Historic Steveston – Cannery Row

Britannia ShipyardBy Irene Butler –

Photos by Rick –

Published in “TravelingTales.com”

“He’s too short, and too ugly to marry,” said Asayo. At first it was thought this “picture bride” was in bad sorts from her long journey from Hiroshima Japan in 1923 – but she meant it. As was the practice of the time, Japanese immigrant workers chose a bride from a picture, then worked via a matchmaker to arrange her passage to Canada. Refusing to wed this troll-like man, Asayo was obligated to pay back the $250 it cost to bring her to the fishing village of Steveston, which she did by working in a salmon cannery for two years.

Once free as a soaring eagle, she married Otokichi Murakami, a boat builder and fisherman. They moved into the ample home that my husband Rick and I were standing in. My opinion of space changed when our guide Gabrielle said, “Twelve people once lived in this home, with Asayo adding 8 children to the two her widower husband had from his first marriage.” The Murakami house is in the mix of worker’s dwellings, cannery, and boatyard of the Britannia Shipyard National Historic Site, once one of 15 cannery complexes along Steveston’s Cannery Row. This twenty-year project called “How We Live” restored some of B.C.’s oldest shipyard buildings and outfitted them in furnishings and knick-knacks that transported us back to the early 20th century.

Read on.. TravelingTales/


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