Could Vancouver's other waterfront have accommodated the Cannery?

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

9 comments


The Cannery is calling it quits after becoming one of Vancouver restaurant icons

Ever since I moved here back in the 80's, the Cannery restaurant located on Vancouver's Burrard Inlet has been one of my favourites. Their salmon wellington is to die for and the view of the harbour is simply stunning. This Vancouver icon is located within the Vancouver Port Authority's jurisdiction. As a result it was caught behind a new security line after the terrorist attacks in New York.

Despite the fact that patrons had to "buzz" in to gain access to the restaurant (and Port property), it remained extremely popular with locals. It was inevitable after the Port became a virtual security fortress that the Cannery's days were numbered. Then it was announced that the Port would not be renewing its lease and would not be permitting the restaurant to remain open much past the Olympic Games.

The time is now approaching whereby the doors to the restaurant will finally be shut for good. What a big loss for Vancouver and the tens of thousands of us who loved the restaurant. I couldn't help but thinking how great the Cannery would have looked at English Bay if it would have been provided the location given to Cactus Club restaurant last week. If you recall, the Vancouver Park Board voted to give this prime location to the chain restaurant in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue.

While I realize that the Cannery may not have been able to easily provide the beachside bistro food the Park Board was looking for, I'm sure something could have been worked out to accommodate everyone. As it stands, this wonderful restaurant is closing, its employees are being laid off, and we've lost the opportunity to keep a uniquely Vancouver experience open.

I'll miss the Cannery when it's gone and I only wish something could have been done to keep it open in its current location. As an alternative, finding a spot for it somewhere else on our waterfront would have been a good second choice. It's all too late now as the lights are about to be dimmed in the kitchen for one last time tonight.

- post by Daniel

9 Comments

For my family it was a place to celebrate a special occasion.

For me it was a warm place to gather with friends when life wasn't so kind or when we wanted to celebrate a milestone, to satiate my craving for their Roasted Mussels, and to impress the heck out of my date.

My last hurrah was on March 17, 2010. Well practiced from the epic waits during the Olympics, we were prepared to wait as long as it took to secure a table and savour one last memorable meal. We were told the wait would be an hour, but it ended up being only 30 minutes.

Yes, it was a night of pure, unadulterated, gluttony. And completely worth it.

I'll miss the family gatherings we had, and my brother and I making repeated jokes about hitting up a McD's afterwards because the food was going to be so horrible.

I'll miss watching the Canada Day fireworks from the dining room window.

I'll miss the amazing serving staff who never discriminated between a table of executives and a table of budding professionals with their student friends.

Thank you, Cannery, for those wonderful memories, and those amazing Roasted Mussels.

The Steveston Village harbour in Richmond is a perfect alternative location, I believe, for the Cannery. Given it's restaurant namesake and the history of canneries in Richmond Steveston (and once abundant salmon fishing and packing), these two entities should no doubt be a fitting pair!

Well done Daniel! I too am saddened the park board didn't apporoach the Cannery instead of putting a generic chain restaurant in our parks. So much for this park board having a long-term "vision" for our parks.

It is really a shame that yet another Vancouver icon is closed due to "progress".

Bet none of the harbour people who made that final decision have even ever been to the Cannery.

Fond memories of going to the Cannery for special occasions will always be with those who grew up in Vancouver area and greatly missed.

I was at the Cannery for a milestone family celebration in August and yes, it was lovely. However, lets get real here.

When the Cannery first opened, it stood out because there were very few restaurants of any calibre in the city - we cannot say that any more. The setting is beautiful but not enough to make up for the tired carpets, dusty fishing nets on the ceiling and the general 1960's feel to the place. No doubt the owners have elected to not spend a dime on the place when it became obvious that their days were numbered in that location but surly they could have bought a gallon of paint.

They have had every opportunity to relocated, had they really wanted to. Steveston already has its iconic seafood house that has a similar loyal group of patrons. Anything closer to downtown would put them in the middle of stiff competition. I think their biggest hook right now is their isolation.

There is nothing stopping them from emerging somewhere else - fresh, invigorated, refined and relevant. I hope they do. Their Salmon Wellington rocks!

I agree with you, Julia. I have been to the Cannery thrice in my life---dragged there at the behest of others. Nothing on the menu (including the Wellington) that would single it out as'special". Pretty pedestrian when measured against a lot of other eateries around the city. Just the funky experience of eating within sniffing distance of the rendering plant.

On the face of it, the Cactus Club numbers back to the the Park Board look pretty good. $250K plus 4% of revenues (I think the Park Board chucks $50K back for keeping up the surrounding area outside the restaurant).

I doubt the proprietor of the Cannery was willing to come to the table with that kind of offer. And/or the "fit" was not there, in terms of presenting more "beachy" fare.

Regardless, funny not to hear Aaron Jasper sputting about the "corporatization" of the beach since this was a plank in his election campaign.

My, politics is a relative biz, ain't it?

I went to the Cannery on April 8th-to pay my last respects to a well-loved restaurant

I took a look at 20 nice litle white teapots inside. I thanked them for their fine work-and wished them luck in their new location.

I went to the Cannery on April 8th.

Workmen were removing the pretty little white tables-that were in the upper storey.

The tables looked sadly at me; they did not like to see the restaurant go.

I looked at the tables-and thanked them for 39 years of good service.

The tables looked back to me in return-telling me that they will soonbe leading a useful life somewhere else-hopefully.

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