Maritime industry sits in the basement

Looks like there is allot of activity at the site of the old Versatile Shipyards, bordering the Vancouver Dry dock. Seems the land developers have been salivating at the thought of some prime real estate on the north shore of Vancouver’s inner harbor. The property was last occupied by Versatile Shipyards, where during the second world war, they were a major contributor to the war effort building many ships. The site has been vacant since the early 1990s, used extensively as warehouse / industrial backdrops for major Hollywood film shoots.

With the lure of quick – easy money, I theorize, the city has approved a major condominium project, sweetened by a National Maritime Center initiative and some park land. In return the city sells out shipbuilding history and future industrial opportunities for the area, further putting the squeeze on anything “productive” on the north shore. I’m sure that once people buy the condos, then the pressure will start mounting on the few remaining shipyards and industrial activity on the north shore to cease.

One must wonder if in 100 years there will be a museum dedicated to the wonderful input of condominiums and land developers. Seems like more and more in Canada we are willing to forgo industrial activities; after all shipyards are dirty, noisy and messy. I am just not sure where exactly wealth of a nation is suppose to be built up after that. I know condos are easier to manage and tidier to assess the monetary value of, but ultimately some sort of product has to generate the wealth that underwrites the ability to afford these condos.

On the positive side I guess it is nice to see that at least there is some effort to recognize the value that the maritime world has provided (provides) to the the cities that make up the Vancouver area. The current Vancouver Maritime Museum (pictured) is expected to makes its moved there. Here you can read about the proposed facility and here, you can see conceptualization (pictured below) of the exhibits that are expected to be in the center, once it is constructed – which I don’t see much reference to the engineering or shipbuilding for that matter.

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is looking forward to the move, or at least they are now. The collection, currently housed in the the City of Vancouver, has been given a sort of eviction notice, perhaps the city is not happy with losing the attraction to the City of North Vancouver.

Anyways, I feel a bit blue and I am ranting about my sense of lose of the industrial base in Canada. Hopefully, from the ashes, we will have meaningful facility that celebrates seafarer and the shipbuilders of the maritime industry.

You can read all about “The Pier” from the City of North Vancouver’s website here, and here is the Premiere of British Columbia announcing 9 millions dollar funding for the NMC.

This article has 4 Comments

  1. You would be even bluer if you were trying to locate blueprints for ships built at Vancouver Drydock. I ran into this situation a couple of years ago, we needed a drawing and I thought it could be sourced.
    Well what I eventually found out that ALL documents were destroyed by order of the lawyers. One of the former employees managed to salvaged some of the drawings until the lawyers found out that he was removing them. He was forced to stop.
    These drawings, I believe are now at the Maritime Museum.

  2. I couldn’t believe it when I finally tracked someone down and was told about it.
    All those blueprints gone to TP.
    I then made several phone calls of my own to people I know with ships built at Vancouver.

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