27-3740 | South Yard of Burrard Dry Dock

South Yard of Burrard Dry Dock
About 1944, 20th century
15 x 20 cm
This artefact belongs to : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
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Keys to History

Built on the south side of Burrard Inlet, Burrard Dry Dock's south yard operated from 1941 to 1946. It concentrated on building hulls. Once launched, these were then sent to the north yard to be fitted out and finished. Like its sister yard, it had four berths. Visible in this photo are racks of steel plate ready for use and the rail tracks that brought in supplies. The steel supply was a major concern for Canadian shipbuilders. By March 1942, Wartime Merchant Shipping, the Crown corporation that organized the national production of merchant ships, needed 15,000 to 20,000 tons (13,605-18,140 t) of steel plate per month. (Each cargo ship required 10,000 pieces of steel.) Canadian manufacturers increased their output to avoid reliance on U.S. sources. The south yard closed down after the war, since there were insufficient contracts for Burrard Dry Dock to keep it going.

  • What

    This is an aerial view of Burrard Dry Dock's south yard, which was built specifically for wartime cargo-ship production. It employed 4,500 workers during World War II.

  • Where

    The south yard was built on land at the foot of Vancouver's McLean Drive, formerly a narrow beach covered with refuse dumps and squatters' shacks.

  • When

    One year before this 1943 photograph was taken, the south yard claimed a national wartime shipbuilding record by completing the SS Fort Wedderburne hull in 64 days.

  • Who

    Under Hugh M. Lewis and John Dalrymple, the south yard constructed 61 wartime ships. Dalrymple was an experienced British shipbuilder, while Lewis came from the forestry industry.