Discover Horsefly, British Columbia: A Historical and Touristic Overview
Horsefly, British Columbia, is a charming unincorporated community nestled on the northwest shore of the Horsefly River. Located in the heart of the Cariboo region, Horsefly is approximately 67 kilometres northeast of Williams Lake via BC Highway 97, Likely Rd, and Horsefly Rd. It's also a mere 22 kilometres south of Quesnel Lake by road.
The Mining History of Horsefly, British Columbia
The history of Horsefly, British Columbia, is deeply intertwined with the Cariboo Gold Rush. Peter Dunlevey's party of prospectors is often credited with the first discovery of gold near the site of the present village. However, evidence suggests that H.O. Bowe's party arrived at the Horsefly River weeks earlier in the summer of 1859. That year, at least four separate groups struck gold.
In the years that followed, small placer operations sprang up. Thaddeus Harper obtained significant mining leases in 1884, but his operations from 1886 to 1888 were unsuccessful. In 1891, R.T. Ward, who had bought or leased the Harper claims, found paying ground. His company, the Horsefly Gold Mining Co., continued operations until 1902. From 1891, the Miocene Gravel Mining Co undertook underground hard-rock mining. About 8 kilometres downstream, a hydraulic mining operation, soon known as the Horsefly Hydraulic Mining Co., existed until 1899.
The Origin of the Name: Horsefly, British Columbia
Originally known as Harper's Camp after Thaddeus Harper, a rancher and miner, the settlement was renamed Horsefly in 1920 following a residents' vote. The name Horsefly was derived from the Horsefly River and Horsefly Lake, named by early pioneers due to the prevalence of horseflies during the summer. The abundance of horseflies and mosquitoes often forced people and horses to cover their heads with cloth hoods.
The Early Community of Horsefly, British Columbia
By the 1890s, Horsefly, British Columbia, was a bustling town serving the miners and ranchers of the area. In 1896, Minnie Hazel Walters became the first Caucasian child born in the town. That same year, Alex Meiss established a small hotel, followed by Harry Walters the next year. Harry also served as the inaugural postmaster from 1897 to 1905. A separate post office operated from 1895 to 1908 downstream at the mining operation. In 1902, a branch of Harvey Bailey Co. (Ashcroft) established a store. In 1904, Meiss built a three-storey hotel with 14 rooms. In 1910, he owned the first car in the community. That same year, Annie Moore became the inaugural school teacher. In 1912, a toll bridge replaced the need for fording the river. The following year, Chelsey Bell and his sister Lena opened a store in Walter's hotel, later relocating to larger premises.
Horsefly, British Columbia: A Modern Community
Today, Horsefly, British Columbia, is home to about 1,000 residents and is a popular tourist destination with a forestry-based economy. Each fall, visitors and locals alike can witness the spectacular sight of Sockeye salmon returning to spawn in the Horsefly River. Around 2005, the community welcomed internet connectivity. In 2021, ABC Communications, the sole provider of fibre optic service, upgraded the speed and reliability of the internet.
The Climate of Horsefly, British Columbia
Horsefly, British Columbia, boasts a humid continental climate, characterized by warm summers and moderately cold, snowy winters. This climate makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a true Canadian experience.