In 1986, Vancouver, British Columbia hosted Expo '86, a World's Fair-style event the theme of which was "Transportation and Communication: World in Motion - World in Touch." One of the most memorable elements of the Expo was "McBarge." Officially named the Friendship 500, the McBarge was an 187-foot barge that was moored on Expo grounds in Vancouver's False Creek. Oh, and it was a huge, fancy McDonald's restaurant. After the expo, though, McDonald's never used the location, and had to move it in 1991. It was docked at Burrard Inlet near Vancouver until 2015, when it was moved again, to Maple Ridge, British Columbia.
Jake Williams at Bright Sun Films, director of the recent documentary Closed For Storm, had a chance to visit the barge recently, and posted the results to his YouTube channel. In a 15-minute video, Williams tours the barge and talks with its new owners, who have plans for the barge.
You can see the video below.
Here's how Williams describes the video in the YouTube captions:
"In this very special video, we got the extremely unique opportunity to visit the former McBarge (floating McDonalds for Expo 86) and see what it looks like today. Not only did we explore the gutted interiors, but got a first hand tour from Friendship 500's very own owner, Howard Meakin! Join us as we find out what has happened to this once famous, floating restaurant and what the near future holds for the abandoned, McBarge."
The McBarge is a notorious eyesore in British Columbia, but the internet loves it. This is actually not the first time Williams has delved into the barge, although his previous video gave more history, rather than the firsthand look presented here. You can see that one here:
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, but that has since evaporated. There were rumors for a while that someone had approached them about making it a high-end seafood restaurant, but it isn't clear exactly what the current plans are. In the video, all the ownership says is that they are waiting on the deal to close for the property, and presumably for government approval of the location, which has been an obstacle before.
What they do say, is that when it gets up and running again, McBarge will have a floor dedicated to celebrating its history, with Expo '86 getting plenty of love on board.