City of Richmond
2016 Prince of Wales Prize
Richmond’s richness of place and its long history of celebrating and protecting its heritage assets positively reflect this municipality’s sustained commitment to heritage conservation. The City of Richmond’s approach to heritage conservation is described by the Prince of Wales Prize Jury as “holistic” and “forward-looking” in its principles, policies, and practices.
An island community at the mouth of the Fraser River, the City of Richmond is a place rich in cultural diversity and includes within its boundaries the Vancouver International Airport, the International Buddhist Temple and, in the village of Steveston, the historic Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
Steveston, incorporated as a village in 1889, peaked as a salmon canning centre prior to World War I and was central to the economy for many years. Built in 1894, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery was once the largest salmon cannery in British Columbia and is now a National Historic Site devoted to interpreting the salmon canning industry and embodying a legacy of economic and intangible benefits. Meanwhile the Britannia Shipyards, with its 19th century restored homes, bunkhouses and boatworks, features old fishing vessels and the lifestyles of Japanese, Chinese and European immigrants who co-existed along the scenic waterfront area.
Since the 1980s, the City has made a commitment to the documentation and conservation of cultural landscapes, archaeological sites, vegetation and heritage areas, and to accommodating these in development and in park and open space projects. Natural history values are protected in sites such as the Sturgeon Bank (a significant habitat for year-round, migrating and wintering waterfowl populations, and important fish habitat).
From the 1980’s onward, the City of Richmond has made strong efforts in the conservation and interpretation of its rich maritime and agricultural history. In 1981, a study entitled Richmond’s Heritage Resources was prepared, which reiterated that heritage was a fundamental part of the city’s community and deserved more consideration in municipal policy and planning. This report served as a catalyst for the city’s future heritage policy and programs. In 1986, Richmond embedded heritage conservation into its first official community plan, serving as a commitment to conservation of cultural landscapes, archaeological sites and vegetation and heritage areas.
Richmond has had considerable success in the integration of heritage conservation and interpretation into park planning and design projects. These include the Terra Nova Rural Park and the Railway Avenue Corridor along the historic BC Electric Railway route and the Garden City Lands, an open space with a unique history and considerable ecological value. Traces of the past are brought to life through landscape design in places such as Minoru Park, Terra Nova and River Green Village. The city advocates funding solutions, innovative partnerships, creative interpretation of policy with astute negotiation, and a general willingness among all partners and stakeholders to achieve consensus and work collaboratively.
The City of Richmond was nominated by Jane Fernyhough, Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage Services.