Quesnel, British Columbia

Map of Quesnel, Public Domain

Level 3
Quesnel, B.C., is part of the Cariboo District of British Columbia.
We stopped there on our road trip last summer.
It was a charming city with a population of about 25,000.

A hidden treasure
One of our favorite spots in Quesnel
was the Quesnel and District Museum.
It is tucked beside the Visitor Centre at 705 Carson Avenue.

Read the PDF.

The first day we arrived, we peeked in.
It was 5:30 p.m.  The museum was closing in half an hour.
The woman behind the counter told us,
“Most people need over an hour in here,”
and so we decided to come back the next day.

The Quesnel and District Museum and Archives
We expected to visit the museum for an hour.
Three hours later, we were still exploring,
so we had to postpone our other plans for the day.
We were also surprised to learn that this museum is rated
one of the top community museums in B.C.
It also has one of North America’s most important collections
of Chinese artifacts.

The museum is rich in history.
We walked through a re-created village street.
Walking down the village street is like strolling down memory lane.
A visitor can see how people lived in the past.
There is an old general store, a hospital room, a dentist office,
a one-room school house, the Royal Bank
(with bad cheques posted on the window), a machine to print
Cariboo Observer newspaper and so many other things,
such as household items and equipment.

If you wander through the displays, you can also learn about
the economic activities of the 20th Century.
Displays include forestry, agriculture and, of course, mining.
Mining was one of the most important industries in Quesnel.
In 1859, life in Quesnel (and in B.C.) changed forever.

Gold! Gold! Gold! was music to men’s ears.
Gold had been found in the Cariboo, along Quesnel River!
And many people hoped to make their fortunes there.
In fact, Quesnel is still called “Gold Pan City”.

The museum has many education programs such as “First Nations”,
“Our Changing Community”,  “The Life of a Pioneer”
and “Immigrant Stories”.

The First Nations exhibit highlights the cultural and social history
and survival of the people.
The Footprints in Stone exhibit shows the history and culture
of the Dakelh people.  Dakelh means “people who go around
by boat” or “Carrier”.

Aboriginal people have been living in B.C. for at least 10,500 years.
The Carriers had rich traditions such as sewing, weaving, song,
dance, hunting and medicine.

Listen to the language of the Dekelh people here:

Another highlight
One of our last stops in the museum was the C.D. Hoy exhibit.
Chow Dong Hoy was born in China in 1883.
He was raised in Guangdong Province.
He came from a very poor family.
As the first and only son, Hoy needed to help his family.
He quit school, and he went to work.
At that time, life was very difficult.
His father borrowed $300 and sent Hoy to Canada.

In Canada
The year was 1902. Hoy had no family or job when he arrived.
Luckily, in Vancouver’s Chinatown, he met a nice shopkeeper
who helped him.  The man fed, clothed and found Hoy
a job as a houseboy.

Hoy saved money and moved.
Hoy wanted to succeed and get ahead.
He knew how important English was, so he hired an English tutor.
By 1903, Hoy moved away from Vancouver.
He worked at many jobs in B.C.
For example, he was a dishwasher.
Later, he worked at a Hudson’s Bay camp as a cook.
Then he went to Barkerville.
At that time, the gold rush was over.

In the town, Hoy became a barber. He also repaired watches.
Hoy bought himself a camera and equipment,
and he learned photography, too.
Hoy photographed local Carrier and Chilcotin peoples,
Chinese workers and Caucasians, such as miners, ranchers
and their families.

Between 1911 and 1920, Hoy took more than 1,500 photographs.
He also owned a grocery store.
Hoy was one of the most successful townspeople.
And his photographs helped leave a legacy for all British Columbians.

The Photographer, C.D. Hoy 

Photo by Nila Gopaul
C.D. Hoy with his friend John Lazzarin

Three examples of his photographs
Three samples of his work

Photo by Nila Gopaul
CD Hoy-4 photos

Photo by Nila Gopaul
CD Hoy-1 man sitting, 3 standing

Photo by Nila Gopaul
CD Hoy-First Nation family

Adapted from the McCord Musueum website:  http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/en/info/pressreleases/119z7.html

Last words – Mandy the haunted doll.
Mandy lives at the Quesnel Museum.
She has been there since 1991.
The person who owned Mandy was afraid of the doll.
At night, the woman said that she heard a baby crying.
Was it Mandy?

About Mandy
People say that Mandy came from Germany or England about 100 years ago.
Mandy is cracked and dirty.
Workers at the museum say things go missing all the time.
They think it is Mandy.
Other people are scared of her.
“Mandy is like a mirror. She reflects what people are feeling,”
says one person.
There are many stories about Mandy all across Canada and the U.S.
Did you know? People drop by the museum just to see the haunted doll.