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Richmond is the municipal name of a geographical area south of Vancouver known as Lulu Island - a name that was inspired by Lulu Sweet, a popular Hawaiian showgirl who was the paramour of the Mayor of New Westminster in 1862.
For generations, the heartbeat of Richmond was the Fraser River. As Langley (the valley township up river) slowly became the province's main agriculture centre, Richmond found its geographical location on the coast south of Vancouver commercially advantageous. Richmond has its own burgeoning agricultural infrastructure as well. Combined with the bountiful fishing that the Fraser River promised, the emergence of the New Westminster Farm Market in 1892 and the commerce that came with the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Richmond had all the ingredients it needed for a sustainable community.
Today, other smaller islands and distinct areas comprise the agriculturally-centric community that collectively identifies as the Fraser River delta. Steveston, Sea Island, Richmond Oval, Richmond Centre... In fact, 13 smaller islands make up the 50 square-miles that carry the name of the South Pacific songstress. Any way you slice it this is the dirt down on the delta...
Because of Richmond's location on the Fraser River Delta, there is an abundance of rich, alluvial soil ideal for farming - an industry that still contributes largely to the area's economy. And because most of this land is barely 1 meter above sea level, a network of dykes protects it from flooding. Recreational trails run along many of the dykes, making for a unique hiking experience. If this isn't enough, Richmond also has almost 1500 acres of parkland to enjoy.
One of Richmond's more flavourful corners, the village of Steveston is historically significant as one of the province's earliest salmon canning centres. Since 1945, this community on the Southern Arm of the Fraser River has hosted the July 1 Canada Day Steveston Salmon Festival.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is one of Richmond's most recognizable landmarks. Located on Sea Island, this, the second busiest airport in the country, is only a quarter of an hour's drive from downtown Vancouver and provides domestic and international flights to and from every continent. YVR is one of 8 Canadian airports that have US border preclearance facilities.
It's not just the airport that provides a window to the rest of the world. Richmond itself happens to have the highest visible minority population of anywhere in Canada with over half the population being of Asian descent. And while many emigrated from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and even India, the majority of individuals came from China. Much of Richmond reflects this rich cultural diversity with most business signs having Cantonese or Mandrin text as well as English. Naturally, the most tangible influence this has had on Richmond is in the culinary world. Nowhere on the Pacific Coast will you find a higher concentration of quality Asian restaurants than here! From Szechuan buffet to sushi bar, Lulu Island will make your mouth water in ways you didn't think possible on this continent.
Richmond also shares the Asian enthusiasm for the gaming culture. River Rock Casino Resort is British Columbia's biggest casino. Built by Great Canadian Gaming on the former site of Bridgepoint Market, this riverside Vegas-style establishment welcomes over 10,000 guests daily. And with restaurants, a large poker room, a massive gaming floor, a 222-room hotel, a theatre and a 144 berth marina, most of them are return-customers. Feeling lucky?
Prefer games over gaming? Check out the Richmond Olympic Oval, an event-centre specifically designed for the Speed Skating events of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Seating 8,000, this venue doubles as an international sports excellence and wellness facility, accommodating numerous sports with 2 international-size ice rinks, a 200 meter running track, 8 gymnasiums and over 23,000 square feet of fitness centre. Richmond's shopping district revolves around No. 3 Road, particularly the Richmond Centre. This 250-store mall stretching from Minoru Boulevard to Westminster Highway includes 2 large department stores, a 6-screen movie theatre, coffee shops, drug stores and designer boutiques. If you need it, want it or crave it, it's probably here.
Richmond visitor and residents alike enjoy a selection of excellent golf courses. Apart from private clubs like the Richmond Golf & Country Club and Quilchena Golf & Country Club, Richmond has many fantastic courses that are easy to find and open to the public. Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club offers an 18-hole Les Furber-designed course with fast, well-protected greens and lush fairways. Green Acres Golf Course is 6,022 yards of breathtaking panoramic mountain views. Mylora Golf Course provides a choice of two 18-hole, par-57 executive length golf courses. Country Meadows Golf Course is one of the most exciting and challenging courses on the Lower Mainland... Fore!
This is Richmond. Welcome to Lulu Island. We're betting you'll fall in love just like the mayor of New Westminster.