Cassiar Cannery is located at the mouth of the Skeena River, about 11 air miles (18 km) from Prince Rupert and 6 miles (10 km) southeast of Port Edward, British Columbia. The name is from the surrounding Cassiar Mining District and mountains. The name “Cassiar” is derived from “Kaska”, the Nahane First Nations name for this region.
The cannery was built in 1889 when these facilities were essentially self-sufficient small towns. Cassiar had a store, doctor, office, cookhouses, machine shops, bunkhouses, manager houses, blacksmith, shipwrights, net lofts, all the canning, and processing equipment, and power production. Internally, the fishing industry operated without money – tokens or charges for food, nets, and fuel were levied against a personal account and that was debited against paychecks.
In 1914, the Grand Trunk Railroad connected the Skeena canneries to Prince Rupert, and beginning in the 1920s, the number of Skeena canneries began to drop. By the 1980s the Cassiar Cannery was the last operating salmon cannery on the Skeena River. Today the cannery no longer processes salmon but is supported by boat repairs and restorations, tourism, reclaiming red cedar and spruce from salvaged logs, and science and research through the Skeena Estuary Research Centre. Learn more about the cannery here and here. Explore more of the Cassiar Cannery and the shoreline of the Skeena River here: