North Pacific Cannery represents the unique history of canning in northern B.C. The site is now a National Historic Site and operates as a museum to share the stories of remote northern cannery life.
North Pacific Cannery was built in 1889 by John Carthew who sold it to Henry Ogle Bell-Irving in 1891. The next year it was purchased by the Anglo-British Columbia (ABC) Packing Co. which operated the plant until it was purchased by the Canadian Fishing Co. in 1968. This ownership history is noteworthy because of its almost continuous ownership by a single firm. This is unusual in an industry marked by acquisitions, mergers, bankruptcies and restructuring.
Shortly after it was built in 1891, heavy rains caused a mud slide that wiped out the cabins used by the First Nations workers and their families. In 1892 when ABC Packing Co. took over the plant, it was a one-line cannery with 2 rooms for mild cure fish. A cold storage plant was added in 1910 but it closed in 1920 and was dismantled in 1954. A can-making factory was built at the site in 1918 and until 1936 it supplied cans for Seymour Inlet, Good Hope, British American, Cassiar, Knight Inlet, Arrandale, and Port Nelson canneries. By 1923 the cannery had expanded to a 26,000 square foot, two line operation, with cold storage and a blacksmith shop.
The last full season of salmon canning at North Pacific Cannery was 1968. The Canadian Fishing Co. re-opened the plant for a partial season in 1972 after a fire destroyed their Prince Rupert Oceanside plant. BC Packers bought North Pacific Cannery in 1980 and closed it in 1981. It was given National Historic Site designation in 1985 and now operates as a museum.