FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(YALE) Take a staycation, 1863 style, at the Cariboo Waggon Road 150 Celebrations this weekend in Historic Yale.
You’ll get all the excitement, colour, tastes and pageantry of the opening of the lower section of what was hailed as the “eighth wonder of the world” without the prospect of taking the week-long, 400 mile trip by horse and wagon to Barkerville – unless you really want to.
“We have a wonderful weekend of family fun and a taste of living history celebrating the 150th anniversary of the opening of this historic route,” said Deb Zervini, Yale Historic Site Supervisor.
Step back into time at the Yale Historic Site on Aug. 17 and wander through the R.E. Living History re-enactors camp, sample the barbequed salmon and fresh-baked bannock bread or pan for gold next to the Yale Museum. The event also includes a historic guided walking tour and a performance of “Tales and Trails of the Canyon” by the Hope Performing Arts Community Theatre. This Gold Rush era staycation event is just a two-hour drive from Vancouver.
A tour of some of the intact portions of the Cariboo Waggon Road organized by the Hope Mountain Centre is another key feature of the festivities. It includes stops at Lady Franklin Rock, traditional salmon-drying sites used by the Yale First Nation and others, and the Alexandra Bridge: an engineering marvel of the day.
“You’ll get a very real sense of what it must have been like to travel this amazing road,” said Hope Mountain Centre Program Director Kelly Pearce.
“The Cariboo Waggon Road played a key role in the gold rush economy of the 1860’s and in the development of the new colony of British Columbia.”
The celebrations continue on Sunday, August 18. Highlights include the rededication of the Cariboo Waggon Road plaque and interpretive sign and the official opening of the new picnic area. The refurbished site is a community enhancement joint-project between Parks Canada, Emil Anderson Maintenance, the Ministry of Transportation, Province of BC and the Yale and District Historical Society.
“This celebration is about the future as well as the past,” said Terry Raymond, who will MC the festivities on Sunday and is also NPTGS Co-chair.
The two-day festival is organized by the Yale Historic Site with the support of the Fraser Valley Regional District, Yale and District Ratepayers, Parks Canada, Emil Anderson Maintenance, the Ministry of Transportation, Province of B.C., the Yale and District Historical Society, the New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS) and the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission. In addition, supplies have been donated by Gallant Mills and Mark Castagnoli.
“Restoring our heritage trails and historical assets – especially key sites like the Alexandra Bridge – will help local economies all along the Gold Rush/Spirit Trails corridor from Hope to Barkerville and beyond,” added Cheryl Chapman, NPTGS First Nations Co-chair.
The Sunday celebrations end with a reception to celebrate the grand opening of the Ward House, built in 1863 for Johnny Ward, a teamster with the famed BX (Barnard’s Express).