British Columbia Packers Limited (BC Packers) was once the largest fishing and fish processing company in British Columbia.
Between 1902 and 1997, BC Packers and its predecessor companies operated Imperial Cannery in Steveston. In 1946, Imperial Cannery was proclaimed to be the largest fish processing facility in the British Commonwealth. For nearly 100 years, men and women of diverse origin – First Nations, Chinese, Japanese, Indo-Canadian and European - worked side by side to harvest and process the produce of the sea.
Over BC Packers' near century on the Fraser River at Steveston, a great mix of cultural communities grew up around Imperial Cannery. With its huge buildings and stretching docks teeming with people and boats, Imperial Cannery would define Steveston's multicultural industrial waterfront for decades. B.C. Packers' Imperial Cannery was more than just a great, big fish factory – it was its own community. Each ethnic group living and working there made a lasting mark on the village of Steveston. For the ethnically diverse men and women employed by ‘Packers', catching and processing salmon and other fish was more than just employment, it was a way of life.
By looking at the history of B.C. Packers and Imperial Cannery it is possible to witness the ebb and flow of the British Columbia's fishing industry, and to hear the voices of its multicultural participants as they define in their words and through their experiences the meaning of B.C. Packers to their lives.
Click on the links above to learn more about the history of BC Packers and British Columbia's fishing and processing industry.