Society News

40th Anniversary GALA NIGHT a night to remember!

Heritage Recognition Award Recipients

Thank you to all who joined the Steveston Historical Society as we celebrated our 40th Anniversary at our Fundraising Gala Night on 24 September, 2016. Over 160 friends and supporters came to hear our plans to preserve and promote the history of Steveston in 2017 and beyond.

A food social and ceremonial, guests enjoyed a 3-course Coast Salish feast featuring storytelling from Elder Henry Charles, a silent auction, and a cultural performance from Coastal Wolfpack at the Seine Net Loft, Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site.

The evening was also an opportunity for the Steveston Historical Society to acknowledge the contributions of many individuals, businesses and organizations that have contributed to preserving our historic village.

Heritage Recognition Award Recipients: Robbie Johnson, London Heritage Farm Society, Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society, Britannia Heritage Shipyards Society, Steveston Community Society, Richmond Museum Society, Steveston Harbour Authority, Tourism Richmond, Richmond Heritage Commission, Steveston 20/20 Group, G&F Financial Foundation, Richmond Community Foundation, Interface Architecture, ZGF Cotter Architecture, Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Advisory Committee, Nikkei Stories Project Team.

Thank you to our event sponsors:

Diamond: ONNI Group

Gold: Port of Vancouver, Asia Pacific Yacht Centre Corporation

Silver: Plat:form Properties, Tien Sher Homes

Media Sponsor: Richmond News
Centre Piece Sponsor: Dragon Boat BC

Steveston Town Square Park Re-Development

The re-development of the Steveston Town Square Park was initiated by the Steveston Historical Society and planned and funded by the City of Richmond. Construction began in mid-2015 and was completed in spring of 2016.

The finished concept respects both design and programming consultations held with the Steveston Historical Society Building Committee.

Guiding ideas for the Steveston Town Square Park:

  • Create a park area that is adaptable for a variety of year-round activities;
  • Create spaces that allow for accessible, casual public use as well as adapt to activities organized by the Steveston Historical Society and by staff at the Steveston Museum and Visitor Centre;
  • Accommodate sitting and display areas near Moncton Street for year-round use as well as during festivals;
  • With the relocated Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society (JFBS) building present, honour the Japanese heritage of Steveston by adapting a Japanese garden approach to materials.

The Steveston Historical Society and the Steveston Museum and Visitor Centre look forward to sharing the Steveston Town Square Park with the Steveston community during our events.

Concerns about tree removal in the Steveston Town Square Park

In response to concerns expressed regarding the construction of the garden by the Steveston Museum and Visitor Centre, the Steveston Historical Society offers these comments.

  1. Six out of seven trees in the front, main park remain – the large one removed was due to its poor condition and proximity to the building. A pair of apple trees and a cherry tree by the back fence were deemed to be in poor condition due to suppressed growth, the cherry tree also had very thin canopy foliage and was susceptible to cherry bark tortrix beetle. One maple tree located in the northwest corner of the park was observed to be in fair condition, but would be affected by proposed grade changes.
  2. The rebuilding of the garden has been done in conjunction with the Steveston Historical Society Building Committee, City Staff and Japanese Master Gardeners. The Wakayama Kenjin Kai donated a spectacular black pine for the gardens.
  3. The English rose garden at the picket fence remains.
  4. The remaining garden contains a Suikinkutsu feature – one of only a few outside of Japan, with a stone brought directly from Wakayama (Richmond’s sister-city) sourced out by Councillor Bill McNulty when he was in Japan.
  5. As the park contains two historic buildings – one being the JFBS, which is significant to the Japanese community – it was considered appropriate to maintain the English rose garden and add in the Japanese influenced garden.

The Nikkei Stories of Steveston

Nikkei Stories of Steveston pays tribute to the struggles and successes of Japanese Canadian pioneers and their descendants.

Ten short documentary videos reanimate the people, places and events of the historic Steveston Japanese Canadian community.

Nikkei Stories signage is now located in 10 locations around Steveston. These signs display a QR code that link viewers directly to the corresponding video via their mobile phones.

The videos can also be accessed online at:

Nikkei Stories of Steveston launched 16 February, 2016 at an official Premiere event held at the Steveston Buddhist Temple.

Richmond Mayor, Malcolm Brodie was the event’s Master of Ceremonies and special guest speakers were: Mr. Akira Uchida, Deputy Consul General of Japan; Mr. Seiji Okada, Consul General of Japan; Mr. Kelvin Higo, Chair of the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre; Mr. Loren Slye, Chair of the Steveston Historical Society; Mr. Gordon McLennan, Writer/Director at Orbit Films; Mr. Greg Masuda, Camera/Editor at Orbit Films

Some pictures from the launch event:

New Mural Installed in Fisherman’s Park Steveston

Over the past year a group of non-profit organizations in Steveston have come together to produce a fishing mural on the building in Fisherman’s Park. The inspiration for the project came from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society and the Steveston Historical Society as an effort to beautify the western end of Steveston and highlight the village’s fishing history.

Rebecca Clarke, Executive Director for the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society says, “We are excited to have a significant piece of public art installed at the west end of the village. With new commercial buildings at the corner of Bayview and 3rd Ave, I think we’ll see a significant increase in pedestrian traffic and it’s good to show we are more than an industrial area.”

Working with the Steveston Harbour Authority who owns the building and park, these two heritage groups formed a committee with representatives from each of the three non-profits as well as the Richmond Arts Coalition. The committee created a plan for depicting Steveston’s fishing past on three sides of the building.

With support from the City of Richmond, the Steveston Harbour Authority, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society and Benjamin Moore paints, the group hired experienced mural artist Victoria Oginski to begin the work for the south facing wall of the building. Basing her work on images from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery’s collection and photographer Joel Baziuk, Victoria has beautifully captured the essence of today’s fishing industry in Steveston.

According to Sarah Glen, Executive Director on the Steveston Historical Society board, “The Historical Society is excited to share Steveston’s history with the public in a new way. We plan to include the mural in future walking tours of the village to help visitors understand the importance of fishing in our history.”

The group is currently seeking funding to add mural panels on the remaining two sides of the building. These panels will complete the history of fishing in Steveston, from First Nations village to thriving fishing harbour.

Photo Credit: Bob Baziuk

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