Presentation of the destination
Located on Lulu Island at the mouth of the Fraser River, Richmond is a colourful and friendly place and the fourth most populous city in British Colombia. Just a stone’s throw from bustling Vancouver, Richmond has an immigrant population of around 60%, making it one of Canada's most multicultural cities, with the predominantly Asian population enjoying Canada's first Buddhist monastery, and an incredible Lunar New Year every January. Add in beautiful mountain views, a stunning waterfront and delicious dining and you've got an ideal holiday destination. The currency is Canadian dollars, the time zone is the Pacific time zone (UTC -8) and the language is English, although there are plenty of Cantonese speakers as well.
Points of interests / things to see
Your first stop in Richmond has to be the unmissable International Buddhist Temple. In line with the welcoming nature of Buddhism, entrance is free and all are welcome. The International Buddhist Temple is both the first and the largest Chinese Buddhist temple in all of North America, run by the International Buddhist society in the Mahayana tradition. The temple doesn't just boast a long an illustrious history, but is also stunningly beautiful with authentic details throughout. From golden ceramic roof tiles, artworks such as paintings, calligraphy and sculpture to the largest Buddha Sakyamuni statue in North America there's plenty to see here. The complex even includes the largest Buddhist mural in the world, which took over two years to paint. You can also explore the wonderful gardens and visit the Siddhartha Gautama Pool, where you can see the nine heavenly white dragons which bathed the Buddha as he was born, represented in statue form, shooting water toward the sky. Wander among fountains, gazebos, pools and bridges and then enjoy a delicious vegetarian lunch in the cafeteria. Address: 9160 Steveston Highway.
Once you've enjoyed the treasures of the International Buddhist Temple, don't miss some of the other wonderful shrines and temples located on the same No. 5 road, also called the Highway to Heaven. The diversity of religions in Richmond is a direct product of the city's multicultural population, and a day spent touring the various friendly places of worship on the Highway to Heaven is guaranteed to be a rewarding and educational experience. The Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara is the centre of religious life for the Sikh immigrants to Canada who started arriving in the 1970s, and is a beautiful airy space with colourful paintings surrounded by a peaceful garden. Next, head to the Vedic Cultural Society of Richmond, Ram Krishna Mandir, founded in 1983 by Swami Chakradhari Ji who teaches a doctrine of love, peace and nonviolence in this beautiful Hindu temple decorated with statues of gods and goddesses from the Ramayana. Learn more about Islam at the Jami’a Masjid, the first and largest mosque in British Columbia, before finishing your tour of the religions of Richmond with a trip to the Richmond Jewish Day School, which often hosts public celebrations, concerts and so on.
It will come as no surprise that a city so well connected with the ocean as Richmond has a rich and interesting maritime history. Head to the south-west corner of Richmond to explore the quaint old fishing village of Steveston, once a salmon canning centre know as ‘Salmonopolis’ and now a popular tourist hotspot. It's a colourful and atmospheric place packed with fisherman's wharves, boats knocking hulls in the harbour and plenty of fish and chip shops. Grab some chips wrapped in paper and sit out by the water , or head to Garry Point Park in summertime and enjoy a barbecue. Steveston hosts an annual 'Salmon Festival' on July 1, Canada Day, with parades and a barbecued salmon sale, and the town is also well-known as a good place to visit for whale-watching, with plenty of boats plying the waters of the Gulf of Georgia in search of these wonderful mammals. In wet weather head to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery (www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.com) to learn more about Steveston’s past.
Just 20 minutes southeast on Highway 99 you’ll discover White Rock, a legendary beach getaway for Vancouverites. This friendly little community to the south of Vancouver is named after the 400-ton white rock on its beach, which once got its colour from layers of bird guano but is now preserved with regular coats of white paint. White Rock is the most popular beach in the area, sheltered by Vancouver Island from strong winds, which makes it it a excellent getaway in the sunny summer months, when Richmond locals join the throngs sunbathing on the long sandy beach or searching for sea life in the many rock pools left exposed at low tide. Just round the corner, Crescent Beach is a mecca for birdwatchers as it’s a nesting and hunting ground for Bald Eagles, and in summer there is plenty of water sports on offer including windsurfing. In July the city hosts the Tour de White Rock bicycle race, and during the first weekend of August the Spirit of the Sea Festival has a parade, fireworks, music and plenty of other attractions.
Tucked away in leafy Minoru Park, the Richmond Cultural Centre boasts a number of interesting cultural attractions. The Richmond Museum offers a fascinating and ever-changing roster of exhibitions about local history, from the Interurban tramline to local archaeological finds, cranberry farming and salmon canning to life in the Finnish community of Finn Slough, a tiny floating community of 30 boat-dwelling fishermen in Steveston. Multiculturalism, aviation, pioneer history and heritage and environmental issues have also been covered. The 2000 square foot gallery offers an excellent space for the displays, featuring artefacts, beautiful vintage photos and plenty of colourful hands-on learning opportunities for kids. Upcoming exhibitions include ‘Interwoven World’, looking at the influence of indigenous textiles on Western fashion, ‘Say AAAAAAHH!’, an exhibition on dentistry, and 'Art in Unexpected Public Places’. The building also houses a brilliant gallery so you can combine your museum trip with learning more about Canadian art. Website: www.richmond.ca/culture/sites/museum.htm.
For a magical and unforgettable experience, you can't beat seeing the beautiful waters around Vancouver from the air, and taking a tour in a floatplane is an ideal way to do this. The city is famous for its floatplanes, known as Beavers, smaller six-seaters, and Otters, which are slightly larger. Enjoy a 45-minute tour with Harbour Air (www.harbourair.com) or Seair Seaplanes (www.seairseaplanes.com/).
Just a few hours from Vancouver, these luxurious hot springs lie in the heart of the picturesque Fraser Valley, on the south shore of Harrison Lake. They’re a top getaway destination for Vancouverites who flock here to relax and unwind at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa, where there’s five healing mineral pools and a range of luxurious spa treatments on offer. See http://www.harrisonresort.com/ for more information.
This incredible 1889 bridge stretches an incredible 137 metres between the treetops, with a dizzying drop of 70 metres beneath it to the Capilano River. It’s situated in the beautiful Capilano Park, which is packed with other activities such as guided nature walks, a Rainforest Explorer programme for children and a Living Forest exhibit where you can learn more about this ancient virgin forest. Open 9am to 6pm, visit www.capbridge.com for more information.
Vancouver's local ski resort is situated on one of the North Shore Mountains, and as such offer spectacular views across Greater Vancouver. With the mountain exceeding 1200 metres, on clear days you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama. There are four chairlifts and 26 runs, plus lumberjack shows, demonstrations of birds of prey in action and a 3 km hiking trail. You can also watch plays in the 100-seat mountaintop theatre or visit the wildlife refuge. Visit www.grousemountain.com for more information.
Vacation rentals in Richmond (British Columbia)
How to get there ?
Luckily for visitors, Vancouver International Airport is actually located within Richmond itself, on Sea Island, so it’s incredibly easy to arrive by air. It's Canada's second-biggest airport, with non-stop daily flights all over Asia, Europe, the United States, Mexico and Oceania. It's a hub for Air Canada, Air Transat and WestJet. Once you touch down it's a quick ride by taxi or SkyTrain into downtown Richmond – just remember to change to a southbound train at Bridgeport Station. SkyTrain also connects Richmond with downtown Vancouver, and there are excellent road connections to all local destinations, as well as Highway 99. Buses run to towns all over the Lower Mainland for around $4. Richmond itself is laid out in a grid formation so it is easy to navigate, and traffic is generally smooth and safe so hiring a car is not a bad idea, although you might want to avoid areas around Richmond Centre on weekend afternoons when congestion can be a problem. Local buses all run from the Richmond Brighouse Canada Line station, across from the Richmond Centre mall, with fares for local travel costing $2.75.
Richmond city hall
Hotels in Richmond (British Columbia)