Posted by: Silver | March 20, 2011


There may not be much of a francophone population in British Columbia these days, but there were clearly quite a few French-speaking early explorers, as the names they gave to the places they discovered are still clearly visible on any map of the Province. How you pronounce those names, however, is a little less clear. Barriere is perhaps one of the tamest examples: instead of the French ‘Barry-AIR’, just go with the English ‘barrier’. Beyond that, it gets a little more exotic: even if you anglicise it, Tete Jaune really ought to be ‘tet JOAN’, but no – this little community is actually ‘TEE-John’. And Petit Creek? That’s ‘Peety Creek’ to you. I always blamed our long history of linguistic evolution for the crazy pronunciation of some of the UK’s place names (put some bread in the Towcester, anyone?!), but maybe it’s actually just something that places do to the names we give them, just to prove that they’re beyond our feeble attempts to confine them with human words.

However you pronounce it, though, Barriere was certainly very kind to me. I was welcomed to the town by one of its district councillors, had car doors opened and closed for me, was presented with an assortment of souvenirs of the town, and was the guest of honour at a delicious dinner party. I almost began to worry that I was getting more attention than SOS Children’s Villages, but fortunately, the purpose of my visit to the town was always at the forefront of everyone’s mind, with the result that not one, but two articles about the charity will be appearing in the local paper there! I may have been impressed by how courteous everyone was, but I was even more impressed by how genuinely interested they were in learning more about what SOS Children’s Villages is doing to make a difference in children’s lives.

Anyway, Barriere was the last stop on my ‘bus loop’: when you hear from me next, I will be pedalling again! 🙂

I've been following the North Thompson river since Valemount, and it really is rather attractive

The area around Barriere is also very attractive, but tragically, it suffered a major forest fire in 2003: as you can see, recovery is very slow. (The curious looking item in the middle of the picture is a beehive burner, formerly used to burn mill waste)

Thankfully, no-one died in the fire, but it clearly affected the local people very deeply, as attested by their decision to erect this memorial



  1. Hello, Silver,
    I’m the woman who got on the bus with you in Barriere. I’ve been thinking about you all day, and I hope by the time you read this you’re soothing some sore muscles & relaxing after a successful cycle Hope to Merritt! I even checked the web cam in case I happened to catch you heading through the Coquihalla snow shed! There wasn’t much traffic… a good thing… I hope. I’ll continue to send my positive thoughts & you may or may not know that today is the anniversary of the start of Rick Hansen’s “Man in Motion” wheelchair tour around the world that has raised many millions of dollars, so it was an auspicious day for you to get underway again. I love your blog. Best of luck. Coralea

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