An iconic relic from Expo 86 — the McBarge — has set sail for a new life, but the final destination remains a mystery.

The 57-metre-long concrete and steel behemoth is being towed out of Burrard Inlet in North Burnaby after almost 30 years in stasis, heading to a shipyard in Maple Ridge for a refit.

The barge's owner hoped to sail yesterday, but weather delayed the trip.

McBarge cast off around 2 a.m. PT Tuesday and is expected to sail under the Second Narrows Bridge, then the Lion's Gate Bridge before heading toward the Fraser River where it will be refurbished.

After the monstrous craft is renovated, owner Howard Meakin says it will reopen as an attraction, hearkening to her first gig as a floating McDonald's restaurant at Expo 86.

Mysterious future

"There seems to be an attachment that B.C. has for the McBarge and major corporations have wanted to see this happen and we are very excited to be a part of it."

Meakin will not confirm where McBarge will eventually anchor, or how she will be reborn.

"I can't say where. It's quite unique and it's going to be an outstanding attraction," said Meakin. "It's going to attract a lot of attention."


The graffiti-marred Expo 86 icon is on the move today, and heading for a shipyard where she will undergo a transformation before beginning a new life, said her owner. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

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