In the spring of 1858, James Douglas sent 800 ounces of gold to the San Francisco Mint knowing what word of the gold’s arrival would trigger. There are no secrets in a gold town and the supervisor of the mint was also a prominent member of the San Francisco volunteer fire department. Within hours of the next fire department meeting, rumours of a new gold find began to spread. By late spring of 1858, prospectors started to arrive in Victoria and New Westminster. Over the next few months thousands would travel up the Fraser River and into the Interior searching for gold.
After previously losing territories to the American government due to the influx of miners in the California gold rush, Douglas now petitioned Queen Victoria to establish a Colonial Government in New Caledonia. The petition was granted; New Caledonia was renamed British Columbia and was proclaimed a crown colony at Fort Langley later in 1858 with James Douglas being named the first Governor. The Gold Rush Trail starts in New Westminster and winds its way north to Barkerville. Travelling the Trail, you’ll experience many fascinating “nuggets” of history as you voyage through some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the world, meeting some of the friendliest people along the way.