British Columbia

Search for Metro Vancouver's best neighbourhood quarterfinals: Burnaby Heights vs. Steveston

Starting with 48 neighbourhoods, Steveston and Burnaby Heights are the two finalists in the Fraser River quadrant of our competition. The winner will face either Deep Cove or Pitt Meadows in the semifinals next Wednesday.

The Richmond and Burnaby champions face off in the Fraser River regional finals

(CBC Graphics)

One is known for its harbour. The other, Italian restaurants. 

Richmond's Steveston neighbourhood and Burnaby's Heights neighbourhood are far apart in Metro Vancouver and attract weekend crowds for different purposes.

But they also carry a lot of similarities: both were one of their municipality's first communities, both integrated immigrants early in its history — from Italy for the Heights, from Japan for Steveston — though today both are less ethnically diverse than most of their respective municipalities.

In recent decades, both have embraced their heritage while adding gentle density on their outskirts. And in an era where Metro Vancouver cities are focusing on economic possibilities along rapid transit lines, both have carved out unique niches that keep them vibrant.   

(CBC Graphics)

"I grew up in East Van, but Burnaby, I never really gave it much thought outside Metrotown," said Michael Kwan, a writer who moved to the area.

He says the diversity of restaurants and businesses, along with its many parks, are fully embraced by the neighbourhood that stretches from Boundary to Willingdon. 

"Now that I'm here, I get much more of a sense of it being a community ... in my mind, I think of Steveston the same way as Gastown — it's great to visit and take pictures, but I don't get the same sense it's a tight-knit community."

In response, retired police officer and third generation Steveston resident Andy Hobbs joked, "I don't need to throw much shade, because Steveston is a lot sunnier than Burnaby."

Hobbs argued the tourist attractions like the cannery and harbour are tied to the region's history and economy — and that there's ample community in the homes to the north of the commercial strip. 

"It's a living, working river, and still is. It provides jobs and ties to the community. You're surrounded by nature, the river on one side, the ... Salish Sea on the other, and agricultural area to the east," he said.

From 48 neighbourhoods to start, they're the two finalists in the Fraser Quadrant of our Search for Metro Vancouver's Best Neighbourhood. The winner will face the champion of the Northern Quadrant — either Deep Cove or Pitt Meadows — in the semifinals next Tuesday. 

Both areas are loved. But only one will get to the Final Four.

(CBC Graphics)

Tale of the tape


  • Average age: 43.4.
  • Average household size: 2.5.
  • Renter households: 35.5 per cent.
  • Average total household income: $142,000.
  • Visible minorities as a percentage of neighbourhood population: 42.8 per cent.
  • Road to the Elite Eight: First Round bye, defeated Seafair 93-7 per cent, Thompson 94-6 per cent, Garden City 94-6 per cent and Queen's Park 52-48 per cent. 

Burnaby Heights:

  • Median age: 43.6.
  • Average household size: 2.4.
  • Renter households: 32.6 per cent.
  • Median household income: $105,000
  • Visible minorities as a percentage of neighbourhood population: 38 per cent.
  • Road to the Elite Eight: First Round Bye, Defeated Willingdon Heights 77-23 per cent, Brentwood 78-22 per cent, Capitol Hill 75-25 per cent and Upper Deer Lake 70-30 per cent.