Picture for article "Richmond, BC - a brief history of the city"

Richmond, BC - a brief history of the city

About Richmond

Richmond is a coastal city in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada. It occupies almost the entire territory of Lulu Island (with the exception of Queensboro), located between two parts of the Fraser River. As of 2022, the city's population is estimated at 230,584 people.

Before Richmond

Among the first people to arrive in Richmond were the Salish, who at that time used the area for fishing. A thousand years before our days, the Salish people lived on this land and used its resources. Almost 2,000 people inhabited this territory, and when there was a lot of fish, the population increased 10 times. In the late 1780s, there was an outbreak of smallpox, which killed about 75 percent of the population.

European arrival

In 1861, Hugh McRoberts became the first European settler to purchase 1,600 acres of land on the north and south sides of the island. He named his farm Richmond View after his former place of residence, Richmond, New Wales - perhaps this influenced today's name.

After Hugh McRoberts, the island's population increased. By 1879, there were at least 30 families in the area, most of whom were farmers. The population slowly but surely increased, and in the period from 1971 to 1991, the population of the district doubled due to increased immigration from China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

The Incorporation of the City

In 1879, Richmond became a municipality. In the 1870s, the main industries were fishing, transportation, and agriculture. Salmon canning originated in the Steveston area, and by 1890 there were almost 50 canneries in Richmond. Soon ships from all over the world began to dock in the bay to feast on canned salmon.

Transportation and construction also flourished - the first bridge connecting Richmond to the mainland was built in 1889. In 1931, the airport was built, which today has become Vancouver International Airport.

In the 1960s, many agricultural lands were built up with residential and commercial facilities to ensure constant population growth. Asian-themed shops and boutiques were built, which attracted the attention of residents of the entire mainland.

In 1990, Richmond was incorporated as a city. There are several theories about how Richmond got its name. There are no official documents about how this happened, so we can only put forward indirect versions.

As mentioned above, it is likely that Hugh McRoberts, the first European settler, gave the name to the area, naming his farm after Richmond, New Wales, Australia. People also associate the name Richmond with the village of Richmond in Ontario, where John Wesley Sexsmith was born - the founder of one of the first schools in Richmond.

However, when it came to naming the islands, Colonel Richard Clement Moody was in charge. He was a British delegate leading the Royal Engineers from the British Columbia Detachment. Royal engineers researched places for cities, conducted construction, and it was they who came to the decision that New Westminster would become the first center of the colony.

World War II

During World War II, many Japanese immigrants were sent to internment camps in British Columbia.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, as well as Canada's immediate declaration of war on Japan, Japanese immigrants were evicted from their homes on the coast of British Columbia and sent to the interior of British Columbia. The Canadian government took control of all the property of Japanese immigrants, most of which was sold to finance internment camps.

Japanese immigrants were placed in camps, sometimes in buildings where cattle used to be kept. In the camps, the sexes were divided: men were forced to work on the roads, and women were placed in unauthorized dwellings.

After several painful years, on April 1, 1949, Prime Minister Mackenzie King recognized the enormous injustice of the treatment of Japanese Canadians, and they were once again given the opportunity to live in any part of Canada. Each aggrieved person was given compensation in the amount of $ 21,000 per person.

After the war, the community began to slowly revive, and the immigration of Asians gradually increased over time.

Richmond Today

Richmond has an area of 56 square miles and a population of over 100,000. Currently, the Richmond economy is undergoing a significant transition from the former heavy industrial character to more high-tech and light industrial companies. Biotechnology, in particular, has become an important new "niche" in the growing economy of Richmond. At the same time, the city's major manufacturers, such as Chevron, continue to modernize their facilities in Richmond, making major investments in the modernization and expansion of their enterprises.

Today, Richmond is a growing, industrial and residential area with a thriving and changing economy, a dynamic business environment, and great potential for further growth.