Just outside of Wells you will find the provincial historic site of Barkerville. Although many boomtowns sprung to life during the Cariboo Gold Rush, Barkerville’s collection of multi-purpose buildings squeezed against the bank of a mountainside creek was the largest and most resilient in the region. By 1958, when the provincial government declared the town a BC Heritage Property, Barkerville had been all-but deserted, and the last residents were relocated as work began on restoring the town’s “heyday splendour.”
Now one of Canada’s National Historic Sites, Barkerville is BC’s best known heritage destination and the largest historic site in western North America. Full of colour and vitality, with stagecoach rides, live theatre, saloons serving quaffs of sarsaparilla, a photo studio, cafe and bakery, a well-preserved 19th-century Chinatown and interesting cemetery tours, families love to visit Barkerville and enjoy costumed interpreters roaming the streets as historical characters, greeting newcomers as if they’d just arrived on a Barnard Express stagecoach. One hundred and thirty-five restored buildings are on display as “locals” set off to work at the mine or otherwise bring a bygone era to life. See and hear what it was like to be a blacksmith, a school teacher, a seamstress – or a precocious child – 150+ years ago.