This was my first attempt at writing history. I originally wrote it in March 2007 for my BC history class at UBC. I was 26. I grew up next to Finn Slough. I recognized that I knew very little of its history, other than it was a Finnish settlement. But why? Why a Finnish settlement? Why there? Why hasn’t it disappeared, despite perpetual threat of development, like so much of Richmond’s past? Though my writing style has evolved and much has happened since my initial research, I wanted to make this history public for two reasons. One, people seem to love Finn Slough and want to know more about it, like I once did. Two, I think I reveal the many unexpected complexities that lie beneath Finn Slough’s rustic surface, and I think you’ll find it fascinating. I hope you enjoy reading this, even if it’s a little rough around the edges. But then again, so is Finn Slough.

Located on a grouping of island deltas at the mouth of the Fraser River, the City of Richmond, British Columbia is a unique place in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.[1] Despite being overlooked by many as a mere Vancouver suburb, Richmond has an otherwise fascinating and distinct history.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site | Robyn Hanson
The Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston is just one of Richmond’s many heritage sites.

As a child growing up along the South Arm of the Fraser River, I had the fortunate experience of having its estuary as my playground.

In the eighties my father would drive us along Dyke Road to Gilbert Beach where the rock jetty beckons adventurers to Shady Island at low tide. My sister and I would collect driftwood and build walls of sand, believing it would hold back the river. Occasionally a massive freighter would appear, gliding silently along, continuing towards the Steveston canneries destined for Japan. On the other side of the dyke, the restored London Heritage Farm House stood in grandeur, celebrating a long-gone Richmond pioneer family whose farmland is still productive.

While much of the surrounding land is still saved under the Agricultural Land Reserve, changes in recent years suggest that Richmond’s rural heritage is slipping away. For where farms once stood, mansions are appearing. An expanding sewage treatment plant has brought a new industrial starkness to the otherwise pastoral landscape. Old canneries that had once defined the riverside have been cleared for waterfront homes. And the demand for residential development continues to put pressure on Richmond, including a community that has existed for over a hundred years. The only problem is that neither Richmond nor the Province of British Columbia has officially recognized this community. This community is Finn Slough.

In this essay I have chosen to do an in-depth local study of Finn Slough–the historic Finnish fishing community located on the South Arm of the Fraser River in Richmond. Though only one of three surviving Finnish settlements in British Columbia,[2] Finn Slough continues to exist in a state of uncertainty out of fear of development, for it is yet not officially designated a heritage site. As a result, Finn Slough is either treasured or despised, depending on whom you speak. Some feel it is worthy of saving while others feel it should be demolished.

Because Finn Slough is underrepresented in British Columbia history, I will explore Finn Slough’s past while drawing upon issues of social and physical marginalization. Finn Slough, literally and metaphorically, sits on society’s margins; thus these issues are entrenched in its identity. Yet, why is this so? Why did Finn Slough develop as a marginal society? Why does it continue to exist as one today? These are questions I address in this essay.

Finally, by studying the historical and contemporary issues of Finn Slough, I place my research in the broader contexts of ethnic minority settlement and urban development.

Finn Slough | Robyn Hanson
A detailed history greets visitors at the entrance to Finn Slough.

Initially used by the Coast Salish peoples for its natural resources, Richmond lay undeveloped until the 1860s when the first surveying and dyking occurred for farming and settlement. States Richmond historian Mary Keen, “the initial settlement of Richmond was directly related to the ease of transportation and the availability of land close to transport routes provided by the Fraser River. The South Arm waterfront was one of the first areas of Lulu Island to be inhabited due to the extensive complex of sloughs or inlets from the river [because they] provided water transport into the fertile lands of the South Arm”.[3]

It is therefore no surprise that when the first Finnish settler, Pete Maneini, arrived in Richmond, he decided to settle right there. Finns such as Maneini were leaving Finland in the later half of the nineteenth century for a variety of reasons, largely economic and political.[4] Much like the geography of British Columbia, Finland has limited habitable land for expanding societies. With populations growing, space and jobs diminishing, and political tensions rising from Russian occupation, many Finns headed to North America to establish new lives.

Maneini’s arrival to Richmond in 1890 was the catalyst of what would eventually become the community of Finn Slough.

Within the next five years, many Finns from the poor province of Vaasalani would settle along the fertile land on Richmond’s Finnland Road where Woodward Slough and No. 4 Road meet.[5] These first Finnish pioneers were Koale Helenose, Mikko Hinhala, Mannos Inkstrom, Gustaf Elstrom and William Haasanen.[6] Some of them arrived directly from Finland while others, such as Mikko Hinhala, arrived in Richmond after working as coalminers and loggers elsewhere in BC and in the nearby USA. Although the names of the women have not been well documented, it is known that many of the men married Finnish women from within the community and had families.

What’s interesting is that Finn Slough’s original settlers were not all Finnish. Ron Jacobson Jr., a descendant of Mikko Hinhala, describes New Brunswick-born William Robinson as “the only mixed Anglo-Saxon and French descent to join the Finnish settlement, [although he] was married to a Finnish woman whose maiden name was Hilma Haasanen”.[7] His marriage likely explains his inclusion in the otherwise Finnish community. Being the only fluent English-speaker made Robinson an asset to the early community of Finn Slough, for “he was of great help in assisting the Finnish pioneers in the ways of their newly adopted country”.[8]

It is vital, however, to recognize that Richmond was not a homogenous place in the 1890s. The fishing industry brought together many ethnicities, including First Nations, Chinese and Japanese whom predominantly worked out of Steveston. The Japanese community was so established in Steveston that they even had their own Japanese school and hospital.

Elsewhere along the Fraser just outside of Richmond were Norwegian, Spanish, Greek, and Eastern European sojourner settlements. [9]  This only further added to the Fraser River fishing industry’s diversity.

But while the Finns may not have been a visible minority, linguistically and culturally they stood apart from the others. For example, the Finnish language was spoken amongst the first settlers. Their inability to communicate in English was a linguistic isolation: an obstruction to their inclusion in early Richmond society. Writes Jacobson, “there was little social life for the Finns in Richmond – they had to entertain themselves”.[10]

As a result, they imported Finnish newspapers from New York and Finland. They travelled to the nearest Lutheran church in Vancouver to practice Finland’s national religion. Most importantly, they built six to seven saunas on Finnland Road as a way to keep a crucial aspect of Finnish culture alive – a social activity that had no equivalence in Canadian society.[11]

Another consequence of the Finnish language barrier was the Anglicization of Finnish names. This was likely done out of frustration over preference and is probably telling of Richmond’s social environment. Mikko Hinhala, for example, changed his name to Mike Jacobson after one too many mispronunciations. Yet language barriers had more serious effects, for it initially hindered Finn Slough’s political agency.

In 1900, the Dyking Commission and Thomas Kidd published notices throughout Richmond in English. These notices detailed a dyke improvement plan that entailed blocking off Woodward Slough from the Fraser River. While this would have an obvious detrimental effect on the Finnish community whose transportation relied on the slough, only one farmer protested. It is not documented whether the farmer was Finnish.

Writes Finn Slough resident David Dorrington, “most of the Finns would not have been able to read the notices in the Royal Columbian of these intended changes; even Ottawa did not think Mr. Kidd had done a proper job of consulting the landowners.”[12]

Despite this lack of effort by the municipality, Woodward Slough was altered and would forever cut off the Finnland Road settlement from the Fraser River. Thus began a shift towards the use of a new transportation corridor: Tiffin Slough. It not only emphasizes the social marginalization endured by the Finns, but also explains the early stages of Finn Slough’s physical marginalization.

Still, a secondary municipal action seems to have had the most impact on the Finnish community for it resulted in mass relocation. Keen explains that, “bylaw 123 was passed by the Richmond Municipality in 1907 to have Finnland Road (later shortened to Finn Road) officially designated prior to paving. Many recent immigrants could not afford the land price of $40 per acre of uncleared land and $90 per acre for cleared land so they looked for other options for housing including living on scow houses along the river bank”.[13]

Therefore, the Finnish community literally picked up from Finnland Road and moved a short distance away to Whitworth Island along the sheltered Tiffin Slough. It was here along the slough where they found a “place to moor their boats and to set up their bluestone tanks that they used to clean their linen nets”.[14]

But fishing wasn’t the only activity occurring at the new settlement. Whitworth Island was much larger than it is today and supported a relatively sustainable farm for the displaced community. Hence, Tiffin Slough eventually came to be known as Finn Slough, and the fishing village that was built there is the same one that exists today.

So how did Richmond society view Finn Slough?

Thomas Kidd, one of the earliest Richmond pioneers, wrote Richmond’s first published history in 1927 titled History of Lulu Island And Occasional Poems. While touching on everything known about Richmond to that date – from its physical geography, to the rise of its infrastructure, to its social demographics – Finn Slough is blatantly missing.

It is evident from his municipal involvement in Woodward Slough’s development that Thomas Kidd knew of this Finnish community, yet there is a clear lack of its existence in his history. Was this a mistake, or does this suggest the kind of social marginalization already going on, even in Richmond’s youth?

If Kidd could write with exact precision about the location of Richmond’s wild crab-apple trees, one would only assume that his exclusion of Finn Slough was done just as meticulously. It is therefore not surprising that twelve years afterwards, another incident occurred in which Finn Slough fell victim to the municipality it supposedly belonged to. Described in Finn Slough – A Complicated Historical Situation, the author writes that authorities “tried to expropriate part of Mike Jacobson’s land for a road without giving any compensation. This led to a court case that Mr. Jacobson won, even though he could speak no English”.[15]

Hoping to further my understanding of Finn Slough’s social marginalization, I consulted with David Dorrington of the Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society. Dorrington, I soon discovered, has somewhat of a legendary reputation that stems from his passion for promoting Finn Slough. As an activist, artist, historian, and a Finn Slough resident of 17 years, he was without doubt the living expert on his community.

Finn Slough | Robyn Hanson
Finn Slough oozes character, but also reminders that people live here too.

He first explained to me the conceived social hierarchy of the past that placed natives and Chinese at the bottom, followed closely by Finns.[16] In this case, Finns were lowly regarded, not because of race or language, but because of political activities in the homeland. Finland was then occupied by Russia, tainting Finns with a political identity that many did not agree with.

However, it was this close association between the Finns and the Russians that contributed to Finn Slough’s ostracization. Most absurdly, Finland’s status as a Russian-occupied country resulted in the Canadian government declaring Finnish an enemy language in 1918![17]

Yet Dorrington suggested that, “perhaps the social marginalization was exaggerated by poor, uneducated Finns who were strongly socialist. That just meant that they stayed in small, tight communities – social things enforcing a geographical thing”.[18]

Evidently, these combined factors would perpetuate the social and physical marginalization that Finn Slough would experience throughout the years. But as the decades passed, the new generations at Finn Slough learned English and slowly assimilated into the greater Richmond society, leaving behind the scow houses and net lofts to a new demographic.

While a few descendents of the Finnish community still live at Finn Slough, people like David Dorrington who are neither Finns, farmers or fishers, are representing a more diverse community that calls Finn Slough home. It is this new demographic of people that range from teachers to artists who have organized under the Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society to keep Finn Slough’s heritage, ecology, and unique spirit alive.

Yet marginalization still stands in the way.

An essential aspect of understanding Finn Slough’s inherent marginalization comes from the subtleties of Canadian property law. The Finn Slough community’s physical location on the intertidal zone has only made the situation more complex.

According to Dorrington, Canada uses the ancient Roman riparian law in which anything above the low tide mark and below the high tide mark is considered crown land, thus it is federal jurisdiction. But because of the community’s obscure geography, Dorrington suggests that political problems surrounding riparian law tend to work against Finn Slough, rather than for it.

For example, although the residents of Finn Slough use tax-funded services such as the public school system, they do not have to pay property or utility taxes. Thus, the houses on Finn Slough lack standard utilities such as sewage systems or central heating. However, each home makes do with alternatives, such as septic tanks and wood-burning stoves.[19]

Unfortunately this unofficial tax exemption has created a small rift between the Finn Slough community and the tax-paying public. There is a common misconception that Finn Slough residents are merely squatters looking for a “free ride”. However, the Finn Slough residents have erected a sign on the bridge to Whitworth Island defending their position. It states that the residents are merely trying to live harmoniously with nature, voluntarily paying taxes.

Others, such as Finn Slough resident Margaret Dragu, see themselves as “stewards of the land”.[20] They hope that one day tax-collecting and standard utilities will be extended to their community. Of course, Finn Slough will somehow have to drop its status as an intertidal zone and will have to be rezoned as residential land before this is to happen.

While the tax exemption issue is often cited to undermine Finn Slough’s legitimacy as a community, its marginalization perseveres in other ways.

Over the past hundred years, for example, large portions of Whitworth Island’s original 35 acres have eroded into the river. There are now only seven acres left.[21] While the rate of erosion seems unusually rapid, Dorrington acknowledges that Finn Slough is a natural environment and hence, it’s always changing. “Maps don’t reflect that”, he says, detailing what he calls a “legal fiction”.[22]

While the original 1913 survey of the Finn Slough area shows all 35 acres, newer maps of Richmond have lacked Whitworth Island, rendering it virtually non-existent. But what’s most frustrating is that the lost acres of Whitworth Island could have been reclaimed as protected farmland had older maps been used at the time of the Agricultural Land Reserve’s initiation. However, since policies were made while consulting newer maps, Whitworth Island was excluded from agricultural preservation, making it vulnerable to future development.

To confuse matters more, if it exists at all, Whitworth Island’s name is sometimes written as Gilmour Island on newer municipal maps, further displacing it from its established identity. This can only frustrate those watching the encroachment of mansion and equestrian development. But even if Finn Slough could reclaim its lost territory, what would be the chance that it would simply be left alone?

Eventually in 1989, Stephen Thomas Smith of an Ontario development company aptly named Smith Prestige Properties Ltd. purchased the title and survey to “Gilmour” Island. It is not well documented who owned the land before the purchase, or how and why it was sold. But it was this transfer of land ownership that threatened Finn Slough’s existence beyond anything it had ever experienced.

Smith intended to reclaim the island’s former 35 acres and develop them into a multi-million-dollar housing project in similar fashion to Vancouver’s Deering Island.[23] Citing tax exemption, fire codes, and trespassing as basis for eviction, Smith was adamant that Finn Slough’s demise was inevitable. He criticized that the “squatters” were “not quaint. If a fire started down there or a kid drowned, they’d be looking for someone to blame – and that would be me”.[24]

He wasn’t the only one to feel this way.

In the Richmond Review, an opinionated Lorne Nisbet called Finn Slough a “disgrace” and an “eyesore” in response to a favourable article published a few days earlier. He believed that if people looked beyond its supposed quaintness, they’d find structures that – had they been subject to local bylaws – would have been shut down long ago.[25]

While these are just two examples of opposition, they share similar sentiments that favour aesthetics and bylaws over heritage and the environment. The residents are often deemed insignificant players, likely because of legitimacy issues described previously. But do these two groupings have to be mutually exclusive, or do they represent hidden agendas?

Not surprisingly, we still live in a world in which local discourse strongly associates progress with development. And perhaps the underdeveloped nature of Finn Slough is only seen as backwardness to those entrenched in this mentality. Then there are those like Smith whose sole interest is profit, regardless of the social and ecological consequences.

Fearing its demise, Finn Slough residents organized as the Finn Slough and Wetland Society to raise money to fight in court for their community’s future. As an established society, they found new agency and perhaps even new legitimacy. They published newsletters, petitions and brief histories.

In one such history they describe how Smith “announced his ownership in 1993 by trying to evict the residents of Finn Slough who are mostly on crown tidal land adjacent to ‘Whitworth Island’. His failure to achieve his objective led him to get the Fraser Port Authority involved”.[26] Yet the Fraser Port Authority only added to the complexities.

Dorrington elaborated on these frustrations by stating that there are “many layers of government and ownership of Finn Slough, and all those layers can compete and disagree with each other”.[27] For example, the Department of Fisheries has jurisdiction over the intertidal zones in British Columbia. Yet, “the Province, which has ultimate jurisdiction here, could step in and save [Finn Slough] Village at not cost to itself”, but it has never acted; it merely pushes responsibility further down to the municipal level, which is then passed over to the Fraser Port Authority.[28]

But the Fraser Port Authority, Dorrington suggests, is not friends of fishermen, but is looking out for the interests of the big companies.[29]  So while some levels of government have been potentially favourable to Finn Slough’s future, they have often transferred their responsibility down to another level of jurisdiction whose intentions have been very different.

As Dorrington insists, “the Fraser Port Authority competes with the municipalities it’s supposed to represent, but [it] doesn’t [represent them]”.[30] And while Finn Slough could legally exercise an old English law which grants property rights to squatters whom have lived in one spot for a long period of time, the legal fees to prove it would be astronomical, costing more than the purchase of the island itself.[31]

Consequently, these entanglements of power have put Finn Slough’s fate in a virtual limbo.

Although years of delay might normally enrage those fighting for protection, Finn Slough residents don’t appear to mind. It might be unclear what is truly happening with Finn Slough at the moment, but this “wait and see” approach is tolerated because it appears to guarantee the status quo for a little while longer.

In the meantime, Finn Slough residents are finding more support than ever before. Though newspaper headlines such as “City Staff Support Plan to Develop Finn Slough” may suggest otherwise, it appears that Richmond City Councillor Harold Steves and Mayor Malcolm Brodie do not see the logic in developing Finn Slough for residential development. Brodie recognizes the lack of services and infrastructure which would be needed to support extensive residential development in the area, while Steves sees Finn Slough as a piece of invaluable Richmond heritage.[32]

Additionally, Finn Slough is being recognized for its ecological fragility. Rated a number one by Environment Canada to signify an “undisturbed site”, [33] the bog in Finn Slough is now designated an environmentally protected “red zone” and thus forbidden from any development.[34]

While plans have now been indefinitely haulted for over 13 years, Smith’s future proposals must adhere to these environmental constraints. Yet, Smith insists on ridding the structures of their occupants. The Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society notes that, “Smith does not have much chance of getting the ‘island’ rezoned or of developing it himself and so his insistence on the destruction of the Village is questionable”.[35]

Perhaps Smith is still fearful of his legal responsibility as landowner. This beckons me to ask why a community that was “established well before the City of Richmond was formed, and pre-dates any zoning bylaws”[36] would hold Smith accountable for their own actions if they’ve been living independent from authorities for over a hundred years.

As it stands, Finn Slough’s fate is still uncertain. It could just become another Deering Island – a small Fraser River estuary island in the Southlands neighbourhood of Vancouver, developed into an exclusive community of waterfront mansions. And the nearby Celtic Shipyards that were hoping to be saved was eventually demolished for additional Southlands housing. However, perhaps Finn Slough has a fighting chance.

As we enter an environmentally-conscious period in recognition of global warming, there is increased awareness about the ecological value of wetlands. The natural estuary of Finn Slough plays a critical role in the region’s biodiversity. Many species, such as salmon, rely upon such spaces where there are no concrete boundaries between land and water. Wetlands also make for cleaner water; a major concern to all. The great irony is that if increased sea levels materialize because of global warming, intertidal landscapes like those at Finn Slough are doomed.

Fortunately, a look at the City Minutes of Richmond suggests that Finn Slough is finally shedding its social marginalization – at least, partially. Finn Slough residents such as David Dorrington and Nadeane Trowse have been in careful communication with Richmond City Hall, untangling some of the red tape which has prevented affirmative action.[37]

Then there are the key supporters, such as the ever-present Harold Steves, whose deep Richmond roots have ensured that at least one person is looking out for the city’s heritage. Yet, one must wonder what would happen to Richmond without a Harold Steves? Would Richmond’s residents continue to value their past, or would property value take priority? To some, this is already taking place.

Luckily, Finn Slough is getting more publicity in the media which has been expanding community involvement. For the past seven years, Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society have organized the annual Art About Finn Slough exhibit at the Richmond Art Gallery. This year’s the theme was the biosphere. Yet by inviting everyone to submit art of all mediums, Finn Slough perpetuates an inclusive identity that can be shared by everyone. It’s therefore appropriate that this encouraged community involvement takes the form of an art exhibit, for Finn Slough has always inspired artists.

Ingrid Koivukangas is one such artist – an environmental artist – whose exhibit, the Finn Slough Project, takes an ecological approach at understanding the value of the community. Most inspiring, however, is her installation of Starfloats. The starfloats are glass balls coated in phosphorescent paint, hung through the trees at Finn Slough. After soaking up the sun’s energy all day, they emit a soft glow for two hours after dusk. Therefore, Koivukangas encourages her audience to leave the confines of the art gallery, beckoning them out of downtown Richmond and to the river’s edge to explore her subject in person.  Only then, while walking around Finn Slough at dusk, do visitors begin to experience the smells, the sounds, and the sights that Finn Slough offers.

It is here, wandering along the Fraser River on one clear March night that I realized Finn Slough was no longer culturally confined to the shore; it finally pierced the heart of the greater community. By extending Finn Slough into the greater Richmond community, more people will begin to see Finn Slough as a part of their own identity. But whether or not this encouraged community involvement will save Finn Slough from eventual development is uncertain. The best we can do is wait and see.


Abell, Tia. “City Staff Support Plan To Develop Finn Slough.” Richmond Review. September 6, 2000.

BC Wetlands.“Update on Finn Slough,” BC WetNet News, (accessed March 2, 2007).

Bryan, Chris. “Finn Slough Seeks Old English Solution – Residents Make Bid to Clarify Property Claims.” Richmond Review. June 15, 2001.

Canadian Environmental Assessment. “Redevelopment of Former Celtic Shipyards.” September 15, 2005.

Cernetig, Miro. “Emotional Battle Brewing In Riverside Shantytown Finn Slough.” Globe and Mail. April 13, 1994.

City of Richmond. Planning Committee Meeting Minutes. June 6, 2000.

Dorrington, David. “An Interesting History Note From Richmond: The Changes in Finn Surnames.” October 23, 2000.

Dorrington, David. “A Small History of Finn Slough.” Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society. (accessed February 6, 2007).

Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, “Finn Slough – A Complicated Historical Situation”, n.d..

Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, October 1999 Newsletter, October 1999.

Gazetas, Mary. “The Art of Finn Slough.” Richmond Review. February 3, 2007.

Haig-Brown, Alan and Rick Blacklaws. The Fraser River. Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 1996.

Hopkins, Michelle. “Art Immitates Nature.” Richmond News. March 6, 2007.

Hopkins, Michelle. “Where the Finnish Got Their Start.” Richmond News. November 17, 2006.

Howell, Mike. “Late Proposal Seeks Artists’ Colony.” Vancouver Courier. June 13, 2005.

Jacobson, Ron Jr. “Richmond Finns.” 1977.

Keen, Mary. Time and Tide: The Settlement of Lulu Island’s South Arm Shore.

Richmond: City of Richmond Archives, 2005.

Kidd, Thomas. History of Lulu Island And Occasional Poems. Vancouver: Wrigley Printing Company, 1927.

Laurence, Robin. “Back to the Land.” The Georgia Straight. March 8, 2007.

Lindstrom-Best, Varpu. The Finns in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Historical Association, 1985.

Miller, Jennifer. “Million-dollar Homes and History Clash.” Vancouver Sun. June 15, 2005.

Nisbet, Lorne. “Dim on Finn.” Richmond Review. November 20, 2003.

Orchard, Imbert. Fishing at the Delta. Victoria, B.C. Provincial Archives of B.C., 198-.

Richmond Museum. South Arm Slough District: Self-Guided Historical Tour. Richmond, BC: Richmond Museum, 1991.

Ross, Leslie. Richmond Child of the Fraser. Richmond, B.C.: Corporation of the Township of Richmond, 1979.

Sorila, Eero. “The Fishing Village of Finn Slough.” In Richmond: Secrets & Surprises, edited by Jacqueline Lee-Son and Dona Sturmanis, 109-112. Richmond, B.C.: Yorklin & Associates, 1994.

Sorila, Eric. “From Finland to Finn Slough.” UBC Historical Archaeology. December 7, 1984.

Stacey, Duncan and Susan Stacey. Salmonopolis: The Steveston Story. Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 1994.

“Update on Finn Slough: A Wetland Community.” (accessed March 19, 2007).

Van den Hemel, Martin. “Finn Slough Owner to Fight Eviction in Court.” Richmond Review. August 4, 1999.

Van den Hemel, Martin. “Finn Slough ‘Won’t Be Heritage Anymore’.” Richmond Review. July 30, 1999.


[1] Lulu Island is the largest of Richmond’s islands and is often what locals think of when they refer to Richmond. Sea Island, home to the Vancouver International Airport, in addition to a handful of small and unpopulated islands also make up Richmond.

[2] Michelle Hopkins, “Where The Finnish Got Their Start,” Richmond News, November 17, 2006. Hopkins interviews Richmond City Councillor Harold Steves who acknowledges that the Finnish settlements are an important part of our heritage.

[3] Mary Keen, Time and Tide: The Settlement of Lulu Island’s South Arm Shore (Richmond: City of Richmond Archives, 2005), 2.

[4] Ron Jacobson Jr, Richmond Finns (n.p., 1977), 4.

[5] Finnland Road was renamed Finn Road, which is what it’s known as today.

[6] This is by no means the entire list of the residents of Finn Slough, but merely a sampling of some of the first men to arrive. There is a real lack of published material regarding the first women who lived there.

[7] Jacobson, 4.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Imbert Orchard, Fishing at the Delta (Victoria, B.C.: Provincial Archives of B.C., 198-), 3-6.

[10] Jacobson, 5.

[11] Ibid, 5-6.

[12] David Dorrington, “A Small History of Finn Slough,” Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, (accessed February 7, 2007).

[13] Keen, 16.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, “Finn Slough – A Complicated Historical Situation”.

[16] David Dorrington, Interview, March 12, 2007.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Hopkins.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] David Dorrington, Interview, March 12, 2007.

[23] Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, “Finn Slough – A Complicated Historical Situation”.

[24] Miro Cernetig, “Emotional Battle Brewing in Riverside Shantytown Finn Slough, ” Globe and Mail

April 13, 1994.

[25] Lorne Nesbit, “Dim on Finn,” Richmond Review November 20, 2003.

[26] Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, “Finn Slough – A Complicated Historical Situation”.

[27] David Dorrington, Interview, March 12, 2007.

[28] Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, “Finn Slough – A Complicated Historical Situation”.

[29] David Dorrington, Interview, March 12, 2007.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Tia Abell, “City Staff Support Plan to Develop Finn Slough,” Richmond Review September 6, 2000.

[33] B.C. Wetlands, “Update on Finn Slough,” BC WetNet News, (accessed March 2, 2007).

[34] Cernetig.

[35] Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, “Finn Slough– A Complicated Historical Situation”.

[36] Martin van den Hemel, “Finn Slough ‘Won’t Be Heritage Anymore’” Richmond Review, July 30, 1999.

[37] City of Richmond, Planning Committee Meeting Minutes, June 6, 2000.

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  1. Finn Slough could be saved permanenty perhaps. If. The residents were to dress in era appropriate Finish fisherman costumes. Thus promoting heritage and tourism. This seems like it could be a real win, win.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I grew up in Richmond and graduated in 1957. I was well aware of Finn Slough, as one of our grads was from there. There was a group of us that stuck together, married our own grads, remained friends still today. The visits to Finn Slough was always an adventure and exciting. I personally never really knew what their problems were but certainly enjoyed the company.

    Thanks again, I certainly enjoyed going down memory lane.
    Lorraine Vaugeois (married Tom Holman, RIP, 1988)

  3. Does anyone know of a shipwreck (and fire) that occured in the @ 6 or 7 Road by a pier on the Fraser (Rice mill road area)? This would have been pre-1974.The ship wasn’t huge, but it WAS big and looked like a sailing ship and it burned by the pier which also burned?
    The reason I’m asking is that my family and friends had a memorable picnic there and we were captivated by this ship. Of course no one brought a camera. It was kind of at the end of a paved road that turned onto a very short dirt road area that included the pier. I believe it faced South, but could be wrong. Any takers?

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