Provincial Heritage Properties
Heritage is everywhere - just look around! Explore these fascinating heritage properties owned by the Province and open to the public.
Barkerville Historic Town & Park
In 1862, Billy Barker found gold at Williams Creek, a discovery that started a rush of fortune seekers from all over the world. In its heyday Barkerville was the largest town in the Canadian West.
Today Barkerville endures as a town of discovery, a unique streetscape with over 125 heritage buildings, the Theatre Royal shows, exhibits, entertaining street theatre during the summer, and unique shops filled with Victorian-era merchandise. Popular special events are staged each summer.
Constructed on the Cariboo Wagon Road between 1864 and 1865, Cottonwood House served miners and travelers heading to Barkerville and the Cariboo gold fields, or going west and south to Quesnel and Victoria. Horses were changed and hearty meals were offered to stagecoach drivers and passengers, as well as accommodation. In the General Store across from the house, all the hardware and provisions needed for survival in the mountain wilderness were available. John Boyd's family welcomed travelers and managed.
Emily Carr House
With an architecture described as both "San Francisco" and "English Gingerbread", all agree that Emily Carr House is on the must-see list of Victoria's attractions. Centrally located only four blocks from the Inner Harbour and the Provincial Legislature, the house offers its visitors a chance to gain an insight into Canada's first- and best known - independent artist and writer.
Emily was born here in 1871, just six months after British Columbia moved from British colonial status to becoming a province in the world's newest nation. She used her brushes and pens to proclaim her pride in this part of Canada for the rest of her life.
To the Totem Forests: Emily Carr and Contemporaries Interpret Coastal Villages is a curated on-line exhibit which compares paintings and historical photographs of First Nations coastal villages in the early 20th century.
Fort Steele Town
Fort Steele was originally known as "Galbraith's Ferry" during the Kootenay Gold Rush of 1864. It was renamed in 1888 to honour the achievements of Superintendent Samuel Steele of the North West Mounted Police, who peacefully settled tensions between white settlers and the Ktunaxa people. Spurred on by rich mineral discoveries in the area during the 1890's, Fort Steele thrived as the commercial, social and administrative centre of the region. Built in 1898, when the BC Southern Railway bypassed the town in favour of nearby Cranbrook, Fort Steele quickly declined, becoming almost a ghost town.
Today, you'll enjoy dramatic re-enactments of the town's history, as costumed townsfolk present and debate the issues of the day while going about their business. Over 60 original or accurately reconstructed buildings show off the upbeat spirit of the1890's and make it easier for you to imagine you've traveled back in time. The southern Canadian Rockies provide a majestic backdrop, horses graze in the fields and the Kootenay River swings past the town-site.
Historic Hat Creek
Historic Hat Creek offers a rare opportunity to explore the original buildings of a key location in the transportation history of the Cariboo. The site also presents the story of early use of Bonaparte Valley by people of the Shuswap nation and their more recent contributions to the growth of the ranching industry.
Prominent among the 20 historic structures here is Hat Creek House, established in 1861 by former Hudson's Bay Company trader Donald McLean. Originally a small log building, it soon became popular as a stopping house offering good meals for travelers and was enlarged over the years.
Find out why Historic Hat Creek is important, who values it and what the community's vision is for its future.
Kilby Store and Farm
Located near the confluence of the Harrison and Fraser Rivers, the Kilby Store and Farm stands as the only reminder of the once thriving community of Harrison Mills.
Step back in time and take a guided tour of Kilby Store and Farm with its magnificent 1906 General Store Museum. Visitors may view a fascinating gallery of products and packaging dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. Don't miss the intriguing artifacts in the Heritage Post Office and Manchester House Hotel.
Point Ellice House
Positioned overlooking the scenic and historic Selkirk Water/Gorge Waterway, Point Ellice House, constructed between 1861 and 1862, is among the oldest homes in Victoria. In 1975, John and Inez O’Reilly sold their family home, Point Ellice House, to the Province of British Columbia. Taking only a few personal items, they turned the house over, complete with 108 years of family possessions: furniture, dishes, luggage, letters, pictures, paintings, musical instruments, clothing, and much more.
Victoria and British Columbia changed rapidly around Point Ellice House. Similar houses and properties were demolished, but Point Ellice House, its contents, and its gardens remain; it still has stories to tell.
During the second half of the 19th Century, historic Yale, British Columbia was home to thousands of miners who set out on the Gold Rush Trail, seeking their fortunes in the goldfields of the Cariboo. Yale was the head of navigation for paddlewheel steamers following the Fraser River inland from the coast.
Yale was an important strategic point during construction of Canada's first transcontinental rail route, the Canadian Pacific Railway. One of the greatest engineering challenges of the line had to be faced when Andrew Onderdonk directed the task of creating a rail bed along the sheer canyon walls north of the town.
Today, you can visit this once bustling community and explore its rich history. Take in the Church of St. John the Divine, built in 1863, one of the oldest churches in British Columbia. The Yale Museum has many fascinating displays which are sure to intrigue you.
Find out why Yale is important, who values it and what the community's vision is for its future.
- Conservation Management Plan for Historic Yale (PDF, 4.1MB)