Tuesday, July 21, 2015


ABC Wednesday
July 22, 2015

The letter is B

B is for Barriere, Beaverdell, Brackendale, Burnaby, Burns Lake, Barkerville and Brantwood Bay - all towns in British Columbia - but today let's visit...


A preserved and dynamic goldrush town declared a national historic site in 1923 in recognition of the role it played in the development of British Columbia and Canada.  In 1958, to mark the province's centennial, British Columbia established it as a provincial heritage site, and today it is the premier historic site of western Canada.

This is what it looks like today

But what about its history??

Imagine you are digging through layers of soggy, worthless gravel, hoping that the next shovel full with contain the gleam of gold.  You persevere!  Just when the outcome seems impossibly bleak, at a depth of 52 feet, the ground begins to pay and the greatest creek side placer gold deposit the world has ever seen is suddenly yours for the taking.....

Barkerville was the main town of the Cariboo Gold Rush in British Columbia,
located on the north slope of the Cariboo Plateau near the Cariboo Moutains, 
eighty Kilometres east of Quesnel.

Here is the original Cariboo Wagon Route which was the conduit by which fortune seekers and freight reached their destinations and opened up the interior of B.C.

The Fraser River Gold Rush excitement in 1858 drew thousands on to the British Columbia river systems in search of the 'mother lode'.

In 1862 William "Billy" Barker registered a claim downstream from Richfield from which $650,000 in gold was recovered.  His discovery ultimately sparked the recovery of more than five million ounces of gold from the Cariboo goldfields.

Barkerville in the 1800's was a jumble of log and false fronted shanties perched on stilts along a narrow muddy street.

There were hotels, restaurants, stores, dance halls, saloons, billiard rooms, laundries
and gambling houses dotting Williams Creek.

Church, theatre and library groups were formed to meet the needs of the residents,
 and a Fire Brigade.

People from all over the world converged on the creek.  The initial flood of miners, mainly from California, was balanced by the British constabulary and justice system;  people from eastern Canada, Chinese from Guangdong, China, First Nations people worked in the region, and
Blacks, seeking freedom and a new life, along with people from Mexico, Australia and Europe.

It was a cosmopolitan town 

After the initial rush fluctuations in mining activities affected Barkerville's population levels.
The two World Wars affected gold mining in Canada and there was a subsequent drop in the local population that continued well into the 1990s, when it levelled out to around 250.

The last full-time resident of Barkerville died in 1979 and today year-round staff preserve and develop this major historical site.

Each summer this rich history during the Cariboo Gold Rush is demonstrated for
visitors from all over the world.


The town has  one hundered original and twenty-one reconstructed buildings, 
a large collection of artifacts and documents to help trace the evolution of the
community and the Cariboo region from the initial gold rush, focusing on
placer mining through the continuing exploration for gold in lode and placer deposits.

It is an historic site like no other, remaining a thriving place, rich in history and full of life.

You can tour the town with one of the colourful characters from Barkerville's past 
and  enjoy gold panning,

 see a real Cornish Waterwheel in action, 

visit Barkerville's well preserved Chinatorn

and go back to school in the 1800's.

You can celebrate Dominion Day the way they did in 1870 

and in honour of Barkerville's Chinese heritage there is a Chinese Mid-Autumn
Festival, beginning with a lantern parade
through the streets.

Many of the Barkerville businesses are open for Christmas, 
with Carol Singing at St. Saviour's church, and
special Christmas sleigh rides.

A special spot in British Columbia
with an aura of the past.

For more Bs click here at ABC Wednesday

Thanks to Roger, Denise and all their blessed helpers....


The Weaver of Grass said...

What a fascinating place Hildred. I love these old historic towns and the way they have been preserved. I always wonder what the original inhabitants would have thought had they know how the towns would end up.

Roger Owen Green said...

Wow, it looks like a movie lot!


Gerald (SK14) said...

The early inhabitants wouldn't believe how it looks now.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The list of many B towns made me smile ... instead of counting sheep if I really have insomnia I try to list places we've been for each letter... I usually do at least get through the "Bs".

Gold Rush towns are always fascinating to think about; amazing history. It is always hard for us to understand why people were willing to work so hard and sacrifice so much to 'get rich quick'... we would have been the ones to open a store or find a way to somehow cater (hopefully legally/morally ;>)) to the needs of all those new people coming through. Slow but steady....

The historical pictures are fascinating and I am so glad that the town is still alive and well and preserving and sharing its history.

fredamans said...

Beautiful B.C! Part of what I love about being Canadian! Looks like a great historical village. One I must add to my bucketlist!

Powell River Books said...

Historic towns are such fun. A section of Powell River is a designated historic townsite because it was built in the Garden City model by the founding mill at the turn of the 1900s. - Margy

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

It sounds like a fascinating place to visit. Blessings!

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

so many B names, and I haven't been to any. I studied in Windsor, and visited Toronto.

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for the interesting story. IT so happened that here in Cooktown Australia there was also a goldrush with many people from China,at the same time I belief.
Thanks for your comment.

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for the interesting story. IT so happened that here in Cooktown Australia there was also a goldrush with many people from China,at the same time I belief.
Thanks for your comment.

NCSue said...

Very interesting post.
Thanks for sharing the Barkerville story. Hope you'll link it up here:

Anne at Shintangle Studio said...

My dear husband and I visited Barkerville years ago when we were taking a painting workshop in Wells with Michael Kluckner (he did the "Vanishing Vancouver" series in The Vancouver Sun). I particularly liked the photo of the teamster with the sleigh-full of people. A long time ago my dh was asked to drive a team for a season in Barkerville, but the timing didn't work because he was still horse-logging full time. I enjoyed this post and the previous one, which was very touching, all about counting your blessings. I'm glad that my friend's cousin is recovering from her strokes. And the poem was lovely.

NicolaJean said...

Great 'B' post Mum. Our friends Pat and Ron Young own and operate the Louis A. Blanc Photographic Gallery at Barkerville. Your readers might enjoy visiting their Facebook page

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