Mistreatment of Chinese pioneers during B.C.'s gold rush commemorated in historic ghost town

A monument will soon be erected near the entrance of a historic Chinatown archway in Barkerville, a living-history museum in British Columbia's Cariboo region. 

The commemorative plaque, the fifth in a series of markers around the province, was created to recognize the contribution of Chinese-Canadians and the hardship and suffering they endured.

Ray Hong's father, Wong Mon 'Bill' Hong, was a Barkerville Chinese-Canadian pioneer. 

"I am pleased that a permanent reminder of the sacrifices and contributions ... will be established," said Hong.

During the gold rush in the mid-1800s, thousands of Chinese miners travelled to the region. Up to half of the local population was Chinese, according to the B.C government. 

Monument cast in bronze 

"Every person who reads the inscription will forever be reminded that British Columbia values, embraces and welcomes people of all cultural backgrounds," said Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes. 

 

The project that eventually created the plaque came after a May 2014 apology at the B.C Legislature that recognized that ​"... laws and policies denied Chinese communities basic human rights." 

This house deeply regrets that these Canadians were discriminated against simply because they were of Chinese descent," said B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

The first marker was unveiled in Kelowna in December 2016.