/ The Vancouver Guide
Vancouver — By thevancouverguide on October 29, 2009 at 2:43 pm

The Finn Slough Heritage Site

DSC09974If you’re visiting Steveston B.C. touring the old canneries and boat builders you should take a side-trip to visit Finn Slough at the foot of No. 4 Road in Richmond.  Back in 1890 a group of Finnish settlers arrived in Richmond.  They worked in coal mines and logging camps to save money to buy land by the Fraser River so they could work as fishermen.  Finn Slough, (pronouncned ’slew’) also known as Gilmore or Tiffin Slough, became their new home. 

Their first houses were built on pilings to protect them from high tides.  Back in those days, Finn Slough was a remote place, a days journey from Vancouver.  Richmond didn’t exists then and Steveston was considered a ‘Wild West’ fisherman’s town. DSC09977

Today Finn Slough exists as one of the last tidal communities on the West Coast. The fishermen here live a different lifestyle than the farmers of Richmond.  Their float houses, net sheds and drying racks are  built close together to make the process of fishing physically easier.  Many of the structures are built of recycled wood.  Fifty people continue to work at the slough with eighteen families residing there in float houses and roughly build shacks.  You can see gillnet fishing boats, net mending floats and sheds, belonging to  fifth generation Finnish people.

The slough is located by the mighty Fraser River, bounded on one side by Gilmore Island and on the north by a dyke built to protect Richmond farmlands from flooding.  Access is across a wooden draw-bridge.DSC09997

The Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society was formed to preserve the natural environment and habitat of the slough and surrounding area and to maintain the heritage of the community, protecting the slough from urban encroachment.  The slough has a rich covering of estuarine plants as well as other flora such as a rare specimin of Black Lily,  skunk cabbages and yellow Flags.  An abundance of birds nest in the bushes around the slough.DSC09992

If you are an artist, photographer or ecologist this unique site is worth visiting.  Each year there is an art exhibit sponsored by the Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society and the Richmond Art Gallery.  The next exhibit is scheduled for April 7, 2010 and will be held at the Richmond Cultural Centre.

PHOTOS by W. Ruth Kozak



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