drawing of Sea Island - Sea Island Heritage Society logo

Our Past is your Present!

We are a non-profit organization focused on promoting, preserving, and being a strong, active resource for all things of heritage value on Sea Island in Richmond, British Columbia. Join us to learn about the history of Sea Island and its residents, past and present.


Sea Island

Sea Island is located in the north arm of the Fraser River in British Columbia. It is part of the City of Richmond. Once an island with thriving communities, most residents have been expropriated for the expansion of the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The Burkeville neighbourhood, first built during the WWII effort, is the only remaining residential area on Sea Island. The Coast Salish peoples were the first to come to Sea Island to fish, hunt and collect berries, establishing summer camps and year-long homes on the northwest corner of the island. The year-long homes were moved to different locations along the coast as needed. There is evidence of middens on Sea Island suggesting a village or permanent homes existed in one place for more than a year. Sea Island is also a place rich in the history of flying, but the many improvements to YVR were not without controversy.


During World War II, the Vancouver Airport and its original terminal, now the South Terminal, were leased to the Federal Government and operated as RCAF Station Sea Island. After World War II, RCAF Station Sea Island was renamed RCAF Station Vancouver. RCAF Station Vancouver closed in 1964 as military bases were downsized, merged or closed. Learn more about the military history of Sea Island.

Get to know us

The Sea Island Heritage Society has been collecting anything and everything to preserve the heritage of Sea Island since about 1995. After one of the Cora Brown reunions, a few volunteers started gathering information, photographs and all things relating to Sea Island, with different Board members at the helm through the years. All our volunteers are passionate about the life of Sea Islanders, past and present and can provide you with a lot of information. The Society has a lot to share! Meet the whole team


Our mission is to make sure the history of Sea Island and its citizens gets recorded. We are working on a number of projects from the creation of genealogy trees of the Sea Island pioneer families on Ancestry to identifying students and teachers in class photos and recording family stories and house histories, amongst others. Find out about the Society's projects and help us capture the heritage of Sea Island.

Our volunteers are busy

From September to June the Sea Island Heritage Society volunteers can be found manning booths at community events, interviewing individuals, researching and documenting what happened on Sea Island through the decades, organizing monthly Coffee Chats or a yearly reunion of Sea Islanders, and anything else related to the heritage of Sea Island. Learn more about what we do.

Here are a few ongoing or completed tasks:

class photo and binders on table, Sea Island AGM 2019

We need your help!

The Society continues to work on a number of endeavours to document the history of Sea Island and its past and present residents. We could use your help with any of the projects listed below:


The Sea Island Heritage Society hosts and participates in events in the community every year. Between our yearly annual general meeting, our monthly Coffee Chats, an annual Sea Island reunion, and participation in our community partners' events, our volunteers are kept busy. Stay informed about the Society's events.