Celebrate the anniversary of Canada’s first birthday party at Barkerville’s 2018 Dominion Day event

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  • On Sunday, July 1st, 2018, visitors from all over the world will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first “Canada Day” party in history at Barkerville Historic Town & Park, with a costumed street parade (led by local RCMP in Red Serge and the Quesnel Pipes & Drums band), traditional anvil salute, and traditional Victorian activities and games for the whole family, including a tug of war, funny face contest, greasy pole climb, egg toss, races and lots more.
  • From 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM the House Hotel Saloon will host an evening of entertainment, dancing and refreshments, featuring the Milburn Mountain String Band.
  • Canada’s very first Dominion Day celebration was held in Barkerville as a fervent display of support for Canadian confederation three years before British Columbia joined the Dominion in 1871.
  • Just past midnight on July 1, 1868, the Dominion of Canada’s first anniversary, Barkerville citizens launched their own version of a twenty-one gun salute: cannons were in short supply, so black powder charges were detonated between stacked anvils, providing a loud and raucous start to Canada’s inaugural birthday party; a full slate of activities followed throughout the day and long into the evening.
  • Extensive historical research suggests that Barkerville began celebrating Dominion Day (now called Canada Day) eleven years before it was officially recognized in 1879.
  • For more information about Barkerville Historic Town & Park’s annual Dominion Day celebration, please phone at 1-888-994-3332, or visit http://www.barkerville.ca/dominionday.


“Commemorating Canada’s birthday in Barkerville – the site of the first Dominion Day celebration in recorded history – has a profound meaning for many people. Barkerville provides a unique and intriguing setting for visitors to revisit British Columbia’s history and to share the joy and pride of being a Canadian.” Ed Coleman, CEO | Barkerville Historic Town & Park

Photo credit

1. Dominion Day Anvil Salute (photo by Thomas Drasdauskis)
2. Miss Wilson Wins the Race (photo by Thomas Drasdauskis)
3. Charles Hankin Leads the Tug O’ War (photo by Thomas Drasdauskis)


James Douglas | Public Programming & Global Media Development

Barkerville Historic Town & Park
Box 19 | 14301 Highway 26 East | Barkerville, BC | V0K 1B0
250-994-3332 ext. 41 | 888-994-3332 toll free | 250-255-7938 cell
james.douglas@barkerville.ca | http://www.barkerville.ca | http://www.facebook.com/barkervillebc

Barkerville’s Dominion Day 2018
Schedule of Events

11:00 am              Join us for a slice of Happy Birthday Canada cake at the Pavilion (Map #4b) and take part in a nation-wide Canada Day Drumming Celebration (drums provided)

11:45 am              Costumed Street Parade assembles at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church (#12)

12:00 noon          Costumed Street Parade begins from St. Saviour’s Anglican Church (#12)

12:10 pm              Costumed Street Parade concludes at the Clearing (#57)

12:15 pm              Opening Ceremonies for Barkerville’s Dominion Day Games at the Clearing (#57)

With special guests Mrs. Reynard (St. Saviour’s Anglican Church) and Judge Begbie

12:20 pm              Anvil Salute at the Clearing (#57)

Dominion Day Games times are approximate.
If you wish to participate, please be at the Clearing (#57) at least 15 minutes before each event.

12:30 pm              Broad Jump: children of all ages are invited to participate

1:00 pm                Ladies Nail Driving: women are invited to show their carpentry skills

1:30 pm                Funny Face Contest: children, bring your funniest or scariest face!

1:45 pm                Candy Toss: collect your stash of sweets for the winter

2:00 pm                Cracker Eating Whistle Races: teams of children compete to be fastest on the creek

2:15 pm                 Ladies Egg and Spoon Races: a test of skill, dexterity and determination

2:30 pm                 20 lb. Hammer Toss: to see who is the strongest on Williams Creek

3:00 pm                 Egg Toss: don’t end up with egg on your face

3:20 pm                 Greasy Pole Climb: For those of legal age

3:45 pm                 Tug O’ War: A show of strength for all

Special activities this year

The Spirit of Cariboo Cameron will visit the Methodist Church (#7) today and will speak with guests at 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm! Don’t miss his powerfully moving tale of a fabulous fortune that came at a terrible cost…

From 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm Barkerville will host a complimentary dance, complete with costumed dance-partners, at the House Hotel (#39) with special musical guests, the Milburn Mountain Band!

PLEASE NOTE:  the regularly scheduled 2:00 PM town tour will be cancelled today due to the Dominion Day Games.