Coordinates: 49°11′03″N 122°34′10″W / 49.184193°N 122.569430°W / 49.184193; -122.569430 The McBarge, officially named the Friendship 500, is a former McDonald's restaurant, built on a 187-foot-long (57 m)[1] barge for Expo '86 in Vancouver, British Columbia.[2] Moored on Expo grounds in Vancouver's False Creek, it was the second floating McDonald's location in the world (the first being in St. Louis, Missouri), intended to showcase future technology and architecture.[2][3] Although the floating design allowed for the barge to operate in a new location following the exhibition, the derelict McBarge was anchored empty in Burrard Inlet[4] from 1991, amid industrial barges and an oil refinery,[2] until it was moved in December 2015 to Maple Ridge, British Columbia. Apart from brief use by its original owner, McDonald's, in 1986, the McBarge has never actively been used for anything and has been drifting from owner to owner for thirty-four years.

The McBarge anchored in Burrard Inlet near Vancouver, British Columbia in 2006

History

The floating restaurant was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. for Expo 1986 and was one of five McDonald's locations on the Expo grounds, all of which were constructed for a total of $12 million.[3] McDonald's originally intended to continue using it as a restaurant after Expo '86, but the barge remained empty at the Expo grounds until 1991, when the new owner of the grounds forced McDonald's to remove it.[5] It has since been anchored derelict in Burrard Inlet, north of Burnaby, British Columbia.[4][6]

In 2003, Marvel Entertainment and New Line Cinema rented the barge as a filming location for the 2004 film Blade: Trinity as the lair of the Nightstalkers.

In June 2009, the McBarge's current owner, Gastown developer Howard Meakin, submitted a proposal to the Mission city council for a waterfront development on the Fraser River, with the former McBarge as the centrepiece. Named "Sturgeon's on the Fraser", the development would include multiple restaurants and a marina complex, including paddlewheeler excursions and float plane service to Victoria and Nanaimo.[2][7] As of August 2010, the proposal enjoyed local support, but awaited council approval.[8] Concerns over float plane noise and other environmental issues meant the development was ultimately rejected.[1]

Other proposals that have been put forward without owner interest include using the barge as a homeless shelter to alleviate overcrowding in Vancouver's current temporary shelters.[9]

In December 2015, Meakin announced that the barge would soon be leaving Burrard Inlet after nearly 30 years. It was moved to Maple Ridge, British Columbia on December 22. The barge was scheduled for a $4.5-million refit there before being relocated to an undisclosed location.[1]

In 2017, the barge's owners, alongside diving pioneer Phil Nuytten, announced plans to convert it into an attraction called the Deep Ocean Discovery Centre. [10][11][12] An event was planned for 21 October 2017 to launch a crowdfunding campaign, but was cancelled due to weather concerns.[13] A petition to Vancouver City council to give the barge Historic Place Status received only 185 signatures. No mention has been made of a rescheduled event, its Facebook and Twitter have not been updated since 2017, and its YouTube account has been closed.

In 2020, it was reported[14] that there were plans to refit the barge into a seafood restaurant, though a location had not been secured. Later in 2021 it was reported[15] that an undisclosed site had been selected but was awaiting government approval.

References

  1. ^ a b c Brend, Yvette (Dec 21, 2015). "Derelict Expo 86 'McBarge' to set sail for mystery port after 30-year retirement - British Columbia - CBC News". CBC.ca. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Toth, Christina (2010-08-20). "McBarge, a floating relic from Expo 86, gaining new friends on Facebook". Abbotsford Times. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  3. ^ a b Rudolph, Barbara; Stoler, Peter (1986-04-28). "Westward Ho to Expo 86". Time. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
  4. ^ a b Sandals, Leah (2010-01-13). "The innocence of a newborn McBarge". National Post. Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
  5. ^ "McBarge floats to new site" (Pay-Per-View). Kitchener-Waterloo Record. 1991-07-11. p. B.4. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
  6. ^ Lee, John (2009). Walking Vancouver: 36 Walking Tours Exploring Spectacular Waterfront, Dynamic Neighborhoods, Hip Hangouts, and Tasty Diversions (Google Books search). Wilderness Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780899974903. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
  7. ^ "Gastown developer eyes Mission waterfront". Abbotsford Times. Canwest. 2009-07-27. Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
  8. ^ Lewis, Brian (2010-08-22). "Expo 86 McBarge could dock in Mission". The Province. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  9. ^ Howell, Mike (2009-01-08). "Of Olympic promises, shelter stats and the McBarge..." Vancouver Courier. Archived from the original on 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  10. ^ Lindsay, Bethany (2017-10-15). "From Expo to exploration: McBarge to find a new purpose at sea". CBC News. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  11. ^ "The McBarge, once a floating McDonald's, preps for a new look under the sea".
  12. ^ "From Expo to exploration: McBarge to find a new purpose at sea - CBC News".
  13. ^ "Bring Back McBarge Kickoff Event Postponement Notice".
  14. ^ "Future of McBarge parked in Maple Ridge revealed". Maple Ridge News. 2020-03-10. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  15. ^ "Expo 86 icon closer to finding permanent home, owner says". Surrey Now-Leader. 2021-02-05. Retrieved 2021-05-12.