Hotel History

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New Hotel - Billy Barker Inn - 1960

A GROUP of Prince George businessmen officially announced this week that a new hotel for Quesnel is to be constructed on the corner of McLean St. and Barlow Ave.

The new hotel will be named the “Billy Barker Inn,” after the famous miner who sparked the Cariboo gold rush in 1862 and after whom Barkerville was named.

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Smart Hotel Draws Interest - 1961

Boasting private bath and telephone service in all 30 of the guest rooms the Billy Barker Inn first opened its doors for business in May of 1961. Designed by architect Lynn Fonseca for a group of Prince George businessmen the new hotel was touted as “one of the finest of its type in the entire central interior” and showcased many modern conveniences of the day. Read the opening announcement from the Cariboo Observer.

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Every Modern Cooking Aid - 1961

It wouldn’t have been much of a stretch of the imagination for 1961 Quesnel to believe that the kitchen at the newly constructed hotel was something straight out of one of the finest hotels in the New York, London or Paris complete with a chef of international renown.

With special soup warmers and electric meat slicers the focus was then (as it is now), on ensuring that the guests and patrons of the restaurant and banquet facilities were treated to the best in culinary delights served from a state-of-the-art facility.

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Attention to Details - 1961

Designed as a show piece, the original hotel was fitted and decorated with all that the time had to offer. And there was no shortage of creative language used to describe these exciting new features.

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A New Era Begins - 1963

In 1963 the Billy Barker Inn was sold to local man Jack A. Moffat. Mr Moffat came most recently from the Coldwater Hotel in Merrit and before that the Fort Hotel in Fort St. John but was, coincidently, born in a house that once stood across the corner from the hotel.

Mr Moffat had at one time been interested in building a hotel on the property across Barlow Avenue from the Billy Barker Inn (the current location of the Provincial Courthouse), but withdrew the plan when it drew public criticism because of its proximity to the school next-door.

A New Owner & New Floor - 1965

By September of 1965 a need for growth in the rapidly growing community was in the air. So with a new owner and a new outlook the Billy Barker Inn embarked on it’s first major expansion since opening. Click the button to read the takeover notice. The Hotel has been owned by the current owners since the late 70’s.

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Billy Barker Casino - 1987

The Billy Barker Casino originally opened as the Royal Casino in Jan. 1987. This was one of the first charity casinos that operated in the province. Renovations and expansions started in the summer of 1999. The exterior was remodeled to resemble a Paddlewheel ship similar to those that plied the Fraser River up until 1920.

The entire hotel is set up to offer an atmosphere conducive to a relaxing enjoyable gaming experience.

Oct 1, 2013: Phase I of the interior renovations started. This includes the lobby, a new entrance and a new elevator. Phase II began Jan. 2 2014 which involved closing the restaurant, kitchen and lounge. With everything stripped down, the renovations have begun.

Feb. 13 2014: New entrance on Barlow Ave. and lobby is open.

May 22 2014: After the massive construction and renovations are complete the restaurant and lounge are open.