When gold was discovered on the Quesnel River in the Cariboo district of British Columbia in 1859 it attracted people from all over the world. As early as 1861 there were 500 Chinese, primarily from Guangdong province, working claims in the area. By 1871 the number had risen to 3000. The Chinese population outnumbered European settlement well into the 1880s. A number of enterprising men established businesses clustered around Barlow Avenue in Quesnel. Some of these merchants brought their wives from China and established Canadian born families. They and their descendants have contributed to the development of Quesnel to the present day.