QuestUpon—an award-winning B.C.-based firm that has been creating augmented reality quests throughout the province—has partnered with the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association (CCCTA) to create the Gold Rush Trail quest, which is now live for anyone who wants to explore the rich history of the province’s gold rush from Vancouver to Barkerville. Participants can answer trivia questions, see local animals, see places as they used to be, and spot legendary characters such as Billy Barker.
In 2016 QuestUpon launched a quest at Historic Hat Creek, which was followed by the release of an Ashcroft quest in 2017. By cross-networking with these quests, and others in New Westminster, Mission, Hope, and Yale, the Gold Rush Trail quest includes 22 communities and more than 200 individual missions, which include trivia, interactive displays, geocaching, and time travel.
“The Gold Rush Trail quest is a standalone quest, but if you’re in it you can see other quests along the trail,” explains Tammy Meyers, QuestUpon’s chief operating officer and co-founder. She notes that travellers can start at any point along the Gold Rush Trail, and adds that even though the actual Gold Rush Trail of 1858 started in New Westminster, the quest starts in Vancouver. “We wanted a small quest in Vancouver, so that a lot of people could start in their own back yard.”
Quests such as the one in Ashcroft feature a walking tour of the area, with participants downloading a free app to their smartphone or device and then following the prompts, uncovering trivia questions, games, and interactive displays along the way. A “time travel” feature also allows people to look at the present-day landscape as it appeared decades earlier; for example, the Ashcroft quest allows participants to stand on Railway Avenue in the present day but, by looking through their smartphone, view Ashcroft’s Chinatown in its heyday.
“Each quest has a variety of missions pertaining to the Gold Rush and that particular area,” says Miles Marziani, QuestUpon’s founder and chief executive officer. He notes, however, that some of the already-established quests feature non-Gold Rush items. The Hope quest features Rambo, as the first Rambo movie was filmed in and around the community.
When The Journal first spoke with QuestUpon in 2016, following the launch of the Historic Hat Creek quest, the Gold Rush Trail quest was mentioned. “We started talking with CCCTA a couple of years ago,” says Meyers. “We set the quest up last year, and then we had the wildfires.” While the quest was ready to go, it was decided to hold off on the official launch until this year.
Marziani—who spent a good deal of time in the area developing the various quests—says that last year’s wildfires really affected him, even though he doesn’t live in the area.
“I got a chance to meet so many great people. There are so many awesome people there, so the fires really hit home.”
CCCTA says that it’s excited to announce the kick-off of the summer tourism season with the new quest, which will educate, entertain, and get people energised to explore and discover the Gold Rush Trail and its fascinating history, Indigenous culture, and spectacular natural beauty.
”The Gold Rush Trail is the premiere touring route in British Columbia,” says CCCTA CEO Amy Thacker. “It is truly a destination where history is shaped by nature.”
The Gold Rush Trail quest is a series of smaller “point of interest” quests among the larger, already-established ones. “The Spences Bridge quest only features three missions,” says Marziani, including one featuring trivia about the former bridge across the Thompson, and another “time travel” mission that allows people to “see” the bridge in place.
Marziani adds that QuestUpon has been rebuilt from the bottom up, and that an entirely new version will be out later this month. “When the new version goes out, people who have already downloaded it will get a notification. There are a lot of enhancements to the look, feel, and usability. We’ve added an audio component, and enhanced the quality of the graphics. There are a lot of really neat things.”
The free QuestUpon app can be downloaded at http://www.questupon.com/#download.