Ten years ago, on Ocean’s Day – June 8, 2002 – Campbell River received an essential piece of our area’s heritage: the BCP 45.
This seiner, originally owned by British Columbia Packers Ltd., was made famous when a photograph of it from 1958 was purchased by the Bank of Canada and used on the backs of our $5 bills from 1972 to 1983. In 1982, when BC Packers Ltd. chose to move on to bigger and better boats, Allen “Ole” Chickite bought the BCP 45 for the offered price of $1.
Delightful foreshadowing occurred during Expo ‘86 when the BCP 45 was moored in Vancouver for a five-week stretch. Ten years later, it would take up residence at the Vancouver Maritime Museum as, what was expected to be, a permanent exhibit.
After several years of drawing crowds in Vancouver, the BCP 45 began to feel the effects of time and continuing to take people out on the ocean for tours was no longer a viable option. Meanwhile, a project involving conversion of an old Campbell River sewage treatment plant into a building that would benefit the community was underway. After getting word of the situation surrounding the BCP 45, it was proposed that the seiner be brought back to Vancouver Island to become the “centrepiece” for the building.
Although many people were sad to see it leave, James Delgado agreed that the BCP 45 belonged back on Vancouver Island due to the amount of time it had spent fishing in waters near Campbell River as well as the upcoming building’s ability to house the vessel indoors, where it would be protected from the damaging effects of the elements. An exchange of $10 given by the Daybreak Rotary of Campbell River to James Delgado made the transaction official; the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre was to be the home of the BCP 45.