Marina G.

Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Northwest Regional Heritage Fair

What made Port Essington a ghost town?

In 1871 Port Essington was the main port on the Canadian North Coast. The community had a population of several 1,000 people during the summer season when the fish canneries were in full operation. Less than 100 years later Port Essington was a ghost town — what went wrong?



What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I learned about my topic was that Robert Cunningham the founder of Port Essington came to Canada as a church missionary, then went to work for the Hudson Bay Company, and then became an entrepreneur and built a town. That is cool.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I have learned during this project that there were many communities built because of the resources in the area — like gold, fish,and transporting supplies. Any town can become a ghost town if the resources that they depend on diminish.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Different. Really different. It took a boat at least a week to travel from Port Essington to Hazelton, that trip takes my family 3 hours in a car. Sixty-eight was REALLY old then and ninety-eight is REALLY old now. They didn't have many banks and made their own trading coins, my mom says that today that is illegal.