Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable
senators, in July I had the pleasure of providing opening
remarks for the fourth International Conference on
Indigenous Education: Asia/Pacific Regions, hosted by the
Centre for International Academic Exchange, First Nations
University of Canada. Lily Chow, one of the speakers at the
conference, told me of the importance Barkerville, B.C., has
in Chinese-Canadian history.
Located in the Cariboo region of British Columbia, it is one
of the largest historic sites in western North America.
Barkerville is rich in Chinese-Canadian history and was
established as a gold mining town in 1862 at the height of
the Cariboo Gold Rush. It is the only museum in B.C., if not
all of Canada, that retains the characteristics of an early
gold mining town.
Barkerville has very good collections
of artifacts and interpretive programs that reflect the
history of the gold rush period. It commemorates the lives
of thousands of people who came from all over the world to
search for gold. One of the largest migrations was from
Guangdong province in southern China; many came from Kaiping,
the area of China that my father came from.
As an historic site and museum,
Barkerville's resources are extraordinary. There are 135
heritage structures dating from 1869 standing in the same
places they were built. There are two historic cemeteries,
as well as large pieces of mining equipment and landscape
features such as hydraulic pits, ditches and mine dumps.
Barkerville has 187,000 objects, including over 20,000
photographs in its archival collection.
Barkerville has the oldest and largest
collection of Chinese buildings and artifacts in North
America, including the largest collection of pre-1900
written documents that are specific to North American
activities and the oldest Chee Kung Tong building in Canada,
which has been nominated for national designation.
Honourable senators, designated as a
Provincial Heritage Site in 1958, Barkerville is a national
treasure that lives on for all Canadians.