100 dollars: 150th Anniversary of the Cariboo Gold Rush

100 dollars 150th Anniversary of the Cariboo Gold Rush  - 2012 - Canada

Coin design: Prospectors pan and sluice for gold in a river. In the background, a man sits astride one of the infamous Laumeister camels surrounded by the rugged terrain that gives evidence of the challenging conditions prospectors faced during the Cariboo Gold Rush.

A history shaped by gold.

In the late 1800’s stories began to circulate of rivers flowing with gold so close to the surface that prospectors barely needed to do any panning. Gold seekers from as far away as California and Asia began flocking to the Cariboo region of what’s now known as the province of British Columbia.

It was an extremely dangerous game where ingenuity and determination reigned. The young British colony virtually collapsed under the population boom as it struggled to build the famous Cariboo Wagon Road in 1862. One misguided merchant brought camels into the region believing they would be highly effective in the inhospitable conditions. His endeavour was shortlived as was the gold rush itself. Most of the region’s gold was extracted during the first five years with nearly $4 million in gold being claimed in 1863 alone—an unimaginable amount for the time equivalent to tens of millions of dollars today.