Guide to the ‘Burbs: Richmond

From Steveson to the Night Market, here’s how to make the most of life in Richmond.

Hottest ‘Hood

It’s a heck of a commute, especially for transit types, but with its picturesque wharf and traditional feel, the fishing village of Steveston—which was also the backdrop for seven seasons of Once upon a Time—is a hotspot for locals looking to step out of the action while staying within reach of the city. But more affordable price points and towering high-rises have made Richmond’s already busy City Centre by far the fastest-growing area in the city—and one that’s expected to reach a population of more than 90,000 in 15 years. Those seeking more upscale digs are heading for family-friendly Terra Nova, best known for its $1-million kids’ adventure playground as well as a top grown-ups’ play area, the Quilchena Golf and Country Club.


Steveston: With its wooden wharf, fishing floats, historic buildings and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, this picturesque fishing village really feels like taking a step back in time. Tour the cannery, grab a pack of Pajo’s tasty fish and chips for the stroll, and stop by the public fish-sales float for fresh-caught seafood.Richmond Night Market: Tornado potatoes, grilled squid, fresh mango desserts, dragon’s beard candy and bubble waffles: the legendary and long-running Richmond Night Market features a summery sea of food stalls and vendors, as well as live performances, carnival games and rides. Devotees got a scare earlier this year when they heard the market was cancelled, but it turned out it was the smaller Illumination Summer Night Market—which started in 2008 near the Knight Street bridge—that was shutting down.

My favourite thing about living in Steveston, is that I can walk to everything. There are community gardens, a library, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and an awesome kids park within a 5-minute stroll.– Tricia Booker, 51, Preschool Teacher

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport: Aberdeen Centre and Richmond Centre are still go-to spots for Richmond shopping, and critics say the best outlet deals are still south of the border, but those wanting clearance prices minus the border tangles can check out this relative newcomer, which includes brands such as Coach, Armani, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and more. Vancouverites wanting to check out their wares can hop on the Canada Line and get off at Templeton Station.

Best Bites

Pajo’s: Ask where to find the best fish and chips in the Lower Mainland and most people will point you to Pajo’s. The long-running food stand has four locations, but the most famous is at Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston. Lineups can be lengthy, especially on a sunny weekend, but the wild cod and salmon and fresh-cut fries are well worth the wait. (Photo: Tourism Richmond)Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant: Understatement is far from the forté at Chef Tony, where the large banquet hall and luxurious VIP rooms play host to packed houses, and traditional dishes are given upscale twists—from the signature black truffle, pork and shrimp dumplings to the famed egg-white custard tarts.Kirin: Roasted squab, Peking duck and pan-fried black cod are just a few of the items on the expansive menu—the à la carte offerings alone run a whopping 18 pages—at this top destination for Chinese cuisine, famed for its polished service and dishes meticulously prepared from local ingredients (a feat that caught them a Bronze at our Restaurant Awards). Prefer lighter reading? Stick with the fresh sheet, which is prepared monthly for dim sum and dinner service.Bánh Mi Très Bon: Owner Lan Do gave up a corporate career for her true love—food—and it shows in the elegant simplicity of this favourite Vietnamese eatery, which has won raves since it first opened in 2016 (including, yes, a Bronze at our Restaurant Awards—Richmond really reels them in). Named for the French-influenced handmade bread that’s found in northern Vietnam and baked in-house, the café uses organic ingredients and free-range meats, and puts a fresh twist on Vietnamese classics from flavourful pho to hearty beef stew, as well as sandwiches that are truly très bon.Hoitong Chinese Seafood Restaurant: Reservations are required for this tiny hidden gem, which channels old-world Hong Kong private club-style dining. Sweet and sour pork, fried milk with fresh crab and pine nuts, and salt-baked Asian-breed chicken are among the simple yet refined offerings that have made this stop a rite of passage for Chinese food devotees.Steveston Pizza Co.: Some would cry sacrilege at the mere mention of smoked salmon on a pizza, but the word “poetry” is often evoked in reviews for this beloved Steveston pizza joint, which offers thin-crust pies with unconventional twists—from Japanese (with wasabi-scented teriyaki chicken breast, enoki mushrooms, camembert and sesame seaweed) to West Coast (smoked salmon, capers, onions, roasted peppers and basil pesto), as well as a series of seafood-based creations.

I come from a very proud family of Richcity homebodies. I was born, went to school, and had my first and second jobs within a 5km radius, and you can scatter my dusty ashes in the frigid waters of Garry Point. – Alyssa Hirose, 22, Student

Coming Soon

Six million square feet of residential and commercial space is what’s proposed for the mixed-use redevelopment of Richmond’s tired Lansdowne Centre shopping mall, which shows its age when you look at the ghostly list of anchor stores past—Zellers, Target, Future Shop, Eaton’s and Woodward’s. Almost a city within a city, the pedestrian-focused 50-acre development would include 24 mid-rise towers, residential spaces from condos to street-level townhouses, retail and office space, a community centre, and a civic plaza and park large enough to host major concerts and events. If approved, construction on the first phase could begin in late 2019, but early adopters will face years of construction.   

Want to see more from the VanMag guide to the suburbs? Check out the rest here.