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Crawford Bay Canning and Preserving

Updated: May 21

In 2009, I came across this intriguing ad that appeared a century earlier in the Nelson Daily News.

I’d never heard of the Crawford Bay Canning and Preserving Co. and could find nothing else about it, suggesting it was short-lived. It’s not mentioned in Terry Turner and Susan Hulland’s book Remember When: Celebrating 100 Years of Crawford Bay, which includes a chapter on local fruit growing.

Interesting that the company used Crawford Bay in its name but indicated Gray Creek as its headquarters. While they were separate places, this may simply reflect that Gray Creek, the community, is on Crawford Bay, the body of water.

East Shore sage Tom Lymbery told me he thought his father mentioned the company, but he got to Gray Creek in 1911, by which time the cannery was presumably already long gone. It wasn’t listed in the 1910 civic directory, there was no sign of the company’s incorporation, and no other newspaper references existed outside of a week’s worth of ads in December 1909. This was puzzling, insofar as a cannery would have been a major boost for East Shore fruit growers. How did it leave almost no trace?

So imagine my surprise when this item appeared on eBay from a seller in Vernon. I bought it today for $52 US.

The label is very beautiful and in remarkably good shape. But curiously, it didn’t indicate what sort of fruit was once in the tin. Did a second label on the back fall off? Or was this label actually placed on an old but unrelated tin for display purposes? The seller told me he remembered his mother buying the tin in Glade, as they had relatives who lived there, and it thereafter sat on her kitchen cupboard. But he had no knowledge of its history before that.

One other thought: in June 1909, the Kootenay Jam Co. opened a factory in Nelson, having previously operated one at Harrop. Community Doukhobors purchased the business in 1911 and renamed it the Kootenay Columbia Preserving Works, operating it for a few years before building a new factory at Brilliant. The building still stands as the Front Street Emporium. 

Might the Crawford Bay Canning and Preserving Co. have taken advantage of either the Harrop or Nelson facilities to manufacture its product? It might explain why there is no record of a cannery at Crawford Bay or Gray Creek.  

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2 commenti

Nice, Greg - it is so well-preserved Good sleuthing. Doreen Sorensen

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Another great find, Greg. Thank you for digging it out. Ron

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