We are fortunate enough to have in our collection a series of artifacts collected from the Berryland Farms Cannery, once located in Maple Ridge. Berryland was a local packing company in the Haney area that started roughly in 1930. It was built by a man from New Brunswick, Eugene M. Gilland. From 1930 through the Second World War, the Gillands farm had plenty of work and contributed to the war effort. Around 1960 the farm, orchard, and cannery were sold to W. S. Deacon who then renamed the operation to “Berryland Cannery”. It operated for a number of years, with priority switching to be only on berry production and preservation. The dairy aspects of the Gilland’s original farm were dropped.
In 1974, the Berryland Company began to decline. Deacon sold his property to U.K company Cadbury-Shweppes (which was a new merger of the modern Cadburry chocolate company and the Schweppes soda company). He sold it in hopes that they would expand the property and make needed repairs in order to get the company back onto its feet. Deacon stayed and worked as a manager at the plant during the time that Cadburry-Shweppes owned it. After 2 years of working but not owning the plant, Deacon re-bought the property in 1976. The Berryland company was merged with the Jim Pattison Enterprise in 1983, with Deacon remaining as the chairman of the Berryland operation.
Berryland Farms is closely known to many citizens of Maple Ridge as their first place if employment. Berryland employed much of the local youth through the mid 20th century and is held closely in the hearts and minds of the people of Maple Ridge.
This blog was researched and written by Darren Ragoonath, Douglas College