The Peace Region had a golden weekend in Taylor.
Dozens of families turned out to Peace Island Park to participate in Taylor’s annual World Invitational Gold Panning tournament.
Gold panning has a long history in the region, beginning in 1861, long before the famous Klondike Gold Rush.
The gold panning tournament started about 43 years ago and, for Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser, the event has become a showpiece for the community.
“Gold is heavier than the average rock,” Fraser explained. “So it’s in your pan, you get it wet, you shake it to the bottom, and flip it to the top. If you flip it to the top, and a gold nugget lands on the top, you’re the fastest.”
Gold panners amateur and pro alike turned up for the event.
One of the people to try it for the first time was Shaelan Pomeroy, who was camping at the park with friends for the weekend.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a good family event.”
More experienced gold panners, including Terry Regier, were invited out to compete.
Regier learned about panning from a fellow in British Columbia’s Cariboo region. He decided to pick up a couple of gold pans at a farmers market soon after.
“About an hour later, I was in a creek, and I had gold in my first gold pan,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is easy.’”
Even now, he still won’t say what creek it was, as there is “some information (he) can’t give out.”
While the panning may be easy, trying to find the gold is much harder.
“On a nice afternoon, a couple of us will go out, and just with gold pans, will get a gram of gold, unless someone gets lucky and finds a nugget,” said Regier.
For those curious, a gram of gold is currently trading for just about $35.
Regier said he enjoys the calm and quiet he can finds while gold panning.
“Just relax when you’re (panning), and don’t worry about losing the gold.”