Gold Trail Through Central BC
BC’s largest city saw a major surge in its population and economic clout during the Klondike Gold Rush. The city became a major staging point for the grueling journey north, and it boomed much like Seattle did at the same time. Several buildings in Vancouver’s historic Gastown area were built at this time and bear witness to the wealth that rolled into Vancouver around this time.
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Located in scenic Fraser Canyon, this aerial tram crosses the Fraser River from one mountain to another and provides a glorious perspective on the surrounding scenery.
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Williams Lake combines the best of the region’s gold-rush and cowboy heritage. Originally established as a roadhouse stop in the mid-1800s, the town is now home to the annual Williams Lake Stampede, which brings thousands of visitors during Canada Day weekend in late June. Just a few miles north, Xatśūll Heritage Village offers daily tours and programs to introduce visitors to history much older than that of the gold rush – that of the region’s First Nations people. Spend the night in an authentic teepee or pit house and take a steam in the sweat house while you’re there!
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Barkerville Historic Town presents a historical recreation of British Columbia during the gold rush era of the late 1800s. The town buzzes with activity throughout the summer, as costumed actors recreate life in gold country.
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Prince George is the largest city in northern British Columbia and a great place to refuel and restock before continuing on toward the Cassiar Highway. As you enter town, you’ll be greeted by “Mr. PG,” a giant, smiling log statue that represents the welcoming nature of this timber town.
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This tiny northern BC town is one of British Columbia’s oldest European settlements, established in 1806 as a fur-trading center. Recreational opportunities in the area primarily center around Stuart Lake, but there is also abundant hiking and biking in the rolling hills surrounding town. Fort St James National Historic Site commemorates the city’s earliest days.
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The nature-loving residents of Smithers, who refer to themselves as Smithereens, enjoy nearby Babine Mountains Provincial Park for hiking, wildlife viewing and winter sports. The downtown area offers dozens of restaurants and a few hotels while the beautiful, mountainous setting makes Smithers a delightful find en route to the start of the Cassiar Highway.
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The three communities located in the Hazeltons are rich in First Nations history. Stop at the Moricetown Interpretive Centre and ‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum or opt for an overnight stay at one of the local campgrounds.
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