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Historica Canada Education Portal

Fishing Boat BCP 45

  • Science & Technology
  • Secondary – Junior

This lesson plan was created by members of Historica Canada’s teacher community. Historica Canada does not take responsibility for the accuracy or availability of any links herein, and the views reflected in these learning tools may not necessary reflect those of Historica Canada. We welcome feedback regarding the content that may be linked to or included in these learning tools; email us at


In this lesson, students will sort and categorize various Canadian coins, noting the type of information recorded on the fronts and backs and speculating on the significance of the portrayed events, people or developments. Using the Royal Canadian Mint’s timeline, they will examine a number of historical Canadian coins, determining with a partner the three most historically significant designs. They will use their selections to define the concept of historical significance.

Students will learn about the history of Fishing Boat BCP 45, portrayed on the 1969 Canadian $5 bill, and discuss the historical significance of the boat.

After researching three prominent people, events, or developments (either locally, provincially, or nationally), students will rank each in order of historical significance and create a design for a commemorative coin or new $5 bill for the person, event, or development most worthy of remembering in this way.


Prescribed Learning Outcomes:

• identify and clarify a problem, issue, or inquiry 
• gather and record a body of information from a variety of primary and secondary sources 
• defend a position on a regional issue in light of alternative perspectives
• demonstrate appreciation of contributions of Aboriginal people, the French and the British to the development of Canada 
• describe the historical development of various communities 
• demonstrate awareness of Canada's diverse heritage
• analyse the influence of technology on lifestyle and work


BCP 45 was a table seiner, so-called for the nets the fishermen used to catch the fish. It was built in 1927 for the BC Packer’s Steamship Company and used to fish herring and salmon along the West Coast from the Fraser River, near Vancouver, to the Alaska border. The vessel became famous when photographed near Ripple Point, north of Campbell River during the 1958 Sockeye salmon run. The photograph was first displayed on the cover of the Toronto Star Weekly’s Sunday magazine, but received greater notoriety when it appeared on the back of the Bank of Canada $5 bill from 1969 to 1986. The BCP 45 was part of a permanent display at Expo 86 in Vancouver. It was retired in 1996, after sixty-eight years of service. BCP 45 has been restored by a group of volunteers and is now the centerpiece of the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre.


Time Allowance:
3-4 class periods (60 minute classes)


1. Invite students to bring in a sample of coins that vary in value (e.g., pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies, toonies), production date, and design. Working independently or with a partner, ask them to sort and categorize their coin collections, and then share their findings with the class. During the debriefing, pose questions such as: What information is embossed on the front and back of coins? What patterns (similarities/differences) emerge within “coin families” and across “coin families?” Record and post responses on chart paper for reference. Lead students to speculate on the significance of the symbols and images used.

2. Assign students to research how Canadian coins are produced and their designs selected using the Royal Canadian Mint’s web page. As a class, view the Canadian Mint’s timeline.

List the significant events, persons, or developments symbolized by the coins’ designs over the past century. Invite pairs of students to identify the three most significant events, and share their choices with another pair, explaining why the chosen events were most significant—worthy of being remembered, taught and learned. Select pairs to share their choices with the class.

3. Elicit the criteria for historical significance from the discussion (e.g., the event, person or development resulted in change—had deep consequences for many people over a long period of time—and was revealing—shed light on the enduring or emerging issues in history or contemporary life). Discuss, as a class, the extent to which selected events meet (or don’t meet) the criteria.

4. Present to the class an image of the BCP 45. You may wish to consult the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre website for information about its history. See also the attached article from the Campbell River Mirror published 23 September 2005 about the BCP 45 being declared a National Historic Site. The Bank of Canada has pictures of the $5 bill showing the BCP 45 in its 1969-1979 Scenes of Canada series at:

Ask students to consider why the fishing boat was included on the back of the $5 bill, referring back to the criteria of historical significance to justify their thinking. If necessary, explain that the boat itself may not be historically significant but that it symbolizes the enduring value of the fishing industry in BC and across Canada.

5. Present students with the challenge: Which person, event or development of local or provincial significance should be commemorated in a special edition coin or newly designed $5 bill?

6. Encourage students individually to describe the event, person or development on the worksheet and use the criteria to consider the extent to which their assigned topics are historically significant. Ask students to rank their events, people, or developments and design a commemorative coin or bill symbolizing the historical significance of the “first place” person, event or development. Remind them that the design of a commemorative coin or bill should be: 

• visually appealing 
• meaningful
• memorable 
• an accurate depiction of the subject matter and its significance.

7. Invite students to share their completed coin or bill designs with the class and explain the reasons for their selection.


1. Invite students to create a flow chart showing how coins are produced in Canada.  

2. Encourage students to research the history of the Canadian dollar and identify the turning points. 



Supporting documents for this Learning Tool

File type File size Action
Assessment Rubric: Historical Significance PDF 47.6 KB Download
Assessment Rubric: Commemorative Coin/Bill PDF 47.9 KB Download
BCP 45 Worksheet PDF 85.7 KB Download