If you visit Vancouver or head out on a cruise that will have the Lower Mainland as one of its stopovers, you’ll have lots of places around Vancouver to check out.
However, you shouldn’t give the historic fishing village of Steveston a miss. Even if your stopover is short, it’s worth taking four hours to check out this picturesque, rustic destination.
So, is it possible to visit Steveston Village in four hours?
The answer is a definite yes. Spending a morning or afternoon in Steveston gives you enough time to explore its main attractions.
Want to learn more? Keep on reading!
Accessibility Note: You can find details on wheelchair accessibility in Steveston Village at the end of this article.
Founded in 1886 by W.H. Steves, Steveston Village quickly grew and flourished because of salmon fishing. After the decline of the fishing industry during the Great Depression and World War II, it fell upon hard times.
Fortunately, in later years, the village rediscovered itself as a great tourist attraction because of its unique location, beauty, and closeness to its humble roots. Today, it draws people from all over the world to the mouth of the Fraser River.
Will you be the next one to visit?
How To Get to Steveston Village from Vancouver
Because of how the sky train (yes, you read that right; because of its location in the Fraser River delta and the terrain, the Lower Mainland doesn’t have a subway, it has a sky train) works, you’ll likely be traveling from Vancouver when you’re setting out for Steveston, so let’s see how to get there.
Get In from the Airport
If you’re on a layover at YVR or flew into the Lower Mainland, you have a few options to get to Steveston. You can take the sky train and buses #401 and #406, bus #407, or a cab.
The latter is also the most expensive option, so expect to pay between $27 and $33. If you take the bus and sky train, you’ll pay under $15, while bus #407 is the cheapest option, at under $10. It’s also the longest ride, taking roughly one hour.
Take the Sky Train from Downtown
If your starting point is downtown Vancouver, you can take the sky train on the Canada Line from Downtown South to Richmond. Get off the train at Richmond-Brighouse station and finish your journey on bus #402. Expect to pay around $20 for the trip one way.
Bike in from Marpole
If you’re spending a few days in the Lower Mainland and you love biking everywhere, you’re in luck! As long as your starting point is the southern Vancouver neighborhood of Marpole, you can bike over the Arthur Laing bridge all the way to Steveston.
You can use Mobi, the bike rental service offered by the City of Vancouver, to rent up to four bikes for 24 hours if you want to bike to Steveston.
For $25, you’ll be able to ride your bike through the village and return it to the pick-up station.
You can also shorten your ride by picking up an e-bike, making your ride to Steveston Village a lot easier on the body.
Things To Do When Visiting Steveston Village in Four Hours
For such a small destination, there are lots of things you can do when you’re in Steveston Village. While four hours doesn’t sound like a long time, you’ll be able to fit in all these attractions and more!
Let’s look at the top suggestions to see during your four hours in the village.
1. The Boardwalk and Britannia Shipyards
If your long trip from downtown leaves you dying for a stretch and a walk, head over to the boardwalk that connects Steveston Village with Britannia Shipyards.
The brisk, fifteen-minute walk will let you take in the breathtaking views over the third arm of the Fraser River. You’ll be walking by fishing boats and ships, the original canneries, boatyards, and Japanese fishermen’s houses.
During the summer, you can visit the heritage buildings for free every day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and also take guided tours. In the off-season, they are only open for visitors on weekends, between noon and 4 p.m.
You can also enjoy a picnic at the picnic tables located by the beautiful on-site flower garden. If you’re visiting during the summer, you don’t need to pack food. Food trucks are on site daily.
2. The Steveston Tram
Once you make your way back to Steveston Village after your refreshing walk, head over to the heart of the village to see Tram Car 1220.
Trams made an important contribution to the development of both Steveston and Richmond in the early 20th century. Tram 1220 is a remnant of the strong community built in the Lower Mainland before WW II.
To recapture the spirit of a leisurely tram ride, you can visit the site free of charge every day between noon and 4 p.m. While only one tram car is available, you’ll be able to get on board and have a sit-down like yesteryear’s travelers.
If you remember Once Upon a Time fondly, you may already know Steveston Village as the beloved Storybrooke from the show.
In fact, during the run of Once Upon a Time, fans from all over the world would travel to the village and visit the various buildings that made an appearance in the show.
Head over to Granny’s Diner (Cannery Café Seafood House) for a homemade meal or enjoy a burger and a Once Upon a Time martini at the Catch Kitchen + Bar. Likewise, dropping in at Juvelisto may result in the purchase of a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry as a memento of your trip.
4. The Steveston Museum
If you head down the street from the Steveston Tram, you can visit the small gem that is the Steveston Museum.
The building functions as a post office and visitors’ center, yet it is also the best spot to buy souvenirs and learn more about the history of the village. Staff will be happy to guide you to the best lunch or breakfast spot, give you directions, and let you in on some juicy historical tidbits.
5. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery
If you keep walking west from the Steveston Museum, you will reach the site of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. This sprawling building sits on wood pilings and overlooks the Fraser River.
This historical site is one of the last canneries from the 19th century that has been preserved in British Columbia. It specialized in salmon, which has been the backbone of the fishing industry in Western Canada since the late 19th century.
The cannery has been renovated with an eye for detail. It is a history-rich attraction, allowing the entire family to learn a history lesson about the early years of Canadian fishing.
6. Garry Point Park
Garry Point Park is a beautiful outdoor venue with several trails located at the mouth of the Fraser River. Here, the freshwater of the river is already mixing with the saltwater of the Pacific Ocean, making for a unique ecosystem.
If you visit the park during the summer, make sure that you’re wearing a hat and sunscreen. Much like in other areas of Steveston, there is little shade to be found on the trails.
The Japanese Garden is another treasure for you to discover in the park. It is a great spot for an engagement party or even a wedding ceremony, so you may spot one if you visit during the summer.
Getting Around Steveston
Overall, getting around Steveston is easy. The village is small and everything is easily reachable on foot.
The easiest way to get around Steveston Village is by walking. Within the four hours you’ve given yourself for the visit, you can easily walk to each attraction and encounter more on the way.
Steveston Village is a biker’s paradise. Many locals zip in and out of the village and take advantage of the biking trails that crisscross Richmond. Bike rental stations are available throughout the village if you arrive by car.
Miscellaneous Things about Steveston
You may still be wondering what else you can fit into your four hours in Steveston Village and what this destination has to offer at different times during the year. Here are some highlights:
- The Steveston Salmon Festival takes place on Canada Day (July 1st) and calls itself “Canada’s biggest little birthday party.” It is a great family celebration that includes parades, boats, and a great salmon dinner.
- The Richmond Maritime Festival takes place on the third weekend in August and features tall ships, boat races, and family-friendly events from Friday to Sunday afternoon.
- Fisherman’s Wharf is the “Main Street” of Steveston where fishing boats unload their fresh catch and outside diners line the boardwalk all the way to Gary Point Park.
- The second season of The Terror (The Terror: Infamy) was partially shot at Britannia Shipyards. The site received an extensive makeover for the shoot, which took place mostly at night.
- If you have more than four hours on your hands, you can go whale watching from the Vancouver Whale Watch pier on 12240 Second Avenue.
Steveston for Wheelchair Users
Richmond, the home of Steveston Village, is a reclaimed island, also known as Lulu Island, so the terrain is flat throughout.
The village provides excellent accessibility to wheelchair users. All the attractions I visited and included in this guide are wheelchair accessible.
Also, all public transportation is wheelchair accessible.
Ready To Visit Steveston in Four Hours?
Steveston Village is an easy destination to visit in four hours. I hope that reading this article has encouraged you to add it to your must-sees spots when you visit the Lower Mainland.
Drop us a comment if you have questions or would like to share your favorite spot in Steveston Village.