Ever wondered if there was any truth to these old stories about fingers being found in canned food? If so, a visit to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery should provide answers. Built in 1894, this massive wooden building sitting on pilings over the Fraser River was once the biggest salmon cannery in British Columbia, churning out as many as 2½ million cans of salmon a season. It operated for more than 80 years before overfishing led to its closure in 1979.
The cannery reopened in 1994 as a museum commemorating the west coast fishing industry. Guided tours, included in the price of admission, take visitors along the various stages of the canning line, from the receiving dock through to the final labeled product. As well as seeing the machinery used in the canning process, you’ll hear about conditions on the production line, including child labour, racial discrimination and long hours in the cold, with workers standing in pails of hot water trying to keep warm.
The tour takes the better part of a hour. You could easily spend another hour looking at exhibits and watching an introductory movie.
The cannery is located next to the boardwalk in Steveston, home to Canada’s biggest fishing fleet, so if you've had your fill of canned fish (and fingers) after the museum, you’ll find plenty of the fresh stuff being served in the boardwalk restaurants.
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