Gulf of Georgia Cannery offers up haunting tales

Steveston heritage building 'points the finger' at fear this Halloween

Old buildings serve as the perfect backdrop for spooky Halloween tales and there are few in Richmond that are older than the century-plus Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.

That’s where the public can enjoy this year’s Halloween tours on Oct. 29 and 30, for all who dare to enter, said the cannery’s marketing manager Mimi Horita, who told the News that in addition to the Mysterious Case of the Haunted Cannery event that the public is invited to try and solve, the 122-year-old building on the waterfront has some authentic stories that can send shivers up your spine.

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“I had heard one that involved a display in the cannery that features a plaster cast made from the hand of a cannery worker who had lost a finger, as many cannery workers often had,” Horita said. “It’s on a stand that we rotate to surprise visitors and reveal the missing finger.”

The worker was closing up for the day and had rotated the hand back to its original position and stepped away to continue shutting up the doors to the exhibits. And when they looked back at the hand, it had moved back to show the missing finger.

“That was pretty spooky and one that scares me the most because I have to pass that display all the time,” Horita said,, adding the cannery, which extends out of the waters of Steveston Harbour can also be filled with noises that cannot be immediately identified.

“It could be the swishing of the water around the pilings of the building, or wind whistling through the net lofts,” she said.

But it’s the sometimes unexplained shifting of nets in the upper portions of the building’s mezzanine that give rise to the imagination.

That’s the type of occurrence members of the Northern Paranormal Investigations team checked out when they spent a night at the cannery on Oct. 1.

“I think they have recorded some (unexplained) voices in locations around the cannery,” Horita said.

For the remaining Halloween shows on Oct. 29 and 30 there’s a family-fun activity.

“It’s a Scooby-Doo-esque mystery that visitors will be tasked to find out if the cannery is haunted or not. They’ll get a little dossier with questions they can ask the various spooky characters decked out in scary costumes and makeup around the site and try to figure if and what is haunting the cannery,” Horita said.

For those hardier souls who don’t scare easily, the cannery has a special haunted hallway display leading to the building’s boiler house theatre.

“That’s quite dark and smoky and there’s a lot of little things that might or might not jump out at you,” Horita said. “So, we have two different layers of scary-nous happening.”

Tickets for the tours can be bought in advance online at BrownPaperTickets.com, or by phone (604-664-9009) or in person at the cannery front desk. Cannery society members receive 20 per cent off ticket prices (discount available only through the cannery front desk).

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