The Britannia Heritage Shipyard in Steveston or south Richmond is home to some of the oldest shipyard buildings in B.C. The shipyard serves to remind visitors that the Steveston area was once a thriving fishing village where European, Japanese and Chinese fishermen and shoreworkers built a livelihood and a community by harvesting the richness of the sea and called this area home more than one hundred years ago.
Now, living quarters, houses, early stores and cannery shops were preserved to retain their authentic feel. Many of the buildings are open for visitors during the warmer months in the spring and summer. The Britannia Heritage Shipyard is also a park with a planked boardwalk where nearby residents often enjoy taking a stroll in the evening here. Guided tours are available but simply taking a leisurely walk by yourself down memory lane may prove to be just as enlightening and educational. Almost every interesting locale has a plaque or tourist signage that explains the significance of the place or building.
What makes Britannia Heritage Shipyard feels even more alive is the boat restoration that is constantly taking place in the park’s Boat Works. Right now, Iona and Mukai, two heritage boats are being refurbished. Iona, a 38-feet ocean-going fishing vessel, was originally a double ender but the stern was later converted into a blunt end in the 1930s. Mukai was a smaller boat built by Sejei Mukai in 1988 as a retirement project to replicate (at a 50% reduction) the type of ships he used to construct in his younger days. Jim McMillan who works on repairing the two boats said that once they are given a new life, they would be relaunched back to the waters at the Fraser River where they once traversed.
See also At Richmond’s Britannia Heritage Shipyard, Iona and Mukai are Given New Lives
Britannia Heritage Shipyard at 5180 Westwater Dr, Richmond, BC
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