Carlisle Cannery, Skeena River

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Carlisle Cannery, Skeena River

by | Nov 10, 2019

Carlisle is an abandoned cannery on the east bank at the mouth of the Skeena River, about 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Carlisle was built in 1895, as one of the first canneries outside of the protected waters of the Skeena River, and operated until 1950. At the peak of annual production in 1941, the facility yielded 72,000 cases of canned salmon.

The cannery at Carlisle was a massive industrial complex and relied on a seasonal workforce. Unlike other salmon canneries that were built in existing communities, Carlisle was also the home for the workers and became a seasonal village of people representing diverse ethnic groups, segregated but living in close quarters. The cannery relied upon the skills and fishing rights of the Tsimshian, the experience of Chinese cannery workers, and company investors who were usually in faraway cities.

The cannery was operated by Kildala Packing Company until 1925 when the Canadian Fishing Company purchased three plants owned by Kildala including Kildala Cannery on Rivers Inlet, Manitou Cannery on Deans Channel and Carlisle Cannery on the Skeena River. Today, the Canadian Fishing Company is known as Canfisco that includes associate companies in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Canfisco is owned by the Jim Pattison Group, the third-largest privately held company in Canada, with operations in a wide range of business areas including automotive, food, media, packaging, entertainment, periodical distribution, export and financial services. Read more here and here. Explore more of Carlisle here:

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