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History of the Burrard Dry Dock Pier

The Burrard Dry Dock Pier is a tribute to the City's shipbuilding history.

For most of the twentieth century, the foot of North Vancouver's Lonsdale Avenue housed the largest shipyard in Western Canada. Over 450 ships were launched from the site, helping to shape the history of Canada's West Coast.

Originally opened in 1906 as Wallace Shipyard, the site was renamed in 1921 as Burrard Dry Dock. Tugs and barges for the lumber industry, ships for the war effort, ferries for coastal travel, and icebreakers to aid in developing the North all set sail from this historic location, including a number of famous ships, such as the RCMP schooner and the St. Roch which achieved many "firsts" in the world of polar voyages. Burrard Dry Dock and its neighbour, North Van Ship Repairs, built approximately one third of Canada's World War II Victory ships and established a reputation for their high standard of workmanship.

During the war years, men and women worked in three round-the-clock shifts, and the noisy thud of riveting echoed throughout North Vancouver at all hours. Each ship required 383,000 rivets to hold it together.

The number of Shipyard employees increased exponentially during the World War II shipbuilding period. To keep track of the huge workforce, each Burrard Dry Dock employee was given a numbered brass badge which was linked to his or her pay packet and employment record. Thousands of these badges were found in the company's office after the Shipyard closed in 1992.

The Burrard Dry Dock Pier was built in 1925 for the wartime shipbuilding effort, once extended much further into Burrard Inlet.

Learn more about revitalization of the City's waterfront.

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