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Friday, August 30, 2013- Prince Rupert and Port Edward

We left at about 9:30, going to Port Edward and to the North Pacific Cannery, a Canadian National Historic Site. We had been to a working fish processing plant when in Haines, but this was completely different.

The Cannery was established in 1889 and closed in 1981. Margie and Wayne had visited there yesterday, and we had the same tour guide, Adam, who was very good. We took the 10 AM, processing tour. The tour started upstairs where they make the cans. Here is Adam, our tour guide, with the canning machines behind him.

Adam, our tour guide at the cannery, Port Edward

The workers, were Chinese, Japanese, First Nation and “European”, meaning mainly white Canadians. The good jobs went to the whites. Families would arrived to work. The kids used old nets to wipe off the cans. Teenage girls would rinse the fish in ice water, kept cold by ammonia, and in two seasons their arthritis was so bad they would never be able to work again. The Japanese men cut the fish and the Chinese worked with the lead in the cans. The machinery was so noisy that after two seasons, about 3 months each, the people were completely and permanently deaf. The worst part was that they many times left in debt to the company, not making any money.

We also took the 11 AM, workers tour.

The First Nation families lived in these small houses, with 14-16 people per house.

North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward, BC

They did not have any of the houses that the Chinese lived in, but the Japanese lived in these. The Chines, Japanese, and First Nation houses did not have bathrooms, just a hole in the floor. The excrement would be washed away with high tide.

North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward, BC

The whites had the best housing, with kitchens and bathrooms.

North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward, BC

Basically, it was slave labor, for 3-5 months per year. As mechanization occurred, the jobs left. The plant was closed about the time that the unions moved into the industry, as it was no longer economically feasible to do the canning a this facility.

North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward BC

North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward, BC

North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward, BC

We returned to the motor home and ate lunch. My chiropractor appt. was at 2:30. Bob worked on an RV project. The brake knob was breaking the plastic cover, so Bob was adding metal to the area before the plastic could totally break.

I arrived at the chiropractor office and no one was there. After waiting, I returned to the motor home. Bob said that they had called, so I called them back. They were in a different town, so we had a miscommunication. I had called the local phone number, but it was on call forwarding. Oh well, I will try in Prince George, our next large town.

We went with Margie and Wayne to dinner at Smiles. We all liked the restaurant, and the food was less expensive than other restaurants in town. Margie had the cod fish and chips, Bob and Wayne had the seafood special, which was salad, fries or baked potato, vegetables, scallops, prawns, oysters, halibut, and salmon for $20. I had the scallops ( 15 of them) for $20. Really a nice deal!

We returned to the motor home and sat talking until time for bed. This is out last evening together.

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