Glimpse of the past
Ceal Tingley Park
Ceal Tingley Park is the traditional land of the Lhtako Dene Nation. Alexander Mackenzie landed here on his journey to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1793. Later, in 1808, Simon Fraser and his crew camped here during their exploration of the Fraser River. Fraser named the river from the east after his clerk, Jules Maurice Quesnel. From 1863-1921 sternwheelers landed here, making Quesnel a supply centre for the Gold Rush.
Today, you can park here and access the Riverfront Trail, a scenic and historic 5km loop.
The historical Fraser River Walking Bridge was built in 1929. Prior to its construction, a ferry was used to travel across the river. It was converted to pedestrian use in 1971 when the Moffat Bridge opened. It’s believed to be the longest wooden Howe Truss bridge still in use.
This bridge links the west and downtown Riverfront Trails.
Beginning in the 1930s, the community assembled an outdoor museum next to the bridge to commemorate the region’s heritage. Artifacts include a Cornish waterwheel, the boiler from the first sternwheeler and a cairn documenting the attempt to construct the Collins Telegraph line to connect North America to Europe via Siberia.
Hudson’s Bay Co.
This is the oldest surviving building in Quesnel. It was built in 1863 by G.B. Wright, who constructed much of the Cariboo Wagon Road. From 1867-1919, it was owned and operated by Hudson’s Bay Co. It has since been restored and houses Cariboo Keepsakes, a local crafts co-operative.
Quesnel Railway Station
The Quesnel Railway Station House was built in 1921 and served the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. The Board of Trade lobbied to ensure the railway was routed through Quesnel to support economic growth.
With very little machinery to build the railway, it took men with shovels and horses and mules harnessed to scrapers a grueling 6 years to complete (1914-1921). Quesnel was the end of the rail line until 1952.
Today, this station house is where locals come to greet and welcome Rocky Mountaineer passengers.
LeBourdais Park & Pioneer Cemetery
LeBourdais Park, located downtown Quesnel, has always been a space for our community to gather and celebrate. In the early twentieth century, you could enjoy horse races, sports days, or play a round of golf at the Willingdon Links golf course. The park later transformed into a stock car race track in the 1950s. Today, it continues to be used for community events, boasting green space, a playground, spray park, and a baseball field.
Pioneer Cemetery is next to LeBourdais Park. Burials were made on these grounds as early as the 1860s. Visit the Quesnel Museum for brochures about the pioneers who lay to rest in Pioneer Cemetery.
Tsilhqot’in Chiefs Burial Site
In 1864, five Tsilhqot’in Chiefs were ambushed, held captive, tried and hung for the murder of members of a survey party. In 2018, as an important symbol of the Canadian Government’s commitment to reconciliation, the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs were exonerated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged they were leaders of a nation, acting in accordance with their laws and traditions and were wrongfully executed.
A memorial near the Riverfront Trail marks their gravesite.