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Cannery Row at night

Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California, USA. It is the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The street name, formerly a nickname for Ocean View Avenue, became official in January 1958 to honor John Steinbeck and his famous novel Cannery Row.[1]



Cannery Row was the setting of John Steinbeck's novels Cannery Row (1945) and Sweet Thursday (1954). Both were the basis for the 1982 movie Cannery Row, starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger. It is also mentioned in Bob Dylan's song Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.

Pacific Biological Laboratories, a biological supply house, was located at 800 Cannery Row from 1928 to 1948 and operated by Edward F. Ricketts, who was the inspiration for several characters in Steinbeck novels.

The canneries failed after the collapse of the fishing industry in Monterey Bay in the mid-1950s. Before the collapse, the fishery was one of the most productive in the world due to the upwelling of cold, yet nutrient-rich water from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that is funneled to the surface via the vast underwater Monterey Canyon.


Cannery Row in a June afternoon.

Today the area around Cannery Row is a marine sanctuary and is home to a large resurgent population of California sea lions.

Cannery Row itself is now a tourist attraction with many restaurants and hotels, many of which are located in former cannery buildings, and a few historical attractions. A few privately owned and operated fishing companies still exist on Cannery Row, housed on piers located a short distance from the historic district frequented by tourists.

In recent years, Cannery Row has become increasingly popular among sport fishermen due to extensive public fishing facilities (sinks, countertops, ice, docking). MacAbee Beach and San Carlos Beach, which bookend Cannery Row[2] are both popular spots for kayak-launching; San Carlos Beach is one of Monterey Bay's most popular scuba-diving spots.[1]

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the north end of Cannery Row, at the former site of the major Del Mar Cannery.


  • "Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream." — John Steinbeck, opening sentence, Cannery Row (1945).

See also


  • Hemp, Michael Kenneth (2003). Cannery Row: The History of John E. Steinbeck's Old Ocean View Avenue. The History Company. ISBN 0-941425-01-0.  

External links

Coordinates: 36°36′59″N 121°54′02″W / 36.6165°N 121.9006°W / 36.6165; -121.9006



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