The Rossland Museum has welcomed its newest travelling exhibition — Gold Mountain Dream! 金山梦
Created by the Royal BC Museum, Gold Mountain Dream! tells the story of Chinese immigrants during the Fraser Valley Gold Rush. While the story of the Chinese in Rossland happens some forty years later, what brought them to the area was the same — gold. Just not necessarily in the way you might think.
The earliest record of Chinese people in the Rossland area is in 1865. There was a large number of Chinese men working on the Dewdney Trail just south of what would soon be Rossland. However, as the region was scarcely inhabited, none of the men working on the Dewdney Trail settled here.
While drawn by the promise of gold, many of the Chinese men that came to Rossland were not able to work as miners. Rossland was a hard rock mining goldfield, but legislation passed by the British Columbia government in 1897 barred them from working underground. According to the 1901 census, only two of the 231 Chinese men in Rossland identified as miners. Instead, the majority of men made their meagre livings are launderers, labourers, cooks, servants, and gardeners.
Despite being marginalized and discriminated against, Rossland’s Chinese population was determined to strive. These men did backbreaking work and provided services to Rossland that were needed. Whether it was doing the laundry of Rossland’s many hotels and boarding houses or growing and selling Rossland’s only fresh produce, the Chinese community greatly impacted Rossland’s early development.
To learn more about Rossland’s Chinese history, Travelling Exhibition - Gold Mountain Dream! 金山梦 is available at the Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre until mid-December.
Entry is free for members and included in regular admission for non-members.
This exhibition is great for specialized school or group tours with the addition of the Writings on the Wall Chinese history programming kit from the Royal BC Museum as well.
This exhibition is supported in part by the LeRoi Community Foundation, Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Programs, and the community members of the Nelson & District Credit Union.