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Richmond ( ) is a coastal city, incorporated in the Canadian province of British Columbiamarker. Part of Metro Vancouvermarker, its neighbouring communities are Vancouvermarker and Burnabymarker to the north, New Westminstermarker to the east, and Delta to the south, while the Strait of Georgiamarker forms its western border. Richmond is the location of Vancouver International Airportmarker.

History

The city was named after a local farmstead established by Hugh McRobertsmarker. A daughter of his chose this name for their farm after one of the Richmonds in Australia (it is unknown exactly which one it is). The wife of the first reeve of Richmond, Englandmarker later claimed that the city was named in honour of her birthplace. However, modern historians proved this claim to be false, since the Boyds immigrated to Richmond in 1863, but there had already been a pamphlet called "A Visit to Richmond" made in British Columbia in September 1862.
  • November 10, 1879 — Richmond was incorporated as a District Municipality.
  • March 25, 1910 — The first flight in British Columbia was made from Minoru Racetrackmarker.
  • December 3, 1990 — Richmond was designated as a City.


An early centre of European (and later, Japanese) settlement in Richmond was the old fishing village of Stevestonmarker on the southwestern tip of Lulu Island. Steveston is now home to several museums and heritage sites, as well as a working harbour for fishing boats. Currently, London Heritage Farm, the Gulf of Georgia Cannerymarker and the Britannia Shipyard National Historic Site in Steveston highlight these parts of Richmond's diverse history.

Geography and climate

The city comprises most of the islands in the Fraser River delta, the largest and most populated island being Lulu Islandmarker. The city of Richmond includes all but a small portion of Lulu Island (the Queensborough neighbourhood at the far eastern tip is part of the city of New Westminster). The next largest island, Sea Islandmarker, is home to the Vancouver International Airportmarker (YVR). In addition to Lulu and Sea Islands, 13 smaller islands make up the city's land area. The city also includes the fishing village of Stevestonmarker, located in the far southwest corner of the city.

Since all of Richmond's land occupies islands in a river delta, the city has plenty of rich, alluvial soil for agriculture, and was one of the first areas in British Columbia to be farmed by Europeans in the 19th century. The drawback of Richmond's geographical location, was that since all the land averages just one metre above sea level, it was prone to flooding, especially during high tide. As a result, all the major islands are now surrounded by a system of dykes (quite different from the dykes of the Netherlandsmarker or the levees of New Orleansmarker), which were created in the early days of European settlement. There is a possibility that, during an earthquake, the dykes could rupture and the alluvial soil may liquefy, causing extensive damage. Richmond is also at risk of a major flood if the Fraser River has an unusually high spring freshet. Recreational trails run along the tops of many of the dykes, and Richmond also supports about 1,400 acres (5.67 km²) of parkland.

Because of the high water table, very few houses in Richmond have basements and until the late 1980s, very few buildings were above 3 storeys high. Also, because of proximity to the airport, current building regulations limit the height of buildings to .

Richmond enjoys a temperate climate, and actually receives 30% less rain than neighbouring Vancouvermarker because it is not as close to the mountains. It snows in winter and the summer temperatures are mild to warm. Richmond is also very prone to fog in the cooler months.

Demographics

Typical Richmond home, 2006


Richmond's population as of January 1, 2008 was 188,100. It is the fourth largest city in British Columbia, after Vancouvermarker (605,891), Surreymarker (420,900) and Burnaby (193,954).

Richmond has an immigrant population of 59%, the highest in Canada. More than half of its population is of Asian descent, many of whom immigrated in the early 1990s, most of them from Hong Kongmarker, Taiwanmarker, and Mainland China. Other Asian Canadians in Richmond include Indo-Canadians, Filipino Canadians and Japanese Canadians, the latter having a long history in Stevestonmarker dating back to the 1800s. The Japanese Canadian community was devastated following the Pearl Harbor attackmarker by Japan in 1941: the Japanese Canadians were relocated to internment camps in the BC Interiormarker and Albertamarker and their property was auctioned off. Richmond is also home to two of the largest Buddhist temples in North America, the International Buddhist Temple and the Lingyen Mountain Buddhist Templemarker.

According to Statistics Canada, residents of Richmond have the greatest life expectancy in Canada at 83.4 years, and the lowest obesity and smoking rates as well. The average price of a detached home in Richmond is $758,915. Serious violent crime is very rare in Richmond, and Richmond was ranked as the third safest city in British Columbia for 2002.

Government and politics

Richmond City Hall.
With a mostly middle-class to upper-middle-class demographic, Richmond has voted regularly along centrist to conservative lines, and is a stronghold for the BC Liberal Party. The city's politics are well known in the Vancouver area for its lack of upsets and the long terms enjoyed by incumbents.

Municipal ElectionsThe current mayor is Malcolm Brodie, an independent first elected in an October 2001 by-election. Local government consists of an 8-member City Council and a 7-member School Board. The last elections were in November 2008.

Like Vancouvermarker, but unlike most cities in British Columbiamarker, Richmond runs on a political system of locally-based political parties. For the most part, however, their organization is weak and they have been known to collapse or change names frequently from one election to another.

In the November 2008 elections, the main local parties were: the right-wing Richmond First party , the centrist Richmond Independent Team of Electors and the left-wing Richmond Citizens Association . In the elections, the RF won a total of 7 seats, the RITE won 4, the RCA 2 and there were 3 independents.

Provincial Elections

In provincial politics, Richmond is a stronghold of the BC Liberal Party. In the 2005 provincial elections, the Liberals easily won all three of Richmond's electoral districts by large margins.

Federal Elections

In the Canadian House of Commons, Richmond is divided between two electoral districts: Richmond, which encompasses the centre and northwest of the city, and Delta—Richmond East, which encompasses the south and east, as well as the parts of neighbouring community of Delta. In recent federal elections, Richmond has alternated between electing the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada, but in the October 2008 federal election, the Conservative Party won in both of Richmond's seats.

Health care

Health care in Richmond is overseen by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, which also covers the cities of Vancouvermarker and North Vancouver as well as coastal regions of British Columbiamarker. The only hospital in Richmond is Richmond Hospitalmarker, located on the Southeast corner of Westminster Highway and Gilbert Road.

Education

The head offices of the Richmond School District #38, on Granville Avenue.
Richmond is home to a campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In addition, the British Columbia Institute of Technologymarker runs its aircraft maintenance courses at facilities at Vancouver International Airport.

School District 38 Richmond has 10 secondary schools and 38 elementary schools, including two late french immersion schools and six early french immersion schools. The school district also hosts one International Baccalaureate World School, located at Richmond Secondary School.

Transportation

Richmond is connected by a system of bridges and tunnels to Vancouver and Delta, and through the New Westminster suburb of Queensborough (on eastern Lulu Island) to the "mainland" portion of New Westminster.
Three bridges (one of them twinned) connect Lulu Island to Sea Island and the Vancouver International Airport; one bridge connects Sea Island and the Vancouver International Airport to Vancouver; two bridges connect Lulu Island to Vancouver; one bridge connects Queensborough (on eastern Lulu Island) to New Westminster; one bridge connects Queensborough to Annacis Island in Delta; one twinned bridge connects Richmond to Annacis Island; and one of the few underwater tunnelsmarker in British Columbia connects Richmond to Delta.

Richmond is served by two freeways: Highway 99, which connects to Interstate 5 at the border with the United States, and Highway 91, which connects Delta, New Westminster, and Richmond.

Railway bridges connect Lulu Island to Vancouver, New Westminster, and Annacis Islandmarker, and serve the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways, as well as the Southern Railway of British Columbia (although the latter railway's Lulu Island trackage is entirely within Queensborough).

The public transit system in Metro Vancouver, planned and funded by TransLink, currently has bus and rail connections from Richmond to Downtown Vancouvermarker, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, Delta and the University of British Columbiamarker. A SkyTrain rail line called the Canada Line, connecting both Richmond Centre and the airport to Downtown Vancouver and to points in between, opened on Monday, August 17, 2009. The Canada Line provides travel to Downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes with a frequency of 4 to 10 minutes, 20 hours per day, using the same fares as the bus system. Major transit hubs are the Richmond–Brighouse Stationmarker, which is the hub for almost all Richmond bus routes, and the Bridgeport Stationmarker which is the hub for all bus routes from outlying suburbs.

Vancouver International Airportmarker (YVR), located on Sea Island, which is part of Richmond, to the north of Lulu Island, provides most of the air access to the region. Several Float plane companies (including Salt Spring Air, Harbour Air and Seair Seaplanes) operate from the south terminal providing service to the gulf islands and Vancouver Island. The airport is the second busiest in Canada and one of the busiest international airports on the West Coast of North America.

Economy

Richmond supports about 100,000 jobs in various areas including services, retailing, tourism, light manufacturing, airport services and aviation, agriculture, fishing, and government. Richmond also is a leading centre in the region for high-technology companies, including MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates and the Nintendo Corporation of Canada.Microsoft has opened an office in September 2007 for software development and already employs hundreds from around the world.

Air Canada Jazz operates a regional office in Richmond.

Before its dissolution, Canadian Airlines operated an office in Richmond. Before it merged into Air Canada Jazz, regional airline Air BC was headquartered in Richmond. Prior to its dissolution, Harmony Airways was headquartered in Richmond. Prior to its dissolution, Pacific Western Airlines was headquartered in Richmond. Prior to its dissolution, Canadian Pacific Airlines was headquartered in Richmond.

Agriculture

The Agricultural Land Reserve preserves 4,916 hectares within the city as farmland, an area that makes up most of east Richmond. Of this area, 3,012 hectares are farmed by 247 farms; the rest is either vacant or occupied by non-farm uses. Cranberries and blueberries are the dominant crops grown. Other crops grown include strawberries, corn, and potatoes. In 2001 Richmond had approximately 47% of BC's cranberry acreage.

Shopping malls

Richmond is home to many Asian-oriented shopping malls, most of them along No. 3 Road from Alderbridge Way to Capstan Way. This area is officially termed as the "Golden Village" by Tourism Richmond and includes malls such as Aberdeen Centremarker, Continental Centre, Union Square, Ethen Centre, President Plazamarker, Parker Placemarker, and Yaohan Centremarker.

Other malls in Richmond that are not Asian-oriented include Richmond Centre and the Lansdowne Centremarker.

Many businesses display their store names in large characters both in English and Chinese (including non-Chinese businesses such as Staples).

City Centre development plan

Richmond city planners are one year into their update of its official plan for the city centre. The plan is anchored by the Canada Line and includes the development of nine transit-oriented village centres. The population of the area is expected to grow from about 40,000 to 120,000 residents.According to a senior planner for the city, the goal of the plan is to "turn the middle arm of the Fraser River into a focus instead of an edge."A Richmond parks manager said that for "too long residents have felt contained by the river, seen it as being to their backs. Now, they want people to face the river and embrace the waterfront."

Fraser River development

The Olympic Oval-Aspac Developments Ltd purchased 7.5 hectares (18.6 acres) of land adjacent to the Fraser River and the finished $178 million Richmond Olympic Ovalmarker. The $1 billion plan includes 16 high-density towers, up to 14 stories in height. The towers will be stepped toward the waterfront and will include trees and green space. Aspac's plans are for "probably the highest-end development Richmond has seen to date" said Mayor Brodie. A $2.3 million hard-surfaced path will be constructed along the river to link the project to Aberdeen Centre.Aspac's initial plan includes constructing the development in four phases, with the first phase comprising 65,000 square metres (700,000 sq ft) of residential development, and 2,300 square metres (25,000 sq ft) of ground-level commercial space. Some construction will not begin until after 2010, and will take up to 12 years to complete. The warehouses and commercial parks near the development are also slated for redevelopment.

The John M.S. Lecky Boathouse-The University of British Columbiamarker recently constructed a new boathouse along the river. The popular John M.S. Lecky boathouse [26156] draws crowds from rowing regattas and Dragon Boat Races.

Cambie Road Pedestrian Bridge-A possible pedestrian bridge where Cambie Road reaches the river is also being included in a future vision of the area. It would link nature trails on the north and south banks, and make Aberdeen Centre within walking distance for BCIT's aerospace campus students.

Capstan Way development

Developer Pinnacle International is planning a 16-building development on a seven hectare (17.2 acre) property near Capstan Way and No 3 road. The mixed use development would include over 2,100 residential units, various commercial uses, and a hotel.

The Canada Line is considered critical to the project. However, a fifth Richmond station at Capstan Way is only proposed for construction at 2010. This station is considered so critical to the development that the developer has offered $15 million to build it ahead of schedule. With a station adjacent to the development, the city would consider reducing the parking space requirements by 35%. Some construction will not begin until 2010, and will take up to 8 years to complete.

Also included will be 100 affordable housing units, a 25-space daycare, and a 0.6 hectare (1.4 acre) park.Live-work dwellings are also being proposed by the developers, where shop owners would live above their ground level operations.

Aberdeen Centre

Fairchild Developments is planning a six floor expansion to its Chinese-oriented shopping centre. The plan includes an office building, and a link to the Canada Line's Aberdeenmarker station. The mall is also considering purchasing transit coupons for staff and customers to encourage them to use the new line.

Bridgeport Station

The River Rock Casino Resortmarker, located near the newly opened Canada Line Bridgeport Station, plans to build a 12 story hotel.TransLink (the Canada Line operator) will give the Great Canadian Casino Corporation land worth $9.5 million, and $4.5 million in cash in return for building the park-and-ride facility. Transit uses will be charged $2 to use the facility.

Garden City

The Garden City lands.
55-hectare/136.5 acre parcel known as the Garden City lands was leased by the federal government for decades and was formerly used as a transmitter site for program requirements of the Canadian Coast Guard. The property is bounded by Westminster Highway, Garden City Road, Alderbridge Way and No. 4 Road and has been within the Provincial Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) since 1973. Recently the Federal Government of Canada deemed the land as "surplus" to its' needs and transferred the property to the Canada Lands Company (an agency of the Federal Government) for liquidation.

The City of Richmond, Canada Lands Company, and the Musqueam Indian Band entered a 2005 agreement with the federal government that included the intent to remove the land from the ALR for the purposes of high-density development. In April 2008, an application to exclude the land from the Agricultural Land Reserve was made to the Agricultural Land Commission, which is currently considering the application. In Early 2009 this application was rejected.

Film and television production

Steveston Village has played home to several major American movies such as Blade II and The 6th Day, and television series such as Supernatural, Outer Limits, Killer Instinct, X-Files, Smallville, Stargate SG-1, the Final Destination series and the Scary Movie series.

Fantasy Gardens (an old amusement park which is largely unoccupied now) served as Halloweentown in the popular Disney Channel television movie Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge and was also featured in the TV series Killer Instinct and Stargate SG-1. The television series Aliens in America also made use of Cambie Secondary School in the northern part of the city.

Vancouver International Airport on Richmond's Sea Island has also been featured in numerous films and television series, commonly standing in for Seattle-Tacoma International Airportmarker (as it does in The Cleaner and Dead Like Me). It is also featured as stand-ins for other airports in films such as Final Destination, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The L Word, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Are We There Yet?.

Parks and Recreation

Community/Recreation Centres
  • Cambie Community Centre
  • Hamilton Community Centre
  • Lang Centre (City Centre)
  • Minoru Aquatic Centre
  • Minoru Arenas
  • Minoru Artificial Turf
  • Minoru Sports Pavilion
  • Richmond Ice Centre
  • McLean Park
  • Richmond Nature Park
  • Richmond Public Library
  • Sea Island Community Centre
  • South Arm Community Centre
  • South Arm Pool
  • Steveston Community Centre
  • Steveston Pool
  • Thompson Community Centre
  • Watermania Aquatic Centre
  • West Richmond Community Centre


Sports

Richmond is home to the Richmond Sockeyes Junior B hockey team, and the Richmond Budgies Senior Men's Baseball Club.Richmond also has two swim clubs: the Kigoos summer swimming club and the Richmond Rapids (winter) Swim Club.As of October 1, 2006, the middle arm of Richmond's Fraser River became home to both the UBC Thunderbirds varsity rowing program and St. George's School rowing program, with the completion of the new $6 million CAD John M.S. Lecky UBC Boathouse. In addition, this facility will also function to enhance participation in the sports of rowing and dragon boating for the greater community, including youth, adults, and rowing alumni. Richmond also has their own short track speed skating club Richmond Rockets

Richmond and the 2010 Winter Olympics

For the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the City of Richmond has constructed an 8,000-seat speed-skating oval near the No. 2 Road Bridge, just across (the middle arm of) the Fraser River from Vancouver International Airport. The final construction cost (paid for by the city, the provincial government and the federal government) is around $178 million CAD. After the Games, the oval is to serve as a recreational structure for local residents. The Richmond Oval officially opened on December 12, 2008.The city received $141 million CAD from ASPAC Developments for city owned land next to the Oval. The sale more than covers the unfunded portion of the Oval's price tag.

Holidays, events and festivals

Fishing boats in Steveston village, Richmond, BC


On Canada Day, Richmond has an annual festival in Stevestonmarker called the Salmon Festival. This event includes a parade, and a huge barbecued salmon sale in front of the Steveston Community Centre. Locally-based municipal, provincial and federal politicians frequently show up at this event, usually as part of the parade and/or to hand out Canadian flags.An annual Richmond Maritime Festival has been held at the Britannia Shipyard, National Historic Site every August since 2004. It is a family event that celebrates the region's maritime heritage with live entertainment, ships, exhibits and demonstrations.From 8 to 12 August 2002, Richmond hosted a tall ships festival which attracted an estimated 400,000 people to Steveston. The success of this event surpassed many expectations and caused traffic congestion in the usually-quiet area. There was insufficient parking in the area, which gave locals the idea of selling "parking space" by using their driveways and front yards. Despite the event's popularity, there was a revenue shortfall and the city decided not to host the event again.

During the summer weekends, an annual Richmond Night Market is held. Toys, clothes, cell phones, and food are available along with live entertainment. It is very popular and is usually crowded.

Richmond also hosted the 2006 Gemini Awards, which were be held at River Rock Casinomarker. This marked the first time the ceremony had taken place on the West Coast, as it traditionally takes place in Torontomarker.

Sister cities



Notable residents

The following notable people were born in, live in or have resided in Richmond for a long period of time:



References

  1. Richmond local parties: RF, RITE, NDP
  2. " Contact Us." Air Canada Jazz. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
  3. " Career Opportunities." Canadian Airlines. February 24, 1997. Retrieved on May 20, 2009.
  4. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 34." Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
  5. " Harmony Airways Contact Us." Harmony Airways. Retrieved on September 10, 2009.
  6. World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. " 497.
  7. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 71." Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
  8. Richmond.ca - Parks and recreation


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