Port Albion Cannery

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Corporate body

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Port Albion Cannery

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Description area

Dates of existence

[1927-1948]

History

The Port Albion Cannery was located near Ucluelet, BC, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It was built ca. 1927, possibly by the Banfield Packing Company. The plant operated primarily as a canning and processing station; a modern cannery, reduction plant, and shipyard was built up on the site after the 1936 purchase by the Nootka Packing Company, and as late as 1948 the plant consisted of a cannery, mild cure station, fishing station, and fish meal and oil plant. The plant primarily processed herring and pilchards.

The Port Albion cannery was a branch plant of several companies between the 1920s and 1940s. It was likely in operation by the 1926/1927 fishing season. Possibly, the Port Albion cannery was operated by Albion Fisheries Ltd (previously the Albion Fish Reduction and Oil Refining Company). The Banfield Packing Company, which operated in tandem with the Nootka Packing Company, apparently took over operation of an Ucluelet plant owned by Albion Fisheries sometime between 1931 and 1936; the Port Albion Cannery was located in Ucluelet, and while it is unknown whether it is the same as the Albion Fisheries plant taken over by the Banfield Packing Company, it is likely the two plants were at least contemporaneous.

The Port Albion Cannery was definitely purchased by Nootka Packing in 1936 and by British Columbia Packers sometime after 1948. Nootka Packing was incorporated in 1916 and reorganized in 1937, at which time it was renamed the Nootka Packing Company Ltd. At around the time of the reorganization, a sibling company, the Banfield Packing Company Ltd. (1936), was incorporated; the two companies shared an office in Vancouver, their charters imply they were intended to operate in tandem rather than as competitors, and executives of the Nootka Packing Company signed Banfield Packing Company correspondence multiple times. A third company, the Nootka-Banfield Company, was incorporated in 1940 and also operated out of the shared Nootka and Banfield office in Vancouver. The Nootka-Banfield Company, Nootka Packing Company, and Banfield Packing Company were nominally distinct entities but worked very closely, and when the Nootka-Banfield Company was purchased by the Canadian Fishing Company (CFC) in 1945, all three (Nootka-Banfield, Nootka, and Banfield) went into voluntary liquidation within two months of each other. The Port Albion Cannery, as one of the Nootka Packing Company’s assets purchased by the Canadian Fishing Company, was transferred to the CFC at the time of purchase. Despite the liquidations, very little disruption of day-to-day operations at any of the Nootka-Banfield, Nootka, or Banfield plants seems to have occurred as a result of the 1945 CFC purchase. The Port Albion cannery was still in operation in 1948, and BC Packers purchased the plant sometime after that.

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Revised by Malcolm Fish, January 2024.

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