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Mining the Motherlode


Chow Dong (Charlie) Hoy was born July 2, 1883, and landed in Vancouver in the fall of 1902. He went to Barkerville to mine in 1909 and also lived in Quesnel. Since Mr. Hoy was the only one with a camera at this time, he took pictures of the other Chinese to send home to their families overseas. Mr. Hoy brought together Chinese, Causasian, and First Nations people in his photographs. His pictures display historical and aesthetic recognition of this era, with the scenery of the Cariboo always in the backround. Unfortunately, his talents were not realized until after his death. He provided watch repairs and also cut hair to make money to send back home. In 1910, Charlie returned to China to be married. A disciplined man, Charlie Hoy had a clear dislike for smoking, gambling, and drinking. When he returned to the Cariboo, he bought a store in Quesnel that made him rich - he named it C.D. Hoy & Co. Charlie and his wife had twelve children who all helped out in the store. He became Quesnel's first professional photographer in 1911, and possibly the third Chinese photographer in all of British Columbia. Charlie also built the Wells Light and Power Plant which serviced South Wells and Barkerville 1938-1947. He continued his photography in the Wells area, and also built the Lode Theatre on the tailings. Charlie Hoy passed away on March 9, 1973. "With his death in 1973 went a strong-willed, hard-working man, a man of vision to the future in a new land." (Cariboo Observer, date unknown). A beautiful book entitled First Son, Portraits by C.D. Hoy by Faith Moosang is now available containing his work.

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Content developed by: The Shark Group now Discovery Designs
Last updated: June 8, 2000