Cannery Costumed Interpreters are Back

Heritage Interpreter Olivia G. shares with us the backstories of this year’s interpretive costumes.

This July and August,  the Cannery’s Heritage Interpreters will once again be dressed in historical outfits representing the workers in west coast canneries. Once again, we hope to bring the Cannery to life and create a more immersive experience for visitors with these historical outfits

Although costumes have been worn by the interpreters in previous years, this year we are going a step further to give them some more depth and meaning. Our team has curated a few original outfits of workers from different canneries from the 1940s and 50s based off of archival photos from our collections.  After collecting many items of clothing that closely resemble the outfits worn back in the day, our interpreters were able to pick out their own specific outfits from the selection, and create their own backstory that went along with the outfit they chose.

Costume backstories

Chris’s outfit is representative of a man who would have worked in the Herring Reduction plant here in the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in the 1940s, complete with suspenders and an apron to protect his clothes from chunks of fish and scales.

Mikayla and Grace both have outfits similar to women who would have worked on a canning line in a plant with no strict uniform – these women would have worn simple skirts and shirts, with an apron to protect the clothes as well as a headscarf to keep their hair out of the way.

Honoka’s outfit is an all-white dress and apron, a replica of the uniforms worn at the Cannery in Namu, in northern BC.

Finally, Olivia’s uniform is inspired by the women who worked in BC Packers canneries, such as Imperial Cannery here in Steveston. Their uniforms were white coveralls with green collars and headscarves. The clover leaf on the pocket means that the canneries these women worked in was canning fish for Cloverleaf Seafoods, a brand owned by BC Packers.

Be sure to look for all of these outfits when you visit the Cannery this summer and ask our interpreters to explain the history behind theirs!