From Scales and Fins to Shiny Tins

Travel back in time to 1938, when canneries lined Canada’s west coast, salmon filled the bottom of boats, and housewives served canned salmon on their best china.

Published April 22, 2015

In this column we republish—or in this case, re-release—work that helped us look at the world in a new way, or work that offers a glimpse into a forgotten seminal event in coastal history. The video has not been altered from its original form.

This nine-minute government-sponsored industrial film—The Inside Story—shows what was going on inside those massive canneries that once lined the riverbank in Steveston, British Columbia. The story begins with scenes of fishermen dumping salmon into a boat hold and ends with a housewife in a modern kitchen, the consumer of a thoroughly modern industry. (Watch to the end, cooking has definitely improved since 1938.)