Richmond is a coastal city incorporated in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Part of the Metro Vancouver area, it has an estimated population of 218,307 people as of 2017. Richmond has an immigrant population of 60%, the highest in Canada. Richmond is the location of Vancouver International Airport and was the site of the long track speed skating events during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Richmond is located on Lulu Island at the mouth of the Fraser River, and also encompasses adjacent Sea Island and some smaller uninhabited islets to the north and south. Neighbouring communities are Vancouver and Burnaby to the north, New Westminster to the east, and Delta to the south. The Strait of Georgia forms its western border.
Richmond comprises most of the islands in the Fraser River delta, the largest and most populated island being Lulu Island. The city of Richmond includes all but a small portion of Lulu Island (the Queensborough neighbourhood at the far eastern tip is part of the city of New Westminster). The next largest island, Sea Island, is home to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). In addition to Lulu and Sea Islands, 15 smaller islands make up the city's 129.66 square kilometres (50.06 sq mi) land area. The city also includes the fishing village of Steveston, located in the far southwest corner of the city, and Burkeville, which shares Sea Island with the airport. Both Steveston and Burkeville were independent villages until they were annexed by Richmond.
Since all of Richmond occupies islands in a river delta, the city has plenty of rich, alluvial soil for agriculture, and was one of the first areas in British Columbia to be farmed by Europeans in the 19th century. The drawback of Richmond's geographical location was that since all the land averages just one metre above sea level, it was prone to flooding, especially during high tide. As a result, all the major islands are now surrounded by a system of dykes, which, although not as massive as those in the Netherlands or the levees of New Orleans, serve to protect the town from anticipated sources of flooding. There is a possibility that, during an earthquake, the dykes could rupture and the alluvial soil may liquefy, causing extensive damage. Richmond is also at risk of a major flood if the Fraser River has an unusually high spring freshet. Recreational trails run along the tops of many of the dykes, and Richmond also supports about 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) of parkland.
Because of the high water table, very few houses in Richmond have basements and until the late 1980s, very few buildings were above 3 storeys high. Also, because of proximity to the airport, current building regulations limit the height of buildings to 150 feet (46 m).