Saturday, January 23, 2010

Steveston Museum shares park with new neighbour

The Steveston Museum lies in the heart of our village and in the heart of all villagers.

Not only is the structure stunning, but the park surrounding it offers a modest but welcome patch of green to those seeking a temporary refuge.

When my children were young, we loved threading our way through this park. In the spring, there was a chance of getting caught in a burst of cherry blossom shower. Once it rained caterpillars instead. The wriggling and writhing critters blew off the trees and landed on the hapless pedestrians below. Again, shrieks of laughter, but this time mixed with terror! When the summer temperatures climbed past "tolerable," we would grab a few cones from Sara's Ice Cream and cool our heels on a park bench.The white picket fence gave us a sense of privacy and safety and my children loved observing passersby from their secret hiding places.

Early in December 2009, my heart sank when I read the blue signs posted on the park property. After considering various sites and gathering community input, the City of Richmond General Purposes Committee recommended to the Richmond City Council, on February 3, 2009, to relocate the "Doctor's & Hospital Offices" heritage building from 4091 Chatham to the Steveston Town Square - i.e. the property where the museum and park are located.

Posted sign beside the museum

The preparation was already in progress. One section of the park has been stripped bare and orange cones marked areas off limits to the public.

On January 20, 2010, I caught sight of the "Doctor's & Hospital Offices" heritage building resting on its new site. Perched on the tall foundation, it appeared large, dwarfing the museum beside it and chewing up a sizable chunk of green space.

Back of the building, facing the park

Front of the building, facing First Avenue

I returned a few days later to view the transplanted heritage building with fresh eyes. It still looked disproportionately large for such a small lot, but at least from certain angles, I could see it blending in with its surroundings.

Not bad. What do you think?

According to the report to Richmond City Council, the relocated building will be set in place carefully, to make it aesthetically pleasing to the community. Having the building in the heart of the village will also maximize its public use and accessibility. And, most important to me, most of the existing trees on the property will be left unharmed and the park will remain open to the public.

I will be posting newer photos on this blog to keep you updated on the site transformation. Till then, let me leave you with a photo of the Steveston Museum before all these changes happened. I did not realize that Moncton Street has been Google mapped and thank goodness for that! Here is a screenshot of the street view directly in front of the building.

Street view of Steveston Museum

Better yet:
(1)Go to
(2)Click on "Maps"
(3)Type "Steveston Museum Richmond" in the text box
(4)Click "Search Maps"
(5)In the "Steveston Museum" pop-up box, click "Street view"
(6)Walk up and down Moncton Street

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