Profiles of Historic Sites

The King Beach Manufacturing Co. (Pr 8-3).
Image courtesy Mission Community Archives.

The Cannery Building

6967 Bridge Street


Date of Original Construction:
ca. 1890

Resource Type:

Current Owner/Occupant:
Monague Native Crafts Ltd.

Site Description:

Originally a wood frame industrial building, modified over the years for various uses, primarily food processing. It was located on the corner of Harbour and Bridge Street, at the North end of the CPR Bridge. The CPR tracks run behind the building (west side) which was essential for freight. There is currently a newer cinder block building on the site, occupied by Monague Crafts Ltd.

Also known as: Truro Condensed Milk Co. (1900 to 1910), the Kootenay Jam Company (1911-1914), King-Beach Manufacturing Co., Farmers' Canning Coop (1922-?), and Canadian Canners Company (1924-1957)

Site History:

The building was originally built as a fish cannery. By the 1900's it was being used as a milk cannery. The Western Condensed Milk, Cannery, Coffee and Creamery Company ran a paddlewheel boat along the Fraser from Nicomen Island to Mission. The boat picked up approximately six tons of milk a day and delivered it to the plant where it was processed into Rocky Mountain Truro Condensed Milk and Hilt Edge Butter and shipped to White Rock, New Westminster, and Vancouver. Competition from the BC Electric Railway on the south side of the river opened new markets to the dairy farmers, and the mild plant could no longer compete, closing down in 1910.

The building was sold and re-opened as the Kootenay Jam Factory in 1911; head offices were in England, and the plant was moved here from Nelson, B.C.. The site was a building 75 by 100 feet covering 11 lots. Extensive additions and new machinery were added. When completed the factory covered a large area; the length over two hundred and thirty feet, width eighty feet in width at the widest portion. In the first year of operation, the plant processed twenty tons of raspberries, fifteen tons of strawberries, five tons of gooseberries, and five tons of currants. Products were shipped to Vancouver by train.

In 1915 it was bought out by the King-Beach Chocolate and Jam Factory. Purchased first by Mr. Harry Beach for processing jams, a partnership with Mr. R.P. King soon resulted in the addition of new products. By producing chocolate during the slower season when fresh produce was not available for jam, the company was able to remain open all year. The factory employed fifty women at two dollars a day. Local milk was used in the manufacture of chocolate bars and the "big puff cherry chocolate", which also contained a generous amount of brandy.

Following the war, the berry market was booming, and prices increased from 5 cents a pound to 22 cents a pound in 1921. Many farmers bought into the newly formed Fruit & Mercantile Company. Part of the King Beach property was sold to Associated Growers, who kept Mr. Beach in charge of their operations. In 1922, the rest of the plant was bought by the Anglo BC Packing Co (salmon packers) who ran business until 1924 when it was sold to the Canadian Canners Co., which was in turn bought by Aylmer, who continued operation until 1957. Hundreds of seasonal workers were kept busy processing beets, corn, peas and beans. The Mission Archives and Lifetime Learning Society have a wealth of oral histories about working in the food processing plants.

Evidence of the age of the building could be seen on one of its walls where the 1894 flood had left its mark. In 1948, the building was again flooded about 10 feet up. In 1963 aerial photograph the building is still visible however a 1974 aerial photograph shows the buildings on the site demolished and new building being constructed.

The site is has been occupied by Monague Native Crafts Ltd. since 2006.

People Associated with the Site:

Kootenay Jam Co owners:
    - R.N. Brassey, Mission City, BC: President
    - B.H. Fox, Mission City, BC: Secretary-treasurer
    - G.O.M. Fox, Mission City, BC: Managing Director

Mr. A. Catherwood - helped in renovations before the opening of the Kootenay Jam Factory

Mr. Foster - Fruit Preserver

Miss McLeod - Stenographer with Kootenay Jam Co.

Mr. Dick Wilson

Ella Windebank - secretary of Canadian Canners

Mrs. McCoy - supervisor "she was nice but tough"

Marian Sharpe - worked at cannery during summer holidays

Bud Machen

Architectural Features:

In 1911 additions were made including a large machinery hall, which would house the principal machines. This addition was sixty feet long by thirty feet wide by twelve feet high; entirely free from obstructions in the way of columns, etc. and the floor was cement. Several other rooms were built to accommodate the different machines and departments including a store room 30x70 feet; pulp room 16x40 feet; boiling room 60x32 feet; glass washing 16x22 feet; packing room 32x32 feet; sugar room 32x16 feet; boiler and engine house 16x50 feet; dynamo 16x16 feet; and labeling room 10x16 feet. The boiler was 120 horse power with a smoke stack 70 feet high; this landmark by the river could easily be seen from most of Mission. The second storey contained offices and a room 50x96 feet used for storage. Altogether the new portion of the building was of a capacious and convenient design.

Construction method/materials: originally wood frame

Where to get further information:

- Atkinson, Kathy et al. As It Was Mission City and District. 1973. Page 29.
- Beach, Harry. Oral History.
- Billesberger, Val. MDHS. Historian. Fall 2007.
- Fraser Valley Record. April 20, 1911; April 27, 1911; May 4, 1911; June 8, 1911; June 22, 1911; August 3, 1911; August 10, 1911; October 26, 1911; December 7, 1911; January 25, 1912 p.5; November 20, 1913 p. 8; March 19, 1980.
- Karczarek Joanna and Greg Nesteroff. MDHS email thread. April 2008.
- Mission Community Archives. File 250.20.47. File 250.1-K. File 250.47. File 250.1 F.
- Mission Community Archives. Insurance Maps.
- Mission Community Archives and Greg Nesteroff. Email thread. July 25, 2008; August 6, 2008; August 15, 2008.
- Mission Museum. For example a collection of memorabilia from the different companies that used the building.
- Monague Crafts Ltd. Preliminary Site Investigation by Levelton Engineering.
- City Hall. Aerial Photographs and Fire Insurance Maps of the area.

The Mission Community Archives has an extensive collection, including the following:
- Pr 252-1 Truro Condensed Milk Co. ca 1910
- Pr 252-2 Truro inside ca 1910
- Pr 110-13A Kootenay Jam Factory ca 1911-1915
- Pr 265-47 Kootenay Jam Factory ca 1911-1915
- Pr 111-2 Kootenay Jam Factory ca 1911-1915
- Pr 44-20 King Beach Factory 1916
- Pr 44-21 King Beach Factory 1916
- Pr 36-5 Cannery Crew 1919
- Pr 122-25A King Beach Factory Workers
- Pr 246-6 Farmer's Canning Company 1927
- Pr 3-12 Opening CPR Bridge to car traffic 1927

The Heritage Places collection of images includes the following:
- King Beach Factory (HP)
- Harry Beach Fonds - Fruit Images (HP)
- King Beach Stamp (HP)

Last Modified January 30, 2011