The centre is the home of BC Packers 45, a 53 foot table-seiner fishing vessel built in 1927. By chance, a photograph was taken of the vessel in 1958 while she was working; the photo would be copied by the Canadian Mint for the $5 bill (1972-1988). Later in her career, BCP 45 was one of 185 exhibits at Expo 86 in Vancouver; Macleans magazine chose her as the 6th rated exhibit; obviously, she was popular. In June, 2002, the vessel came into Campbell River under her own power.
Well, nobody doubted that BCP 45 would need a bit of work…a bit of paint and a good scrubbing, but she was no quick-fix. It was soon apparent that her hull was filled with dry rot above the waterline and had to be replanted from that point up. A reconstruction crew of volunteer craftsmen lovingly restored her to the condition that you will see her today. She is the centrepiece of a building that was designed around her being there and while it’s nice to look at her, it is more interesting to board her and look around her cramped crew quarters, tiny bridge, and tight engine compartment. It would have taken a pretty hardy group of men to sail her.
Apart from that, the centre is the home of a couple of major collections of marine paraphernalia and memorabilia; whether it’s brass or wood, if it’s been to sea in the last one hundred years, there is probably a version of it here. It all makes for a good visit. And there is a bonus…the centre shares a parking lot with the Discovery Fishing Pier. You can bring your license and spend some time with your line in the water or simply walk the pier to enjoy the view over Campbell River’s large harbour and breakwater. Canteen and washroom facilities are available.
Riverview, New Brunswick
June 9, 2007
From journal Brooding Mountains, Shining Water