Visit Steveston, British Columbia

Jublilant & Fisherman


Visit Canada’s Magical West Coast Destination
By Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva


On Big Blend Radio, travel writer Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva” talks about her adventures in the historic port town of Stevenson, British Columbia, an old salmon canning town, now turned into a thriving coastal attraction and backdrop for the small town of Storybrooke, in the ABC hit TV series Once Upon a Time.


It’s been said that Steveston is to Vancouver, Canada what Sausalito and Fisherman’s Wharf are to San Francisco.  It is located at the southwest corner of Richmond, a suburb to Vancouver on Canada’s west coast. In recent years it has established its own unique cultural and pop port identity. 

Historical buildings, boutique stores, distinctive restaurants, working fishing docks, walking paths and two walk-friendly parks give this destination a special sense of place. Visitors can purchase freshly caught fish of all kinds dockside off working boats. In the 1940s, it was the home to Vancouver’s Japanese, the place where they first settled in the late 1800s and early 1900s – until they were evacuated during the Second World War. Steveston is now a working port and home to the largest fleet of commercial fishing vessels on Canada’s west coast.


It may be a working port but today’s Steveston is more than its past. I suggest spending a relaxing few days surrounded by the beauty and serenity of this very special fishing village. Tea shops, antique stores and arts and crafts outlets flourish in the small village. Tourists will find a destination conceived by unrestrained imagination, thoughtful stewardship and invigorating entrepreneurship. Locals as well as tourists flock to Steveston to buy fresh seafood, sample fish and chips, browse the eclectic shops, and experience the picturesque small-town feel.


Steveston is very flat which means everyone of any ability can enjoy its beauty. The roads surrounding Steveston provide miles and miles of effortless riding and walking. A #onehourwalk is as painless as it is beautiful. The scenery is remarkable, featuring panoramic views of the ocean. It is not uncommon to see wildlife such as geese, herons, and turtles along the walking/biking trails.

There are several ways to get to Steveston. I’ve taken a taxi from the airport. I’ve driven my car there. I have also sailed on our family 42 foot Grand Banks boat there. The Fraser River that leads to the port can be a challenge for pleasure crafts. Winds and swift currents are quite normal, as are dangerous floating logs and debris. Foremost a working fishing port, it does offer, for a charge, a number of its side tie moorings on its new horseshoe wharf for pleasure boats and whale watching boats. Water and electricity is available. It is quite convenient to walk to all attractions, but be aware…the crowds mill around until dark snapping photos, buying fish and taking in the water sights. The excitement of the wharf activities and easy access into town outweighs the noise and crowds.

There are a variety of tasty and wellness reasons to tour Steveston. Thankfully, tourist traps are outnumbered by local seaside offerings for sale on Moncton Street and the area has enough variety in the way of attractions to fill up a spring, summer or fall day.


Here are a few of my favorite stops that define the Steveston experience.

Fresh Fish Excursion:
Reserve a spot in your Coleman cooler or refrigerator for some authentic B.C. seafood, acquired directly from the people who actually haul it in for a living. Stroll the main wharf for a variety of fish. Boats from Prince Rupert to Nanaimo dock here regularly, most often Fridays for weekend sales, with fresh and frozen sea delights from as far away as Haida Gwaii. What’s it like? Imagine a seaside market with salmon, tuna, urchins, and the odd squid. Prices aren’t cheap, but you’ll know exactly what you’re getting by sight, smell and taste.

Historic Cannery Tour: The informative tour of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site is just steps from the wharf. Built in 1894, it is one of B.C.’s few historically intact canneries.The 121 year old cannery is home to a museum commemorating the history of Canada’s West Coast fishing industry from the 1870’s to the present. Learn about the unique local history through interactive exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages. There is an entrance fee.

Village Shopping: Probably the second best reason to visit this area is the fine shopping. I was lured by the window displays to pick up specialized tea, fine wool sweaters, cookware, flowers, marine related gifts and exceptional bread. Try Heringers Meats (190-12251 No. 1 Road) for premium meats, sides of garlic mashed potatoes, veggie salads, and Terra breads, as well as assorted gourmet treats. Pick up some antipasto, olive, and cheese. Once you’re stocked, stroll over to Garry Point Park to stake out a picnic table.

Adorabelle is an adorable tea house just a couple of blocks from the Wharf. The Tea House is in a small heritage home where “pretty in pink” is the main theme. The sandwiches, scones and desserts are all delicious as is the tea. You’ll like the service too.

Finally, don’t miss Country Bread. The Romanian baker/owner Nicu is quite a character. If you have time, engage him in a conversation.  My one question led to a 45 minute marathon on bread making, tourists, locals, politics and European roots. He makes one product: bread. That’s it. Oh, but what a bread it is. It sells out every day … at $10 a loaf!   You won’t see other items in this bread shop. The baker pulls plump, wholesome loaves directly from the wood-fired oven. The bread is dense and chewy with a bit of a sourdough tang. It’s very good with brie cheese or a bowl of spaghetti. 3680 Moncton Street.

Restaurant Hopping: Steveston’s signature dish is fish and chips, and is a simple alternative to the wild tower of stacked coruscations at the more upscale haunts. Funky joints cater to all appetites and tastes but the battered holy trinity of cod, halibut, and salmon is king any way you look at it. Dave’s Fish & Chips (3460 Moncton Street) is a good choice. The locals head to Net Shed Café (3820 Moncton Street). It’s long on diner atmosphere and has the kind of Chinese/Canadian menu that combines crispy spring rolls with lightly battered halibut and chips. PaJo’s at the Wharf (at the foot of 3rd Avenue and Garry Point) remains a popular draw since it fired up the deep fryer in 1985.

Outlet Mall: Opened in July 2015, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport is the city’s discount fashion destination for label lovers and style hunters. It has a comfortable but contemporary trendy look and feel. “Slick” comes to mind. Find Ralph Lauren, Armani, Guess, Hugo Boss and many more for up to 70% less all year round, plus enticing cafés and restaurants. Busy, busy, busy! You’ll need a taxi or car to explore this fun spot. It’s about 20 minutes from the wharf.

#OneHourWalks: Steveston features two very different parks. The first, Garry Point Park is a notable scenic spot for kite-flying due to the prevailing winds at the mouth of the Fraser River. It opened as a park in 1989, and was previously a native fishing camp in the 1700’s and the site of salmon canneries in the 20th century. Its wind-swept rock garden has an inspiring Asian theme. Run, bike, or bring the dog out for a walk. The Fisherman’s Needle Monument, erected in 1990, commemorates local fishermen who died at sea. The second is Steveston Park. This lush green walk takes visitors through green natural gardens, secret bays and gorgeous Northwest style floral displays.

Whale Watching: If you want to explore the outdoors, you can set sail from Steveston for whale watching and eco-tours. You might spot sea lions, herons, eagles, a pod of black-and-white orcas, or even majestic humpback whales. It’s wet, wild and deservedly popular.

Storybrooke Exploration: Fans of the TV show Once Upon a Time will love exploring the historic buildings and enchanted settings featured on the show. Steveston actually plays a starring role as the magical town of Storybrooke. Visitors can pick up a free Once Upon a Time walking map from the Visitor Centre and go on a self-guided tour of the some of the places seen on the show. 

Drink Local: Grab a cup of local Joe at the spacious Wave Coffee House waterfront location located in the heart of Steveston. Stop in for one of the famous Waves Signature treats – locally sourced – especially a Nanaimo Bar. A wide variety of specialty coffees – try the killer café mocha’s- or caffeine free Rooibos tea. Come in and relax in one of the comfortable leather lounge chairs. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.

Whether it’s fairy tale charm, seafood noshing or a walk in the park that you’re looking for, head off to the picturesque seaside village of Steveston. Come and see why this magical village is one of British Columbia’s most popular destinations.


Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit


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About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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