Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Story of Canada days: 6

[Continuing a series of short excerpts from The Story of Canada, the recently republished history of Canada for kids and families that makes such a good Christmas gift.]

from Chapter 6: Mountains and Oceans

"Mr Deas Cans Fish:   John Sullivan Deas's parents had been slaves in South Carolina.  Young John learned the tinsmithing trade and went to the California gold rush of 1849, but then drifted north with other Black adventurers and began tinsmithing in Victoria in about 1861.

"Captain Edward Stamp had started a salmon cannery on the Fraser River not far from New Westminister.  The river ran thick with salmon every summer, and Stamp knew that, if he canned them, he could sell salmon all over the world. He hired John Deas to make tin cans. When Stamp suddenly died, Deas took over the cannery.  Soon he was running the largest canning business in the colony.  Thousands of cases of John Deas's Fraser River salmon went off to Britain every year.

"With a Black owner, Native fishermen supplying most of the salmon, and Chinese immigrants doing most of the labour it was a remarkable multicultural business.  But...."
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