Barkerville graveyard. Photo courtesy: Ssarjola — Wikimedia Commons

The road from Quesnel to Barkerville was deserted except for a few deer and grazing cattle. I arrived early before the tourist rush to this historic gold rush town with the stench of horses greeting me. Two drysdales pulled a wagon, depositing a trail of manure along the dirt road.

Sign on the road to Barkerville

Half of Barkerville’s buildings were locked. Others offered only a glimpse of their interior through locked cage-like doors. Some, like the brothel, I was able to walk through. Only businesses such as the bakery, post office and Chinese general store, were actually open.

There was a Chinese museum/house with its prayer altar, and a display of clothes and photographs. Upstairs was a residence with a simple kitchen, tiny bedrooms and a sitting room like any other of the era.

Barkerville church. Photo courtesy: Moy toy — Wikimedia Commons

According to workers in the souvenir shop, this unique site had been lumped under Women’s Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs by the present Liberal government. Funds slashed which might explain why I felt Barkerville’s potential hadn’t been utilized.

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