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House flags of Canadian fishing companies (Canada)

Last modified: 2013-11-30 by rob raeside
Keywords: fishing companies | house flag: fishing company |
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BC Packers

A Canadian website is dedicated to BC Packers, a cannery, and British Columbia fishing industry in general.

Between 1902 and 1997, BC Packers and its predecessor companies operated Imperial Cannery in Steveston. In 1946, Imperial Cannery was proclaimed to be the largest fish processing facility in the British Commonwealth. For nearly 100 years, men and women of diverse origin – First Nations, Chinese, Japanese, Indo-Canadian and European - worked side by side to harvest and process the produce of the sea.

The site explores how this industry evolved, and what the social aspects were, how to can fish, how this canned fish was brought to market and promoted, etc. Especially gratifying is a page dedicated to BC Packers’ house flags.

The first flag flown for BC Packers. This version of the BCP flag was small and used to identify BC Packer fishing boats. Contributor's note: Divided per ascending diagonal, white over green.

A variation of the first flag, this flag was much larger in size and was used to identify the packer boats belonging to BC Packers. Packer boats were ice-filled and picked up salmon from the fishing fleets and brought them to the cannery docks. Contributor's note: As above, a green cloverleaf (four petals, stem pointing to lower hoist) added in lower fly.

Introduced in c. 1968 when BC Packers bought out Nelson Bros., a successful independent cannery. To honour Nelson Bros., the orange and white company flag was combined with the BC Packers’ green and white flag to produce the green, white and orange flag, shown here. This version of the flag was small and used to identify BC Packer fishing boats. Contributor's note: Divided per ascending diagonal, green over orange, a narrow white stripe between them.

A variation of the third flag, this flag was much larger in size and was used to identify the packer boats belonging to BC Packers. Packer boats were ice-filled and picked up salmon from the fishing fleets and brought them to the cannery docks. Contributor's note: As preceding, the cloverleaf – in white, this time – added in upper hoist.

The same page is also presented in French.

In quoting from a website dedicated to Porcher Island Cannery, about house flags (about ¼ down the page):

Then as now, the [vessels] that were owned by or fished for the coastal fishing companies flew the company’s house flag. Canfisco’s banner was red/white/red horizontal. The BC Packers’ flag was green/white diagonal. The Nelson Brothers’ ensign was green/orange diagonal, while the ABC packing company flew red/white diagonal colours.

The comment on the Nelson’s flag does not seem correct in view of the above.
Jan Mertens, 24 June 2008


Canadian Fish Company (Canfisco)

[Canadian Fish Company] image by Phil Nelson

This was once the largest fish producer in North America, starting up in 1890. By the 1940's, Canfisco had a large fleet of fishing boats which were leased to local fishermen.
Phil Nelson, 29 April 2000


Cassier Fish Packing Co.

[Cassier Fish Packing Co.] image by Phil Nelson

Started in 1890's. The company once had a large fleet, but appears to be out of business at this time or no longer maintains a fleet.
Phil Nelson, 29 April 2000


At ICV 18 and NAVA 33 (1999) a red flag with a black 'C' was shown for the cannery.
Jan Mertens, 24 June 2008


Prince Rupert Fisherman's Co-op Association

[Prince Rupert Fishermans Co-op Association] image by Phil Nelson

Formed in 1931, the association flag was used aboard member boats. The co-op suspended operations in 1991.
Phil Nelson, 29 April 2000


The Prince Rupert Fishermen's Co-operative Association (Inc) flag shown in the book Historic Flags of the West Coast was probably first displayed in the early 1960's; by the late 1970's the "co-op" adopted the International Co-operative flag (the rainbow flag) as their house flag.
Isaac Vanderhorst, 20 August 2000
author, Historic Flags of the West Coast


Steveston Harbour Authority

Steveston Harbour Authority logo
Steveston Harbour Authority logo image contributed by Jan Mertens, 20 October 2008

Steveston Harbour Authority serves “the largest commercial fishing harbour in Canada (…) located on the south arm of the Fraser River at the south end of Richmond, BC (which is) is composed of two sites: Paramount and Gulf” as stated on the homepage.

This main page lists what services or amenities are offered.

The ‘History’ section learns us that more than five hundred commercial fishing vessels are based there, taken care of by the Steveston Harbour Authority. Founded in 1990, this non-profit body has a board where local interest groups are represented. Strong on development, the SHA is engaged in dredging, installation of new infrastructure (floats, ramps, storage buildings), etc.

The logo is a red disk bearing a black fish rising up from a wave and extending beyond the disk.

This fish could well be a sardine as Steveston is widely known for its Sardine Fest.

Said logo on a white flag, detail attached as < ca~sha.jpg> (List use only, please)

The name in black ‘STEVESTON HARBOUR AUTHORITY’ in the upper part can just be made out. The above source being Flickr photo no. 250520081986 uploaded on 25 May 2008 by Roland Tanglao.

More photos:
www.stevestonharbour.com: Photos
www.stevenstonharbour.com: Sales Float page

On the second one, you can see that the fish tail extends beyond the red disk.

Here, the exact placement of the words is visible (fish extends between second and third word).
Jan Mertens, 20 October 2008


I have a picture that I took last month in Steveston, and the disk is definitely red as you say. I saw the flag a couple of years ago and thought the disk was orange, but this must have been a faded flag.

The red disk must represent the Japanese, who were a sizable part of the local fishing population, especially before WWII. The fish, a salmon as seen on Richmond's coat of arms and flag, is the most important species for fishing on the mouth of the Fraser. It is depicted in the style of the local First Nations (Native Indian) people. Steveston village itself is being re-invented as a kind of faux-fishing village for tourists, while one of the old canneries has been torn down to build condominiums, and much of the other, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, has been turned into a museum(*). The Steves family who founded the settlement over a century ago still live in the area, with a descendant serving on city council as his great great(?) grandfather did when Richmond was founded.

(*)flag of Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society
(**)note Steveston is located within the city of Richmond BC

See also Wikipedia entries for
Steveston
Gulf of Georgia Cannery, and
Harold Steves

Dean McGee, 21 October 2009