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

North Pacific Cannery

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

Tax penalties of 10 per cent to be applied by City if not paid on time

Prince Rupert Property taxes for certain non-residential properties are due by Sept. 30

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read