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Time Traveller: When fishing derbies used to be popular employee 'team-building' exercises

This photo shows the Burrard Dry Dock Fishing Derby winners with their prizes from Sept. 19, 1964.
Time Traveller, May 26WEB

Fishing Derbies were very popular summertime events in British Columbia in the 20th Century.

Many of you may remember the Sun Salmon Derby, sponsored by the Vancouver Sun newspaper. The popular annual summer event (1940-1984) offered cash and prizes to anglers who caught the biggest fish.  

Many large companies like North Vancouver’s Burrard Dry Dock (later Versatile Pacific) also held fishing derbies for the enjoyment of their employees.

Today, we may refer to them as “team-building” exercises but in the 20th century, along with company picnics and parties, fishing derbies were all-important socializing activities for employees and their families.  

This photo from our Versatile Pacific Shipyards Inc. Fonds shows the Burrard Dry Dock Fishing Derby winners with their prizes from Sept. 19, 1964. 

As British Columbians became more aware of sustainable fishing practices and conservation, competitive fishing derbies came out of favour by the turn of the 21st century. Fishing derbies are not as prolific as they once were and are now mainly smaller scale catch and release events.

Visit the MONOVA website for more information about the history of the North Shore and to learn about MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver opening in 2021.

Currently, the Archives of North Vancouver at 3203 Institute Rd. in Lynn Valley is open by appointment only. Contact: archives@monova.ca

Navigate culture on the North Shore by using the North Shore Culture Compass.