Let our colourful and knowledgeable historical interpreters guide you through Barkerville’s rich history through storytelling, activities, interactive lessons, theatrical performances, gold panning, stagecoach rides and more!
Absorb an in-depth understanding of the gold rush history, Barkerville, and the colourful characters of years past by attending one of our entertaining town tours. Daily tours are hosted by Barkerville’s historical interpreters. Tours begin at the Visitors’ Reception Centre and last approximately 60 minutes.
Learn about deep shaft placer mining in this lively demonstration of 1870s technology that uses an authentic wooden Cornish Waterwheel. You’ll learn about the geological conditions that brought gold seekers to the Cariboo, as well as working conditions of an underground mining operation, in a comical and entertaining presentation that is fascinating for the whole family.
Intro to Edwardian Underwear
Mrs.McGinley Variety Show
“Mrs. McGinley’s Gold Rush Variety Show” is set in 1869 and features songs, dances and comedy suitable for the entire family. We will take you back to the heyday of Barkerville in the 1860s, presenting the kind of entertainment the miners enjoyed on the local stage. From farcical comedy to a poignant song from home to rousing dance numbers.
WCFB Cariboo Radio Hour
Comes to you “live” from our broadcast studio. A new 1930s-50s musical variety show featuring songs and dances from the era, along with local news of the day, a serial, the weather, commercials, and the social calendar.
Mr. Teach’s Gold Rush Adventures Vol. I: To Cariboo in ’62 – A Musical Journey. From the Jungles of Panama to The Golden Gate of San Francisco; from the shores of Newfoundland to the banks of Williams creek, Mr. Teach (of Water Wheel fame or infamy) takes you on a one man musical adventure along the Gold Rush Trail. Join this would be Argonaut as he searches for gold only to discover that treasure is not always buried in the ground but rather it is found in life’s rich tapestry of things and people and places.
The Billy Barker Story
By 1862 the gold rush on William’s Creek is well underway in Richfield but the lower banks of the creek have failed to produce any findings of worth, until Billy Barker and his company of miners strike pay dirt at depths far deeper than any other miner has dug. Though Barker’s discovery becomes one of the richest gold deposits ever to be found, the memory of Barkerville’s namesake fades into obscurity for decades. Hear the story of the English waterman who sparks the creation of a community that grows to be the heart of the great Cariboo Gold Rush.
Williams Creek Schoolhouse
Experience school like it was when Barkerville was thriving. All are welcome to attend this authentic classroom session. Line up at the schoolhouse doors when you hear the school teacher ringing the bell. Don’t be late, and kindly remove your hats before entering.
Come on in and watch Miss Wendle and others baking and cooking on an authentic wood stove. If you arrive at just the right time, you may get to have a taste. Watch household chores get done the way your great grandmother used to do them. You might even have a chance to lend a hand.
Chinatown Tours & Lessons
Enjoy a fascinating exploration of one of Canada’s oldest Chinatowns. Find out more about the life of Chinese miners and merchants in Barkerville, and how their culture was maintained and adapted to the rugged land of the Cariboo. To join in on the tour, meet in front of the Lung Duck Tong restaurant.
Cameron & Ames Blacksmiths
Experience a working 1870s Blacksmith Shop! Hear the anvil chorus and smell the sizzle of hot metal smoke. The blacksmith gives public presentations several times a day and is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm, seven days per week during the spring and fall seasons, and 10:00am to 5:30pm during the main summer season.
Meet Reverend Reynard or Mrs. Reynard at the Anglican Church and journey on a 1 km walking tour to Barkerville’s original cemetery; the final resting place of Barkerville’s famous (and not-so-famous) residents and one of the most interesting historic cemeteries in British Columbia.
Learn about early justice in the Colony of British Columbia. Let the notorious Judge Begbie and his assistants deliver anecdotes about Barkerville’s criminals and infamous characters. During our spring season, court sessions are held at the Methodist Church.
Richfield Court Session
Learn about early justice in the Colony of British Columbia. Let the notorious Judge Begbie and his assistants deliver anecdotes about Barkerville’s criminals and infamous characters. During summer and fall, court is held at the beautifully restored Richfield Courthouse.
Cariboo Sentinel Newspaper
Founded in 1865, the Cariboo Sentinel newspaper runs for 10 years and reaches global circulation. Visit the print shop to purchase custom-made paper items and also see the editor setting type and operating an original platen press.
Nova to Nuggets
For millennia, gold has captured our imaginations and sent us searching to the edges of the world and digging to the very depths of the globe. But how did that gold get in the ground for humans to discover? The answer is a tale as old as the cosmos itself that will take you from the forging of heavy elements within the hot furnaces of stars to the immense powers of glaciation during the last ice age.
Anglican Church Services
Work on the beautiful St. Saviour’s Anglican Church began in 1869, shortly after Reverend Reynard’s arrival in Barkerville. The incomplete building first opened its doors on September 18, 1870. The church is one of Barkerville’s most recognizable buildings, and is still made up of all original woodwork. Please come by for a service and see what it was like.
The 1870s are approaching, and the glory days of the 1860s gold rush are beginning to wane. The future of British Columbia seems uncertain as separation from the British Empire becomes a likely possibility. Debates erupt about whether British Columbia should remain a colony of Britain, annex with the United States, or join the newly-formed nation of Canada.
Barkerville Pickwick Club
“The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” is the first novel published by the famous English writer Charles Dickens, and Pickwick clubs celebrating his work form around the world as his popularity grows. By 1870, the Barkerville Pickwick Club publishes several articles in the Cariboo Sentinel pertaining to topics from their meetings which consequently allows townspeople to give these gatherings new life 150 years later.
Barker & Co. Shaft House
The Cariboo Goldfields Ltd. Annual General Meeting
A member of the community is eager to gather the people of Barkerville for a photograph that is destined for the Colonial Secretary residing in England, but the local choir does not appreciate being asked to accommodate an outdated camera. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the choir master, seeds of betrayal are brewing within the choir’s ranks.
Gold rushes inspire a wealth of music and poetry. Join our townspeople as they offer up a collection of gold rush music that spans the ages.
Amazing Tales from the gold rush trail
Below you will find activities that have an immersive experience, and lets you get closer to a piece of history. Through workshops and interacting with interpreters, the following actives cost additional to regular admission but are worth checking out.
Gold Panning Lesson
Get a taste of the Barkerville Gold Rush. Take a step back in history and learn how to gold pan with the old gold miners at the Eldorado Gold Panning and Gift Shop. Pan for a sample of gold to take home. $8.50 per lesson.
Come into the gift shop and choose from a variety of items available for purchase.
Barnard's Express Stage Lines
Francis Jones Barnard’s B.X. Express freighting company shaped communication and travel to and from Barkerville and was the main cartage and passenger service on the Cariboo Waggon Road. Take a horse-drawn tour of Barkerville in an authentic stagecoach, or book a return trip to see Judge Begbie at the Richfield Courthouse!
Travel back in time for a lesson in basics of heritage blacksmithing at the Cameron & Ames Blacksmith Shop. Learn the tools of the trade and work one-on-one with Mr. O’Connell to create your own unique ironwork piece. Participate on your own or invite a friend to join you in this private apprenticeship session.
Printing Press Workshop
Travel back in time for a lesson in operating an 1890s printing press at the Cariboo Sentinel Printing Shop. Learn the tools of the trade and work one-on-one with Mr. Holloway to create your own unique poster and set of custom greeting cards. Participate on your own or invite up to two friends to join you in this private apprenticeship session.
Heritage Cooking Lessons
Travel back in time and join Miss Wendle in her heritage home for a 2.5-hour, hands-on, private Victorian cooking class. Learn the basics of planning a menu, setting a table, and preparing a sample dish for a Victorian-style dinner party in 1880s, Barkerville. Reward yourself with a sample of your culinary creation.