Can you imagine a world without cans? Many foods come in a can, including salmon. If you put fresh food in a container, close it tight, take the air out of it and cook it, you’ve canned it! Canning is a way to preserve food, which means it will be safe to eat for a long time. Food is canned in containers that are made out of glass or metal. Usually the containers are round, but sometimes they are a different shape.
The Gulf of Georgia Cannery was originally built in 1894 to preserve nutritious and delicious Pacific salmon that would last long enough to be exported by tall ships around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, and arrive for consumption at their final destination in England. The process of canning had already been used to preserve meats, fruits and vegetables before it was found to work well for fish – and the salmon was the perfect fish for canning! Its circumference fit perfectly into 1/2 pound and 1 pound cans; the steam-cooked method sealed in the salmon’s nutrients and kept its consistency for years. Because of this ideal preservation method, and what seemed like an endless supply of resources, more than one hundred canneries were in operation on Canada’s west coast from the late 1800’s to the mid 1990’s.