Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finn Slough, Steveston, BC

It was a sunny cool day. We decided to go to Steveston for brunch. Steveston is a small, waterfront community just south of Vancouver, I would say about an half hours drive. It has been evolving for a few years and more people are discovering the small town charm and many townhouses and condominum projects have brought in many thousands of new residents


There are a few waterfront restaurants scattered along the public pier and often there are fishing boats selling; fish, prawns, shrimps and other assorted seafoods. There are also a few "government" piers on both sides of the town where are anchored hundreds of fishing vessels.

(see the new condominiums in the background)

Since there is quick access to "open" water, the auxilliary coast guard also make there appearance in their powerful "zodiac" type rescue craft

(the main boardwalk area with restaurants overlooking the water)

While it appeared to be a great sunny day, it was too cool in our opinion to take an outside table. We stayed inside warm and cosy and looked out while we ate our scrumptious meal served along with their world renown Fish Chowder.


During the summer when the temperature is warmer the town is filled with local tourists and you will find it hard to obtain parking. It is a little oasis where you are able to escape the hussle-bussle of a hurried urban centre to find relaxation for a few hours

After lunch I was looking for some photo opportunities and I often head east to an area known as FINN SLOUGH


Finn Slough is located on the south arm of the Fraser River on a surge channel along a dyke surrounded by farmland


It is a very picturesque area for photos but there is a long term controversy regarding the settlers/residents of this area who are squatting on this public land owned by the Municipality of Richmond.


I would say that most of the residents are probably Fishermen and part their vessels in the surge channel which goes up and down with the tide. Right now the tide is low


Most of the "homes" (shacks) are made from re-cycled materials, while a few are very nicely constructed, as that home on floats


There are homes on both sides of this channel


Access to the homes on the other side of the channel is by a shaky, run down foot bridge with NO railings


You are able to walk over the bridge at your own risk


While the residents (are squatters) and have no legal right to be on this property and I assume pay no taxes I wonder how they managed to get electricity or phone service, and also I presume, managed to obtain house numbers from the post office for mail delivery.


I think you have to be very careful to not fall of the bridge or I think you may come up with some nasty infections. I am not sure if they have "city" water, but there are no sewer facilities that I can see


I would imagine that during the present economic situation they aren't too worried about their house prices


It is definitely a different lifestyle for some if you are of the self sufficient type. I can't imagine living under these conditions and I am sure not many of the locals in this large metropolitan area are even aware of Finn Slough's existance. (if you google Finn Slough you will find additional information)


  1. "...when the temperature is warmer..." probably all those fishermen are sporting in the waters in their underwear it's so warm. About the time of year hurricanes are wiping out the southern US.

  2. Dear Bob Skoot:

    You have restored my faith in mankind. Your honest portrayal of a Canadian Key West went a long way with me. I like to think that most of those squatters are artists and writers. In fact, your last pictures looked more like Key West than pictures of Key West do.

    Too bad you didn't get your scooter in any of these pictures.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  3. Conchscooter: We're waiting for the day that summer returns. We got a hint of spring last week. Sunny but still coolness in the air. This week winter is returning with lots of rain but at least it will still be above freezing

    Jack: Well, Jack, you are very observant. Today my post was "in the style of KW Diary" only with cooler weather. I don't believe the Squatters are artists, Nor writers. Originally this area was settled by the Finns (Finnish) thus the name FINN SLOUGH. They were fishermen (Fisherpeople) who settled here during the turn of the century with their fishboats anchored nearby in the channel and thus by occupying these lands, and the Municipality endured their existance without asking them to vacate set up this scenario which lets them stay on this government land - WITHOUT CHARGE (ie for free)

    Many years ago we set aside Sundays as "family" day so it is usually a non riding day, as are most of our vacations unless I go solo, which I may do a few later this year. Our Sundays usually consist of a Brunch somewhere followed by a ride through the countryside with some of my larger professional cameras (which I cannot take on the bike)

  4. I picked up on the style, too. Don't tell Michael, but I enjoy the picture and somewhat biting commentary on the subjects.

    More and more I'm attracted to the idea of being self sufficient. In other words, no interaction with any kind of government agency or utility company. Don't know that I would pick a slough, though.

    Enjoyed the post!

  5. Dear Bob:

    I went back and looked at these pictures again, a bit more critcally. Now is Finn Slough that slightly desperate-looking neighborhood, with the three-foot wide channel running through it?

    In one shot, looking up the channel, there are boats in every yard, and one tha appears to be planted in that little channel. Does the water rise in there to float those boats or did the tide go out one day and never come back.

    It just occurred to me that there are no boats on this side of that rickety plank bridge. I guess that's because the other end of the slough opens up to the river or bay?

    I really found these shot fascinating. The proof is that I went back and looked at them again. One of the first rides I am going to take this year will be to New Jersey Shore, to send you my boardwalk pics.

    I'm starting to feel like I've known you guys a long time.

    Fondest regards,

  6. Irondad: I'd like to be more self sufficient too. I feel that we have made good progress over the past few years from a gas guzzling P/U truck to my Honda commuter, as well as riding more to cut gas consumption. Our thermostats are down a degree or two and I run around turning off all the lights we don't need. I also sold my Muscle collector car ('67 firebird convertible & my 2-stroke Lambretta GP200 vintage scooter), but I won't sell the 'vette. It's too bad we don't have a blogger B&B network so we can cruise the backroads of America visitig our internet friends. If we plan on living "off the land" then we need to live somewhere warm, such as northern CA so we don't have to pay for heat or A/C

    My friend Jack: I have the same sentiments. I feel that I have made a few friends in our Blogging community and I am sure that when/if we ever get a chance to meet it will be as if we were never separated.

    I previously mentioned that this community was situated on a "surge Channel". Since Richmond (a suburb of Greater Vancouver) borders the Gulf of Georgia and the south arm of the Fraser River, it is surrounded by water on 3 sides. The fresh water of the Fraser meets the ocean and is subjected to the ocean tides so on this part of the river rises and falls. During some times of the year the water in that 3 ft channel can rise 6 feet or more, but now it is just a trickle so the fishing boats that you see were floated into their present position(s) under their own power. The fishing industry is very depressed as there are nearly No fish left in the ocean due to overfishing, thus the reason you see so many fishing vessels at dock. The first picture shows the entrance to the surge channel, which shows a lot of water looking towards the east, so my pictures progress eastward towards that rickety bridge. Originally I hesitated to post these pictures as I don't believe that even the local residents know about this place which I frequent often to take pictures. And certainly I didn't want the world to know that our living conditions could be so primitive in this part of Canada, in my mind I compare these shacks to the bayous of Louisiana.

  7. Dear Bobskoot:

    Living in one of these surge channel shacks would be very appealing to me if that was all I had to worry about. What makes these shacks in Canada more appealing to me than the ones in Louisiana is the absence of alligators. Then again, I have two former wives.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  8. Bobscoot a great account of what and how it's like, how it was and probably how it will remain...Love the pictures too
    Thanks for sharing this my Friend

  9. Sometimes publicizing places kills them off, but other times publicizing them gives them a surge of sympathy. Besides which if you want biting commentary check out the shit storm Irondad kicked up talking about scooters. Great stuff!
    I like pictures of places, it's armchair travel at it's best; personal observations, no tourist development council commentary and no hard sell real estate bs. Let's have more.
    Scooter attacks are pretty fun too though.

  10. Mr Jack: There's a lot to be said for living the simple life. No chores, no bills, no grass to cut, no food to grow, no taxes but you need somewhere without frigid winter temps, nor ice and snow, HEY, wait a minute, we should invade KW

    Breve: Dust off your wheels and let's go to Steveston for a meal, and I'll take you there

    Conchscooter: I don't think is a M/C vs Scooter thing as locally there are a lot of scooterists who also own M/C's. and if you go to you'll also see lots of Bikers have scoots. I think it's more to do with the CVT vs a real motorcycle which has a clutch and shift lever and the fact that 49'ers don't need to take a MSF training IMHO, of course

  11. Thanks Bobskoot - I found this interesting to see people squatting, yet still able to have access to some basic services. A testament to resourcefulness, one might say. Great pictures, as always

  12. Hello Bob,
    Some good photos of Finn Slough - not so good on the info though. I would suggest you and others interested in this piece of interesting BC history check out the Finn Slough Heritage & Wetland Society at
    It will give the real story of the history and people.

  13. Hi there, not sure if you are still "out there" But was wondering what the chances of 2 crazy 60 year olds from Ontario coming to live in Finn Slough? How would one go about finding a place to buy/rent?
    Kelly & Al