Travel idea: 7 reasons to visit Richmond, B.C.

Travel idea: 7 reasons to visit Richmond, B.C. Image by: Author: Canadian Living


Travel idea: 7 reasons to visit Richmond, B.C.

Though Richmond, British Columbia is often considered a suburb of Vancouver – it's a 20-minute drive away – it's a unique city all of its own. In 2007 Canadian Living  Magazine named it Canada's healthiest city. There are trees and parks, a cute historic fishing port and what feels like a generally more rested, relaxed pace. But if you don't live there, why visit Richmond, British Columbia? It's simple: food, food, more food. And fun shopping. Need we say more?

1. Daiso in Aberdeen Centre
This Aberdeen Centre mall has got lots of offbeat offerings, from the only Giordano store in North America (a fave cheap-and-chic clothes store in Hong Kong) to sexy Maserati cars to loose tea and dried foods emporiums. But the must-visit is Daiso, the Japanese version of a dollar store. At Daiso, everything costs two dollars, like wooden hairbrushes, intriguing Japanese candy, stationery, kitchen utensils and more. Ange Chew, Tourism Richmond's director of marketing says she goes for "the fake eyelashes. They're cheap!" Daiso is the perfect place to shop for back-to-school supplies, party favours, entertaining accessories, and inexpensive Japanese kitchen gadgets.

2. Richmond Night Market
Five words: Come with an empty stomach. Stalls at this open-air night market sell yummy food, from dim sum, bubble tea, dragon beard candy, kebabs, noodles, soup to mention just a few. Check out the other offerings too. "Where else can you buy a Samurai sword…and a wig?" laughs Ange. There are more than 400 stalls to explore, plenty of paid parking (entrance to the market is free, but parking is $5), even a stage that often features acts by local talent. The Richmond Night Market ( runs weekends from approximately May to the early October.

3. Steveston, the historic fishing village
Tucked at the edge of Richmond is the sweet historic fishing village of Steveston, where working fishing boats float by, and locals congregate for easy meals and a view of the water. Go for lunch at Reflections Gastronomie on Bayview street, followed by a spot of décor shopping a short walk away on the south side of Moncton street. In Steveston, fisherman still sell their catch to the public, there are long boardwalks to enjoy, and of course, more food to eat like Dave's fish and chips, or ice cream.

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4. Gulf of Georgia Cannery
After your nice fish-and-chips lunch in Steveston, take the chance to learn about the fishing industry. Explore the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, a circa-1894 building and one of the few intact canneries in British Columbia. Inside the huge wooden building (on Steveston's waterfront, you can’t miss it), you can take a guided tour and check out interactive exhibits. 

5. Eat a multi-course Chinese meal
The population of Richmond, B.C. is about 60 per cent Asian, and mostly Chinese. Thus, no visit to Richmond should be complete without sitting down to a fabulous banquet-like spread, Chinese style. Try Kirin in the City Square for an authentic, delicious multi-course meal. Don't order a la carte, the real fun is getting dish upon dish brought to your table's lazy susan, like soup, Peking Duck, expertly stir fried veggies, fried rice. Feel intimidated? Just ask one of the staff for help deciding what to order. Keep in mind, you won't be the first non-Chinese speaker to need help with the menu.

6. Go to the mall
This isn't as silly as it sounds, as Richmond's malls are mostly Chinese-flavoured and full of fun one-off stores you'd never find anywhere else. Back at Aberdeen Centre, there is a shop selling only quirkily cute Zombie doll keychains, collector's items among Richmond's teenage set. Feel like you're in Hong Kong by visiting Parker Place Mall, which has a food court to dine for, a host of dried food and medicine shops, electronics you can haggle over, and more.

7. Richmond Nature Park
So now you've eaten your way through Richmond. Burn those calories and get your start on the epic life expectancy Richmond's inhabitants enjoy (at 83.4 years, longer even than Japan's) by going for a long walk. Richmond Nature Park has a bog forest trail you can explore, as well as a birch forest and ponds to check out. Mild weather, great food, excellent parks…it's no wonder they live so long in Richmond, B.C.

Read more:
6 reasons to visit Vancouver

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Travel idea: 7 reasons to visit Richmond, B.C.