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North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 15. June 2011 22:36

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23 Fire Hydrant “People” in Quesnel


One of the top-10 things I wanted to see on this trip was the “Little People” of Quesnel, British Columbia. Well, not actual, living and breathing people—but creatively painted fire hydrants that depict figures from the city’s rich history.

A total of 23 fire hydrants have been transformed by artist Jerii Cassady. I enlisted the kids and Ben to go with me on a treasure hunt of sorts and find every single one.

Welcome to Quesnel!

With a walking map in hand (available here), we located the first hydrant on the other side of a busy highway. The lack of a cross-walk didn’t deter us, and we were soon standing next to the “Engineer”:

Several blocks later, we found the “Nurse,” holding a little baby:

The hydrant was designed to honor a Quesnel nurse named Willa Stevenson who had helped deliver over 900 babies since 1950.

Next was one of the kids’ favorites—Charlie Chaplin:

And so we walked, on and on, our eyes continually scanning distant corners for a bright spot of color that would indicate the next painted hydrant.

The “Cyclist,” in his spiffy checkerboard pants, was clutching a wheel and a set of handlebars:

The “Banker,” clutching some money and a big chunk of gold, was a bit tricky to find:

The “Gold Miner” also had a lump of gold, embedded in a grey rock he was holding:

The “Pilot” was dressed in World War I flight gear, and was intended to honor all the men and women who have fought for freedom:

The “Gas Jockey” was dressed in a Shell Oil uniform, all ready to pump fuel into someone’s car:

(The kids liked his nose.)

We didn’t follow the suggested route on our map, and when we found this lady dressed in blue, with what we thought was a cigarette in her hand, we debated a bit about who she was supposed to be:

Then we realized that she was the “Teacher”, holding a piece of chalk (of course!).

The “BX Cook” represented the cooks on board the big paddleboats that brought cargo and many adventure-seekers up the river to this area.

The “Can Can Girl” was designed for all those women who provided entertainment in the many saloons that existed during the gold rush years.

One of Genevieve’s favorites was the “Native Mother” who honored the First Nations Chentait’hala community, which once had their summer home in the Quesnel area.

A child was bundled on the mother’s back:

The “Boy Scout” figure was giving a pledge:

Sebastian joined in:

The “Rodeo Clown” celebrated the annual Quesnel Rodeo:

The “Bandit” represented outlaw Bill Miner, who purportedly coined the term “Hands up!” during one of his many robberies in British Columbia:

The “Carpenter” had a stash of tools, and stood outside the Willis Harper Furniture and Hardware Store that has been operating here since 1946:

The “Hockey Player” was created for the popular sport in this cold region, recalling the first ice skating rink that was opened in Quesnel in 1908.

The “Card Dealer” was located directly across the street from the city’s casino building:

The “Hairdresser” represented May Eagleson, the first female barber in Quesnel; she was ready with her scissors and comb:

The “Paper Boy” was hawking a paper right outside the office of the local newspaper, the Cariboo Observer:

The “Voyager” was created in honor of explorer Alexander Mackenzie, the first European known to have stopped here, in 1793:

“Judge Begbie” was named after the first judge in British Columbia to be nicknamed “the Hanging Judge,” even though he did not actually order many hangings:

Finally, there was the “Blacksmith” with his tongs and hammer:

He was created in honor of a blacksmith named Kong Sing, who became a highly skilled knife maker after he lost the use of his legs in an accident.

We were a bit tired after our walk, which had covered about 3 miles and had taken an hour and a half. And where better to sit and rest than among some more of Quesnel’s wonderful street art!

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Comments (3) -

6/16/2011 9:11:51 PM #

Hulali Jewell

Aloha from Honaunau Hawaii.
I just love your web site....
I have been following you in your travels.
and I enjoy it so much ////the little people are great.
a hui hou

Hulali Jewell United States | Reply

6/17/2011 1:54:33 PM #


Thank you, Hulali!
We still remember that lovely boat that you created for us.  
I'm glad that you are enjoying our stories. Your comments are very much appreciated!
Warmest regards,

Kathy United States | Reply

6/17/2011 1:55:03 PM #


Thank you, Hulali!
We still remember that lovely boat that you created for us.  
I'm glad that you are enjoying our stories. Your comments are very much appreciated!
Warmest regards,

Kathy United States | Reply

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Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

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For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

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Anais Nin