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Ahbau Creek, Lake and Bridge

Cariboo RD, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2016/01/27

Ahbau Lake, 2007; BC Recreation Sites and Trails Branch, 2007
View of Ahbau Lake, 2007
Ahbau Lake Recreation Site sign, 2014; BC Recreation Sites and Trails Branch, 2014
Entrance to Ahbau Lake Recreation Site, 2014
Ahbau Lake Recreation Site, 2013; BC Recreation Sites and Trails Branch, 2013
Ahbau Lake Recreation Site, 2013

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2017/06/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The historic place consists of two geographical features and one bridge in the North Cariboo named after Ah Bau, a Chinese miner: Ahbau Lake, Ahbau Creek and Ahbau Creek Bridge. All of these sites are situated north of Quesnel, in an area around Cinema that stretches east to the Cottonwood River in the Bowron Lake watershed. The Lake and Creek are relatively unaltered natural landscape features. The Bridge is a steel trestle bridge with a plate girder spanning Ahbau Creek.

Heritage Value

Ahbau Lake, Ahbau Creek and Ahbau Creek Bridge are significant primarily for their association with Ah Bau, a prosperous Chinese Canadian placer miner and entrepreneur who worked in the Cariboo and Prince George regions of the province from the 1860s until the 1930s.

These historic places are important for their connection to the history of Chinese Canadians in gold mining in the province, having been named after a very successful Chinese placer miner, Ah Bau, who made significant findings on the creek at the north end of Ahbau Lake in the 1860s and recovered great quantities of gold using the simplest methods on these claims. They are significant because they reflect Au Bau's entrepreneurial spirit, seen in his organization of as many as 700 Chinese Canadian miners to systematically handle and wash vast amounts of gravel on his mining claims, earning the respect of others for himself and his hard work.

These historic places are significant for illustrating the early immigration story of Chinese Canadians coming from China to B.C. in search of elusive gold, and the hard work they took on to find it. These places are reminders of the role played by Chinese Canadians such as Ah Bau in the development of B.C. communities in remote regions.

Ah Bau's story makes highly significant the many provincial place names that are attributed to him. Besides the Lake, Creek and Bridge, other places named after Ah Bau include Ahbau Creek School, Ahbau House, Ahbau Creek Falls, Ahbau Creek Road in Cinema and Ahbau Lake Recreation Site. The use of a personal, rather than generic, Chinese Canadian name is a legacy and reminder of the contributions that Ah Bau and other Chinese Canadians have made to the development of the province, as there are many locations that include the word "China," but very few associated with an identifiable person. Ah Bau's name is also a good example of how Chinese names were misinterpreted. "Ah" is not a Chinese name, but is a prefix added to the personal name as a familiar or informal manner of address.

Constructed in 1952 for the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, the Ahbau Creek Bridge is important for the continuing connection of local sites to Ah Bau and as the site of the driving of the last spike which signified the final completion of the railway, a project begun in 1912 as a rail route from Squamish to Prince George. The Bridge is a steel trestle bridge with a plate girder spanning Ahbau Creek, typical of construction methods and materials for railway bridges at that time.

As part of the province's system of recreation sites and trails, Ahbau Lake and Creek are valued for their scenic beauty, isolation and popularity as wilderness vacation sites.

Source: Province of British Columbia, Heritage Branch

Character-Defining Elements

Not applicable.



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Province of British Columbia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Conservation Act, s.18

Recognition Type

Provincially Recognized Heritage Site (Recognized)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1860/01/01 to 1930/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production
Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration

Function - Category and Type



Nature Element
Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer



Pacific Great Eastern Railway

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Province of British Columbia, Heritage Branch

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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