Back in 1986, there was a well-known expo in Vancouver known as the Vancouver Expo otherwise known as the World Expo. A huge, world-wide fair, with the theme of “World Exposition on Transportation and Communication”. The fair started in May and went until October of that year featuring different booths and pavilions representing 54 different nations and thousands of corporations. Each innovative pavilion was designed by a specific company and they all had a unique flare to them. One of the most unique places, one that truly stood out among the rest in the fair, was what the McBarge, a floating McDonalds! 30 years ago, this floating restaurant was the talk of the crowd and thousands of people came from all over to visit the unique McDonalds. Crowds lined up outside to be able to experience luxury and fast food on the water. McDonalds was ambitious to say the least and luxury and innovation were the main goals that the fast food chain was trying to portray.
Unfortunately, shortly after the expo the McBarge was quickly forgotten about.
The McDonalds was unlike any of its kind. There was nothing like it anywhere and it was designed with a modern nautical feel. It was so unique that people traveled from all over to visit the unique place and experience a McDonalds unlike any other.
The first ever floating McDonalds cost a whopping $8 million to build. It was marketed as a luxury dining experience for wealthy people who were increasingly rejecting fast food.
It was designed to look like a modern space ship on the outside. It was truly ahead of its time but that was the point.
The interior design definitely did not disappoint featuring hardwood floors, real plants, and panoramic windows allowing the customer to enjoy beautiful views of the open water and the lavish surroundings.
The floating McDonalds known as the McBarge also featured a hidden kitchen and food that arrived on conveyer belts, only adding to the unique dining experience.
But sadly, after the expo, the floating McDonalds was quickly forgotten and abandoned.
The weather and natural elements have ruined the once loved attraction. The McBarge has been abandoned and left floating in the water slowly being reclaimed by the elements.
Photographers and urban explorers enjoy going to the abandoned restaurant to photograph, experience and document the inside of the once luxurious and popular attraction.
The interior of the floating McDonalds has been looted and stripped of any value. The insides are starting to crumble as the restaurant sits open and exposed to the natural elements.
Many locals have given some very valuable ideas on what to do to the unique barge, some of these ideas include a homeless shelter, a new riverfront destination, or some type of floating store front. The old McBarge is too cool to let rot. This place deserves a second life.
Either way, it is sad to see the once beloved floating McDonald’s sit unused and unloved.
After 30 years of neglect, this floating McDonalds is now a thing of the past. It would require a lot of work, money and dedication to make this a happy place again. For now, it sits in the river as a reminder of bold design, brave concepts and innovation. The floating McDonalds is sadly a thing of the past slowly being forgotten. In fact, most people don’t even know the history is behind this old attraction sitting in the waters of Vancouver.