Billy Barker’s Great-Great-Granddaughter to attend 150th anniversary celebrations at Barkerville Historic Town, August 11th & 12th

ImageElaine Edgington, the great-great-granddaughter of Barkerville namesake William “Billy” Barker, is leaving her home in England this week and heading straight for the historic town in British Columbia’s Cariboo region that was named after her ancestor 150 years ago. 

Mrs. Edgington, who is a descendant of the wife and daughter Billy Barker was forced to leave behind in Cambridgeshire when he first travelled to North America to look for work in the late 1840s, will be Barkerville’s guest of honour at the 2012 Canadian National Gold Panning Championships August 11th & 12th, and will speak at a special “Discovery Day” ceremony planned for 3:30pm on Sunday.

“We really must thank Supporting Sponsor Williams Creek Gold Limited, as well as the Government of Canada’s Building Communities Through Arts & Heritage program, for helping make our Discovery Day celebrations possible,” said Fairlith Harvey, Barkerville’s Special Events Coordinator. “These two groups, together with Community Supporters the District of Wells and the Wells Chamber of Commerce, and Print Media Sponsor The Prince George Citizen, are helping make Barkerville’s Discovery Day a fabulous 150th anniversary event.”

“Discovery Day,” which caps off a weekend of sesquicentennial celebrations at Barkerville, is the National Historic Site of Canada’s official commemoration of Billy Barker’s astonishing placer gold strike in August of 1862. Barker and his partners “discovered” a 30-foot layer of rich gold-bearing gravel 52 feet below the surface of lower Williams Creek that averaged a hundred ounces of gold per day. This auriferous find not only gave birth to the extraordinary heritage site known as Barkerville, it spearheaded a 20-year, multi-billion dollar industrial revolution that literally helped build the Province of BC. Discovery Day events will include musical performances throughout the town, a brand new Billy Barker historical interpretation, a visit from “The Spirit of Cariboo Cameron,” and a 100+ pound “Happy Birthday Barkerville” cake.

Rounding out Barkerville’s weekend of 150th anniversary fun is the 2012 Canadian National Gold Panning Championships, presented by Integris Credit Union. Hosted by Barkerville’s own five-time World Invitational Gold Panning Champion, Scott Rea, the 2012 Canadian National Gold Panning Championships is a two-day extravaganza that is sure to appeal to gold enthusiasts of all ages. Competition categories include child, adult, seniors, professionals, teams, dash for the dentist (a children’s candy-hunt), scavenger pile (an adult free-for-all), grudge match, and King of the Creek (the ultimate contest for bragging rights and a $1000.00 cash prize). Each category has cash prizes and sponsored gifts for the winners (including a $1500.00 high bank sluice for the adults courtesy of Greywolf Highbankers, and a Razor electric scooter for the kids). Anyone can participate, provided they register 10 minutes prior to each event.                                                                

In addition to Presenting Sponsor Integris Credit Union’s generous contribution to Barkerville’s Gold Panning Championships, Barkerville would like to thank Community Sponsor (and Event organizer) Eldorado Gold & Gifts, Community Supporters the District of Wells and the Wells Chamber of Commerce, Print Media Sponsor The Prince George Citizen, and Radio sponsor 94X Prince George.