Blogathon 2009 – Finn Slough


Saturday, July 25th, 2009 — 3:30pm PST
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Post #20 of #49 – Over the next 24 hours I will be raising funds for the Union Gospel Mission during Blogathon 2009 by writing a blog post every 30 minutes. Please consider donating to my cause to keep my going until 6am PT July 26th.

The following is a guest post, contributed by Chris of Left Coast by Design.

One of my favourite routes to take when traveling east and west through Richmond is along the south arm of the Fraser. You can drive from Steveston through to Woodwards Landing with little traffic along the serene and picturesque maritime highway. It’s quite beautiful and it’s also quite historic. Whether it be a visit to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, the Britannia Heritage Shipyard or London Farm, you can catch a glimpse of the beginnings of the Richmond we now know.

But I’ll bet you’ve never taken a moments notice of historic Finn Slough.


Photo credit: kimli on Flickr

In the 1890s, a number of families of Finnish descent came to Richmond in search of land to settle. They originally settled on land with the intention of building homes and farms, but quickly became drawn with to lure of the mighty Fraser River fishing industry and began to “develop” the land closer to the river itself. After another Richmond pioneer, Thomas Kidd, blocked off both ends of the Woodward Slough to help regulate the flood plain of his farmland nearby, the Finnish families needed to relocate to allow their desire to fish to continue. They negotiated the purchase of some nearby land and built a settlement next to the Tiffin Slough – what we know today as Finn Slough.


Photo credit: sadoway on Flickr

As the community grew (with many more families arriving from Finland after news of the settlement spread), the necessity to work around the tidal floodplain resulted in a number of floating homes to be built. New arrivals would sleep in whatever accommodation that was available, whether it be converted net sheds, or derelict fishing boats. However, the community peaked in size by the Second World War and once the 1950s and industrialization arrived, the population of Finn Slough began to shrink. Today, there are approximately 30 residents left in this eclectic shantytown.

With the efforts of many of the remaining residents, a partial rejuvenation of Finn Slough can been seen. The old Dinner Plate Island School has been refurbished and the boardwalk around the community is kept in good repair. Although you can drive by this quaint community, the limited parking and narrow roads do not provide an opportunity to readily pull over. Instead, I would highly recommend parking at the southern end of No. 3 Rd. and either walking or riding a bike along the dyke until you reach Finn Slough. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch one of the few fishing boats that still operate out of the Slough steaming out to test their luck, or back with a recent catch. Or you might see any number of artists capturing the natural beauty of the area through paint or photo.

So the next time you find your way to South Richmond and are enjoying a leisurely trip along the river, remember that quaint community and stop by to say hello!

About Chris: Chris blogs over at Left Coast by Design and you can follow his updates on Twitter @lyteforce.

Post #20 of #49 – Over the next 24 hours I will be raising funds for the Union Gospel Mission during Blogathon 2009 by writing a blog post every 30 minutes. Please consider donating to my cause to keep my going until 6am PT July 26th.

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One comment

  1. Ariane C says:

    Thanks for the background, Chris! My husband and I have visited here twice in the past couple of years and always come away thinking how basic life can be, far removed from Vancouver, Richmond, and beyond.

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