Barkerville, British Columbia

Barkerville was the main town of the Cariboo Gold Rush in British Columbia, Canada and is preserved as a historic town. It is located on the north slope of the Cariboo Plateau near the Cariboo Mountains 80 kilometres (50 mi) east of Quesnel. BC Highway 26, which follows the route of the Cariboo Wagon Road, the original access to Barkerville, goes through it.

Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville's main street, taken in June 2004, showing the historic buildings and a small stream of water flowing down its sloped, unpaved, roads
Barkerville's main street, taken in June 2004, showing the historic buildings and a small stream of water flowing down its sloped, unpaved, roads
Barkerville, British Columbia is located in British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Location of Barkerville
Barkerville, British Columbia is located in Canada
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia (Canada)
Coordinates: 53°03′57″N 121°31′02″W / 53.06583°N 121.51722°WCoordinates: 53°03′57″N 121°31′02″W / 53.06583°N 121.51722°W
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Historical town1958
Elevation1,230 m (4,040 ft)
 • mid-1860s
5,000 (Peak)
Area code(s)250, 236, 778
Highways Hwy 26


Barkerville is situated on the western edge of the Cariboo Mountains in British Columbia. It was named after Billy Barker from Cambridgeshire, England, who was among those who first struck gold at the location in 1861. His claim was the richest and the most famous.[2]

Barkerville was built up almost overnight, and was a case of "growth via word of mouth". It grew as fast as word of Barker's strike spread. His claim would eventually yield 37,500 ounces[3] (1,065 kg/2,350 lb) of gold.

Before the construction of the Cariboo Wagon Road, people hauled their own supplies to Barkerville, either on their backs or in a pack train. Because supplies were scarce, the prices of even the most everyday items were extremely high. High prices for goods in Barkerville did not ease up until the Cariboo Road had been finished, when goods could be transported by huge freight wagons. Soon, movers of freight boasted that they could pack and carry a set of champagne glasses without any breakage - for a price, of course. More women came to Barkerville after the construction of the Cariboo Road.

Cattle were driven north up the Okanagan valley via what is now Highway 97 into Canada to provide meat for the miners and residents of Barkerville.

Barnard Express
Barkerville (1865)

At first, the town consisted only of makeshift cabins and tents. By the mid-1860s, however, Barkerville had a population of approximately 5,000, 3,000 of them were Chinese operated by Kwong Lee Company of Victoria.[4] Even though its population was transient and largely dependent on mining, Barkerville was becoming more of a real community. It had several general stores and boarding houses, a drugstore that also sold newspapers and cigars, a barbershop that cut women's as well as men's hair, the "Wake-Up Jake Restaurant and Coffee Salon", a theatre (the Theatre Royal),[5] and a literary society (the Cariboo Literary Society).

Gold nugget from Emery Gulch, near Barkersville. Weight 35 g.

Horse racing and prize fighting were common entertainments. Among the so-called "sober set," church services were extremely well attended. The general stores were the most profitable of the merchants. As they had the only source of food, the store owners could increase the price of foods and supplies. In the height of the gold rush, the stores sold flour for as high as $1.25 per pound. Beans, meat, and dried fruit were sold for a dollar a pound. But as the gold rush ended, the stores went bankrupt and finally out of business.

People of Chinese descent were an important part of Barkerville life for almost a hundred years. They established a number of businesses, including the Kwong Lee Company, a general store that sold groceries, clothing, hardware, and mining tools. The company had stores in other parts of British Columbia, but the Barkerville store was one of the most impressive in town. The Chinese community also built cabins (for Chinese miners, who saved money by sharing four or five to a cabin) and Tai Ping (the "Peace Room"), the equivalent of a modern nursing home. Chinese benevolent associations provided social services to the Chinese community, and also resolved disputes within the Chinese community without the use of BC courts.

On September 16, 1868, Barkerville was destroyed by a fire that spread quickly through the wooden buildings. Rebuilding began immediately, and at an impressive pace. Within six weeks, ninety buildings had been rebuilt. Boardwalks were improved, and the narrow and winding main street was widened and straightened. By 1880, there were enough children in the area to build the Barkerville School. It had thirteen pupils and one piece of school equipment - a chalkboard. Even so, Barkerville's population was declining by the end of the 19th century and it eventually had only a few people resident. It had a revival in the 1930s, when the Great Depression caused widespread unemployment, and the price of gold skyrocketed. But as the depression turned for the better, Barkerville declined to a very small village.[6]

Barkerville Historic Town

In 1957, the government of British Columbia decided that the town should be restored and operated as a tourist attraction. Today, Barkerville appears as it did in its heyday and is referred to as Barkerville Historic Town. The history of each building has been researched and documented. No residents remain; they were either bought out or moved to New Barkerville during the restoration of the site.

1877 Chee Kung Tong Building

In 2008, Barkerville's Chee Kung Tong Building[7] was designated a National Historic Sites of Canada. The two-storey board and batten structure was completed in 1877 and originally used by the Chee Kung Tong organization, a benevolent association for recent arrivals. It is representative of the community building among immigrant Chinese labourers and merchants in new settlements throughout Canada.


Barkerville has a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc), resulting in long, cold and snowy winters, accompanied by short and cool summers due to its high altitude.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ BC Names entry "Barkerville (community)"
  3. ^ "John Cariboo Cameron". Archived from the original on 14 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
  4. ^ Dawson, Brian (1991). Moon Cake in Gold Mountain. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Detselig Enterprises Ltd. p. 20. ISBN 1-55059-026-X.
  5. ^ "Theatre Royal, Barkerville". Newman & Wright Theatre Co. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Chee Kung Tong Building. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data". Environment Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2016.

External links

Barkerville Airport

Barkerville Airport, formerly (TC LID: CAS3), WASs located 1.2 nautical miles (2.2 km; 1.4 mi) north of Barkerville, British Columbia, Canada.

Bert Sincock

Herbert Sylvester Sincock (September 8, 1887 – August 1, 1946) was a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. In 1908, he played both college baseball at the University of Michigan and professional baseball for the Cincinnati Reds.


A boomtown is a community that undergoes sudden and rapid population and economic growth, or that is started from scratch. The growth is normally attributed to the nearby discovery of a precious resource such as gold, silver, or oil, although the term can also be applied to communities growing very rapidly for different reasons, such as a proximity to a major metropolitan area, huge construction project, or attractive climate.

Fort Steele, British Columbia

Fort Steele is a heritage town in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. It is located north of the Crowsnest Highway along Highways 93 and 95, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) northeast of Cranbrook.

George Cowan (politician)

George Cowan (June 25, 1831 – September 3, 1910) was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Canada, for the riding of Cariboo. He was first elected in a byelection in 1877 at the encouragement of George Walkem, the former and, at the time, future Premier. Cowan defeated the incumbent A.E.B. Davie, also a future Premier, who sought to win a seat in the House via the Cariboo byelection but who unlike Cowan did not have the advantages of Walkem's influence and support in the Cariboo riding (Davie would seek election successfully in the Lillooet riding in the subsequent general election of 1878). Cowan was re-elected consistently until retiring before the 1890 election.

He was born June 25, 1831 in Leeds County, Ontario, where his father was a farmer. At the age of 20, he went to the gold rush in Australia and worked in hardrock and placer mining for seven years, but returned to Ontario in 1859. In 1862, he heard news of the Cariboo Gold Rush and set out for British Columbia, arriving in Victoria in June. He mined successfully on Williams, Grouse and Antler Creeks but continued investment in mining depleted his resources. A Presbyterian, he was also a supporter of the government of John A. Macdonald federally, though there were no party alignments in British Columbia politics in his era. He died on September 3, 1910.

Harry Tracy, Desperado

Harry Tracy, Desperado is a 1982 Canadian drama/western film starring Bruce Dern and Helen Shaver. It was directed by William A. Graham, and filmed on-location in Historical Barkerville, British Columbia. "My Love for You" was sung by Gordon Lightfoot, who also appears as U.S. Marshal Nathan. The film was released on DVD under the title Harry Tracy: The Last of the Wild Bunch in the United States.

Hugh Nelson (Canadian politician)

Hugh Nelson (May 25, 1830 – March 3, 1893) was a Canadian parliamentarian and the fourth Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

Born in his father's residence, Shire Cottage in Inagheramore, Larne, County Antrim, Ireland, the son of Robert Nelson, Esq. and Frances Quinn, he emigrated to California in 1854. He arrived in British Columbia in 1858, but unlike the horde of others who arrived in that year he had not come in pursuit of gold but to participate in the building of the colony as an English dominion. Eschewing the goldfields themselves, he founded the B.C. & Victoria Express Company, which had the dominant share of the freight and travel market between Victoria and New Westminster and Yale, with partner George Dietz, and also the lumbering firm Moody, Dietz and Nelson, the third partner of which was Sewell Moody, which was the operating name of Moodyville Sawmill Co. in what is now North Vancouver. The freighting firm was sold off early on to Frank Barnard Sr., whose B.C. Express Company then became the leading firm for shipments and travel to and from the Cariboo region

Although active in politics, he did not stand for office to the Legislative Council until 1870 (for the colonial riding of New Westminster), by which time he had become one of the principal promoters of British Columbia's merger with the Confederation of Canada. He was a member of the Yale Convention, which ushered in BC's union with Canada, and was on the committee of that body charged with seeing the agreement come into effect. He was a member of the colonial Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, and in 1871 was one of the first Members of Parliament from British Columbia to the House of Commons, representing

New Westminster District.

A Liberal-Conservative, he was re-elected in 1872. He did not run in 1874. In 1879, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada representing the senatorial division of Barkerville, British Columbia. He withdrew from business in 1882, and in February, 1887 married Emily Stanton, daughter of J.B. Stanton, Esq., of the Canadian civil service. He and resigned his senate seat in 1887, when he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. In 1892, he resigned as Lieutenant-Governor and returned to England where he died the following March of Bright's disease.

Hugh Watt (Canadian politician)

Hugh Watt (ca 1841 – March 21, 1914) was a physician and political figure in British Columbia. He represented Cariboo in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from 1892 to 1894.

He was born in Fergus, Ontario and was the great grandson of James Watt. He became owner and editor of the Fergus News-Record. Watt studied medicine at the University of Toronto and then came to Barkerville, British Columbia by way of San Francisco in 1882. He was surgeon in charge of the Barkerville Hospital from 1882 to 1895. Watt was also a member of the local school board. He ran unsuccessfully for a federal seat in 1891. Watt was elected to the assembly in an 1892 by-election held following the death of John Robson but was defeated when he ran for reelection in 1894. He moved to Fort Steele in 1897. Watt served as Health Officer for the Fort Steele Mining District. He married Alice Nicholson, his second wife, in 1912. Watt later moved to Elko, where he died at the age of 73.

Mount Campbell

Mount Campbell may refer to:

Mount Campbell, a mountain in the Prince Olav Mountains of Antarctica

Mount Campbell (Canada), a mountain near Penticton, British Columbia, Canada

Mount Campbell (Cariboo), a mountain near Barkerville, British Columbia, Canada

Mount Campbell (Nunavut), a mountain in Nunavut, Canada

Mount Campbell (Newfoundland and Labrador), a mountain in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Mount Campbell (Alaska), a mountain in the Valdez-Cordova (CA) region in Alaska

Mount Campbell, New South Wales, a mountain in Tweed Shire, Australia

New Barkerville, British Columbia

New Barkerville, British Columbia is affectionately known as a suburb of Barkerville, B.C. New Barkerville was formed in 1958, when the last remaining Barkerville residents were offered the choice of selling their homes to the Government of British Columbia, which had taken over the Barkerville townsite as a museum, or to be relocated. Most residents chose to have their houses relocated to the peak of the Reduction Road Hill, in the forest one kilometre from Barkerville.

Today, New Barkerville consists of roughly eight updated pioneer-style family houses and outbuildings, with a few newly built homes interspersed between them. Amenities are basic - Hydro electricity, spring-fed water supply, telephone and satellite high speed internet are recent innovations - but the solitude and natural surroundings appeal to the year-round residents, who participate fully in the life of nearby Wells, five kilometres away.

The architecture of New Barkerville's heritage houses is typical of the 1930s gold-rush era, with square dimensions, narrow, short staircases, small rooms clustered around a central wood stove and compact, efficient kitchens. Some houses still maintain wood stoves for everyday cooking as well as for heat. In most cases, the original hardwood floors and hand-carved support poles are still in existence. As in Wells, a couple of New Barkerville houses are painted in bright colourbox shades.

Within a short walk of New Barkerville are walking trails, the Government Hill and Lowhee campsites, Barkerville cemetery, and Barkerville Historic Town. Cross-country ski trails and bicycle trails are available near Wells.

Pinegrove, British Columbia

Pinegrove is an unincorporated locality on BC Highway 26 in the Cariboo Country of the Central Interior of British Columbia, located between Coldspring House (SW) and Beaver Pass House (NE), southwest of Four Mile Lake. It is the location of the Troll Ski Resort.

Samuel Augustus Rogers

Samuel Augustus Rogers (February 1840 – June 4, 1911) was an Irish-born merchant and political figure in British Columbia. He represented Cariboo from 1890 to 1898 and from 1900 to 1903 in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Born in 1840, he came with his parents to Ontario in 1844 and was educated in Prince Edward County. Rogers served as sheriff for Cariboo Lillooet District for four years. He was a director of the Cariboo Hosplital. Rogers lived in Barkerville. He ran as a Conservative in the 1900 election. Rogers was defeated when he ran for reelection in 1898 and in 1903. He died at home in Barkerville in 1911.

St. Saviour's Anglican Church

St. Saviour's Anglican Church or variants thereof may refer to:

St. Saviour's Anglican Church (Barkerville, British Columbia)

St. Saviour's Anglican Church (Orono, Ontario)

St. Saviour's Anglican Church (Barkerville, British Columbia)

St. Saviour's Anglican Church is an historic one-storey rustic Carpenter Gothic Anglican church building located in the National Historic Site of Barkerville, British Columbia. Designed by the Rev. James Reynard, it was built by John Bruce and J. G. Mann. Construction began in 1868 but was not finished until after the church's first service was held on September 18, 1870. Its Carpenter Gothic architectural features include lancet windows and board and batten walls on the exterior as well as interior. A porch on the right side which appeared in early photographs is no longer in existence. Today it is part of Barkerville Historic Town and admission to the church is included in the price of admission to the town. Lay services are conducted in the church most days during the summer season.

Currently, St. Saviour's is featured in Craig Spence's novel in progress Stained Glass. The church is also used as a music venue.

Stanley, British Columbia

Stanley was a gold rush town in the Cariboo region of British Columbia that began during the Cariboo Gold Rush.

Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal is the name of many theatres, especially in the United Kingdom. The name was once an indication that the theatre was a patent theatre, with a Royal Patent without which performances of serious drama would be illegal.


The Tiandihui (Chinese: 天地會; pinyin: Tiān Dì Huì), literally the Society of the Heaven and the Earth, also called Hongmen 洪門 (the Vast Family), is a Chinese fraternal organisation and secretive folk religious sect such as the White Lotus Sect. As the Tiandihui spread through different counties and provinces, it branched off into many groups and became known by many names, including the Sanhehui. The Hongmen grouping is today more or less synonymous with the whole Tiandihui concept, although the title "Hongmen" is also claimed by some criminal groups.

When the British ruled Hong Kong, all Chinese secret societies were seen as criminal threats and together defined as Triads, although the Hongmen might be said to have differed in its nature from others. The name of the "Three Harmonies Society" (the "Sanhehui" grouping of the Tiandihui) is in fact the source of the term "Triad" that has become synonymous with Chinese organised crime. Because of that heritage, the Tiandihui is sometimes controversial and is illegal in Hong Kong.

Climate data for Barkerville
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.0
Average high °C (°F) −2.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −7.5
Average low °C (°F) −12.1
Record low °C (°F) −46.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 96.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 8.2
Average snowfall cm (inches) 87.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 16.6 12.5 13.8 14.3 18.7 20.6 19.2 16.0 16.3 18.0 18.7 17.1 201.7
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 1.4 1.2 2.9 8.2 17.6 20.5 19.2 16.0 16.2 13.9 3.8 1.0 121.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 15.9 11.8 12.2 8.4 3.0 0.3 0 0 0.6 6.5 16.4 16.6 91.8
Source: [8]
Places adjacent to Barkerville, British Columbia

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