|The Boat BCP45|
Built in 1927 by Burrard Shipyards for BC Packers, the BCP45 spent most of her life catching salmon from June until November, and herring from November to March. In the 1940’s, she also beam trawled for dogfish between the herring and salmon seasons due to the high demand for liver oil at the time. April and May were months set aside for maintenance and refit. She spent more than half of her life in Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island as her home port, yet she was known to fish from the Fraser River near Vancouver right up to the Alaska border.
She rose to fame in 1958 when she was photographed during the sockeye season near Ripple Point, located just north of Campbell River. The photograph appeared on the cover of the Toronto Star’s Sunday magazine but the BCP45 rose to greater prominence when the Bank of Canada used the image on the back of the $5 bill from 1972 to 1986. The skipper at the time the photo was taken was the late Mel Assu with crew members, Andy Dick, Fred Seville, Ron Forrest, Allen (Ollie) Chickite and Allan Mearns.
In 1986, the BCP45 was invited to be a special guest of Expo 86 in Vancouver. Now captain, Allen (Ollie) Chickite brought her to this event and spent his days answering numerous questions about her past and his evenings sleeping on one of her cramped bunks. As one of 185 exhibits, thousands of people walked her decks and Maclean’s Magazine rated her #6 out of the 185 exhibits.
After 68 years of service as a salmon seiner, troller, gillnetter, beam trawler and tow-off for the winter herring, the BCP45 was retired from industry in 1996. She was then donated to the Vancouver Maritime Musuem where she stayed for 6 years. Thanks to the work of the Daybreak Rotary Club of Campbell River, Jim Harris, Ollie Chickite, James Delgado of the Vancouver Maritime Museum and many others, she returned home on June 8, 2002 to the waters off Campbell River where she had made her living and was immortalized in that historic photo. On October 24, 2002, in the dead of night, the BCP45 moved into her present location in the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre. She has settled into retirement as its centerpiece and has been reconstructed to her 1958 configuration when the photo was taken.
Out of the five identical table seiners built, only two survive. One has been converted into a pleasure boat, three have sunk or been wrecked and the BCP45 is located in the Maritime Heritage Centre.