Chinese Pioneer Cemetery Cairn to be developed

April 16, 2008
News Release

Quesnel – The development and erection of a commemorative cairn and plaque to pay tribute to the historical contributions of Quesnel’s Chinese pioneers can proceed now that the final funding elements are in place.

This project, initiated by the Museum & Heritage Commission, recently received a $10,000 boost in the form of a BC150 Mosaic Grant, which is a provincial program aimed at projects that help raise awareness around multiculturalism and cultural diversity as we celebrate British Columbia’s 150th anniversary.

“I am thrilled at the prospect of paying tribute to those who have contributed so much to the development of our community,” said Mayor Nate Bello. “We are proud to honour our Chinese heritage and appreciate the opportunity to celebrate our cultural diversity.”

The cairn, built with local rock to symbolize the hundreds of miles of ditch lines erected by the Chinese during the Gold Rush, will identify and commemorate the Chinese buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, many of whom are in unmarked graves.  It will also honor the hundreds of Chinese people buried elsewhere in unmarked graves throughout the Cariboo. The project will also see the creation of accompanying interpretative booklets and additions to the Chinese Oral/Video history project.

“The announcement of this grant is great news,” added Museum and Heritage Commission Chair Lorna Townsend.  “After three years of fundraising, we can now move forward towards fulfilling this long-held dream of our local Chinese pioneers, by erecting a commemorative cairn and providing a place of honor for them to pay their respects.” 

Funding for this Chinese Heritage project has also been made possible through the generosity of a $6,500 donation from private donors Harry Keen, Ray Hong, Ben Chan and Gerry Fun; $500 from the Quesnel Multicultural Society; $1,000 from Communities in Bloom; and a Quesnel City Council grant-in-aid of $3,257 directed towards celebrating the City of Quesnel’s 80th anniversary. Now that the funds are in place, the Chinese Heritage Committee will proceed quickly with next steps, including:

  • Final design work by Stephanie Waring
  • Excavation, construction and installation of the stone cairn and exposed aggregate base
  • Installation of brass plaque and granite interpretative panels
  • Landscaping
  • Dedication ceremony

The Quesnel and District Museum and Archives is funded by the City of Quesnel and offers a growing range of programming and exhibits.

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