Whatever Happened to the Abandoned McBarge?

There are plenty of series out on YouTube, so a series about abandoned locations and things doesn’t sound like it would be in your top picks, but the show is actually pretty addictive. Episode 31 of Abandoned, titled “McBarge,” is a prime example of why so many people enjoy the show.

The episode looks at the McBarge in Vancouver. In 1985, Vancouver was preparing for the World Fair Expo 86. McDonalds was set to have five restaurants throughout the sprawling expo. One of those restaurants was a two-story floating restaurant they called “Friendship 500,” a reference to the fact that it would be the 500th restaurant in Canada. The 187-foot long boat could seat around 390 people. The restaurant was very popular during the expo, and sold more than any other restaurant in British Colombia.

The original idea for the restaurant being able to float was that after the fair, it could be easily relocated. But after Expo 86 closed, McBarge stayed anchored in place. Unable to operate, and costing the company around $150,000 every year in maintenance, McBarge continued to waste away until the land was sold to developers, who demanded the barge be moved. It was moved down river. Investors bought it, but did little with it. In 2003, it was rented as a filming location for Blade Trinity. After years of sitting abandoned, the barge was finally refurbished in 2015 and relocated to the Fraser River. It is still docked for renovation, with little work happening.

Check it out