Barkerville Historic Town and Park has revealed its summer tourist season was made possible by actual Barkerville gold.
The Barkerville Heritage Trust announced that the National Historic site’s programming was funded in 2021 because of a donation from Barkerville Gold Mines.
Barkerville has faced financial challenges during the pandemic and was not approved for COVID-19 relief funding under B.C.’s Major Anchor Attractions Program.
As Barkerville is owned by the provincial and federal governments and operated through the Barkerville Heritage Trust, it was not one of the 50 attractions from around the province that received grants.
No provincially-owned attraction received funding through the program.
Back in March 2021, the trust even penned a letter to Premier John Horgan stating it was dealing with a $670,000 budget shortfall and asked for further funding.
A concerned citizen from Prince George also launched a GoFundMe campaign this summer called “Lets save Barkerville” to support the beloved historic-site which raised over $10,000 through crowdfunding.
That money will be delivered to Barkerville on Sept. 17.
However, it was Osisko Development, the parent company of Wells, B.C.-based Barkerville Gold Mines $500,000.00 donation which helped make Barkerville’s living history and historical interpretation programs possible this summer.
“We are very grateful to Osisko and its staff for this support,” said Kirsten Clausen, Chair of the Barkerville Heritage Trust.
“Their flexible donation terms made it possible to utilize the funding in the best way possible - through the sharing of our collective story and public engagement that is integral to Barkerville’s Gold Rush experience.”
“The Barkerville Heritage Trust will continue to engage with the Province of BC to resolve the current situation faced by all Provincially-owned Heritage Sites in need of adequate, planned, sustainable funding,” she added.
Barkerville’s Chief Executive Officer, Kate Cox, also expressed appreciation to Osisko for the tremendous support.
“Barkerville’s staff remains committed to running a safe and accessible park that meets provincial health regulations while providing a wide-ranging, engaging, and factual interpretation experience,” she said.
“Osisko’s donation has allowed us to achieve these goals in 2021; we literally couldn’t have done it without them.”
From May to September of each year, Barkerville Historic Town and Park, located near Wells B.C., provides thousands of visitors the opportunity to experience living history programs and historical interpretation.
Visitors can experience gold rush and industrial history, Indigenous and Chinese cultural history, art, music and much more.
The 2021 season concludes on Sept. 19. Until then exhibits, public programming, campground, accommodations, and some shops and eateries are open daily with COVID-19 protocols in place.