Chow Dong (Charlie) Hoy immigrated to Canada in 1902. He arrived in the interior of BC in 1905 and eventually settled in Quesnel where he opened C.D. Hoy & Co. Ltd in 1913. Hoy’s grew into Quesnel’s first department store. Remembered as a Cariboo pioneer and now celebrated as a portrait photographer, Hoy and his family played an integral part in Quesnel’s history.
As the first born son Hoy was expected to help repay debts and support his family in China. Before becoming established as a merchant Hoy turned his hand to any available work. As a young man he repaired watches in Barkerville to supplement his earnings.
“Most watches, 95% are not broke, just dirty. I fill basin with coal oil (kerosene), lay watches down – shake, shake, shake. Soon watches tick, tick, tick. By morning all ticking away. Drain coal oil from watches and charge $2 each. Any watch not ticking, not repairable.”
This watch case, seen in our village streets display was donated by Geraldine Hoy
In 1912 Hoy purchased a home, log building, and barn in Quesnel from Mr. Chow. It was there that he began his long career as a merchant, in addition to operating a photography studio, boarding house and restaurant.
The artifacts pictured here are displayed in our ‘store front’ in the Village Street display.
Located in our freighting display this bull whip was donated by the Hoy family.
Before settling in Quesnel Hoy worked for a time at the Hudson Bay Company in Fort St. James. He then tried to set up as an independent fur trader. C.D. Hoy wrote about the difficulties he faced in his memoir:
“I am too young, no experience, so little capital. I got no real cash for the trade. Only furs and then no local market to sell them. Have to send them to St. Louis in the U.S.A. to sell in the fur auctions there. They’d send me money, eventually. Wait and wait, very slow process. Bought furs from Indians, there were no white trappers then. Suppose furs worth $500. I don’t have much cash like the Hudson’s Bay Company, so I got tokens printed in different amounts. Give trappers tokens for the furs, and they trade the tokens for goods. Sometimes not enough supplies for tokens. Problems.”
Hoy probably acquired this smoke-tanned moose hide jacket from a local First Nations woman in exchange for groceries. A.H. Beamer purchased it from Hoy’s store in 1933. Look for it in our fur trade display.
This panorama camera was donated by C.D. Hoy to the Quesnel museum in 1959. Hoy began his career as a photographer in Barkerville. He continued to take portraits during his early years in Quesnel, but as he prospered, he concentrated on his business ventures. Photography became a hobby used primarily to document his growing family. After his death over 1,500 of his glass negatives were donated to Barkerville Historic Town. Since then he has become internationally known as a portrait photographer and for his important contribution to the historical record. His work is on view in our C.D. Hoy Gallery.
Hoy’s family valued education. They sent him to school for three years before he had to leave home at age 12 to work. His father gave C.D. Hoy this rice paper dictionary in 1902, the year he borrowed $300 to send his son to Canada. It is now on display in our Chinese exhibit.
These cleavers, used by the Hoy family, are on display in the C.D. Hoy Gallery. While in this Gallery watch the video, “Chinese New Year” where Lona Joe, née Hoy, shares her memories of the delicacies her mother prepared for the holiday.
Located on the corner of McLean Street and Barlow Avenue this is the Hoy family’s second home. Built in 1934, it was the city’s first stucco building and a statement about Hoy’s success as a provider for his family.
For a time it was a restaurant, today it is a residence and dental clinic.
Click here to hear Lily Hoy read “Hoy Built” an excerpt from her book I am Full Moon: Stories of a Ninth Daughter, available in our gift shop. 3min 33sec .
“C.D. Hoy helped many people, with groceries especially. He forgave those that couldn’t pay. The Hoy family shall always be remembered for their honesty, their hard work and kindness to all.”
Mr. Hoy mowing his lawn. This photograph was taken sometime between 1958 and 1960.