A Day at Fisherman's Wharf

Original story posted here.

It has been a Steveston Village magnet for years. But there’s more to Fisherman’s Wharf—a floating dockside walkway that threads between the fishing boats—and the colourful boardwalk promenade of shops and eateries at Steveston Landing than meets the eye. The shoreline attraction is a direct link to the local fishing industry and cannery-era heyday.

Keen to plan a first-time visit or ready to make a long-overdue return trip? Read on for our overview of the top things to do at Fisherman’s Wharf.

PURCHASE SOME SEAFOOD

At Fisherman’s Wharf visitors have the chance to wander down a ramp, walk the floating pathways and peer at the seafood sold from the small armada of boats moored alongside the public fish sales float. This floating market offers a cornucopia of glistening goodies, which can include salmon, rockfish, and brimming baskets of shrimp. Look out for fresh-caught sea urchins and keep in mind that the highly anticipated spot prawn season (typically mid-May to June) is just around the corner.

Wondering what else is in season? Check here for the year-round menu. Fisherman’s Wharf (Bayview Street at Second Avenue, follow the boardwalk) is technically open 24/7, but fishing vessels and vendors come and go as they please. Usually you’ll find the greatest number of vendors on weekends.

EAT FISH & CHIPS

Steveston is generously salted with aromatic fish & chip restaurants. But one must-visit spot for this delicious dish is located at the Wharf’s western end. Pajo’s has been serving its crisply battered wild cod, salmon, and halibut (plus other offerings such as burgers) from its floating, ramp-accessed restaurant since 1985. On sunny days it seems like everyone in Richmond is dining here—which means a meal at an off-peak time is recommended if you want to snag a sought-after outdoor table.

INDULGE IN A SWEET TREAT

Strolling the sun-dappled boardwalk with a decadent dessert is always a good idea here. Luckily, you’re spoiled for choice at one of the Steveston’s most popular businesses. On hot days, join the queue at Timothy’s Frozen Yogurt, and, while you’re waiting, make your selection from the gelato, sorbetto, and frozen yogurt flavours labelled on the blackboards. Option-wise, you can enjoy flavours ranging from from salted caramel to bubble gum and from black sesame to chocolate peanut butter.

DISCOVER YOUR INNER PHOTOGRAPHER

One of Richmond’s most visually appealing locations, the Wharf serves-up a kaleidoscopic array of photogenic features, inviting you to explore your camera settings and capture some cool images. Lens-ready subjects here include the seafood-selling fishing boats, the working harbour, and even some quirky restaurant signs. It's a great opportunity to fill up your Instagram feed—feel free to share your photos using our #RichmondMoments hashtag.

SPOT LOCAL WILDLIFE

Stop for a few moments on the boardwalk and look closely at the water. You’ll likely spot ducks and swans swimming around the docks and wooden piles. Sometimes you can even spot a sea lion or two nosing around the Wharf’s fishing boats. Seagulls flying above are common to see, along with bald eagles a little further offshore (if you have binoculars, point them towards nearby Shady Island, where bald eagles nest). A few good rules of thumb to keep in mind: never feed the wildlife, get too close, or scare and harass the wildlife.

SHOP FOR SOUVENIRS

There are also a few souvenir stores to check out at Steveston Landing, perfect for some easy browsing. From nautical knickknacks including seagull-shaped salt and pepper shakers to Canadiana clothing items such as moose-motif socks, these cheery boutiques are jam-packed with fun gifts. And if you’re looking for T-shirts for everyone on your list, check out the options and price points in each store before you decide.

VISIT STEVESTON FISH

Seafood might be the Wharf’s best souvenir, though. But since filling your backpack with fresh shrimp isn’t necessarily wise, nip into Steveston Fish instead. This popular store is lined with freezers stocked with everything from halibut to octopus. But they also have a good array of canned Pacific salmon, an easy-to-transport local seafood that recalls Steveston’s canning history.

If you’re interested in Steveston’s fishing history, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site is a short walk away—it was once BC’s biggest salmon cannery (as many as 2.5 million cans of salmon were packed here each year until the 1930s).

INDULGE IN DINNER

If your fish & chips lunch seems like a long time ago, it might be time to think about dinner. The Wharf is lined with patio-fronted casual dining options but there are also a couple of elevated spots to consider as well. Head upstairs to Catch Kitchen + Bar for great views and an delicious menu (house-made crab cakes recommended). Alternatively, Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant is the perfect finale to any Wharf visit, especially if you indulge in a delicious Cioppino feast or a seafood platter—plus a side-dish of golden harbour views.

SLOW DOWN

If you do nothing else on your visit, sitting on a bench, drinking in the blue skies and basking in the sun would be more than enough. Keep in mind that the busy eastern end of the boardwalk is lined with storefronts and restaurants, but a few steps west it changes to a more open area of benches and railings that overlook Fisherman’s Wharf and the fishing boats and masted pleasure vessels. From Anvil Cove to Brittany Bay, see how many exotic boat names you can spot, then stick around for a scenic sunset.

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