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Cottonwood Country Music -- Saturday Night Live!


Saturday night is country music night at the

Cottonwood Community Hall in Cottonwood, B.C

One of the better known secrets of the Cariboo is the fact that every Saturday night out in the little community of Cottonwood on the Barkerville highway the locals from around the area and Quesnel get together in the little log hall and play country music and dance the night away

This video here will give viewers an idea of the type of music being played. Enjoy. 

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Welcome to Victorian Christmas in Barkerville


Barkerville Victorian Christmas 2014



In a secular age permeated by political correctness and enforced cultural pluralism where expressions of "Happy Holidays" perennially strive to overtake Christian tradition it's gratifying indeed to know that in BC's Cariboo region the Spirit of Christmas still lives on!


Beginning on Saturday the 13th of December, 2014 and running through to Monday the 15th Barkerville once again hosted their annual Victorian Christmas festivities and judging from the first day the event was enthusiastically attended and bound to be a success.


It was our first experience in traveling up to the old gold mining town of Barkerville to partake of Victorian Christmas and the day was blessed by perfect weather with bright blue sunshiny skies and the temperature just around freezing, conditions well suited for an old-fashioned sleigh ride around the town.


My wife and I had heard about the event in the local media and on Facebook where mention was made that the Hanson Family Singers out of Oregon were going to be performing at the Methodist Church in Barkerville where they would be sharing their "Treasures of Christmas" by singing traditional Christmas carols. It was something that both of us were interested in hearing and so we set out Saturday morning excited to spend a wintery day in BC's historic mining town.


The reception centre at Barkerville had been set up with displays for visitors showing many authentic historic Christmas images that the past had produced to celebrate this annual religious holy day as well as promotional displays to help out the Friends of Barkerville, a group of non-governmental local citizens who act in an advocacy capacity to enhance the experience of one of B.C.'s oldest and world famous historic sites.





A number of miniature displays were on hand some set up before the backdrop of the town painted by the Cariboo's famous Gold Rush artist Jason Curtis.



Even the old gold miners from day of yore were given the Santa Claus treatment to brighten up their suspended animation with coloured lights and flowing white beards.


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Happy Hallowe'en Quesnel! Images: Images around town



Reid Street in downtown Quesnel was a virtual photographers dream come true this October 31st. Parents came from everywhere with their children and older kids and adults thronged the streets wearing their Halloween finest. The mood was festive and the shops and their staff were also enjoying the special occasion and handing out treats to all the little ghosties and ghoulies and comic book heroes. Enjoy!

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Quesnel Municipal Elections 2014: All Candidates Forum at Royal Canadian Legion October 28 by Arthur Topham



Arthur Topham

Editor & Publisher,


QUESNEL, B.C.:- The 2014 Quesnel Municipal Elections got off to a great start this year with the first All Candidates Public Forum held at the Royal Canadian Legion on Tuesday evening, October 28th.

By 7 p.m. the hall was full to capacity and commencing with a few brief introductory remarks from Quesnel District Chamber of Commerce President Graham Armstrong the business of moderating the evening's performance was turned over to Simon Turner of the Quesnel Rotary Club.

Simon, as per usual at Legion events, called upon the audience to rise up on their feet and then initiated a few moments of silent meditation and prayer followed by a rousing chorus of "Oh Canada". Then he proceeded to enlighten the audience on the organizational format that was to be followed throughout the evening.

Keeping with recent precedents set over the past few years the public attending the forum were told that if they had questions for the candidates that they would have to submit them via writing. The questions would then be picked out of whatever candidate's box they were placed in and hopefully they would get an answer to their query.

Just how truly fair such a process is remains controversial as it basically nullifies a longstanding tradition in Western democracies wherein citizens who've taken the time to attend a forum find themselves no longer able to exercise their freedom to walk up to an open microphone and direct their concerns to whomever of the candidates that they wish to get a reply from. It also, unfortunately, opens the door for potentially partisan decisions on the part of those choosing the questions thus creating the possibility of adversely affecting the resulting dialogue.

Simon then explained to the audience how the little Christmas lights – green, yellow and red – (inserted into a small black wooden box and set up on a table in front of the long row of hopeful candidates) would light up and be used to signal the speakers so they didn't go over their allotted 3 minute time period for either presenting their views and platform or their reply to whatever question that might be asked of them. If, for whatever reason, they were to get too immersed in their  own oratory and failed to follow the sequence of coloured prompters then the person holding the stop watch would ring a warning bell and cut short any further excess of verbiage on the part of the would-be politician.

The audience, having understood how the game was to be played, were thus prepared and Simon called upon the two mayoral candidates to come up and present their opening remarks. The order of speaking was to be alphabetical and so Bob Simpson, the new challenger for the position of Mayor of Quesnel, was the first person up to the podium.

Simpson  gave a dynamic, positive and forward-looking speech to the audience outlining his reasons for why he felt he would be the best person to lead a council and the city over the next four year civic mandate. Bringing a love of the area and a wealth of ideas gained over his previous years of experience as Cariboo North's MLA, first as a Cabinet Minister for the NDP government and then as a sitting Independent, Simpson was able to confidently announce to the listening audience clearly reasoned perspectives and proactively viable solutions to the current issues relating to Quesnel's infrastructure and governance as well as outlining some of the more serious pending challenges facing the city due to the provinces changing economic landscape.

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Time for Quesnel to Honour its Heritage


The Cariboo was blessed to have it's own homegrown artist Mr. Barrie Jason Curtis who devoted many years of his life to embellishing the region with countless artistic treasures  that have given the area its unique sense of historic perspective. But all of Mr. Curtis's work has not been preseverved and cared for as it ought to have been.

The mural shown in the above photo was painted by Jason Curtis back in 1984 when the city of Quesnel had embarked on a mural project designed to highlight the Cariboo Gold Rush theme that the city is known for.

Mr. Curtis painted a number of large murals that were located in various locations both in West Quesnel as well as in the downtown area of Quesnel proper.

For whatever reason the city never followed through on the upkeep of these murals many of which were beautifully done and conveyed a realistic historic sense of the area with scenes from the early days.

Thirty years later only three of Curtis's murals are still hanging on buildings in town. One is on the old Sparting Printing and Advertising building in West Quesnel just off the Moffat Bridge on the right. It showns a scene of one of the old sternwheelers that used to travel from Soda Creek up to Quesnel during the gold rush period. It is in need of referbishing.

The one in the worst condition (see above) adorns the north wall of the Bank of Nova Scotia on the corner of Reid Street across from Willis-Harper Home Hardware store and is becoming more of an eye-sore than a source of pride for the city. 

This close up of the lower right hand corner of the mural is a good example of the type of disrespect that the city is showing for the mural and it begs the question as to why such neglect has been allowed to carry on for so long. Is it the responsibility of the Bank of Nova Scotia to look after the maintenance of the mural? If it is then why hasn't the city approached the bank and asked them to look into having the mural repainted?

Surely the Bank of Nova Scotia has the funds to fix this deplorable situation. If for nothing else other than making their own business look good. As it now stands it certainly isn't adding to anyone's appreciation of either the mural or the banks exterior look.

Jason Curtis's artwork has been the mainstay of Cariboo Gold Rush theme from the start. His famous and well-loved childrens coloring book called The Cariboo Goldrush Coloring Book plus his many paintings and signs and even Quesnel's logo itself including the gigantic sign at the junction of Hwy. 97 and the Barkerville Hwy all have added that very special flavour to local area. 


On top of all of those initiatives Jason Curtis's artwork and ideas are what gave the whole Billy Barker Days theme its lifeblood.

All of this legacy has been poorly handled by the city of Quesnel and the city's attitude is best reflected in the fact that it let all of the mural project go to wrack and ruin with the odd exception here and there.

Not something to be proud of given that Mr. Curtis was a local resident born in Barkerville back in 1933 and a man who gave his heart and soul to helping make the Cariboo a place of beauty.

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The Dustry Trunk is now open for business


The Dusty Trunk, a truly unique shop filled with an incredible array of antiques, collectibles and one of a kind crafts, located one kilometre east of the famed Cottonwood House Historic Site on the equally famed Barkerville Highway (Hwy #26) is now open for business.

This is a gift shop that you don't want to miss on your way up to Wells, Barkerville and the Bowron Lake chain.Owner, Sheila Phinney, has arranged her store with something to capture the eye of any passerby as will be evident from the photos below. 

The Phinneys also operate the Rooster Ridge Camping site for travellers who wish to camp overnight and explore in and around the local area. There are some sites with hook ups, some with hydro all in a quiet setting. Spend the weekend and enjoy the Saturday night jam sessions held every weekend at the Cottonwood Community Hall. This is a once in a lifetime experience for those who love to dance and listen to real old-style country music performed by local musicians from around the Cariboo.

Here are some of the fabulous items that visitors will find hidden away in the Dusty Trunk. Do drop in and check it out!




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The Dusty Trunk now open in Cottonwood, B.C.


Note Please: The Dusty Trunk will be closed until mid-May, 2013 during the winter months. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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Arthur Topham charged with hate crime


Arthur Topham charged with hate crime
By Autumn MacDonald - Quesnel Cariboo Observer
November 23, 2012

After waiting five months, Arthur Topham has now been officially charged with willful promotion of hatred.

RCMP searched and seized property of the Quesnel resident in late May of this year, after it was determined there were “reasonable grounds the offence of promotion of hatred was committed.”

Crown officially moved forward on the charge earlier this month.

Since then Topham has had to comply with certain conditions, including restricted Internet access and is prohibited from maintaining his websites (including the Radical Press domain.)

Crown continues to request the courts permission on further restrictions.

Topham, who adamantly denies the charge, says he’s hopeful having his day in court will raise awareness surrounding free speech and the definition of “hate crimes.”


“This is not to say that I have full confidence in Canada’s judicial system but it will hopefully give me an opportunity to present the facts and the truth before a judge and jury of my peers; something that would never have happened if the case had been decided by a tribunal,” he said.

“In that regard, therefore, I welcome the opportunity to challenge these Draconian “hate” laws that have been set up to protect vested interests here in Canada.”

Topham says ever since he was charged with a hate crime in 2007 he’s been forced to battle with the Canadian Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Back in 2008 the Quesnel Cariboo Observer published a story in which Topham had received a complaint from the Canadian Human Rights Commission stating he was promoting hatred towards Jews and citizens of Israel.

Topham maintains a site, with the tagline “Digging to the root of the issues since 1998.”

Currently Topham is permitted to continue posting to his site; Crown is seeking to prohibit posting.

“Of course my immediate concern is that the crown wants to assume that I have already been found guilty and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to write or post on my website in
order to defend myself against these spurious charges,” Topham said.

“Given how the msm is smearing me already I feel it would be highly unfair to take away my charter rights prior to this case being heard in a court of law.”

Topham’s next court appearance is slated for Nov. 27.


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