More about Whitehorse...

While our tour of the City was minimal, at best, I thought you'd like to see what we did discover. There never is enough time!

Since the First Nations People were here first, I wanted to share a little of their modern history with the City's newest Totem Pole. According to its creator, each wood chip from the totem’s carving represents a life affected by residential schools. Residential schools were government-sponsored (forced) religious schools established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Originally conceived by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to integrate them into Canadian society, residential schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples. The last one did not close, in Canada, until 1996. It is a sad history the First Nations People want remembered.
Moving on to more happier history... Born in the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, the White Pass & Yukon Route is a rare story in the history of railroad building. Every railroad has its own colorful beginnings. For the White Pass & Yukon Route, it was gold, discovered in 1896 by George Carmack and two Indian companions, Skookum Jim and Tagish (Dawson) Charlie.
But a train wasn't the only way to get around in these parts. This is the S.S. Klondike, the largest sternwheeler on the upper Yukon River. It represents an age when the City of Whitehorse served a major function as the transportation hub of this entire region, taking miners, their families, and those who wished to take advantage of the Gold Rush to the Klondike. 
Built right here in Whitehorse (1937), this beautiful ship transported passengers and also hauled cargo. Shipments downstream from Whitehorse to Dawson carried general cargo of fuel and food, and shipments upstream from Dawson to Whitehorse brought silver-lead ore. Travelling downstream took approximately 1.5 days, and upstream trips took 4-5. Parcs Canada provided an incredible informational video that we watched before touring. Wow.

I loved seeing all the freight. How about this box from our old home county of Riverside.


Through our tour, we were given a glimpse of how fun a cruise on the Klondike could be. Check out the three nuns delighting in shuffleboard.
And today was the 100th Anniversary of Canada's Park system and the 80th birthday of the Klondike. Again we got cake in Canada. Woo hoo.


 And how about this condo? When the big city meets the edge of the frontier, log skyscrapers are born. During the postwar boom, Whitehorse was rapidly becoming the capital of the Yukon Territory. Everything about the city struggled to keep pace. As a result, buildings of slightly more epic proportions were created, the likes of which no frontier town had seen before. That’s when a septuagenarian named Martin Berrigan had a magnificently out-sized idea. In blending the frontier aesthetic and resourcefulness of log cabins with the urban practicalities of stacking human beings like sardines, Berrigan took a small step in solving Whitehorse’s housing crisis (while providing himself with supplemental retirement income) by constructing a pair of “log skyscrapers,” the city’s first privately-built, multiple-dwelling rental accommodation (1948).

Around Whitehorse, we kept seeing the name Robert William Service (streets, parks, etc) and then we stumbled upon this statue and learned more. Mr. Service is the renowned poet of the Yukon. Born in 1874 in England, his innate curiosity and fondness for adventure stories inspired an urge to travel—to go off to sea and to see the world. His Yukon experience gave him much to write about and by the time of his death in 1958, his prolific and prosperous career in poetry had earned him the distinction—as stated in an obituary in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph—as “the people’s poet.”
Unlike our knowledge of Robert Service, we knew Jack London and his writings.
For an even better history lesson, we found ourselves in the Pioneer Cemetery. Mr. Joyce was the oldest marker we could find (1907). Absent not dead, gone but not forgotten. Gilbert Joyce died in the Copper King Mine, suffocated when he went to check on a fire that had been lit to melt ice out of a shaft.
Sadly, in a poorly chosen decision to "clean" it up, many of the older grave markers are gone.
While strolling the cemetery, we came upon a Wish Tree.

While not a wish, the message in this bottle said, "I miss my brothers and sisters."
 Since the supplies were there, I added my own wish. "My wish is for health and happiness for all those I love! (That means you) ♥"
What a wonderful last image of Whitehorse... a bald eagle.

posted under |

3 comments:

petermires said...

In 1997, I took the White Pass & Yukon Railroad out of Skagway, but sadly as soon as we reached Yukon Territory it was time to go back. (We had to return to the cruise ship.) Thanks to you, I now see what we would have encountered had we kept going. What fun!

Karen Booth said...

Lot's of stuff in this post. YAY -cake, sweetened condensed reindeer milk by Borden (I'd like to bake with that), cool log skyscraper (view from the top probably great, wouldn't like to haul all my things up to the the fourth floor) and thanks for being included on the wish tree.

Aquí Ahí Allá said...

Log
cabin
skyscrapers...
What a concept!

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home

Sign up to get notified of my latest blog post by e-mail..

Blog Archive


Recent Comments