Dawson City

Dawson City: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Last updated: December 19, 2020

The town remains closely associated with the Klondike Gold Rush between 1896 and 1899. A boomtown, the population quickly grew to 40,000 people down to less than 2,000 today. And yet more than a century later, it still feels like the time of the prospectors, as the setting of the Yukon town has been so carefully maintained.

01. Midnight Dome

It is traditional to climb the hill overlooking Dawson City to follow the sun in its short night, despite the name there is no midnight sun at the solstice. Free from the city lights, it is also possible to observe the Northern Lights. The view of the city is partly obstructed by the trees, the general view is easier to catch from the other side of the Yukon.

02. The Commissioner’s residence

From 1898 to 1952, Dawson City was the capital of the Yukon Territory. The Commissioner representing the State lived here from 1901 to 1916 and was a symbol of order and good society in this remote region. The restored building is one of the historic sites maintained by Parks Canada in Dawson City, preserving the atmosphere of days gone by.

03. SS Keno

The SS Keno illustrates the intense activity of the paddle boats, up to 250 of them, which plied the Yukon River from Whitehorse or Alaska to Dawson City. The completion of the Klondike Highway in 1955 ended their services. The boat is now installed on the river shore to allow visitors to visualize the transportation conditions of the time.

04. Downtown Hotel

This is the bar where the famous cocktail containing a human toe is served. The rule being to drink the contents of the glass while letting the toe touch the lips, swallowing it exposes to trouble with the establishment which must however regularly renew its stock. Unfortunately, frozen toes often arrive in this region and this is how the tradition began.

05. Isaac O. Stringer’s house

In this house lived another colourful character as the Yukon made them. Bishop Stringer travelled through a vast territory to meet isolated populations. He left for ten days in September, but lost his way and wandered for about fifty days in the cold and snow, reduced to eating his leather boots to survive.

06. Jack London’s cabin

Very young Jack London embarked on all sorts of adventures including the Gold Rush. In Dawson City, he soon became very sick with scurvy and was evacuated. He spent only a few months in the typical cabin of the time, but it gave him the material for the novels that launched his career. Other writers such as Robert Service and Pierre Berton are associated with Dawson.

07. Palace Grand Theatre

The present hall was rebuilt in 1962 on the model of the original theatre dating from 1899, which could not be saved after years without maintenance, when the boomtown had become a ghost town. Although the programming is less wild than it was a century ago, it gives an idea of the entertainment in an era without television and cinema.

08. Permafrost

On 3rd Avenue, these 1901 houses are left to their natural evolution to demonstrate the effect of the permafrost on the constructions. As long as the ground remains frozen, things go well, but when it starts to warm up, either naturally or through heating, the ground becomes soft, the structures lose their support point and sink.

09. Ferry

During the summer, the junction between Klondike Highway and Top of the World Highway to Alaska is by ferry. It is free and operates 24/7. In the winter an ice bridge is used, with several months of interruption when the ice is not formed or begins to melt. Sometimes winter occurs without an ice bridge.

10. West Dawson

It’s not just another neighbourhood. West Dawson is on the other side of the river, where there is no running water, no electricity, no shops, the heating is done with wood. In the summer the ferry and in the winter the ice bridge allow to pass. In the shoulder seasons, when the ice is not formed, there is no passage. It’s not just another neighbourhood, it’s another way of life.

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  1. Wow. Such a wonderful city with so many interesting things to witness. Especially the Permafrost. I never ever imagined something like that happens. Wow. Wonderful.

    Best wishes from The Strong Traveller and have a great day

    Do have a look at my blog whenever you find the time. There is some travel and lifestyle content which you may find interesting. Your thoughts will surely be very valuable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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