Canada Day: Steveston Fest salmon bake builds and feeds community

Each one of the three thousand plates of wild sockeye salmon served at the Salmon Festival don’t just feed Steveston, but help to build it.

While each plate costs $16, all of the funds go back into the community.

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“We don’t take any penny,” said Pam Nijar, manager of traffic and logistics for the Canadian Fishing Company. “We’re actually just concentrating on the community. They needed the funds for the children’s park, for the children’s playground.”

Only six volunteers cook the 1,300 lbs of locally caught salmon each year during the festival’s salmon bake, according to Nijar.

“The cooks are just amazing. They are so vibrant and passionate about their cooking,” Nijar said. Many of the volunteers return each year, working from 7:30 a.m. when the cooking fires are first lit, to when the plates sell out around mid-afternoon.

The salmon bake is one of the largest events held in Steveston and its location is “very special,” said Nijar.

“We have our company right in Steveston and our own boat delivering in Steveston. Our own fishermen catching the fish.” The salmon is also recognized by the Marine Stewardship Council for its sustainability.

The bake’s sustainability will also extend to its plates and cutlery. According to festival co-chair Kirstine Dickson, all of the plates are biodegradable and every fork, knife and spoon is wood-based.

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