BC | Canada 150 Grant Recipient Project Highlights

Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site

Project: Britannia’s Fascinating Waterfront
Funding Received: $20,000

“Britannia’s Fascinating Waterfront,” created for BC|Canada150, has enhanced Britannia’s waterfront interpretation with new exhibit components, signage and heritage feature stabilization, to more effectively showcase the site’s maritime culture and history within the building and spaces that are constructed over the tidal marsh; the Shipyard, Shipyard Dock, Seine Net Loft and Seine Net Loft Dock.

“Britannia’s Fascinating Waterfront” has opened new exhibit spaces and experiences to visitors. New research, short films, and archival images are showcased via projection. The incorporation of new technologies has engaged new audiences. These new features immerse visitors into the activities of a busy shipyard and introduce them to the diverse lives of the workers at Britannia.

The Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site is an authentic representation of a community of shipyards, canneries, and residences from a time when fishing and boat building were flourishing industries on the Fraser River. It showcases the stories of the people who labored in local industries and ultimately built the community of Steveston as we know it today. Exhibit themes explore living and working conditions, cross-cultural connections, human ingenuity, survival in the face of rapid industry changes, and ethnic tensions during difficult social and political periods of our past. Exhibits and programs interpret the industrial activities that took place on site, and the lives of the multicultural workforce that called Britannia home. At this stage of the site’s restoration, ten historic buildings out of twelve are open to the public.

At every opportunity, Britannia Shipyards brings the past into the context of today’s world. This project highlights individual histories and experiences, encouraging each visitor to consider how they would have felt or reacted when faced with the working conditions and dangers of the time. These refreshed spaces will encourage the community to celebrate, learn, and engage with the heritage legacy of Britannia.