Carlton North’s Canals Seafood Appreciation Centre has been serving customers since 1917. This year – its 100th in operation – will be the family-run business’s last.

The Nicholson Street seafood store, which has been passed from father to son since it opened, began as a successful fish and chippery early last century. It was converted into a fishmonger in 1972.

Locals stop in for flathead, fresh snapper fillets, albacore and yellowfin tuna and excellent whole smoked trout. You’ll also find Sydney rock oysters, pre-cooked prawns from South Australia, and scallops harvested from Bass Strait.

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The Canals family pioneered the introduction of certain seafood products in Melbourne, which we now think of as relatively commonplace. The business was the first – in 1976 – to supply Melbourne with sashimi-grade tuna, and the first to sell Tasmanian salmon direct to consumers in the ’80s.

When Tasmanian salmon first came onto the market in 1986, suppliers only sold it to restaurants, not retail customers. But when a restaurant with which Peter Canals had a relationship offered him some salmon, he seized the opportunity: in Christmas of 1986 Canals was the only direct-to-public supplier of Tasmanian salmon in Melbourne.

“People could have fresh barbequed salmon on Christmas, which was something they couldn’t do before,” Peter Canals says.

Peter Canals is the fourth-generation of his family to run the business. He says now is the right time to say goodbye.

“We thought 100 years was a good high note to go out on,” he says, especially now that his kids have found other careers and his mother is in her nineties. After decades of early starts and long hours, Peter Canals admits: “We need to slow down a little bit.”

The building will go to auction on Friday October 20, and the closing date will be decided after that.

Additional reporting by Tim Grey.

Canals Seafood Appreciation Centre
703 Nicholson Street, North Carlton
(03) 9380 4537

Tue to Thu 9am–5.30pm
Fri 8am–6pm
Sat 8am–12pm

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