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5 History Facts Of RichmondPosted On August 10, 2016
1) It Isn’t Entirely Clear Who Named It
The naming of Richmond, British Columbia is somewhat muddled by history. There are those that hold to the likelihood that it has its roots with the Township of Richmond, Ontario, where Founding Father John Wesley Sexsmith was born. Interestingly, the Township of Richmond, Ontario owes its name to Richmond, Yorkshire, in England.
However, there are a number of other stories that explore where, and who, and for what Richmond owes its name. One of the more inspirational stories, and one that carries a little more heart than the first, relates the story of Hugh McRoberts, a farmer, whose daughter chose the name seeing a connection to their home of Richmond, Australia. Unfortunately, with little official documentation, we are held to the stories and our own opinions rather than indisputable facts to assure us of which answer is truer than the other.
2) A Long History of Human Settlements
First settled in the 1860’s by Europeans for agriculture and farming, they were not the first to appreciate the beauty and opportunities of the lands here. Evidence and archaeological sites show that the area was home to periodic waves of First Nations people, with the Coast Salish bands known to set up temporary camps with reports of a village existing near where modern day Steveston stands.
3) Richmond is Older than Vancouver
Interestingly, due largely to the fact and the need of local government and support, the people living in the area petitioned the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council to provide them with municipality status. It is in this manner that Richmond’s development began and has continued to be maintained over the years, with an establishment date that reads 1879 in official documents. This places it seven years older than the city of Vancouver.
4) One of the First Aviation Centres in Canada
The Air Board of Canada, a now defunct government body established to control aircraft flying in Canada. Even this outdated organization would only come into existence nearly a decade after flights began British Columbia, specifically in Richmond. The first successful flight was recorded on March 25th, 1910 on Minoru Racetrack, making Richmond not only an important location today, but also one that joined in the traditions of the Wright Brothers.
Richmond was never fully cured of this aviation fever that took hold of it and the world at that time. Contemporarily, Richmond remains one of the more important aviation centres in Canada, and owes this legacy to the fair conditions and geographic location.
5) Home to a Unique Population Diversity
While it is only in recent years that we have started to see a complete shift away from the conventional distribution of ethnicities and immigrant groups, Richmond has long been home to specific groups of people. From the year of its founding and the abundance of fishing opportunities, fleets of fishing ships and their associated canneries, fisheries, and industry encouraged foreign settlement on the fair-weather lands.
As of 2011, the population of Richmond has reached over 190,000 people, earning it the position as fourth largest city in British Columbia. However, what makes Richmond unique in comparison to the other cities is the fact that the immigrant population records in at over 60% of the citizens, as much as 50% of the total residents who identify as Chinese, which also earns it the title as the city in North America with the largest Asian population.