Archive for November, 2015

The Cannery Store

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Cannery_Store_Steveston_Insider_5449aGulf of Georgia Cannery Store: ‘Tis the Season to Shop Locally

When you set off to shop locally this holiday season add the Gulf of Georgia (GOG) Cannery National Historic Site’s gift store to your must visit list.

Rob Hart, GOG Cannery Society Operations Manager is responsible for purchasing the products you will find in the shop. His goal? To find merchandise that enhances the museum visitor’s experience and appeals to local shoppers. As a result, you will find a very unique collection of gifts and souvenirs.

Established in 1986, the GOG Cannery Society is an independent non-profit society and registered charity responsible for the operation of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site of Canada on behalf of Parks Canada. The museum opened to the public in 1994.

Revenue generated through gift shop sales goes towards museum operations; therefore you can feel good knowing your purchase is making an impact.

Popular among tourists and locals alike is a wide selection of salmon products. The vacuum packed smoked salmon is one of the shop’s top sellers as it is so convenient for travel.

Cannery_Store_Steveston_Insider_5460Hart points out five species of gourmet-canned salmon (Chum, Coho, Pink, Sockeye and Spring) are available from supplier The Fishery Seafoods, based on Saltspring Island.

If you are looking to support a Steveston business try Soo Salmon Jerky made at nearby London Landing. In addition, a nice historical connection is the sale of Murchie’s 1894 Select Orange Pekoe Tea (the same year the Cannery began operating).

For the book lovers on your list, you will find a good selection of books addressing local history, fishing, boating, First Nations art and culture and environmental issues.

Fish and marine themed décor and related products are bountiful. Think glass candlesticks masquerading as fish, bottle openers, Rain Goose tea towels (designed in North Vancouver), Christmas ornaments, and even stuffed animals (yes, fish!) along with other West Coast toys you might not normally come across such as bears and walruses.

First Nations jewellery is well represented in the form of pendants, earrings, necklaces and rings. Fun for puddle jumping, Native Sole rain boots feature dynamic motifs. Prints, scarves, t-shirts, greeting cards, bowls and salad servers can all be found here.

The museum’s archive has a good collection of historical canning labels that have been printed onto mugs. Hart mentions that one of these coveted mugs was bought by an Australian couple and became a household favourite until it broke. Determined to put a smile back on their faces, Hart sent a replacement down under!

“There is something for every age range at the Cannery Store.” Rob Hart

Children love to explore shops and they will be happy to discover their own special section filled with toys, games, stuffed animals and what stands out in my memory as a highlight of school field trips, souvenirs priced to match a child’s budget.

How would you feel about finding some Salmon Slobber in your Christmas stocking? Made in Alberta by Goat Mountain Soap Company, this and other equally humorous wilderness themed soaps are bound to produce a few laughs. The label promises there really is nothing fishy about this cleansing product (coconut oil and goat’s milk top the list of ingredients).

There is plenty going on inside the historic site during the festive season. Steveston merchants and community groups will show off their tree decorating talents at the Cannery’s Festival of Trees (on display November 29 to December 31). Visitors can vote by donation to benefit the Richmond Food Bank in this friendly competition!

Santa Cannery Steveston InsiderWhat would Christmas in Steveston Village be without a visit from Santa? After Santa arrives at Fisherman’s Wharf (Sunday December 6) he will make his way over to the Cannery’s theatre for photographs. Bring your own camera, the jolly old elf will pose and listen to your Christmas wishes between 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

For further shopping needs, are you aware the Gulf of Georgia Cannery hosts an indoor winter market? Now in its second year, the Cannery Farmers’ Market provides an opportunity for local food producers and artisans to showcase their products. The market is held every second Sunday (consult the GOG website for the schedule).

Make a trip to the Cannery Store this holiday season. During the month of December customers who spend $25 or more will receive a can of Gold Seal salmon while supplies last. You are welcome to shop during regular hours of operation (daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and no admission is required to step inside the store.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Steveston BCThe Cannery Store
Gulf of Georgia Cannery
12138 Fourth Avenue
Richmond, BC V7E 3J1
Telephone 604-664-9009

Outpost Mini Donut Company

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5430Bet You Can’t Have Just One!

Walking through the door of Outpost Mini Donut Company feels like stumbling upon a cozy cabin in the woods offering up warmth in the form of freshly made mini donuts. The aroma of these little morsels is the businesses’ secret weapon; it is very hard to resist their siren-like lure to taste each and every one of them.

Outpost is a joint venture between Christian Desierto, his wife Margie and her parents, Sam and Christine Sidsworth, with Christian Desierto as the managing partner.

Like many Steveston merchants, the Desiertos became smitten with the area when Sam and Christine Sidsworth retired to the waterfront village. Following the birth of their first child the Desiertos moved from Vancouver to Steveston.

They had been regular Outpost customers and seized the opportunity to purchase the business after seeing a for sale sign in the window. They were charmed by Outpost’s ambience with its fireplace and comfy living room seating area staged with ice skates, snowshoes, books, antlers and other rustic props. More importantly, they were firm believers in the product.

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5434Christian Desierto holds a full time job as a commercial property manager with flexible hours, which allows him to be actively involved in managing the shop’s operations. Sam Sidsworth oversees the maintenance of the equipment to ensure the production line runs smoothly, Christine Sidsworth assists the staff whenever they need a hand and Margie Desierto makes all of the marshmallows that are sold in the store and popped into cups of hot chocolate.

Outpost is the only brick and mortar gourmet mini donut shop that Christian Desierto is aware of in the Lower Mainland.

Many people associate these bite size treats with the PNE and some food trucks are also selling them. But if you need a year round fix Outpost is the place to go.

On any given day you will find 10 varieties of donuts. Five classics stay on the menu year round (cinnamon sugar, chocolate, maple, powdered sugar and vanilla) while five seasonal donuts also join in on rotation. In the summer fruits such as blueberry and lemon appear. This fall apple caramel was introduced and was a huge hit. The winter sees festive flavours such as maple bacon (with bacon bits from Steveston’s Heringers Meats) and gingerbread.

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5437What sets these donuts apart from their competitors? Outpost’s creations are concocted from a cake-based mix rather than yeast. This makes them fluffy, soft and moist with a crisp exterior and yields an excellent shelf life if you have enough will power to take them home. Donuts are replenished daily at the little shop. On busy days the fryer produces as many as 1,200 donuts. The largest order to date was 170 dozen for a corporate event.

Desierto laughs when he recalls pausing to calculate 170 dozen would be an order of 2,040 donuts. The fryer worked double time that day; it took six hours to make them.

In addition to in-store sales, Outpost also provides catering. Weddings are always popular and donuts can be themed by colour. Outpost delivers the order and clients are responsible for their own displays. Companies also like to order boxed donuts as gifts.

The company’s short-term goal is to promote the product and increase their customer base within the Greater Vancouver Area and a long-term goal is add a portable fryer for mobile events.

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5441Some people are still discovering the business, which is located along Second Avenue’s treat row (it is sandwiched between two ice cream shops). Tourists and locals like to pop by at all hours, including an after dinner crowd that crave a small treat to fuel them the rest of the way home. Outpost has received added exposure at events like O’Hare’s GastroPub’s Steveston Beer Fest and Wine Fest where they offer donut samples.

Sold by the half dozen or by the baker’s dozen (lucky thirteen, a bonus donut comes your way), you can take the little yummies away in a paper cone or in a box.

For Desierto the most rewarding part about owning Outpost Mini Donut Company is the direct involvement he and his family have within the community they have chosen to call home.

He concludes, “Adults can turn into kids when they see there is more than one flavour. This is always a happy place with donuts involved.”

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5425Outpost Mini Donut Company
110-12240 Second Ave
Richmond BC V7E 3L8
Telephone: 604-448-0005

Imagine A Marina

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Steveston_Insider_Imperial_Landing_WharfI’d like to discuss the opportunities a full service pleasure craft marina, located in front of Imperial Landing with both long and short term moorage capacity, will afford Steveston Village. I ask you to imagine this full service marina because the Onni development will require the City (again) to decide what to allow or what to do with their empty space in the months to come.

Imagine boaters taking advantage of the moorage. They will support the mixed maritime use shops located at the marina’s doorstep (uses such as marine hardware, electronics, sail and canvas repair, boat charter and rental offices, seafood market, sea cadets, yacht club, etc.) as well as local stores and restaurants as they seek maintenance, upgrades, provisions, and amusement.

Steveston_Insider_PaddleboardsVisualize marina space allowing for small power boat rentals, like those offered at Granville Island and Horseshoe Bay, tempting tourists and locals alike to venture out onto the water to fish, enjoy watersports, explore the river all the way up to Pitt Lake with opportunities to view sea lions, seals, eagles, heron, swans and other wildlife along the shore, journey to the Gulf Islands and so much more. In addition, power boat rentals, dinner cruises, expanded paddle and rowing activities can all be expected. Picture dragon boats, paddle boarders, kayakers, and canoers accessing rentals, lessons, and various clubs putting on competitions and festivals. These activities could be supported and encouraged by the City, Steveston Harbour Authority and the Steveston Merchants Association.

Envision water taxis offering unique sightseeing access, plying the waters and connecting Garry Point Park, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, Fisherman’s Wharf, Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, and even accessing London Landing and London Heritage Farm from the No. 2 Road Pier.

steveston_insider_boatsImagine viewing the work of local artisans and experiencing a Granville Island-style public market at the freshly rehabilitated Net Loft building built out on piles extending out on the waterfront at Britannia. Or exploring and discovering an expansive First Nations museum and a maritime museum located along the picturesque waterfront. These concepts are not a pipe dream; they are all viable ideas and are business opportunities currently being discussed.

The development of a marina will create additional demand for and make viable the maritime mixed-uses that are intended for Imperial Landing, while at the same time provide jobs and experiences currently not available in Steveston, and further enhance the experience for tourists and locals alike.

There is a 10 year wait list for a spot to moor in Steveston right now. The demand for moorage space is undeniable, and any space created would literally be filled overnight. Further, the Steveston Village shopping experience doesn’t need to grow to the east with 65,000 square feet of additional retail space. The traditional village core, including some of the exciting new developments planned in the core, will provide enough space for shopping, dining and business uses.

Steveston_Insider_Onni_RezoningSteveston is a community that cares, gets involved, volunteers, and has an opinion. It is understandably difficult to get a consensus on issues such as parking, building heights, allowable uses, Business Improvement Area formation, and community amenity locations. However, in a recent Steveston Merchants Association survey, 76% of members felt a marina would positively impact their businesses and 57% felt a rezoning of the MMU space at Imperial Landing to retail would negatively impact their businesses. These kinds of majority votes in Steveston are unprecedented. With this level of local passion, I’m confident the dream of a vibrant riverside community with an array of living, working, shopping, eating, and entertainment experiences will be achieved.

It cannot be stressed enough that Steveston is at a crossroads. The retention of the waterfront for the types of uses discussed above is imperative as once lost it will never be regained. Our waterfront can be a vibrant, lively place with locals, tourists and boaters from all over coming to enjoy what we have to offer. We must act now to ensure this opportunity is not lost; make sure your opinion is heard.


Sean_Lawson_RemaxSean Lawson, distinguished Realtor®, B.C.I.T. and U.B.C. trained, has been “Steveston’s Realtor®” since 1989. Raised and educated in Richmond and a resident of Steveston, this experienced builder and award winning Realtor® possesses the academic training, hands-on experience and local market knowledge necessary to satisfy your real estate requirements. Sean Lawson is a graduate of the B.C.I.T. Building Technologies Program and the U.B.C. Urban Land Economics Program, with over twenty years’ experience in real estate sales, re-zoning applications, land assembly and other development projects, making the team “Your Complete Source” for Steveston and Richmond real estate. Sean is an active member of the Steveston Merchants Association, as well as a contributor to family-building initiatives such as school fundraisers, parks, and playgrounds throughout Steveston. As a lifetime Richmond resident, a husband, and father of two daughters Bella and Talia, his roots in the community run deep and increase his commitment to a better Steveston.