Western Exposures – The BC Packers Photographs by Gar Lunney

 

The fishing industry has been a mainstay of the industrial and social life of Richmond throughout its history and British Columbia Packers has been at the centre of this industry since the earliest days. In 2001 the company generously donated the contents of its archives to the City of Richmond Archives.

Gar Lunney 1980

Gar Lunney in 1980. City of Richmond Archives photo.

In this collection are a wealth of photographic images documenting the company’s history, including a group of photographs by Gar Lunney, (1920 – 2016), one of Canada’s eminent photographers.

16-Fog

In the background seiners wait to set their nets during the San Juan salmon fishery. In the foreground the boat begins to retrieve its net and the salmon in it. Crews make it all work despite the crowded conditions and poor visibility in the fog. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.

Gar Lunney began his career with the Winnipeg Tribune before serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.

8-Women washing fish

Women at the “Sliming Table” in the BC Packers Imperial Plant in Steveston, washing fish. City of Richmond Archives¬† photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.

After the War, he joined the Still Photography Division of the National Film Board where he documented Royal tours, took portraits of famous Canadians,and photographed landscapes, industries and people in their everyday lives from every corner of the country.

22-Corkline

A deckhand stands on the stern watching a herring net being pursed and hauled back to the boat. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.

In 1970 he left Ottawa and moved to Vancouver beginning a career as a freelance photographer specializing in photojournalism and annual reports, thus making a connection with BC Packers Limited.

31-Wester Investor with big set

A crewman aboard the Western Investor brails herring out of the net. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.

The photos taken by Lunney capture an era when fishing was still booming, parking lots at the processing plants were full, and it seemed as if the fishing would never end.

30-Sunset

The last sun of the day lights up the wet net. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.

While the heyday of commercial fishing and processing in Richmond is over, the history of its time is preserved for future generations at the City of Richmond Archives.

12-B.C. Packers K-5 camp2

The BC Packers K-5 Camp was the company’s main operations centre for the Juan de Fuca fishery. Anchored in San Juan Harbour near Port Renfrew, it housed offices, a store and refueling facilities. The gillnetters Silver Mate and Kor-Wes are tied to the camp. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.