The Gulf of Georgia Cannery was the largest on the coast in the boom years of canning from 1895 to 1902. Because of this, it earned the nick-name “The Monster Cannery”.
Oswald Malcolm, Charles Windsor, and George Wilson built the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in 1894 at the end of Fourth Avenue in Steveston. It was built on the site of the Garry Point Cannery which was destroyed by flood in 1893. When a third canning line was added in 1895 the Gulf of Georgia Cannery became the largest cannery on the coast until 1902. The Canadian Fishing Co. purchased the plant in 1926 after it changed ownership several times in the prior decades.
Due to the economic slowdown of the Great Depression, the Canadian Fishing Co. combined its operations and closed the canning lines at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in 1930. The site was used as a net loft and fresh fish processing plant during the 1930s.
In 1940, at the beginning of the Second World War, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery was used to can herring and render herring offal into fish meal and oil. The cannery was expanded during the 1940s to accommodate the herring reduction machinery. A new ice house, dryer shed, and additional housing was built. At the end of the Second World War, herring canning ended. Herring reduction continued until 1979. After the closure of the plant, the Canadian Fishing Co. used the site for gear storage and as a net loft.
The Gulf of Georgia was designated a National Historic Site in 1976, and the museum was opened to the public in 1994. Today the site welcomes thousands of visitors each year, sharing the history of the west coast fishing and canning industries.