Published: November 29th 2009November 29th 2009
Richmond Olympic Oval
Spectacular design and site of Speed Skating during the February 2010 Winter Olympics!
Days on the Delta
Whether you are visiting Vancouver over the summer months, attending Vancouver's Winter Olympics in February to March 2010, or living in Vancouver like the Travelling Canucks do, take time out to enjoy some of what the Delta has to offer - we certainly do!
Richmond, on the banks of the Fraser River, is built on two main islands in the delta at the mouth of one of the world's great rivers that spills into the Pacific Ocean. The City of Richmond maintains a 49 kilometre dyke network since Richmond on average is 1.0 metre above sea level. The dykes have protected the City during high tides since the highest flood of record in 1894.
Richmond not only offers a unique ecological setting with an agricultural and fishing heritage to explore, as BC's fourth largest city, it has its own multicultural vibe since 60 percent of Richmond's population is Asian. Just a 20-minute drive south of downtown Vancouver and connected by the Canada Line, it is also the site of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and airport hotels.
In February 2010, Richmond will host the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Speed Skating events at the Richmond Olympic
White Rock's Pretty Pier
Take a short walk on a long pier!
Oval, a stunning venue. It beat out the Wimbledon Centre Court roof and the 2008 Olympic Games’ Beijing National Stadium (a.k.a. Bird’s Nest) in the Institution of Structural Engineers’ category of Sports or Leisure Structures!
Richmond will be hosting a 17 day long Olympic celebration at the Richmond O Zone, located at Richmond's city centre and Minoru Park, just blocks away from the Canada Line Brighouse Station. The Richmond O Zone will be anchored by Holland Heineken House Vancouver 2010. "Dutch Party Central", located at the Minoru Arena, will be open to all Dutch athletes and their families, friends and supporters, sponsors, and VIP's during the Olympics. It will be rocking with nightly performances by renowned Dutch artists and DJ's while serving Heineken beer, of course. The Richmond O Zone will feature live entertainment and high-definition screens, outdoor skating and ice art, exhibits, including virtual bobsleighing, food and fireworks. Canuck Junior's favorite bands like Bedouin Soundclash, Tokyo Police Club and Wintersleep will be headlining. Theme nights will salute Canada’s diverse cultures and regions. Sounds like fun so you know the Travelling Canucks will be there! Check out our upcoming blogs on Vancouver 2010 closer to the commencement and throughout
off White Rock's promenade.
the Winter Olympics!
Beyond Richmond's city centre, you can head out to Steveston Village on the banks of one of the arms of the Fraser River, visit Ladner's George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary in the wetlands, or White Rock, a seaside community neighbouring Surrey.
Top Eight Things to Do in Richmond
• Experience Richmond's Cultural Heritage and Future
To experience Richmond's Asian culture:
• Tour the International Buddhist Temple on Steveston Highway with its huge golden Buddha statues and incense-scented atmosphere. It is among the finest Chinese temples outside China.
• Tour one of the three Asian shopping malls located in the Golden Village, a district encompassing a four-block radius in north Richmond near No. 3 Road. Yaohan Centre, Parker Place and the Travelling Canuck's favorite, Aberdeen Centre, offer a wealth of Asian-themed shopping, from Hong Kong fashions to Asian herbal remedies and specialty foods. Why not grab lunch at the sprawling food courts?
• Enjoy Asian cuisine in the Golden Village on "Food Street". There's a great choice of affordably-priced and fine dining Asian restaurants, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Malaysian and Japanese.
• Check out the Chinese New Year celebrations at the Asian shopping malls in January and over the summer
Amazing interior of Richmond Olympic Oval.
months, the Richmond Night Market offers outdoor food and merchandise, live music and dance performances.
To learn more about Richmond's culture and history, head to the Richmond Cultural Centre in Minoru Park, which houses rotating exhibits at the city museum, archives, art gallery, and public library or visit Steveston village and environs.
• Go Bird-Watching
Bird-watch at Terra Nova Park. The Fraser River Estuary is an annual stop-over for 1.4 million birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway. If you have the time, head out to our favorite bird-watching destination, George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
• Exploring the Trails
Walkers, cyclists and joggers can enjoy an 80km/50mi network of interconnected walkways and trails in Richmond, many on the waterfront atop the delta's dykes.
• Touring the Richmond Olympic Oval
Next to the Fraser River on River Road stands the Richmond Olympic Oval, the spectacular venue for Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Speed Skating events. We toured the Oval this summer and attended Canada's Speed Skating World Cup Speed Skating Trials this Fall. The "wood wave" roof and design are amazing. Unfortunately, the Oval will be closed from December1, 2009 to March 31, 2010 so the only way to see the
Asian inspired landscape at the Oval.
Oval is to get your hands on one of the hottest Olympic tickets or watch the competition on TV. After the Games, the Oval will be retrofitted into a community centre with high performance athletics centre.
• Rocking at the River Rock Casino Resort
For casino lovers, stop at Bridgeport Station to check out the River Rock Casino Resort with more than 900 slot machines. The resort not only hosts poker tournaments, offers fine dining at Tramonto's, it presents great musical and comedy acts in its showroom, the River Rock Show Theatre. We just went to see Bill Maher's satirical take on American politics. It's a great venue.
• Hanging-out at the Riverport Sports & Entertainment Complex
For family fun, head to the Riverport Sports & Entertainment Complex at the corner of No. 6 Rd. and Steveston Hwy for movies, swimming, bowling, or skating. The Silvercity Riverport Theatre complex is our favorite since parking is free and they have stadium seating in all 19 theatres! For cheap eats, dine at the Old Spaghetti Factory!
• Shopping the Malls
Richmond Centre at Brighouse Canada Line Station is a beautiful shopping mall offering dozens of fashion retailers, including Tommy Hilfiger, Roots and
On sunny summer days, it's a great place to people-watch!
Baby Roots, and the Hudson's Bay department store. Richmond Centre is one of our favorite malls to walk around on wet, cold days!
• Spending Time in Steveston Village
Steveston is a quaint, historic fishing village in the southwest corner of Richmond. Historically, it was cannery row with 15 canneries serving the commercial fishery. It was once home to Canada's largest fishing fleet with more than 600 vessels. Visit heritage sites to learn about the British Columbia fishing industry or visit the Steveston Museum where you can view old photos and artifacts.
Today, Steveston Village is better known as a place to hang-out on weekends. On sunny weekends, thousands flock to the village to sample the great restaurants and cafes on the riverfront, buy fresh seafood directly from the fishers at the Public Fish Sales Float, and walkabout the wharf, village and browse the gift shops. The Travelling Canucks had a great time chilling out in Steveston in September with cameras in hand since there are lots of great photo ops! Steveston's Highlights
• Visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, an 1894-built waterfront facility that now serves as a museum. It has interactive displays on salmon
Fishers sell fresh fish on the public docks at Steveston's Marina.
canning, fishing boats, and the participation of multi-ethnic settlers in what once made Steveston the "Salmon Capital of the World."
• Visit Britannia Heritage Shipyard and their new visitor's centre, another National Historic Site that displays restored heritage boat works, bunkhouses, and homes that show how locals lived and worked in the early 20th century. Not far from the Shipyard, Steveston's London Heritage Farm is a delightful slice of rural life, with bee hives, fruit trees and a tearoom that serves scones and fresh-brewed tea in a restored 1880s farmhouse.
• Dine on fresh seafood and fish in a restaurant or on the dock.
• Attend Steveston's Salmon Festival celebrations on Canada Day (July 1).
• Take a Cannery Channel Tour or Fishing, Diving, Firework or Sunset Cruise charter.
• Take a whale-watching boat tour - see orcas, eagles, and seals in their natural habitat over three to five hours in a big zodiac-style vessel.
• Go windsurfing at Garry Point.
Lazy Days in Ladner
For bird and nature lovers, the Travelling Canucks highly recommend a half-day trip to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in the spring, fall, and winter. Situated on Westham Island, just 6 miles west of the community of Ladner
Snow Geese Migration, November
Flocks of Snow Geese can be heard overhead as they fly the blue skies above the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
in the Municipality of Delta, the Sanctuary offers nearly 300 hectares/850 acres of managed wetlands, natural marshes and low dykes in the heart of the Fraser River Estuary. The Travelling Canucks enjoy roaming the scenic river banks and marshlands that are the wintering grounds for 230 species of birds, including Canada geese, ducks and teals, marsh hawks, coots, blackbirds, gulls, doves and great blue herons, all nesting residents. Nesting activity occurs during April and May, with cute ducklings and goslings roaming around in June. Great Blue Herons roam the wetlands while hawks, eagles, and owls can be spotted in the trees. Shorebirds like Sand-pipers start arriving in mid-August, followed by mallard and pintail ducks. During the months of September and October the number and varieties of birds increase, reaching a peak in early November. Every November and March, the Travelling Canucks head to the sanctuary to watch thousands upon thousands of snow geese migrating to and from Russia’s Wrangel Island, off the coast of northeastern Siberia.
Granted the Travelling Canucks do not go to the Sanctuary as often as we did in the past when Canuck Junior was Baby Canuck, we enjoy taking photographs as we walk along the
Resting Snow Geese
on Westham Island's farmlands.
two miles of beautiful and relaxing trails, stopping by the many bird-blinds set up along the trails to observe birds and water fowl in their natural environment, climbing the viewing tower, and feeding the ducks that swarm around our feet! Mama Canuck has always found it strange to hear rifles being fired in the background during hunting season. Lucky for the birds, you can see the birds overhead desperately trying to reach the sanctuary.
Westham Island is great fun over berry season and pumpkin season. We love berry-picking at Emma Lea's where you can enjoy strawberry shakes and sundaes during strawberry season after enduring the back-breaking work of strawberry-picking. Mama Canuck's back prefers raspberry-picking, despite the prickles!
The Travelling Canucks also enjoy stopping by the farms on Westham Island to purchase local produce during growing season. Westham Island Farm run by the Ellis family has been a family tradition for the past 15 years! It's not only one of our favorite pumpkin patches, we have fun picking fresh corn and artichokes in the Fall too!
If it's beach weather, why not visit Centennial Beach on the east side of sunny Tsawassen's peninsula. It features miles of white
Papa Canuck Berry Picking
Papa Canuck is known to eat more berries than get weighed!
sand and a tidal flow from Georgia Straight that keeps the water the cleanest of all beaches in the Lower Mainland. Tsawassen is also home to the BC Ferries Terminal if you are planning a trip to Vancouver Island to visit the Capital City of British Columbia, Victoria.
Rocking in White Rock
White Rock is a seaside community with Washington's Mount Baker in the background and the shallow, warm waters of Semiahmoo Bay at its feet. It was named for a 486-ton granite boulder found on its beach near the promenade. Although the boulder was once kept white by shellfish-eating seabirds whose guano covered the rock, today painters keep it white!
White Rock's history is tied to the railway that linked British Columbia to Washington State. The rail tracks that run alongside the promenade at the beach opened up White Rock and Crescent Beach to tourists coming from Vancouver and New Westminster in the early 1900s. The small White Rock Museum and Archives, located in the historic Train Station, provides a glimpse of the local history and culture. It's free and well worth a peek!
With small cliffside dwellings overlooking the waterfront and famous pier,we enjoy walking
White Rock's Rocky Shoreline
Great for beachcombing and fishing off the pier!
along the promenade and pier on sunny summer and autumn days. Restaurants line Marine Drive so there is an amazing choice of eateries to choose from. White Rock sunsets viewed from the pier, beach or patios are worth waiting for!
Beach weather and summer events draw visitors to White Rock:
• In July, White Rock hosts the Annual Tour de White Rock, a bicycle road race that attracts over 150 local and international riders.
• Over the August BC Day long weekend, the Spirit of the Sea Festival is celebrated on White Rock's beach with a torchlight parade, fireworks, and music.
• In honour of the once internationally famous White Rock Sandcastle Competitions in the 1970s and 1980s, a sandcastle competition is being planned for 2010. With long, sandy beach exposed at low tide, there is just enough time for sand sculptors to construct elaborate sand displays. The Travelling Canucks can't wait to take Canuck Junior this summer to check it out! Alternatively, a sand sculpting event is also held at Harrison Hot Springs in the Fraser Valley!
So, spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in White Rock, one of the best socializing beaches and best beach pier in
Fish & fresh cut fries - eat in or take out! One of White Rock's favourite spots!
Metro Vancouver. Enjoy Italian gelato at Dolce Gelato which is owned by a Milanese family after enjoying fish and chips at Moby Dick's. If you're into storm-watching, White Rock ain't bad in November! The Travelling Canucks think Delta rocks! So don't miss out on Delta's highlights.
There are more photos below