Yukon Tales from Whitehorse and Dawson

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Growing up in Winnipeg, I knew about being cold, and I hated it. But I was fascinated by stories of folks who thrived in the Yukon, from Pierre Berton’s books about the Klondike gold rush to Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. I even memorized Robert Service’s poem The Cremation of Sam McGee. So, when I had the chance to visit Whitehorse and Dawson this summer, I packed my bags faster than a gold rush Stampeder. And just like them, I found the Yukon was more than I ever expected.

Bronze busts of famous celebrities like Pierre Berton line the street in Whitehorse
Bronze busts of famous celebrities like Pierre Berton line the street in Whitehorse

The Yukon, By the Numbers

The Klondike Gold Rush began on July 10, 1897, when news finally reached San Francisco that gold had been discovered the year before at Bonanza Creek. A million desperate men swore they’d make the trip North to escape the depression that was crushing the American economy. One hundred thousand started, but only thirty thousand made it to the gold fields of Dawson and only a tenth of those got there in time to stake a claim that paid off.

 

Whitehorse is named for the rapids at Miles Canyon where the Yukon River foamed like the manes of charging horses. On their way down to Dawson by boat, some people lost all their possessions, and others lost their lives in the swirling water. Today there’s a wooden suspension bridge across the river and free two-hour walking tours twice a day (Tuesday to Saturday) during the summer months led by the Yukon Conservation Society.

Click on the link to read the rest of this story that originally appeared in Family Fun Canada

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