WHITEHORSE: A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER
Explore town in summer on the Waterfront Trolley—the bright-yellow restored 1925 vintage trolley—along the riverfront. Or stroll the accessible five-km, non-motorized Millennium Trail, looping along both sides of the Yukon River.
It’s a gateway to Canada’s True North— where you can mush a team of sled dogs, pull a champion-sized fish from a sparkling lake, learn the traditional First Nations ways, or immerse yourself in tales of the Klondike Gold Rush.
WHITEHORSE BECKONS ADVENTURERS
There’s activity in all seasons—mountain biking under the midnight sun, canoeing a heritage river, dogsledding, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing through snowy woodlands.
Yukon Wild is a one-stop cooperative of licenced adventure experts who explore the famed Canadian backcountry in a safe and eco-friendly manner (www.yukonwild.com).
In summertime, the Yukon River Quest Canoe and Kayak Race—nicknamed “the race to the midnight sun”—is the world’s longest competition of its kind.
Come winter, the Yukon Quest sled dog race pits the world’s best mushers and teams along a 1,600-km (1,000-mi.) wilderness trail connecting Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska (www.yukonquest.com).
Year-round, there’s guaranteed wildlife spotting at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve by informative bus tour, self-guided walking tour or along cross-country ski trails. The new Exclusive Experience tour includes the Wildlife Research and Rehabilitation Centre, followed by a guided tour of the preserve’s collection of native mammals including caribou, lynx, moose, muskox, wood bison and more (www. yukonwildlife.ca).
A WINDOW INTO FIRST NATIONS CULTURE
The traditions of drumming, singing, dancing and feasting are powerful ways to learn about the rich heritage and culture of the Yukon’s 14 First Nations communities.
Whitehorse lies within the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, whose people incorporate the lifestyles, history and traditions of several different tribes of the region. The Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre is designed to celebrate Yukon First Nations culture, its riverside location symbolizing a return to traditional roots. The centre’s multimedia exhibits, workshops, festivals and guided tours explain the history, challenges and arts of the First Nations Peoples in original and authentic ways, educating guests while extending a warm welcome (www.kdcc.ca).
A DISTINCTIVE HISTORY AND HERITAGE
Nothing shaped the history of Whitehorse like the 1800s Klondike Gold Rush, when an estimated 100,000 prospectors crossed through town before beginning their wilderness trek north to Dawson City in their quest for riches. They were a quirky, strong bunch who left their stamp on Whitehorse’s history, architecture and frontier mentality.
The MacBride Museum of Yukon History highlights the traditions of the First Nations culture, the history and role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the territory’s mining history and the importance of the momentous Klondike Gold Rush (www.macbridemuseum.com).
The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre displays the prehistoric subcontinent of Beringia—the dry, unglaciated land bridge once linking Alaska and Siberia, home to animals like the woolly mammoth and steppe bison (www. beringia.com).
S.S. KLONDIKE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
In summertime, the refurbished S.S. Klondike National Historic Site is open in dry dock for public tours. It was the largest sternwheeler to travel the upper Yukon River at a time when steampowered riverboats shuttled cargo and passengers between Whitehorse and Dawson City (www.pc.gc.ca/ssklondike).
For more information, contact www. travelyukon.com.
KLUANE NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE • PARKS CANADA/FRITZ MUELLER Whitehorse—the Yukon’s largest settlement— offers a little bit of everything. There are historical touchstones, a timeless First Nations heritage and a doorway to Yukon’s authentic, unspoiled wilderness.