Explore Prince Rupert Culture: The North Pacific Cannery

Culture and History make Prince Rupert Come Alive

Prince Rupert has built a reputation on being a welcome host to international business travellers and vacationers. The sheer natural beauty of our region, our ideal location as a pan-Pacific shipping gateway, and our rich history invite a variety of visitors. There are so many ways to appreciate the this jewel of northern BC.

Enhance your visit to our beautiful region with an inspiring and informative trip into our cultural identity.

The North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site celebrates the lives of early BC residents and one of the province’s most important industries.

dock and buildings of North Pacific Cannery
Image Credit: North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site

With the deepest ice-free harbour in North America, and multiple rivers, inlets and tributaries weaving throughout the region, fishing has long been an integral part of the North coast economy. Since 1889, the North Pacific Cannery has been central to this industry, attracting labourers from across the globe. The diverse population here included employees (and their families) from local First Nations bands, North America, Europe, and Asia all living together, making it uniquely multicultural long before other communities could make such a claim.

The Cannery operated as one of the busiest salmon packing factories in the world, and was in continuous operation until 1968. From that point until the early 1980s, it was used as a reduction plant –processing fish into concentrated products, such as oils and fish meal. It closed in 1981, and was left to ruin and threatened with demolition.

A group of industrious civilians from Prince Rupert and Prince Edward recognized the historical significance of the Cannery, and in 1985, they formed a coalition to preserve the site for cultural tourism purposes. Their vision led to the creation of one of Prince Rupert’s most picturesque and popular destinations. A recent government grant allowed for an overhaul that has turned the Cannery into a showpiece of Canada’s industrial and multicultural heritage. Visit the Cannery website for more information.

This must-see attraction lies about 20 minutes south of Port Prince Rupert, and tells an elemental story of the Pacific North Coast. More than 30 of the original buildings are still intact, including processing plants, living quarters, social spaces, and a functioning dock. The network of boardwalks and trails allows guests to explore the site at their own pace, although the excellent (and free!) guided tours include access to many otherwise off-limits buildings and exhibits. Occasional live demonstrations of the cannery equipment and cultural events also take place.

In September, active visitors can participate in the annual Northern View Cannery Road Race, a scenic half-marathon run that winds from the Cannery to Port Edward and back, taking in the beautiful natural surroundings.

Prince Rupert has such a beautiful history! Immerse yourself in this important piece of it, and you’ll know why we at the Crest are so proud to be a part of life up here.

Contact us to book your stay at the Crest, and to get started exploring.