The first time I recall hearing about Rivers Inlet was sometime in the 1950s when my older brother got a summer job at the Goose Bay fish cannery. The name, Goose Bay, sounded so improbable to my young ears that it awakened a curiosity about the place, and the inlet in which it was located.
Over the years I've never managed to make it to the inlet, unless you count twice passing by the mouth aboard a BC ferry, which I don't. It remains terra incognita. It's not easy to get to if you lack the resources to afford one of those fancy fishing lodges. Neither is it that easy to find out about. Rivers Inlet remains sadly underwritten, something I suppose you'd have to say about most places on our coast.
So it was with a great deal of pleasure that I just discovered a new book from Caitlin Press. The Good Hope Cannery: life and death at a salmon cannery, by Bruce MacDonald, is a terrific history of one of the fourteen canneries that operated in the Inlet between 1882 and 1957. The book, based on a variety of barely rescued archival records and oral interviews, contains many stunning photographs to supplement its lively text.
Will I ever get to Rivers Inlet? With each passing year it seems less likely. But now at least I have this little gem to give me some idea what I've missed.