The Truth About McDonald's Floating Restaurant

Although McDonald's has some strange locations across the world, there are perhaps none as unique as the floating restaurant, known as the McBarge, that they built for the 1986 World Expo in Vancouver, Canada (via Random Times).

Though the McBarge has a better ring to it, the official name of the boat was the Friendship 500 and the location was significantly more upscale than other McDonald's, as it had art on the walls, wooden floors, and real houseplants. The kitchen was hidden, and instead of having staff bring the food to the counter, it was delivered with the help of a conveyor belt. Rumors suggest that the restaurant cost $8 million to build (via Atlas Obscura). 

The staff wore sailor's uniforms and the restaurant even employed the use of a tugboat to collect the wrappers, cups, and other litter that diners tossed in the water. The restaurant and the Expo itself were hits, with the Expo attracting millions from across the world. It's been credited with helping to make Vancouver a mainstream tourist destination.

The McBarge today

Although the restaurant was well-attended during the course of the Expo, it wasn't reopened after the festivities concluded. In 1991, a real estate developer bought the site where the Expo was held and told the barge to leave the property. It was towed to Burrard Inlet, near an oil refinery, and then to a sawmill in Maple Ridge after undergoing renovations in 2016. In the early 2000s, it was used as a filming location for a Marvel Blade movie.

The barge was purchased by real estate developers in the 1990s and for a time, the hope was that the McBarge would be reinvented into a facility that could teach visitors about ocean technology and how Canada has advanced in underwater technology (via Global News).

Although a crowdfunding campaign was held in 2017 along with a petition to help boost the plans, it appears that things have fallen off the rails, with nothing being posted on the campaign's social media sites since 2017.