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Rivers Inlet Cannery | R.I.C.

Can label for "Rivers Inlet selected fresh salmon, Viceroy Brand packed by the British Columbia Canning Co. Ltd. Nooquilts Lake."

The British Columbia Canning Co. created the Viceroy Brand to appeal to British consumers. They used images of soldiers in red coats and of majestic landscapes to appeal to overseas buyers. Image I-61603 courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives.

R.I.C. was the first cannery to be established in Rivers Inlet, which had the third largest sockeye run after the Fraser and Skeena Rivers.


51°51’37.3″N 127°52’00.9″W

The Rivers Inlet Cannery was the first of at least thirteen canneries built at Rivers Inlet.

In 1882 Robert Draney and Thomas Shotbolt established the cannery at the end of the inlet at the mouth of the Wannock River. Rivers Inlet had the third largest sockeye run in B.C., after the Fraser and Skeena Rivers, as well as runs of coho, chum, chinook, and pink salmon making it an ideal location for a cannery.

The cannery’s location was established somewhat accidentally. The barge carrying the building materials arrived in Rivers Inlet during a storm. When the crew was unable to access the chosen site, they unloaded the supplies some distance down the inlet. A foreman evaluated the spot where the barge landed, decided that sufficient fresh water existed at the new location, and built the cannery there instead.

In 1888 Rivers Inlet Cannery was sold to the BC Canning Co., who ended up in some disagreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada over their disposal of offal: “I do not think I need submit my views on the offal question, except that I know our canneries do not hurt anyone by depositing it in the river,” said Matthew Johnston, manager of the BC Canning Co. at the time. In 1924 the plant was purchased by the BC Fishing & Packing Co., which became property of BC Packers Ltd. in 1928. The last canning season was 1933 after which it was closed and used as a camp for Wadhams and Namu Canneries.

A group of men and boys stand behind a net rack on the wharf of the cannery. A net is hanging on the net rack.

A group of workers at the Rivers Inlet Cannery, 1940s. Notice the wide age range in the group. Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society Archives G2004.019.030

Rivers Inlet Cannery buildings with many boats moored at the wharf in the foreground.

Fishermen working and relaxing on their gillnet boats moored at the Rivers Inlet Cannery, 1940's. Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society Archives G2004.019.031

Ten skiffs with fishermen in them gather around a flat bottomed scow filled with fish next to the pilings of the cannery wharf.

Gillnet skiffs around a pot scow at the Rivers Inlet Cannery. Image CVA M-3-13.2 courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives.