Quesnel's Pioneer Cemetery
Quesnel's Pioneer Cemetery is adjacent to Lebourdais Park. The large old trees make this a pleasant, shady spot to visit. The Museum has published a small guide available in the gift shop, highlighting the stories of some of Quesnel's more notable inhabitants who are buried here. In 2008 a memorial cairn was erected to the Chinese pioneers many of whom are buried in what are now unmarked graves. A second booklet outlines their stories.
Historical Walking Tour and Riverfront Trail
Quesnel is a community which values its heritage. As you wander through the downtown shopping district you will see a number of signs providing the history of earlier buildings which did not survive the ravages of fire or the progress of the twentieth century. An illustrated walking tour booklet can be purchased at the museum for $2, which provides a more comprehensive guide to 36 points of interest on a walk designed to take 30 - 40 minutes.
This walk links to Quesnel's extensive Riverfront Trail System. Much loved by the inhabitants of Quesnel for scenic, recreational exercise, the visitor will find interpretive kiosks explaining the flora, fauna, industrial artifacts and points of historical interest to be found along the trail. The primary loop through the central Quesnel is 5 kms and takes approximately 1 hour to complete at a leisurely pace, but there are plenty of opportunities to reconnect with the City if one wishes to sample just a portion of the route. On the other hand one can cross the Fraser River Walking Bridge and explore the trail through West Quesnel.
If you only have a brief time, it is worth stopping at the intersection of Front and Carson Street. (There is a small parking lot on Front Street just south of Carson). A collection of industrial artifacts and monuments commemorate the Gold Rush, the Collins Overland Telegraph and the Sternwheelers which plied the Upper Fraser. Across the street one can visit the original Hudson's Bay Company trading post which now houses a co-op of local artisans. Don't miss and opportunity to take a stroll along the Fraser River Footbridge, one of few wooden truss structures of its kind to remain in use. Since it's renovation in 2010 the bridge is illuminated at night.
Quesnel & District Antique Machinery Park
Located on 5 acres approximately 12 kms south of Quesnel on Highway 97 at 3055 Dragon Lake Rd. the Antique Machinery Park is operated by a volunteer association dedicated to the preservation and restoration of machinery that was important to the development of the region. Technology used in mining, forestry, transportation and agriculture from the mid 1800s to 1900s is a primary focus. A blacksmith shop and a sawmill, reminiscent of the once ubiquitous "Cariboo bush mill" are fully operational with demonstrations held periodically.
Current restoration projects include the Quincy Coach from the 1880s and a vintage farm truck. Park hours should be confirmed on a seasonal basis, but they are generally open Friday through Tuesday during the summer months (June – August) and by chance or appointment during the rest of the year. Contact (250) 747-4621 for more information.
Barkerville, Cottonwood House and Wells
Barkerville Historic Town is located 88km east of Quesnel, at the end of Highway 26. This living history site offers a unique streetscape of over 125 heritage buildings. Take in a show at the Theatre Royal or walk the streets and meet the colorful characters of the past. Ride a stage coach, pan for gold, explore the exhibits or patronize the merchants, the bakery or a period restaurant.
On route is Cottonwood House Historic Site. The journey from Quesnel to Barkerville would have taken a day or more. Although you may no longer need to rest or change your horse it is still well worth stopping to tour the original 1864 Cottonwood Road House and farm buildings. And if you wish, they can still arrange accommodation or provide refreshment.
Just outside of Barkerville is the scenic mountain community of Wells. Founded in 1934 by Fred Wells as a company town for the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mine, the village has since evolved into a vibrant arts community. Visit the museum, the many studios and galleries, stroll the streets and appreciate the collection of 1930s architecture or enjoy one of the many multi-use trails.