Canada’s Yukon Territory GOLD Bonanza
The Yukon Territory History is Full of Gold, Find Yours Here.
About the Yukon Territory
Yukon Territory, Canada is divided into 8 geographic regions. In total there are seven major highways. The Yukon is larger than California but home to a mere 40,369 residents. There is said to be more moose, bear or caribou residents than humans. And I believe this to be very true.
Yukon arts and crafts are highly treasured keepsakes for their originality and authenticity. Many are hand made in their homes using the same techniques are their forefathers. Always look for the “Created in the Yukon” icon when purchasing souvenirs from one of the many vendors along your journey.
It’s impossible to travel the wilds of Alaska or Canada’s Yukon territory today without experiencing the fever that gripped hundreds of thousands of people after gold was discovered in August. 16, 1896 ( also known as The Klondike Gold Rush ). The centennial of the Klondike Gold Rush — actually just one of a number of landmark anniversaries celebrated by the northern neighbors until the year 2000 — offers modern-day adventure seekers a chance to relive history. And, like the placer gold near Dawson City, Y.K., that started it all, this kind of history isn’t buried deep.
You can feel it from the minute you reach Skagway, Alaska, a city of approx. 1100 souls nestled some 400 miles, 650 km, north of Prince Rupert, B.C., near the top of Alaska’s famous Inside Passage. Where steamships once dropped off miners headed for the goldfields of Dawson City, today massive cruise liners arrive daily with tourists by the hundreds. Here the settings reveal a rich history of the hopes and dreams from a town that once boasted 20,000 people and a thriving business core of outfitting shops, steamships offices, groceries and more than 70 saloons. Skagway remains little changed but nonetheless has lost its importance over the years as a gold-rush port.
In 1976, the first step back toward prominence occurred when the U.S. Congress designated much of the city (and its old port rival, the nearby ghost town of Dyea) as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. Today, more than a dozen facades are restored to their turn of the century splendor. Some interiors are redone to the proper vintage, while others are leased to shops selling everything from hiking gear to t-shirts. From the restored former White Pass and Yukon Route depot on Broadway, visitors can view gold rush exhibits and marvel at the determination of prospectors.
When gold-seekers left Skagway in the winter of 1897, they had a choice of routes into Canada: the rugged 1,122-metre Chilkoot Pass, or the longer, less steep White Pass. Hikers (and the White Pass and Yukon Route railway) still take those respective trails, but things are easier for most travelers.
The completion of the Klondike Highway
In 1978 offers a direct road link north to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory. A progressive, youthful city of 23,000, Whitehorse nonetheless is proud of its gold rush links. A nightly vaudeville revue at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel gets visitors in the spirit with comedy, period music and those omnipresent can-can girls. Or they can check out the S.S. Klondike — the largest sternwheeler ever to ply the mighty Yukon River, and one of less than a handful remaining.
The freight and passenger vessel today is a national historic site, lovingly restored and maintained by Parks Canada. The remains of the Klondike’s less fortunate kin can still be found along the Yukon, a winding, rapid-prone river that’s a favorite of whitewater rafters. For history buffs, however, no thrill can compare to Dawson City, 536 km north of Whitehorse. More than 40,000 people once lived in this permafrost metropolis, the largest city north of San Francisco and west of Winnipeg.
Its streets still speak of a thousand colorful characters: Skookum Jim, one of three prospectors credited for that first major gold strike at nearby Rabbit (later Bonanza) Creek; Nellie the Pig and Montreal Marie, two of the vibrantly nicknamed prostitutes who set up shop in the boomtown; Robert Service, the frontier bank teller whose poems, including The Shooting of Dan McGrew, became Yukon institutions; and many more.
“If I could be a time- traveler, this would be the only place in the world I would want to be,” said Elizabeth Connellan, a Parks Canada guide and eight-year Dawson resident. Sitting on the steps of the restored turn-of-the-century post office under a midnight Dawson sun, it’s easy to imagine why. Klondike music reverberates from a nearby hotel. Two playful huskies, thoughts of dogsleds the furthest from their minds, race along the main street that’s never seen asphalt.
And as a backdrop, a massive hill — dubbed King Solomon’s Dome for the billions of dollars in riches panned out of its many creeks and scraped from adjoining valleys — stands witness to a century of fortunes found and lost. And the precious metal behind it all is still being found.
Last year, the Yukon yielded more than 65 million oz. of gold. Production methods have improved so much that some resourceful companies are even reworking the miles of tailings left by earlier miners.