A commemorative plaque unveiled today in Barkerville officially recognizes the contributions of Chinese Canadians to B.C.’s rich cultural, historical and economic mosaic.
The plaque, cast in bronze, will be mounted beside Barkerville’s historic Chinatown archway.
Barkerville, the largest living-history museum in western North America and site of one of North America’s first established Chinese communities, is world-renowned for excellence in preserving and presenting the history of Chinese immigrants to British Columbia – including important facts from the mid-1800s when thousands of Chinese miners followed the Gold Rush, travelling to British Columbia’s Cariboo region. During the Cariboo Gold Rush, up to half of Barkerville’s population was Chinese.
The monument is the fifth in a series of up to 15 markers – interpretive signs, plaques and monuments – that will be established in communities throughout B.C. in coming months. The Barkerville monument was created in consultation with Barkerville Historic Town and Park. This project is the result of the B.C. government’s commitment to create a Chinese legacy for all British Columbians, stemming from the May 2014 Apology by B.C.’s legislative assembly.
As one of several provincial Chinese legacy projects completed or currently underway, the commemorative monuments project resulted from a report on the Chinese historical wrongs consultations. The report includes a recommendation for one or more regional plaques or monuments to be created to commemorate the positive contributions of Chinese Canadians to B.C.’s history, culture and prosperity.
The first marker was celebrated in Kelowna in December 2016.
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism –
“Barkerville’s commemorative monument beautifully preserves the 2014 apology made in the legislature for historic wrongs committed against Chinese Canadians by past provincial governments. It also signifies the important role B.C.’s Chinese community has played in shaping British Columbia into the great province it is today.”
Coralee Oakes, MLA for Cariboo North –
“Barkerville is truly a testament to British Columbia’s rich history and this commemorative monument to B.C.’s Chinese Canadian community honours an important part of that historical narrative. Every person who reads the inscription will forever be reminded that British Columbia values, embraces and welcomes people of all cultural backgrounds.”
Ed Coleman, chief executive officer, Barkerville Historic Town –
“Barkerville has long been committed to deepening the understanding about British Columbia and Chinese Canadian history. This commemorative plaque honours B.C.’s Chinese Canadian pioneers in a permanent and meaningful way.”
Ray Hong, descendent of Barkerville Chinese Canadian pioneers –
“As a third-generation descendent of Barkerville, I am pleased that a permanent reminder of the sacrifices and contributions made by Chinese British Columbians, including my father, Wong Mon ‘Bill’ Hong, to the building of our province will be established in Barkerville for all visitors to read and observe.”
- The B.C. government provided $1 million for the Chinese legacy projects and $100,000 of this funding is designated for the provincial monuments project.
- Locations for markers and monuments were recommended by the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council (LIAC), which provides advice to government on B.C.’s Chinese legacy projects.
- Extensive provincial consultations with British Columbia’s Chinese Canadian community, including a community forum held in Prince George in January 2014, led to the decision to establish this monument. Government heard from local community members who were directly and indirectly impacted by historical discriminatory legislation.
Chinese legacy projects:
Chinese Historical Wrongs Consultation Final Report and Recommendations: