1998 World Monuments Watch
For generations many West coast Canadian towns depended on the local cannery. When the Gulf of Georgia Cannery opened in 1894 at the mouth of the salmon-rich Fraser River in Richmond, it was one of scores of active canneries that dotted the coastline; now it is one of the few remaining wooden structures of its kind. After a number of additions, the building grew to 50,000 square feet and rests on 600 wooden piles. Until it closed in 1979, the facility had served as a major fish processing depot and employed a multiethnic work force. In 1994 it opened to the public as an interpretive center for the fishing industry. A recent assessment of structural members has revealed severe insect infestation and dry rot. Replacement of affected substructure members needs to be done immediately followed by the installation of fire stops. The cannery's presence in town serves as tangible documentation of a once-vital industry and its loss would create a cultural vacuum.
Since the Watch
Following Watch listing the site received federal funding to replace structural members and remedy insect infestation and dry rot. Since its opening in 1994, the former cannery has become a very successful museum, now open year-round. January 2011