Barkerville keeping busy hosting tourists amid COVID-19 pandemic

Loraine Brisebois, sales clerk at Mason & Daly General Merchants at Barkerville Historic Town & Park welcomes visitors on the weekend. This is the second season at Barkerville for Brisebois who is from Quesnel. Barkerville is limiting the site to 200 visitors per day during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is encouraging visitors to wear masks.(Rebecca Dyok photo)
Historical interpreters are stationed throughout Barkerville in ways to provide short-duration conversations and demonstrations to small groups. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Judge Begbie actor Mathew Randolph has transitioned to playing barrister Joseph Park due to the pandemic this season. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

The COVID-19 pandemic is not deterring visitors from Barkerville.

Located east of Quesnel, the historic town and park is open for the remaining 2020 season and is accepting 200 visitors daily — a limit which has typically been met each day.

Before reopening on July 3 a number of action plans had to be developed while abiding by guidelines set by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

To prevent the gathering of crowds, many exhibits and public programs look quite different.

Read More: International Safe Travels designation program approved for Gold Rush Trail, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

One example is actor Matthew Randolph who played Judge Begbie for the last four seasons.

He is now acting as barrister Joseph Park.

The move in characters Randolph said is a result of Barkerville discouraging the gathering of crowds including at the Richfield Courthouse where as Begbie he would help re-enact a real gold rush era murder trial.

In between each season and prior to returning, Randolph was in Edmonton doing various theatre work and working as a restaurant server —a job he unfortunately lost when the coronavirus struck.

Read More: B.C. sets limits on number of guests, visitors in vacation rentals, houseboats

While a number of shops and eateries are open daily some still remain closed.

Physical distancing and the use of face masks is encouraged.

Anyone wanting to visit Barkerville is asked to reserve their admission online in advance to guarantee their spot.

Read More: Barkerville set to re-open in phases


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

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