Society News

Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society Building Exhibit

Official opening of the Japanese Fishermen's Society Building

The Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society (JFBS) Building, located in Steveston directly behind the Steveston Museum & Post Office is now open to the public. The museum is open Monday to Sunday from 12-4pm.

It features interpretation about the Japanese Canadian experience in Steveston from the time of their arrival in Steveston to the time of their internment during World War II. Their story is told in their own words, and uses their objects and archival images.

The exhibition begins with the arrival of the first Nikkei, or people of Japanese descent. Their many contributions to Steveston from fishing and farming to cultural arts, and from education to kendo and judo are explored. The exhibition also interprets the Japanese community’s internment during World War II and the postwar return of some Nikkei to Steveston.

The JFBS Building is a symbol of the Japanese community’s success and of their many contributions to Steveston. The building was located at Number One Road and Chatham Street, where it was situated between the Japanese Hospital and the Japanese Language School, two important JFBS projects. The building was likely used for a variety of purposes, including the administration of both the hospital and the school.

The Japanese Hospital itself was built in response typhoid fever epidemics, which were an annual scourge during the last years of the 19th century. The hospital was completed in 1900 at a cost of $1,800 and contained a large ward of 30 beds, two private rooms and a small surgery. Although built and funded by the Japanese community, it was open to everyone in Steveston.

The Japanese Language School educated young children, with an increasing emphasis on English. Eventually the full BC curriculum was adopted and Japanese classes were taught after school.

The Steveston Museum would like to thank the:

Nikkei National Museum – Exhibition content

Steveston Museum Site Building Committee – Exhibition advisors

Steveston Historical Society – Exhibition content development

City of Richmond, Production – Morgan Muir, Graphic Design

David Jensen and Associates – Exhibit design

125th Anniversary of the Steveston Post Office

Dignitaries cut the cake at the 125th Steveston Post Office Celebrations
Members of the community came together on May 2, 2015 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Steveston Post Office.

Festivities ran from 10am – 1pm and included live entertainment, prizes and give-aways, free refreshments and postal exhibits.

Municipal, Provincial and Federal dignitaries were present on the day and we were honoured for them to join us. A special thank you to: Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie; Richmond City Councillors Harold Steves, Bill McNulty, Carol Day, Linda McPhail and Chak Au; MP Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay; MP Alice Wong; MLA John Yap and MLA Linda Reid.

To mark the event, a Design a Stamp competition took place. Participants from as young as 4 years put their creative juices to work and produced some amazing submissions. Special thanks to Steveston London Principal, Jim Allison and art teacher, Sid Akselrod; Byng Elementary Principal, Al Zarchikoff and Homma Elementary Principal, Susan Roy for encouraging staff and students to take part.

Congratulations to the winners, Kristine Wau, Andrew Phipps and Bob Baziuk and to the finalists, Ruby Kump, Aidyn Cartner, Daisy Mavis, Emily Chen, Celine Tsa and Meghan Lok.

Graciously supported by: Canada Post, RBC Royal Bank, Richmond News, Steveston Historical Society, Tourism Richmond and the City of Richmond

Special thanks to Price Mart and the Steveston Coffee Company for providing the birthday cake, cupcakes and coffee.

Video from the 125th Anniversary Celebrations (credit Matthew Van Deventer):

Steveston – Early Postal History:

(courtesy of the British Columbia Postal History Research Group)

Following the relocation of the Lulu Island Post Office on the Government dock at the end of Number 2 Road, William Herbert Steves saw the need for a new Post Office to serve the rapidly growing Steveston area. The new office, to be named STEVESTON after Manoah Steves, father of the first Postmaster William Herbert Steves. The office was approved under authorization notice 162-13, dated March 1890, and was established on May 1, 1890 although the proof strike is dated ‘MY 2 90′ indicating that the office did not open until mid may.

The post office was probably located in the Steves seed store on 2nd Avenue between Bayview and Moncton. Mail was received tri-weekly from New Westminster by mail steamer.

Mr. Steves’ father, Manoah Steves had been born in New Brunswick and came to Richmond in 1877 after having spent a short time in Maryland. He purchased land on the west end of Lulu Island where he established a seed business. He was joined the next year by his family. The Steveston townsite was named after Manoah Steves.

W.H. Steves remained postmaster for four years and then G. Blake took over for one year. It then moved to Hunt’s store on Moncton Street and later to the Hepworth Building on the SE corner of Moncton Street at 2nd Avenue. Following the completion of the tram service to Vancouver, mail service improved and by 1947 mail was received twice daily on the B.C. Electric Railway 8am and 4pm trams.

Passionate About Steveston's History?

Become a member of the Steveston Historical Society and help us in our mission to preserve and promote the history of Steveston, BC.
Find Out More