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!
Note: activities are subject to change without notice. Schedules below are provided to provide an idea of what to expect, but should not be relied upon to plan you itinerary. Current schedules will be provided upon arrival in Barkerville.
Victorian Town Tour
Absorb an in-depth understanding of the gold rush history, Barkerville, and the colourful characters of years past by attending one of our enlightening and entertaining town tours, hosted by Barkerville’s historical interpreters. The tour is highly recommended for first-time visitors. Tours begin at in front of the Pavilion building and last approximately 70 minutes.
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.
Intro to Edwardian Underwear
Barkerville Cemetery Tour
Meet Reverend 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.
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 visit with Miss Wendel and others while they bake and cook on an authentic wood stove. Arrive at just the right time and you may get to have a taste. See household chores get done the way your ancestors used to do them. You might even have a chance to lend a hand.
Barkerville Pickwick Club
“The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” is the first novel published by the famous Charles Dickens. Pickwick Clubs celebrating his work formed around the world as his popularity grew. The Barkerville Pickwick Club published several articles in the Cariboo Sentinel pertaining to topics from their meetings. We give new life to these gatherings 150 years later.
Anglican Church Services
St. Saviour’s Anglican Church is one of Barkerville’s most recognizable buildings, and is still made up of all original woodwork. Services take place on most days at St. Saviour’s, and are performed by a student of the Anglican Church, playing the role of Reverend Reynard. Enjoy a moment of prayer like the miners used to do. Please come by for a service.
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.
See the archaeological screening of the Chinatown refuse pile and learn about the various types of artifacts that may be uncovered. Discuss the importance of the Heritage Conservation Act and why artifacts are not to be removed from the park. Learn about what happens to the artifacts after they have been collected each day, to be researched, cleaned, sorted, counted and catalogued.
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.
Mrs. McGinley's Gold Rush Variety Show
Set in 1869 featuring 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.
Cariboo Gold Musical 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.
CADA Presents: A Musical Benefit for Theatre Royal
In this year 1869, just a few months have the devastating fire of 1868, the CADA have built a new theatre in cooperation with the Williams Creek Fire Brigade. Join Mrs. McGinley and the cast as they host an exciting musical variety show with song, dance, sing-alongs, and comedy. Entertaining for the whole family from ages 3 to 103.
To the Cariboo in '62: A Musical Journey with Mr. Teach
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 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 often found in life’s rich tapestry of things and people and places.
Mining and the Gold Rush Economy
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. 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.
Amazing Tales from the Gold Rush Trail
See deep shaft placer mining in this lively demonstration of 1870s technology using an authentic wooden Cornish Waterwheel. 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.
The Cariboo Goldfields Ltd. Annual General Meeting
Cameron & Ames Blacksmith Shop
Experience a working 1870s Blacksmith Shop! Hear the anvil chorus and smell the sizzle of hot metal smoke. Handcrafted iron works are available for purchase.
Novas 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 where did gold come from? 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.
Cariboo Sentinel Newspaper Shop
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.
Mining on Williams Creek
A discourse on the gold mining that took place on Williams Creek between 1862 and 1870.
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.
Chinese School Lessons
Chinese Cultural Sessions
Methodist Court Sessions & Trials
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 or witness an re-enactment of an historical trial
Richfield Court Sessions & Trials
When the road opens up in the summer and fall, you can travel to the historic Richfield Courthouse by foot or by wagon to visit with the judges and take in our early justice interpretation.
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.