Whether you use them for decorating or simply enjoy snacking on them in between bouts of candy canes and hot chocolate, the mandarin and satsuma oranges have become an essential part of the holidays across Canada.
The tradition of sharing these oranges during the holiday season dates back to the first Japanese immigrants who came to Canada in the late 1800s. According to BC Food History, “it was customary for Japanese immigrants to receive packages of Satsuma oranges from their families in Japan to celebrate the New Year. They shared the oranges with their neighbours and friends and thus a new Canadian tradition was born.”
The first shipment of these oranges arrived from Japan through the Port of Vancouver in 1891. Imported by the Oppenheimer Group, the little orange morsels of sweetness gained popularity in Vancouver and soon were transported by truck and train to the rest of Canada. Since they were only available in December, mandarin oranges became a new seasonal treat for Canadians and were soon being included in the toe of Christmas stockings nationwide.
These days, mandarin oranges continue to move through the Port of Vancouver in shipping containers, as do a large amount of other imported and exported goods from around the world. In fact, there’s a good chance most of the items you’ll be purchasing or receiving this holiday season were brought into Canada via our port city This contributes to 25 million tonnes of imported and exported goods that move through the Port of Vancouver every year and more than half of Canada’s total annual exports, supporting businesses across the country and connecting consumers with the products they love.
When you’re unwrapping presents this year, take a moment to think about where those products came from and how they made it into your hands. From trade and tourism to stocking stuffers, we all remain hugely reliant on Vancouver’s port.
You can learn more about Vancouver’s port by visiting portvancouver.com