History is on every surface

graffiti 2
“Honest Ernest” – written above the telephone close to the breaking tanks.

Submitted by Mary, Heritage Interpreter

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that graffiti is not something that is generally looked upon with love. “Tagging” – leaving a spray-painted signature – is the bane of big delivery trucks and storefronts everywhere in the world.

Here at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, though, we treat graffiti with great respect. After all, we’re covered in it – everything from drawings of people, knife notches, to messages written in ink or paint – it’s right there on our walls. Workers from many time periods have quite literally left their mark on the site. Since much of the original building has been preserved since 1894, the graffiti have all been subsequently preserved as well. And good thing, too: those drawings and words can tell us a lot about the people who worked here in ways that facts and numbers often can’t.

The graffiti doesn’t follow and rhyme or reason; they seem to turn up in weird nooks and crannies, and never when you expect them. Still, one of my favourite things to do is wander the site and see if I can find any that I’ve never seen before.

Take a look next time you’re inside the site. Maybe you’ll find a new-found appreciation for graffiti (just so long as you don’t go scribbling around in there, too!).

Tally marks by the salmon canning line wall.
Posted by m.horita
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