Inspired by his ancestor Adam Grant Horne’s West Coast exploits in the mid-1800s and his mother Georgina Abrams-Lytton's First Nations artwork, Wayne Lytton and his wife Kaori founded their business in Vancouver in 1978 with a vision to produce authentic products from the natural resources of beautiful British Columbia.
Wayne and Kaori decided to name the company Cheena after the Haida term meaning “Silvery Salmon” or "The Best Salmon" and had the company logo designed especially for them by Don Yeomans, one of the most highly respected Haida artist of the Pacific Northwest.
From those early days in 1978 to the present, Cheena is proud to use only the finest quality (#1 export grade) raw material caught north of Vancouver Island. Salmon from this area of the Pacific Ocean are some of the best wild salmon in the world. The pristine and untouched watershed along the coast of British Columbia nurses the cleanest and purest environment to allow the salmon to swim freely without disruption naturally giving them their shiny silver back, rich colourful meat and high oil content.
The salmon caught off these waters are frozen immediately at sea (FAS) and once it arrives in our processing facility the frozen salmon are hand filleted, pin-bone removed, fully trimmed, lightly brined and smoked to perfection using natural authentic wood smoke. After the steel racks are removed from the smokehouse, the fillets are flash-frozen for an immediate freeze to ensure it captures the salmon at its peak quality.
It is very important to point out that we do not use liquid smoke, preservatives, additives, dyes or artificial colouring agents in our smoked salmon products. This is one of many reasons why Cheena continues to be known for producing high quality seafood, and after more than 45 successful years in the business, is recognized as a pioneer in smoked salmon retail.
With the same vision of only using authentic raw material, Kaori and Wayne added another emblematic Canadian product: maple syrup. Similar to wine, every harvest of maple syrup depends on the location, soil and climate of its maple farm. The terroir affects its flavour, characteristics and overall quality of the maple syrup. Reflecting on this connection to its soil, they decided to call their new product line Maple Terroir.
” Our maple syrup is produced from a 4th generation maple farm located near the beautiful Appalachian Mountains with some of the best producing sugar maples in Canada. The low-yield farming on high elevation terrain takes a tremendous commitment in terms of time and cost but anything else would require compromise, which we are not willing to make.”
Like Cheena, quality control at Maple Terroir is paramount to our production of maple syrup. Our priority is to supply the best pure maple syrup and maple products by using meticulously selected, superior quality maple sap and the finest production methods available. Nowhere within our pure maple syrup process do we blend or add chemicals or bleaching powders or color preservatives of any kind. Today the brand represents the ever-expanding inventory of maple syrup and unique maple syrup-related products, and is known for its quality and wide selection.
Under the leadership of current president Shawn Lytton, Cheena and Maple Terroir continue to develop a variety of innovative Canadian specialty food products while staying true to the original vision of authenticity and Canadian uniqueness. As a family-owned and operated business, it’s important to us that we carry on the tradition of providing only the very best of gourmet Canadian specialty foods to our customers.
From the cold, pristine waters off the West Coast of British Columbia and from the terroir of the Quebec Appalachian Mountains to your table…… Bon Appetit!
The first Cheena store in downtown Vancouver, 1978.