The McBarge ghost ship

This thing, known as McBarge by Vancouverites, is the hulking remains of a floating McDonalds. It was custom-built for our Expo ’86 World’s Fair and then carelessly left rusting in the harbour for 23 years as some sort of ghost ship. I hadn’t thought about it until this week when I saw a funny conceptual artwork by Kate Sansom in the current exhibition Science Fiction_01  at Vancouver’s Or Gallery, where the artist has set up an office inside the gallery as a research base for tracking down McBarge’s unknown current owners and discovering what they ever intend to do with it. This is also how I found a web photo essay at the aptly named, describing a recent unauthorized reconnaissance  – okay, a break-in – of McBarge’s rundown interior. I remembered this barge as an eyesore, but the thing is, with the golden arches gone and all its red-and-yellow, ketchup-and-mustard colour scheme removed, its design elements aren’t bad. If someone offered it to me, I’d take it. Think what you could do with it! Couldn’t someone have at least donated the use of this thing for some useful purpose? Photos of McBarge above are by Ashley Fisher (unk’s dump truck), Matt Hoekstra (the blurb) and Roger (Rog45) by permission. I took the last photo on Sunday, June 28, 2009.

bargey mcbarge

expo 86, yo McBarge

can you see us? McBarge


Side view of Mcbarge

McBarge ghost ship

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8 Responses to “The McBarge ghost ship”

  1. Wayne Says:

    It looks like it could house a good portion of the homeless in Vancouver.

  2. ii-ne-kore Says:

    what an allround strange thing! the expo legacy…

  3. gr8pix Says:

    It is interesting to see it still there. I have taken the westcoast express – train. I often see it there and think of how it’s such a waste just sitting in a public waterway. I live in the Thompson-Okanagon now but lived just away from this area by SFU.

    Thanks for the pics.

  4. Martin G. Smith Says:

    There is a move afoot to do something with the barge. while we deal with Scrap primarily, we will not be breaking the barge but moving it to a new location once it is restored.

    Martin G. Smith

  5. LB Says:

    Wow! What will the barge be used for, once restored, and can you tell us where it’s going?

  6. Martin G. Smith Says:

    At this point we are not able to disclose the new location except that it will be attached to a pre-existing and developing facility engaged in Community Recover and Building. The barge will become part of our expanding educational system as well as a ‘Multipurpose Centre’. The structure has a couple of legacy features which will, when restored, create a very versatile space indeed.
    We already have a ‘Ready to Install’ Galley.

    Martin G. Smith

  7. Adam Says:

    Barge moving to Mission. Here’s what’s in store for the barge’s future.

  8. Romani Says:

    Well, what is going on… Mission knows the ghost barge will become a dump grouds. Eventually a home for the homeless. They have enough prisons ,a boat full of homeless will keep them good as a third world colony.

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