STORY, PHOTOS, VIDEO: North Pacific Cannery celebrates special milestone

Visitors examine the cannery equipment used in the canning process. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
It takes some effort to reach this cannery property. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
The First Nations net loft. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
The North Pacific Cannery in miniature form. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
The Grand Trunk Pacific Model Railroad Club and its extensive model train collection is headquartered at the cannery. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Labels from some of the countless cans that have left the site. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Some of the nicer bunkhouses. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
A selection of goods from the company store. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Dinner table at a Japanese bunkhouse. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
First Nations bunkhouse. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

The North Pacific Cannery celebrated its 130 anniversary over the weekend, marking the occasion with a barbecue and tours of the national historic site.

After enjoying a burger from Patty’s Burger Wagon, visitors to the Port Edward site got to take a trip back in time via free guided tours around the cannery. This included a stop in the various bunkhouses used by the First Nations, Chinese, Japanese and European employees who both worked and lived at the cannery.

The North Pacific Cannery was constructed in 1889, and processed fish until the late 1970s. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Visitors examine the cannery equipment used in the canning process. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

The many different types of machinery at the sprawling site were also on display. Many of them have been restored to working order by Greg Butts, who works as a tour guide and maintenance man at the cannery.

READ MORE: The Northern View Cannery Road Race is coming up Sept. 14

“In the First Nations net loft we have a machine shop. There are three machines there that I’ve been able to get running again: a metal lathe, a grinder and a mechanical hacksaw,” Butts said of some of the mechanical achievements he has made with the old equipment. Guests on the tour were treated to a display of all three in action.

Workers and residents of the First Nations net loft produced nets and various other tools necessary for fishing. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Butts has also finessed the main canning line into working order, and says one of his favourite parts of the job is to show it to guests.

“It’s wonderful to hear us talk about it and see how it’s used, but really when you see it run it takes it to a whole new level for people,” Butts said. “Seeing is believing. You truly appreciate the experience of what everyone who lived and worked here would go through on a day to day basis.”

Greg Butts details a part of the main canning line process. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

This particular cannery line was nicknamed ‘Big Bertha’. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Cannery general manager Ann Leach is one of the guides, and talked about what goes into a tour. “They’ll be given a narrative of how things were in the past. We go through 97 years of production,” Leach said, referencing the number of years the cannery was in operation.

READ AND WATCH MORE: What’s new at the North Pacific Cannery?

“We’ll describe who would have done canning back in the day, and also when we mechanized.”

“I’m really pleased that people took an interest to come here during the celebration,” Leach added. “It’s a labour of love. It doesn’t take much to get yourself hooked, it’s a bewitching site.”

An ancient dock continues to rise and fall with the tides. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Patty Barki of Patty’s Burger Wagon was on hand to serve visitors to the site. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)


Alex Kurial | Journalist
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Food drive needs donations from Prince Rupert and Port Edward this weekend

With 30 families volunteering this Thanksgiving, the food drive can cover both municipalities

STORY, PHOTOS, VIDEO: Terry Fox’s spirit alive and well in Prince Rupert

Town shows up again in numbers— physically and financially — to push for a cure

Holkestad’s hold off the competition at Seniors’ Open

Husband and wife duo remain top of the table at Prince Rupert Golf Course

City of Prince Rupert strengthen their commitment to Coast Tsimshian nations

Prince Rupert, Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla sign memorandum of understanding

Heart of Our City: Giving back to their street friends one meal at a time

Karlene Campbell and Marvin Spencer feed the homeless every Sunday

The Northern View Cannery Road Race: Photos and video

The Northern View’s 2019 Cannery Road Race draws hundreds of runners from Prince Rupert to Terrace

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, expert says

20 day search for missing Labradoodle in Princeton, B.C. ends with tears of joy

The search brought out bloodhounds, and groups hoping to find Mordy

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

Most Read