The Big Ride – Stepping back in time (Barkerville, BC)

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted so in the next few days I’ll be bring you up to date on my travels over the past week.  I’ve found it difficult to find the time to blog while passing through Beautiful British Columbia as not only has there been a lot to see and take in, it’s been a time that has been spent reconnecting with family and friends.

When I left Edmonton, Alberta, I headed west towards Prince George BC to connect with my longtime friends Lynn and Ron Wahl who go back a very long way.  It was an exceptional visit which included reconnecting with their three boys Darren, Brad and Brent.  It had been 15 years since I had seen Ron and Lynn and even longer with the boys.  What an awesome time that was!

Mount Robson just outside of Jasper Park
Mount Robson just outside of Jasper Park

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Horse Lake outside of Jasper
Horse Lake outside of Jasper

From there I stopped off in Barkerville, BC which is about an hour south of Prince George and east of Quesnel through the Cariboo Mountains.   I had visited the historical “gold mining” town of Barkerville as a child.  To my amazement it has grown considerably since then and was well worth the visit.  If you add it to your bucket list I’d suggest taking two days to go through the town as I wasn’t able to fit it all in.

It’s hard to believe but Barkerville was once the largest city north of San Francisco and west of Chicago and was named after Billy Barker who was among those who first struck gold there in 1861.  Barkerville became a boom town and grew overnight when others heard about Billy Barker striking it rich.  His claim would eventually yield 37,500 ounces of gold.  Now that’s striking it rich!

Before the construction of the Cariboo Wagon Road, people hauled their own supplies to Barkerville, either on their backs or by pack trains. Because supplies were scarce, the prices of everyday items were extremely high. An example of this was butter being sold at $5 a pound – roughly the same price you’d pay today.  In an effort to feed those who came to Barkerville cattle were driven north up the Okanagan valley via what is now Highway 97 into Canada to provide meat for the miners and its residents.

In the beginning the town consisted of makeshift cabins and tents. By the mid-1860s, however, Barkerville had a population of approximately 5,000. Even though its population was transient and largely dependent on mining, Barkerville was becoming less of a service town and 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” and Theatre Royal where live shows are still performed today.

Here are a few photographs from the historic little “gold mining” town of Barkerville.

The main street in Barkerville
The main street in Barkerville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A little water?
A little water?
Barkerville had it's own Chinatown
Barkerville had it’s own Chinatown which housed the many Chinese who came to work in the gold mines.  Chinatown grew as many opened businesses that serviced the transients who came to Barkerville to find their fortunes
One of the many beautiful historic homes in Barkerville, BC
One of the many beautiful historic homes in Barkerville, BC
There were several carts and carriages on display
There were several carts and carriages on display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My friend Bridget Conboy would love it here...retro hats at tere finest!
My friend Bridget Conboy would love it here…retro hats at their finest!

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The local Post Office
The local Post Office

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The local church in Barkerville - beautiful constructed building
The local church in Barkerville – a beautifully constructed building

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Beautiful glass work in one of the antique doors
Beautiful glass work in one of the antique doors

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Fine dining in one of many beautiful homes that have been restored
Fine dining in one of many beautiful homes that have been restored

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Anyone you know? :)
Anyone you know? 🙂
The Assayer's Office where the gold was weighed and assessed
The Assayer’s Office where the gold was weighed and assessed

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Barkerville came to like with the many actors onsite that were dressed in periodical attire
Barkerville came to life with the many actors onsite that were dressed in period attire
Another actor whom I had the opportunity to speak with - it brought the old town alive
Another actor whom I had the opportunity to speak with – it brought the old town alive
I can only imagine what this experience would have been like
I can only imagine what this experience would have been like

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I'd love to have this in my kitchen
I’d love to have this in my kitchen

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The accounting records from the Assayer's office.  I was told that gold prices today are 25 time higher in value today
The accounting records from the Assayer’s office. I was told that gold prices today are 25 time higher in value today

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One of the may General Stores on site in Barkerville
One of the may General Stores on site in Barkerville

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The "locals" enjoying an afternoon visit on the veranda outside the General Store
The “locals” enjoying an afternoon visit on the veranda outside the General Store

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A peek into the past
A peek into the past

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The local bordello was among the many old buildings that had been restored
The local bordello was among the many old buildings that had been restored

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The town well where locals would come to fetch the water needed for the many household chores
The town well where locals would come to fetch the water needed for the many household chores

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What would be a town without a local saloon where the  locals and the many travellers who came to strike it rich met to share their stories  of wow as few were actually successful in finding gold
What would a town be without a local saloon where the locals and the many travelers who came to strike it rich met to share their stories of woe as few were actually successful in finding gold

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Inside the local saloon
Inside the local saloon

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From here, I made my way towards the west coast of British Columbia by way of the scenic Highway 99, also known as the Sea to Sky Highway.  It twists its way through Lillooet, the spectacular Duffy Lake Park and Reserve and beyond, winding its way through Whistler, Squamish and of course Horseshoe Bay where I took the ferry to Vancouver Island.  The ride on Highway 99 was absolutely breathtaking and worthy of its own post. More to follow….I promise!

 

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Bonnie St Julien

Bonnie St Julien provides personal development and professional leadership coaching and mentoring, to support individuals who aspire to make a positive and meaningful difference in who they are, in what they do and how they do it. Bonnie is an accredited certified Coach and a certified Professional Behaviours (DISC) and Driving Forces (Motivators) Analyst, with over 25 years of public sector management experience, including as an Executive Director. In addition to her professional experience, Bonnie has overcome a number of personal challenges, providing her the determination and inner strength needed to get though whatever life hands her. Bonnie is also an avid motorcyclist who embraces life and lives it fully! Calling on Bonnie's extensive professional and life experience, individuals who work with Bonnie are transformed through the coaching process by gaining self-awareness and by taking incremental concrete action steps to achieve their desired goal and create meaningful and sustainable results in their lives, their work, their organizations, and their world! If you are looking to transform your life, Bonnie is the coach for you!

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