Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 10 – Salmonopolis

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 10: Steveston was once known as Salmonopolis…

Vancouver Daily World Aug 14 1897

Steveston was once the salmon town of Canada. So many canneries set up shop there that it earned the moniker, Salmonopolis – the city of salmon. Newspaper stories from the 1890s/1900s about the canning industry in Steveston used the dateline: Salmonopolis.

Portion of the key plan of the Steveston canneries, 1915 – Charles E. Goad, June 1915.

By the 1890’s, Steveston was a full-fledged salmon boom-town with a fishing season population of 10,000. Fishers of Japanese, Chinese, First Nation and European heritage flooded into “Salmonopolis” and canneries lined its shores along the Fraser. Salmon was King! So much so, that the over 120-year-old Steveston Hotel was once called the Sockeye Hotel. Manager Harry Lee opened The Sockeye Hotel and Club in the spring of 1895. It seems that when Lee opened the hotel, Salmonopolis, or Steveston, was also a popular destination for those participating in the “bicycle craze” of the 1890s. He made sure that the Sockeye Hotel was the “headquarters for bicyclists”.

Vancouver Daily World, 1895

I think Salmonopolis would make a great name for a Steveston-based craft beer – Salmonopolis Saison, anyone?