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In the early years of the Cariboo Gold Rush, mining communities were very isolated. Decent roads and transport routes were not available so the journey in was long, tiresome and demanding. Many of those who had come from other parts of province such as Victoria and other parts of North America left behind friends and family. New roads were soon being built but that did not lessen the distance from loved ones and old homes.
The Cariboo Sentinel became an important aspect of everyday life in the Cariboo reporting local events and world news from places as far away as China, New Zealand and Australia! Letters from San Francisco, Victoria, New York and other places became a common feature of the paper and kept readers up to date on important events such as wars, politics and other gold discoveries. For example, The Cariboo Sentinel reported the finding of gold in New Zealand and the announcement of the new emperor in China.
The local aspect of The Cariboo Sentinel covered the opening and closing of business, the prospects of gold in nearby areas, and community events. For those living among the many towns of the Cariboo, the paper dissolved some of the isolation and kept many people in touch with other mining communities. News of a local's successes in gold mining offered inspiration, pride as well as the possibility of jobs on a successful claim.
The Cariboo Sentinel was also a good place to advertise. Restaurants placed ads for daily specials, new businesses announced grand openings and local stores told of new shipments of food and supplies. Those looking to move or travel to more prosperous places could find ads for steamship or railway passage. Local merchants could advertise a new hotel, barbershop or saloon. It was also a good place to voice one's opinions. Local talent was expressed through the publishing of poems by locals who often relayed images of mining and small town life.
The Cariboo Sentinel was important to the Cariboo Gold Rush because it tied the local communities together with information. It helped local businesses with advertising and brought awareness to local and world events. Community meetings and gatherings were announced and reported upon. Readers were offered the chance at information which would not have been available had The Cariboo Sentinel not provided a platform from which opinions, news and voices could be heard. The Cariboo Sentinel was and still is an important source of gold rush information and Cariboo history.