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Barkerville Monument Honors Chinese Canadian legacy

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A commemorative plaque was unveiled Sunday  in Barkerville to officially recognize the contributions of Chinese Canadians to B.C.’s rich cultural, historical and economic mosaic.

The plaque cast in bronze, will be mounted beside Barkerville’s historic Chinatown archway.

“Barkerville has long been committed to deepening the understanding about British Columbia and Chinese Canadian history. This commemorative plaque honours B.C.’s Chinese Canadian pioneers in a permanent and meaningful way,” said Ed Coleman, chief executive officer of Barkerville Historic Town.

Barkerville, the largest living-history museum in western North America and site of one of North America’s first established Chinese communities, is world-renowned for excellence in preserving and presenting the history of Chinese immigrants to British Columbia – including important facts from the mid-1800s when thousands of Chinese miners followed the Gold Rush, travelling to British Columbia’s Cariboo region. During the Cariboo Gold Rush, up to half of Barkerville’s population was Chinese.

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The monument is the fifth in a series of up to 15 markers – interpretive signs, plaques and monuments – that will be established in communities throughout B.C. in coming months.

The Barkerville monument was created in consultation with Barkerville Historic Town and Park. This project is the result of the B.C. government’s commitment to create a Chinese legacy for all British Columbians, stemming from the May 2014 Apology by B.C.’s legislative assembly. As one of several provincial Chinese legacy projects completed or currently underway, the commemorative monuments project resulted from a report on the Chinese historical wrongs consultations. The report includes a recommendation for one or more regional plaques or monuments to be created to commemorate the positive contributions of Chinese Canadians to B.C.’s history, culture and prosperity.

“As a third-generation descendent of Barkerville, I am pleased that a permanent reminder of the sacrifices and contributions made by Chinese British Columbians, including my father, Wong Mon ‘Bill’ Hong, to the building of our province will be established in Barkerville for all visitors to read and observe,” says Ray Hong, descendent of Barkerville Chinese Canadian pioneers.

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