WHITE­HORSE: A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER

Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents - BY JOSEPHINE MATYAS

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.

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