There are records for similar establishments along the route, Blair writes: “A frequent dish was fresh-slaughtered, quick-frozen horse.”
This established a pattern for Trump’s Canadian business model.
It’s summed up in one chapter title: “Mining the Miners.”
Unlike other gold-crazed migrants, Blair wrote, “(Trump) realized that the best way to get (rich) was to lay down his pick and shovel and pick up his accounting ledger.”
In his three years in Canada, Trump opened the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel in two locations with a partner — first on Bennett Lake in northern B.C., and then moving it to Whitehorse.
Their two-storey wood-framed establishment gained a reputation as the finest eatery in the area, Blair said — offering salmon, duck, caribou, and oysters. It offered more than food. “The bulk of the cash flow came from the sale of liquor and sex,” Blair wrote. She cited newspaper ads referring obliquely to prostitution — mentioning private suites for ladies, and scales in the rooms so patrons could weigh gold if they preferred to pay for services that way.
One Yukon Sun writer moralized about the backroom goings- on: “For single men the Arctic has the best restaurant,” he wrote, “but I would not advise respectable women to go there to sleep as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex.”
The Mounties initially tolerated the rowdiness. There were exceptions, according to the legendary Canadian writer Pierre Berton. People faced forced labour or banishment from town if they cheated at cards; made a public ruckus; or partied on the Lord’s Day.
“Saloons and dance halls, theatres and business houses were shut tight one minute before midnight on Saturday,” Berton wrote in Klondike Fever.
“Two minutes before twelve the lookout at the faro table would take his watch from his pocket and call out: ‘The last turn, boys!’ ”
Trump acted as cook, bouncer, waiter.
But Blair cautions: “I wouldn’t call him a pimp.”
She said backroom ribaldry was part of the restaurant package in those towns, and it’s not clear how the arrangement worked.
“As somebody trying to attract business to his restaurant, of course he would have liquor,” Blair said. “Of course he would arrange easy access to women. A pimp is, I think, a different business model.” By early 1901, trouble was brewing. The Mounties announced plans to banish prostitution, and curb gambling and liquor. Trump quarrelled with his partner. Gold strikes were getting scarcer.
“The boom was over, Frederick Trump realized,” Blair wrote. “He had made money; perhaps even more unusual in the Yukon, he had also kept it and departed with a substantial nest- egg.”
He returned to Germany with US$582,000 in today’s currency, and found a wife. But he was greeted as a draft-dodger for being away and becoming a U.S. citizen during his military years.
So he was deported from his own country. He boarded a ship for New York, his wife pregnant with Donald’s dad.
The elder Trump died of pneumonia in 1918, leaving behind some real estate. His son built the empire, his grandson the global brand.
Ironically, their heir is now running for U.S. president on a platform of mass deportation.
But Donald and grandpa share some traits — an entrepreneurial spirit, and formative youthful adventures in Canada.
Donald met his first wife, Ivana, at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has entrepreneurship in his veins.