Chow Dong Hoy was born July 2, 1883, and landed in Vancouver in the fall of 1902. He went to Barkerville to mine in 1909. A disciplined man, Hoy had a clear dislike for smoking, gambling, and drinking. He repaired watches and cut hair to make money to send back home.
Hoy was the only one in Barkerville with a camera at the time, and he took pictures of the other Chinese to send home to their families overseas. Hey also took many photographs that brought together Chinese, Caucasian, and First Nations people. His pictures display historical and aesthetic recognition of this era, with the scenery of the Cariboo always in the background.
Unfortunately, his talents would not be fully recognized until after his death.
In 1910, Hoy returned to China to be married. When he returned to the Cariboo, he opened a successful store in Quesnel. He and his wife had twelve children who all helped out in the store. He became Quesnel’s first professional photographer in 1911, and possibly the third Chinese photographer in all of British Columbia.
Hoy also built the Wells Light and Power Plant which serviced South Wells and Barkerville from 1938 to 1947. He continued his photography in the Wells area, and also built the Lode Theatre on the tailings. C. D. Hoy passed away on March 9, 1973. His legacy remained behind. He has been recognized as an iconic Canadian photographer, and his photographs have been featured in books, art galleries and museums around the world, and even on a Canadian postage stamp.