In 1986, the world was introduced to the McBarge (AKA, the Friendship 500). The floating fast food phenomenon was created for the World Expo in 1986, which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia. Unfortunately, now the Abandoned McDonalds Barge no longer serves Big Macs, and was abandoned and derelict on the Fraser River, in Mission, British Columbia for many years. The first floating McDonald's was in St. Louis, Missouri, built as an homage to the steamboat era of yesteryear. The floating McBarges were intended to showcase the future of technology and architecture. That's all well and good, but to me it looked more like a throwback to Art Deco architecture. But, I'm no designer, so what do I know?
Here's what it's like to explore the McBarge today:
According to Bobbea.com:
"There was a shift in public attitude during that time. The Yuppies were forsaking all things blatantly cheap. Hot-dogs, diners and the Five and Dime were out. Quiche, Bistros and boutiques were in. McDonalds, a company that prided itself on affordability, was loosing a part of the young adult market to eating establishments that portrayed themselves as high brow. Because of this, McDonalds tried out a new concept in 1986 -- "affordable elegance." Their flagship restaurant at Expo 86 was built more in the style of a bistro than a McDonald's. Because it was a costly venture, the McDonalds was built as a floating restaurant so it could be easily moved to another location."
Robert Allan Ltd. were the designers behind the avant-garde eatery. In many ways McDonald's was a focal point of the Expo, considering that five McD's locations were constructed on the Expo grounds, for a whopping $12 million. The intention was for the McBarge to remain in operation after the Expo, but for whatever reason, it was never reopened, and has remained anchored, derelict and forgotten in Burrard Inlet since 1991.
Fifteen years later in 2009, Howard Meaking (owner of the McBarge) announced a proposal for a waterfront development along Fraser River, and proclaimed the McBarge to be the showpiece.
Although the local community supported this development proposal, as of 2010, the council still hasn't approved it. There is also another proposal to turn the McBarge into a floating homeless shelter.