At the end of No. 4 Rd in Richmond lies Finn Slough, a historic fishing village that has existed since the late 1800s. Built on swampland, Finn Slough (pronounced ‘Slew’) consists of floating homes, houses on stilts, and both active and retired fishing boats. Originally established by Finnish settlers in the 1880s, Finn Slough has existed for over a century. The original settlement was north of the current location, with the first houses built on pilings to protect them from the high tides. By 1910, a small community of fishermen had sprung up at Finn Slough, and by the 1930s there were over forty fishing boats moored there.
Now, Finn Slough is the last commercial fishing village on the Fraser River. The village is also one of the last tidal communities on the west coast and has remained relatively unchanged over the years. Approximately thirty residents remain in the floating or raised homes, with gillnet fish-boats and net-mending floats belonging to fifth generation fishermen. Some of the residents live in the original scow houses used by the Finns, while others live in converted net sheds. The houses aren’t equipped with plumbing, and residents use wood-burning stoves for heat.
Finn Slough is worth paying a visit not just to take a trip to the past, but also to see a small community co-existing with nature. The houses and boats seemingly appear to exist within the natural environment and a variety of wildlife, especially birds, can be seen around the area. Walking across the old, creaking boardwalk into the small, sleepy community, makes it hard to believe that urban Vancouver is just a half hour away.
When visiting, don’t forget your camera but please remember to be respectful of the residents’ privacy.