125 Years of History
In BC, salmon canneries existed in the hundreds from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Today, only a handful have survived the ravages of time, weather and neglect. Two of these canneries: The Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston and The North Pacific Cannery in Prince Rupert are National Historic Sites of Canada and well worth a visit.
Good Hope was built in 1895 by Henry Bell-Irving and operated as a salmon canning facility from inception until WWII. For over 125 years, the cannery has been perched atop a secluded horseshoe shaped bay, half- way up the inlet.
There was once as many as 12 canneries operating in Rivers Inlet. While faint traces of some of these old canneries exist, only Good Hope and Goose Bay are intact. Over the years a sizeable and important collection of materials has been repatriated to Good Hope – everything from salmon cans and labels, cannery records, gill nets, fishing skiffs, “one lung” marine engines, even a complete canning line.
The human element has also been documented in a book written by Bruce MacDonald, published in 2011. The Good Hope Cannery book tells the human history of Good Hope from its origins as a cannery to its days as a fishermen’s camp, a machine shop and storage facility to a sports fishing lodge until today when it serves as a base for salmon conservation and research.