steveston Island (also known as Shady Island) is located just south of Steveston. At low tide there is a makeshift rock pathway across the river, allowing adventurers to cross. The tide is quick to turn, however, and people have gotten trapped on the island in the past.

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