June is BC Seafood Month

Why are we at St. Jean’s Cannery particularly smitten with June? June is BC Seafood Month! It’s a time to recognize and celebrate the bounty of seafood available to us on the west coast as well as the quality of the seafood industry in the province.

The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is arguably the annual hot-spot for BC Seafood Month celebrations, including:

BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival

Western Canada’s largest seafood festival consists of 40 events over 10 days (June 9-18). Events include tastings, dinners, industry tours, celebrations, and chef demos with more than 40 top-level chefs taking part over the course of the festival.

BC Seafood Expo

BC Seafood Month - Chef Ned Bell

Photo: BC Seafood Expo / Comox Valley Economic Development Society

Part of the BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival, the BC Seafood Expo (June 12-13) brings leading seafood producers, exporters, international buyers, and educators together for two days of education sessions and networking/sales at the BC Seafood Expo Trade Show. The keynote speakers for 2017 include Ocean Wise Executive Chef Ned Bell and host of CBC’s ‘Under the Influence,’ Terry O’Reilly.

Enjoy BC seafood this month–whether at home, your favourite restaurant, or right after a fishing trip! We are proud that our Pacific Northwest wild salmon and tuna are primarily sourced from BC waters (the fisheries stretch from Oregon to Alaska) and our primary source of oysters is Vancouver Island (Baynes Sound/Fanny Bay).  We offer our thanks to all of the fishers and seafood producers in BC who treat oceans and fishing grounds with respect, care, and environmental sensibility.


Expo 86 - Jasperdo/Flickr

Expo 86 Saved Our Lives

Expo 86 - Jasperdo/Flickr

Expo 86 – Jasperdo/Flickr

I was nine years old when the ‘world’s exposition’—Expo 86—came to Vancouver and set up a bulbous, rainbow, multicultural, sky-defying shop in False Creek.

Expo 86 - Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Sun

Colourful pavilions trumpeted the accomplishments of countries far around the world, known to me only previously through atlases. Each stop offered a stamp for our mock passports; I learned how to write my name in Arabic and Japanese. We watched and tried to comprehend the local weatherman doing his broadcast from in front of a blank green screen. A robot mascot skidded over pavement while trams and skytrains shushed overhead; a slice of the Jetsons below the otherwise wild western woods and coastal mountains.

Expo 86 (logo)Many British Columbians are reliving similar memories as we read about Expo 86’s 30th anniversary; CBC has a number of retrospective articles and entertaining videos exist online. But at St. Jean’s, Expo 86 wasn’t just an exercise in civic pride—it was a lifesaver for the company.

In 1985, the cannery was in the midst of expansion plans when interest rates skyrocketed and the economy sank; the business appeared to be hurtling towards bankruptcy. While just holding on into 1986, a company on Salt Spring Island approached St. Jean’s about producing canned seafood for Expo 86. Their initial order? Five thousand cans of smoked salmon.

As if revived by lightning, the cannery leapt into this mammoth order and the salmon turned out to be a hit. More orders came in. The flush of revenue saved the company in the short term while the national and international attention on St. Jean’s products at the world’s exhibition has helped to grow the company in the long-term. Just like Vancouver, St. Jean’s has continued to grow since 1986: proud to represent the best of the west coast of British Columbia.

-Matt Carter

NDN Annual Give & Go event another rousing success

Annual Give & Go event another rousing success

NDN Annual Give & Go event another rousing success

Nanaimo Daily News
Friday, December 11, 2015

The 13th Annual Give & Go event was a rousing success.

Vehicles from individuals and businesses streamed through the Daily News parking lot Wednesday in Nanaimo, dropping off enough donations to fill a Salvation Army truck and another van.

Event organizer Cathy Webster says she co-ordinates the event to fill a need in the community.

“At this time of the year if you’re not able to provide for your family it can be extremely stressful and I believe this event does alleviate this for some families in our community,” she said. “The event runs on a zero budget and only made possible because of the businesses generosity, without them there would be no Give & Go.”

Dawne Anderson of the Salvation Army said more than 6,000 pounds of food was donated, valued at $14,600, as well as $2,300 in cash donations.

“The generosity of all the donors this year is huge for (Hamperville). There are over 2,000 hampers, this will go a long way to help fill those bags,” Anderson said.

Some of the major donors to this year’s Give & Go included Canadian Tire with $2,000 worth of food, St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse with a pallet of canned goods and Steve Marshall Ford with their annual assistance and generosity.

V3 Media provided the Christmas music for the event.

Pull-tab can lids | St. Jean's Cannery

The Pull-Tab Seafood Can Lid – A 1990 Game Changer

All of our canned seafood comes in tins with an easy-open pull tab lid–something that was radical for canned seafood in Canada back in 1990.

Pull-tab can lids | St. Jean's Cannery

The pull-tab can lid idea was originally brought to St. Jean’s by the Hagensborg Food Company. The company had found a similar can in Norway, and wanted to use that design for a new line of paté, to be processed & canned at St. Jean’s.

However, the Department of Fisheries kiboshed the idea; the law at the time stated that can production codes had to be stamped and embossed on the lid of a seafood can. St. Jean’s knew this wouldn’t have worked on the pull-tab lids, and rigged up a setup to print the codes on the bottom of the can (as is still done today).

After performing an extensive number of special tests to prove that these lids wouldn’t crack (and pointing out that vegetable canners had already been putting production codes on the bottom of cans for years), the government gave the go-ahead to use the lids. Soon after, they were adapted for salmon cans; 25 years later, they are on all of our canned products, helpful and handy as ever. Thank you, Norway, for helping us flip our lids!

BC Family Fishing Weekend – June 19-21, 2015

June 19-21, 2015 is Family Fishing Weekend in BC!

BC Family Fishing Weekend | June 18-21 2015

Now in its 16th year, it has become a Father’s Day weekend tradition. In addition to a number of FFW events throughout BC, there are a number of ways you can fish for free this weekend (ie. without needing a fishing license).

Check out the BC Family Fishing Weekend webpage for more details–and if you land a catch, bring it on by one of our stores or depots and we’ll turn it into a seafood specialty!

Thanks to the Family Fishing Society of BC for coordinating these events and for the promotion of responsible fishing for anglers of all ages.

Bon Vivant: Vancouver Island food ‘n fun

Bon Vivant Vancouver IslandOne of our favourite sources for ‘food ‘n fun’ knowledge–as relating to Vancouver Island food, beverage, and local food events–is Bon Vivant on Vancouver Island. Created by Hans Peter Meyer and filled with posts and stories about farmers’ markets, food trucks, must-attend culinary events, artisan food producers, and more, the website and active Twitter feed are very informative sources for anyone looking to dig deeper into the Island’s craft culinary scene. It’s especially valuable for food fans in the Comox Valley. Highly recommended!