BC’s Gold Rush Town Set to Host Party of the Century (and a Half!)

Imagine… hand-digging through layers of soggy, worthless, frustrating gravel, hoping and praying the next shovel-stroke will expose a fortune in gold.  Twenty feet, thirty feet, forty feet: everyone says it’s crazy, but there’s too much at stake.  Then, just when the outcome seems impossibly bleak, at a depth of fifty-two feet, the ground begins to pay.  The lead is struck, and the greatest creek-side placer gold deposit the world has ever seen is suddenly yours for the taking.

This is Barkerville’s story.

The Cariboo region of British Columbia’s central interior has been profoundly shaped by gold, thanks in large part to a simple, working-class English prospector named Billy Barker. In August 1862, Barker helped spearhead a twenty-year, multi-billion dollar industrial revolution that literally helped to build a Province.   The extraordinary historic town of Barkerville, named in Billy’s honour, now stands as a living testament to these golden beginnings.  Declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1923, and later a Provincial Heritage Site in 1958, Barkerville is now the largest living-history museum in western North America.

“We are proud to be celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2012,” said James Douglas, Barkerville’s Manager of Visitor Experiences.  “And the year is full of exciting adventures for the more than 65,000 international visitors who flock to ‘BC’s Gold Rush Town’ annually.”

“Many of those visitors remain enamoured with Barkerville long after their trip,” Douglas added. “We are doubly proud to have received our second platinum award as ‘Favourite Historical Site in British Columbia’ in RVwest Magazine’s sixth annual Readers’ Choice Awards.”

The signature event for Barkerville’s year-long sesquicentennial celebrations takes place August 11th & 12th, 2012.  This ‘Discovery Day’ weekend will officially commemorate the 150th anniversary of Billy Barker’s astonishing gold discovery in 1862, and the subsequent birth of Barkerville Historic Town.  During the two day gala visitors to Barkerville will be treated to the triumphant return of the Canadian National Gold Panning Championships, hosted by 5-time World Invitational Gold Panning Champion and lifetime Barkerville resident, Scott Rea.

On Monday, May 21st, Barkerville will kick off its 150th anniversary season with the annual Victoria Day Royal Tea at the famous Wake Up Jake Coffee Saloon and Restaurant. ‘Queen Victoria’ and Her Majesty’s royal escort will be in attendance for several sittings during this popular, historically interpretive event.  Be sure to call 1-888-994-3332 for more details, or visit www.barkerville.ca to keep updated on all the sesquicentennial fun at Barkerville in 2012!