Tolls on the Cariboo Wagon Road

For their work on the Cariboo Wagon road, the Royal Engineers were paid by the Government of the Colony. Private contractors were paid in a combination of cash and ‘British Columbia bonds’.

“Payment for each service to be made in British Columbia bonds redeemable in equal proportions on 31st December 1862, and 31st December 1864 and bearing interest at the rate of 6% per annum.”

As part of the incentive of building bridges and roads, the colonial government also gave charters which allowed the contractors to collect tolls on the Cariboo Wagon Road for five to seven years.

Road tolls collected at Hope, Yale and Port Douglas January-July 1861

Road tolls collected at Hope, Yale and Port Douglas January-July 1861

For example, Joseph Trutch, builder of the Alexandra Bridge was entitled to 1/3 of a half penny per pound on goods; 1 shilling and 1 penny per head on certain animals; 6 1/2 pennies on all other animals, 2 shillings and 1 penny on carriages drawn by one animal; 4 shillings and 2 pennies on carriages drawn by two animals; 8 shillings and 4 pennies on stagecoaches.

Tolls payable to Thomas Spence to ride on his bridge (Spence’s Bridge) were 8 pennies for every hundred pounds of merchandise, 1 shilling per head on certain animals, 6 1/2 pennies on all other animals, foot passengers were charged 1 shilling each. Both Trutch and Spence were allowed to collect for seven years.

G.B. Wright collected tolls on the stretch of road from Lillooet to Fort Alexandria for five years. He charged a penny a pound and 1 shilling per animal.

In order to cross Barry and Adler’s bridge across the South Fork River at Quesnel Forks, miners had to pay 25 cents and $1 for packed horses/mules.

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