Yukon

Exploring the Past in Yukon

Archaeology and History Sites in Yukon

Commissioner’s Residence, Dawson City

The Commissioner’s Residence in Dawson City was built at the turn of the 20th century and still reflects many architectural features of this era. Initially home to the commissioner when Dawson City was the capital of the Yukon, in the late 1940s it became a residential home for senior citizens. Renovated to reflect how it would have looked in the 1910s, the house is open to visitors under the care of the Park Service.

Dredge No. 4

South of Dawson City, Dredge No. 4 represents the largest wooden-hulled dredge in North America. It began operations in 1913, at which point it was used to mine placer gold on the Yukon River. It remained in use until 1959, during which time it collected nine tons of the precious metal. Repeatedly affected by seasonal flooding after that point, in 1992 it was moved to its present site for long-term preservation.

Fort Selkirk

Standing along the banks of the River Yukon, Fort Selkirk marks an area of land that has been inhabited since prehistory. In 1852, a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post was established here. Soon after, a Chilkat Tlingit band attacked the trading post, resulting in its abandonment. Restored four decades later, it now serves as a heritage attraction with various reconstructed buildings. Access is only available via boat or plane.

Robert Service Cabin

Often called ‘the Bard of the Yukon’, Robert W. Service was a popular poet and writer who moved to this region of Canada during the early 20th century. The Robert Service Cabin in Dawson City preserves the timber structure in which he lived between 1909 and 1912, after which he relocated to France. It was in this cabin that he wrote many of his poems. Re-enactors in period costume help immerse visitors in the site’s heritage.

Robinson Roadhouse Historic Site

Located around 20 miles north of Carcross, this complex of timber buildings was created in 1906, at the peak of the local gold rush. Composed of a hotel, restaurant, and a ranch, at that time it serviced the miners and others living in the Wheaton District. Although the buildings are no longer open to the public, various interpretive panels allow visitors to walk around the settlement and learn more about its history.

S.S. Keno

Built in 1922, the S.S. Keno is a sternwheel paddle steamer which once transported the minerals mined from Mayo district down the Stewart River. Following the expansion of the Klondike Highway, such river transport became uneconomical and the S.S. Keno was decommissioned in 1951. The vessel is now docked in Dawson City and is open to visitors as a heritage attraction, also being a registered National Historic Site of Canada.

S.S. Klondike

The SS Klondike is a sternwheeler that ran freight along the Yukon River from Whitehorse and Dawson City between 1937 and 1950. It replaced a previous ship, also named the SS Klondike, which ran that same route between 1929 and 1936. The younger ship is now docked on dry land and is open to visitors. Since 1967 it has been classified as a National Historic Site of Canada.

St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Dawson City

St Paul’s Anglican Church in Dawson City was built in 1902 to serve local Anglican worshippers. Designed in the Carpenter Gothic architectural style, it operated as the cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Yukon until 1953. St Paul’s Church remains an active place of Christian worship although is also open to visitors at times when services are not occurring. Several information boards give more background on the church’s history.

Tr’ochëk

Tr’ochëk is an area of land between the Klondike and Yukon Rivers which was a core part of historic Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in territory. It was here that Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in communities came to hunt moose and fish for salmon. During the 19th century the area was settled by Europeans, who established a settlement known as Lousetown or Klondike City. In accordance with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Final Agreement it has been restored to the indigenous community.

Yukon Hotel

Standing in Dawson City, the Yukon Hotel is part of the larger Dawson Historical Complex. The hotel was built in 1898 by J. E. Binet and initially used as an office for the local government. It then operated as a hotel under various owners until 1957, at which it was boarded up and left to decay. Restoration followed in the 1980s and it is now registered as a National Historic Site of Canada.

Museums in Yukon

Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum

Run by the Miles Canyon Historic Railway Society, the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum seeks to showcase and preserve the mining and railway heritage of Whitehorse and Yukon more broadly. It stands on an area rich in copper deposits that was mined from the late 19th century onward. As well as a museum featuring a range of displays, the centre also allows visitors to travel through the northern boreal forests on its train, named Loki.

Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre

The Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City focuses on the culture and heritage of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people, a First Nations community indigenous to Yukon. As well as an introductory film, visitors can learn more through tours given by interpreters and peruse the various artefacts and other displays housed in the museum. A range of special events and guided tours of the local area are offered throughout the year.

George Johnston Museum

Standing along the Alaska Highway, the George Johnston Museum in Teslin devotes its attentions to the eponymous George Johnston, also known as Kash Klaa, a local Tlingit man who attracted notability as a photographer, trapper, and entrepreneur. The museum displays a range of Tlingit ceremonial material, artefacts used in hunting, and photographs of the locality as it looked in days gone by. A film tells the story of both Johnston and the Tlingit people.

Jack London Museum

Jack London is one North America’s most famous writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, best known for the novels White Fang and The Call of the Wild. Visitors can learn more about the life and work of this noted man at the Jack London Museum in Dawson City. The museum focuses on London’s life here during the Klondike Gold Rush and preserves the house he lived in while in the Yukon.

Keno City Mining Museum

The Keno City Mining Museum delves into the heritage of the mining industry that played a major role in the local economy from the start of the 20th century. It was here that both gold and silver were mined. Various photographs, tools, and other artefacts from this industry are now preserved at the museum, which occupies Jackson Hall, a community centre built in Keno City in the 1920s.

MacBride Museum of Yukon History

The MacBride Museum of Yukon History in Whitehorse explores the heritage of this, the most north-westerly province in Canada. The Yukon Historical Society created the museum in the 1950s, since which time it has expanded with the acquisition of new artefacts. Among the objects on display are a range of taxidermy animals and antique equipment used in the shipbuilding industry. Outside the museum, visitors can also examine the historic Sam McGee’s Cabin.

Tagé Cho Hudän Interpretive Centre

Located to the north of the Yukon River Bridge, the Tagé Cho Hudän Interpretive Centre explores the culture and heritage of the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation. Among its displays are a collection of Northern Tutchone micro-blades as well as more recent artefacts such as a salmon skin dog pack and a rabbit skin blanket. These collections are accompanied with various dioramas and a dug-out timber boat.

Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre

Devoted to the culture and heritage of the Tlingit people who live in this northern area of Canada, the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre can be found on the shore of Teslin Lake. Various displays bring together material culture pertaining to the lives of Tlingit people over the past two centuries. The centre remains an important place for Tlingit communities today, as its Great Hall is used in the governance of this community.

Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre

Located in Whitehouse, along the Alaska Highway, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre delves into the earliest migrations into the Americas via the Behring Strait. Opened to the public in 1997, the centre brings together models of various prehistoric megafauna, including mammoth, elk, and sabre-toothed cats. Several dioramas also explore the human communities who lived alongside and hunted such species. An ideal place for visitors interested in the life and struggle of the very first Americans.

Yukon Transportation Museum

The Yukon Transportation Museum in Whitehorse focuses on the various vehicles that humans have used to navigate around Yukon throughout history, from dog-sleds to aeroplanes. A range of dioramas supplement the collection of original artefacts. In doing so, the museum helps to tell the stories of the many individuals who have called the Yukon home, from prehistory through to the present day. Various special events take place during the year.

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