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Most BC rowers are familiar with Delta Deas – the club, the venue, the Delta Deas Scholastic Regatta. But did you know that Deas Island got it’s name from one of BC’s first black entrepreneurs?

Photo: Digital Museums Canada

John Sullivan Deas was a tinsmith who made his way to BC from South Carolina and San Francisco. Deas worked at one of BC’s first two salmon canneries, contracted to make the cans. Within a year, he had taken over operations, employing about 25 people. The cannery was located on the Fraser River during the 1870s where we now enjoy the use of Deas Island Park.

You can read more about John Sullivan Deas in these articles:

Vancouver Sun – John Deas built first commercial salmon cannery

BC Black History Awareness Society – Earliest Pioneers (1858-1899) – John Sullivan Deas

Digital Museums Canada – Leading Salmon Canner on the Fraser: John Sullivan Deas

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