Thank goodness for the French River Cannery. If not for it, I would not exist, since my parents met while working there when my mother was 14 and my father 18.
Dad still operates French River Fisheries in the same location, but the cannery stopped processing in ’97 and the canning section of the building was demolished in 2015. I remember visiting the Cannery as a child and watching all workers, mainly women, working away in their hairnets and rubber boots, cracking the lobsters while sitting on stools lining long stainless steel counters. As I got older, Ally and I would do small jobs around the cannery through the summer in exchange for a couple bucks and bottled pop from the old glass-bottle Pepsi machine that sat outside. Visiting Dad always was and still is a highlight – walking into the cool, dark building is overwhelming with all the hustle and bustle happening inside. There are lobsters being lifted in off the fishing boats, being weighed, iced, stacked, and carted to the back room. Dad’s always laughing, counting, writing things down, shouting over the noise, and lugging pans back and forth. For the last few years my brother-in-law, Chance has joined him and Bill for lobster season and has become a part of their team and a part of history in the process.
My grandfather, father, mother, and many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends have made their living out of the French River Harbour and it’s my favourite place in this world. Some may say “Ew, it smells fishy.”, I say “Ah, it smells like home!”.