Seawall Trails With Airplane Views
Spending the fall in Vancouver meant we had a lot of time to explore both Vancouver and the surrounding areas. While we did several day trips north of the city, we also returned regularly to the Fraser Valley or headed south towards White Rock. One of our favourite stops when we headed south to enjoy Steveston trails, fairy tales, fish and whales!
Drive across Sea Island, past the Vancouver airport and the No 2 Bridge will take you to Richmond, BC. Head immediately for River Road and will find the paths that let you walk or bicycle along the seawall around the point until you reach the town of Steveston.
As you go along the paths you can stop at one of the many benches or grassy spots to watch the water and sea craft go by. You can also watch the big jets off in the distance at the main airport or catch the seaplanes landing on the river.
Steveston – Once Upon A Time!
Our first trip was planned as a “fish run”! We knew we could find fresh fish in this port town. Imagine our surprise when we wandered into the tourist office and were greeted by all kinds of memorabilia related to the hit tv show “Once Upon A Time”! Did you know that the town of Storybrooke was brought to life in small town BC?
There was no filming happening when we visited but with a few tips from the tourist office, we were able to pinpoint a few locations. Mr Gold’s Pawnshop window was a permanent fixture. Granny’s cafe had the name “Steveston Cannery Cafe” covers the tv signage but the bake shop across the street proudly kept its name as “Storybrooke Country Bread Bakery”.
We would later learn that the town hall for Storybrooke is located in another of our favourite day trip towns, Fort Langley.
The Fish Couldn’t Be Fresher
After wandering around the town and getting fresh roasted coffee at Steveston Coffee Roastery, we headed down to the docks.
It was immediately clear that we were in the right place. The fish boats were all pulled up to the dock and had their tables filled with ice and “fresh” fish.
As we looked at the signage we quickly realized that not all of the fish had been caught that morning (make sure to look at the catch date that is clearly marked on the signs) but it certainly looked much more fresh than any we had seen in the supermarkets. We wandered from boat to boat looking at salmon, black cod, octopus, shrimp and you could even sample fresh “sea urchin” available for purchase.
We were tempted a few times but we really wanted salmon and we did not want the whole fish. If you plan to use the whole fish (e.g. to make soup), buying a full fish is great. Or if you are experienced at cleaning and filleting the fish. But that would not be us!
We thought we would find a fish market off of the docks but being the early fall, we did not find a market. We did however find a great option. The Steveston Fish Shoppe fish store on Moncton Street has a wide supply of fresh fish and they will clean and fillet the fish for a small premium. For us, this was perfect. We picked out a large salmon and watched enthralled while the store owner worked.
We would return a second time to get salmon from the Steveston Fish Shoppe. We were told that fresh fish would likely stop in early October so we were not able to get back for a third supply. But we would remember this shop for our next trip to Vancouver in fish season.
We ate a couple of times in Steveston. Of course we had fish and chips one time but the other time we staked out a patio right by docks and enjoyed a mixed variety of seafood and wine for happy hour! At the end of September, most stores and restaurants were still open but we were warned that returning in October we might find less open.
If you like to watch the boats, Steveston is a great place to see a wide variety of sea craft!
Whale Watching With Vancouver Whale Watching
I have been bugging David since we had arrived in Vancouver about whale watching. After considering several options, we decided that we would go whale watching with Vancouver Whale Watching out of Steveston.
We were out for a full 5 hours on our whale watching tour. There was an amazing range of wild life on this trip: a Humpback Whale, a pod of Killer Whales (Orcas), Harbour Seals, Sea Lions and a Bald Eagle.
Having gone whale watching from Monterey, we were not at all disappointed with this second tour. We added some new types of whales and it just whetted our appetite to do this again. We had been disappointed when we visited the east coast in May to miss the whales, but that is still on our plans for a return visit!
If you are in Vancouver, make sure to take a trip south and visit Steveston. Whether it is to bike along the seawall, see “Storybrooke”, get fresh fish or to go whale watching, it is worth several visits.
Did you get to Steveston when you visited Vancouver? Did you do something else that we missed?