A Expo 86 icon was moved to Maple Ridge for restoration in 2015. Now the owner of the former floating McDonald’s restaurant says he has plans to reopen the barge as a seafood restaurant once a high traffic location is secured. (Matthew Claxton/Black Press Media)

Future of McBarge parked in Maple Ridge revealed

Howard Meakin has owned an Expo 86 icon for 30 years

The owner of an Expo 86 icon says he getting closer to restoring the floating restaurant to its former glory.

Howard Meakin said bringing the “McBarge,” a once floating McDonald’s restaurant known as the Friendship 500, back to life has been a bucket list item.

“It’s been a waiting game for the right location,” he told The News about finding a high traffic spot to anchor the 57-metre, two-storey glass-and-metal barge

The barge was used as a floating McDonald’s restaurant during the world’s fair, held on the shores of Vancouver’s False Creek in 1986.

READ MORE: McBarge unveiling postponed

Now after 30 years of ownership Meakin hopes to it restore the barge and reopen it as a seafood restaurant.

“If the right location doesn’t come up then it’s a different situation, but I think we’re getting close on one now,” he said. “We’re excited about the future for the barge and getting it put back into really fantastic shape is what are goal is.”

The barge is currently anchored in the Fraser River on a private water lot.

“It’s been there for a couple of years now,” he said.

But Meakin is hopeful the barge won’t be sitting idle much longer.

“Right now we’ve got one location that we are working through and hopefully by the fall we’ll have it tied down and we can think about moving it from where it is now,” he explained.

READ MORE: A new role found for Expo 86’s McBarge

Once a location is secured Meakin believes the work will move swiftly.

“We’ve gutted the interior of the barge so that when we find the right location we can move fairly quickly,” he said. “When I say that, within six to nine months we can re-clad the exterior and put in all new servicing, air conditioning, plumbing, heating and so forth.”

After the world’s fair in 1986 the barge remained docked in False Creek for several years before moving to Burrard Inlet. In 2015, it was towed to Maple Ridge for restoration.


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