The “Collections Catch of the Week” blogs showcase artifacts from our collection that are not normally seen in our displays. This season’s blogs are submitted by our 2019 summer Collections Assistant Enid. Be sure to check back weekly to see what exciting finds she has chosen from the collections!
This week’s Collections Catch features a singular tin coffee can with a cryptic history.
The artifact was donated to our collections courtesy of Paul Therrien, who had found this item while cleaning out his fishing storage locker near the Steveston waterfront. It is in good condition; its bold brown label proclaiming it to be a product of Woodward Stores Ltd., a massive retailer in the 1900s. The company’s flagship Vancouver base was located on Hastings and Abbott back in the day, well-known for its Food Floor and dollar forty-nine discount days.
The product boasts itself as “an exclusive blend of the world’s finest mountain grown coffee. Roasted and ground with superb care to insure its delicious, full-bodied flavor”. If true, then the fishermen had a fine cup of java to look forward to every morning. However, it cannot be said with full certainty that this coffee can was merely used as a caffeine supply for fishermen and other workers. Conceivably, it could have been a storage tin for small fishing items such as lead weights, lures, hooks, etc. Whatever its history, it now enjoys its retirement in our collections, alongside several other container-like items with their own mysteries to unravel.