The roots of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery run deep in Steveston.
When it was built in 1894, it was the largest building of its kind and the leading producer of canned salmon in the province.
It was dubbed the Monster Cannery because it filled more than 2.5 million cans of salmon in 1897 alone.
Those were the good old days when the Monster Cannery had hundreds of workers - from First Nations, Chinese, Japanese and European descent - pumping out thousands of cans of salmon.
At the time, the Georgia Cannery was one of the province's biggest employers, and whose work force churned out one of the province's chief export commodities.
During the late 1960s and early '70s, the cannery was used as a seine and gillnet storage space; run with only a handful of workers. Sadly, this was a sign of the times to come as a number of canneries fell to disrepair or were simply vacated.
By 1979, the cost of operating the cannery's aging equipment became too prohibitive and the plant was closed. The buildings served as a net loft and storage for the Canadian Fishing Company's seine boat fleet.
Then, in 1994, the cannery reopened as a historic museum by Parks Canada.
Mark Turpin, 27, has spent the last three years guiding interpretive tours of the cannery. He's what the cannery calls a costumed interpreter.
Donning period clothing, he takes visitors through a historical journey into the fishing industry, from its earliest roots to the present. For history buffs, the tour offers a glimpse into the lives of cannery workers.
"We cover the fishing industry in the lower area of Lulu Island and how it's changed over the decades," said the Simon Fraser University theatre performance student.
"We also walk past all diverse machines and equipment used during different eras and I talk about what they were used for.
"Then, I go right to what we know as today's fishing practices."
In the early days, Turpin said the canneries typically owned the fishing boat fleet, which consisted of row boats or sailing vessels.
"It was rare to own your own boat back then, it wasn't until the early part of the 20th century, around 1904 to 1907, when boat engines became popular and fishermen started buying their own boats."
While the men fished, it was typically the women who laboured in the canneries.
"What I think is really neat about the cannery today is that you get to walk in the footsteps of the cannery workers and learn a little about what life was like for them," Turpin said. "I think it makes visitors here appreciate that today we don't have to work in the harsh conditions they had to endure. They often worked 12 hour days on an assembly line."
Besides the tours, the cannery is hosting a sustainable fishing exhibit, dubbed Seafood for Thought, running now until March 2013.
Seafood for Thought examines issues surrounding sustainable seafood. The exhibition takes visitors through a series of art, film, video and multimedia projects to discover how to make seafood choices that preserve the ecosystem of our waterways. Local artists marine-themed artwork are also featured.
The Gulf of Georgia Cannery is at 12138 Fourth Ave. For more information or times, call 604.664.9009 or visit www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.com.