Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

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
www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.org

Top 10 Great Things to do in Steveston

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

With its fairytale charm, it’s no wonder visitors flock to the picturesque seaside village of Steveston. Pretty historic homes and tempting eateries line the streets. Orcas and bald eagles frolic just off shore. And there’s always something fun to do, even if it’s just watching the fishing boats dock in the busy marina.

Embark on a Whale Watching Excursion
Hop on board an eco-tour or whale watching expedition that leaves right from Steveston’s shores. You might spot heron, eagles, a pod of black-and-white orcas or even majestic humpback whales. Steveston Seabreeze Adventures Inc, Vancouver Whale Watch and Steveston Eco tours Ltd, all offer tours to see one of the top attractions on the Canadian West Coast.

Discover two National Historic Sites
At the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, discover how things worked at the largest of the salmon canneries that once lined the coast. Then head over to Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site and experience what life was like for workers in Steveston’s fishing industries a century ago.

Explore Once Upon a Time’s Storybrooke
Come share the magic. Explore the enchanting historic buildings and scenic settings that play a starring role as the village of Storybrooke in the fairytale ABC TV series Once Upon A Time. Who knows – you might even see Snow White or Prince Charming!

Snack on Seafood by the Seaside
When the sun comes out, so do the happy crowds heading to the patios along the Steveston wharf. Pull up a seat at one of the lively eateries and enjoy some fresh fish and chips while you watch the fishing boats in the marina.

Hike or Bike Along the Dykes
Steveston is surrounded by a system of dykes that provide perfect pathways for hiking, biking or just taking in the view of ocean and mountains. Pick up your rental bike at Village Bike Rentals in Steveston, and start exploring. You never know what you’ll see next.

Feast on Culinary Delights
Bring your appetite, because Steveston has something cooking just for you. Choose from pizza, pasta, souvlaki, sushi, tapas, gourmet sausages, charcuterie, burgers, Kansas City-style BBQ, steak and seafood galore. Then, for a sweet finish, try the doughnuts, cupcakes, chocolates and ice cream!

Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
Stop by to watch the fishermen unload their catch before heading back out to sea, and pick up some fresh salmon and spot prawns at the dock. Or why not cast a line yourself from a fishing charter with STS Fishing Adventures.

Join the Festival Fun
There are many great events happening in August and September including the Maritime Festival, Rotary Duck Race, London Family Farm Day, Steveston Dragon Boat Festival, Garlic Festival, Beer Fest and Grand Prix of Art.

Shop for Unique Gifts
Check out the tempting goodies at the village boutiques, such as charming home accessories, crafty toys, handy garden tools, quirky t-shirts and trendy fashion. Or, if you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind idea, head to Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market for gorgeous handcrafted gifts.

Experience a Historical Farm
Venture out to the countryside for a taste of century-old farming life at London Heritage Farm. Wander through the heritage gardens, explore the museum and stop for the afternoon tea. And don’t forget to pick up some homemade jam and teas in the gift shop.

Tourism RichmondFor more information stop by Steveston Visitor Centre located at 3811 Moncton Street, Richmond (Steveston Village) or telephone 604-271-8280.

www.tourismrichmond.com

 

 

Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Cottage Comfort on the Pier

One would think that Jim van der Tas, managing partner of the Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant, has lived in Steveston his entire life based on his passion for and commitment to the village, yet he and his family moved here in 2004. In a short time he has planted many roots and he may just be one of the busiest men in Steveston.

Not only is Jim van der Tas devoted to his business and his family; he also actively gives back to the village as he sits on three Steveston board of directors. He feels that Steveston is the jewel of Richmond, if not the Lower Mainland, and is committed to promoting all that the area has to offer.

Jim van der Tas and his wife Janet own the Blue Canoe in partnership with Janet’s brother. Jim van der Tas says the decision to open their business “happened almost by accident.”  While visiting Steveston with a friend they walked along the pier to take in the view. They discussed the area’s potential and his friend joked that Jim van der Tas should buy a restaurant  (stemming from his background as director of food & beverage at Vancouver’s Marriott Renaissance). This conversation quickly turned into reality when the van der Tas’ made an offer to purchase two former Steveston businesses, which they renovated into one larger space to create Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant.

There was an immediate sense that something fresh and fun was going on when Blue Canoe’s logo appeared featuring an Adirondack chair perched beside the water’s edge, and a full-scale lifeguard’s chair appeared at the entrance to the business. The concept was to create a cottage style atmosphere. “It’s rustic and beautiful, like kicking back at a lakeside cottage,” says Jim van der Tas.  The restaurant’s name celebrates the blue ocean and is also a tribute to seafood that is featured prominently on the menu.

What is the history behind the rustic canoe that is suspended from the dining room ceiling? Jim van der Tas put feelers out to find the perfect canoe and discovered this one, circa 1954, which had been stored inside a barn in Quebec. It was stripped, waxed, and true to Jim van der Tas’ sense of humour, he installed two small signs indicating, “this canoe is blue” when people began to question its natural colour.

The canoe is a focal point, along with many special touches including the wood sided walls, mirrors that look like window panes, a cozy gas fireplace framed by river rock, and a selection of Langley artist Jill Hall’s cottage style furniture and decor throughout the restaurant. Add in the fun signage throughout, including the amusing outdoor directional sign, cozy throws on the backs of patio chairs, charming outdoor lighting along with patio heaters which, if you close your eyes, can mimic sitting by a campfire, mix in the ocean air and fishing boats bobbing at the dock, and you feel like you are on a relaxing seaside vacation.

Every so often Jim van der Tas pinches himself to make sure he is not dreaming that this spectacular location is his ‘office.’ He is grateful for the countless friendships he has made in the five years since Blue Canoe has been in operation (June 8, 2008 was the official opening date).

The restaurant offers something for everyone, both young and old, in a casual and cozy environment that is known for its unique selection of beer and wine, along with chef Danilo Ibarra’s fresh local cuisine.

Chef Ibarra works closely with Jim van der Tas on menu development. Jim van der Tas says the menu is always evolving to keep the dining experience fresh and exciting, as well to engage the customers and the staff, and over time has shone the spotlight more heavily on seafood. A small sample of the current offerings include a selection of burgers (a cottage experience is not complete without this staple) along with local, wild, line caught salmon (wrapped in corn husk, summer succotash, preserved lemon cream), West Coast salmon chowder (salmon, corn, sweet potato, bacon), heirloom tomato and strawberry salad (burrata cheese, D-Original Sausage Haus spek, mustard greens, honey balsamic vinaigrette) and a delicious dessert menu including a heavenly lemon meringue pie.

Blue Canoe is proud to buy from local fishers (Organic Ocean) and farmers. Jim van der Tas is very excited about the relationship the restaurant has formed with local farmers that have been growing seasonal produce for Blue Canoe including lettuce, potatoes, berries, mustard greens, and herbs. Jim van der Tas says he would take great pleasure in owning a farm. In his dream he would grow his own crops to use in Blue Canoe’s kitchen although he laughs and says his wife won’t allow this idea to transpire.

In the early years of the business Jim van der Tas was at the restaurant virtually every day, however over time he has is now able to take well-deserved days off. Jim van der Tas describes his front-end role as similar to that of an old-fashioned maître d’. His amicable nature is suited for this role as he effortlessly circulates and is attentive to the well being of the customers and the staff. Janet van der Tas, a certified general accountant, is equally busy with her work behind the scenes managing the accounting. Jim van der Tas is full of praise for the Blue Canoe’s staff, which he describes as one big happy family. During the busy summer season the restaurant employees a staff of seventy. He is also deeply grateful to the loyal customers, many have supported Blue Canoe since it first opened.

The winter months allow Jim van der Tas some free time to coach his sons’ Richmond Minor hockey teams. Ben (8) and Aiden (10) thoroughly enjoy the family business and Jim van der Tas would be pleased if they elect to work at Blue Canoe when they are older. The boys have already expressed interest and have inherited their mother and father’s charm and social nature.

Running one of Steveston’s most successful restaurants keeps Jim van der Tas extremely busy yet he finds time to volunteer on three Steveston not-for-profit organization boards. He is the President of the Steveston Merchants Association, which he founded with Vince Morlet (owner of Tapenade Bistro) in 2009, as they believed a voice for Steveston businesses was sorely lacking and felt work had to be done to attract more people to visit the village. In addition, Jim van der Tas is the co-chair of the Steveston 20/20 group that meets to discuss current issues and the long-term vision for the village as we move towards the year 2020. Finally, Jim van der Tas also sits on the Gulf of Georgia Cannery’s board. Janet van der Tas is also active in the community with her sons’ school and sports.

“Steveston has so much potential to be an even better and more vibrant community. I want to help it grow in a respectful, carefully thought out manner for generations to enjoy its beauty and history,” says Jim van der Tas. When we see how the couple has made Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant a local landmark, and the creative ideas that Jim van der Tas devotedly offers the village, it is easy to believe his vision will come to fruition.

Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant 140-3866 Bayview Street Richmond BC V7E 4R7  Telephone 604-275-7811 www.bluecanoerestaurant.com

Pajo’s: A Steveston Anchor Since 1985

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

There are few things as quintessentially Steveston as enjoying a fish and chips meal at Pajo’s by the water, and if all goes well weather-wise a spectacular sunset caps off the experience.

In 1985 Pajo’s owner and founder Patricia Branch and her former business partner, Joan Whettlaufer, set out to serve the finest fish and chips in the West. The name Pajo’s originated by blending the partner’s first names together.

Patricia Branch’s husband Larry, who was a fisherman for many years, envisioned uniting his livelihood with the fishing village, with the goal of creating a new draw for the community with dockside dining. Patricia Branch was the mastermind behind Pajo’s timeless top-secret recipes, including the legendary tartar sauce and tempura style batter. She worked many long hours in the early years running the business. The Branch’s goal to connect Steveston’s waterfront with the fishing industry certainly came to fruition.

The original wharf side restaurant is situated roughly in the same location as when it opened in 1985. Subsequently, Pajo’s has expanded and now boasts four locations including Garry Point, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Andrew Stokes has worked for the business for the past year as director of operations. His role is to look for opportunities to grow the company while maintaining the charm of Pajo’s and the company’s core family values. He points out that Pajo’s is a business with strong “family glue” which has yielded incredible staff loyalty. In many cases employees have started working at the restaurant in their high school years and continue on well into their 20s.

It appears that this family owned business couldn’t have hired a better-suited man for the job. Like Pajo’s Wharf manager Tia Litz, who started as a cashier and has been with the business for 24 years, Stokes has also worked his way up the ladder in the restaurant industry. His first teenage job was with Pizza Hut where he eventually became an area manager. He also worked as a Starbucks district manager and owned a home and garden retail shop in Cumberland on Vancouver Island for a number of years.

Pajo’s is striving for Ocean Wise certification as part of their commitment to serving local and sustainable, ocean-friendly seafood. They are also making the transition to environmentally friendly products such as compostable paper rather than Styrofoam, and all the while striving to provide great food in their scenic “Kodak moment” locations.

While many of us are familiar with Pajo’s there may be a few things that you may not know, like the special rate that is offered for groups of twelve or more that allows pre-ordering to eliminate delays. So round up your posse and indulge. New this year at the wharf location, outdoor patio heaters have been introduced to help take the chill away on cooler days by the water.

Pajo’s is actively philanthropic and is committed to giving back to the community. They support Nite of Hope, a fundraiser benefiting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition, Pajo’s donates to high school bursaries, and their staff volunteers at events including the Nite of Hope and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

Stokes describes Pajo’s wharf location as “a food truck without wheels” with its innovative approach to introducing new menu items and attracting a similar customer base seeking these options. This includes offering healthier options, such as a roasted garlic salmon Caesar salad with Pajo’s batter crunch. In addition, this year brings a fresh and fun zesty fish taco which will be rooted in Pajo’s history, as the sea is always at the heart of menu development.  Stokes mentions that the fish chowder has been given a makeover, as all good fish and chips restaurants should be reputed for their chowder. Also under consideration are some new hot dog ideas with a seaside twist.

Patricia Branch points out that the true success of Pajo’s is “the people who take pride in and love the work they do, and produce the product that our customers keep coming back for.”

If Patricia Branch could have looked into a crystal ball, never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined that “In the spring of 1985 as we towed our Pajo’s building down the river from Trites Marine in Paramount Pond where it had been built, that the name Pajo’s would become synonymous with Steveston.”

Pajo’s recently received the honour of being voted amongst the best fish and chips in the country by Canadian Living Magazine readers (April 2013 issue), but as Stevestonites we have been ‘in the know’ for 28 years.

www.pajos.com