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Dawson City - Yukon

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What to See & Do

Dawson City is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, because of the absolutely unique nature of this far-north community preserved in time. The original buildings and attractions in the surrounding wilderness -- remaining from the 1898 gold rush and the early 1900s -- will help the visitor understand the extreme privations the early miners faced in simply existing in this climate and the remote location.

A minimum stay of two days is necessary to capture the full Dawson experience. After coming this far, visitors should relax and stay long enough to see the important sites and, especially, to soak up the incredible historical scene that Dawson City provides.

A walking tour through the downtown area leaves from the town infocentre. Guided mini-bus tours of the city and the gold fields are available from Gold City Tours, (867) 993-5175. Tours can include gold panning on an original gold rush claim site.

Attractions

Parks Canada, the national parks service, has restored several historic sites including: Harrington's Store, where an excellent photography exhibit shows the work of early photographers who worked here during the gold rush; the Robert Service Cabin on 8th Ave., home of the "Bard of the Yukon," the poet who wrote the classics Cremation of Sam McGee and Shooting of Dan McGrew; S.S. Keno, the river steamer on the riverfront, one of more than 200 sternwheelers that plied the Yukon River until the 1950s, and the last to sail down the river from Whitehorse; the Bear Creek Gold Camp, outside of town, with gold mining buildings that provided support for gold dredging by the Yukon Consolidated Gold Co.; the 1901 Post Office, still operating at 3rd Avenue & King St.

The original Palace Grand Theatre was built in 1899 by Arizona Charlie Meadows and restored in the 1960s. "Gaslight Follies" is performed nightly in this King Street music hall.
Admission is $15.00 Main Floor, $17.00 Balcony, Children under 12 - $7.50 Main Floor. Reservations are recommended. For show times and reservations call (867) 993-6217.

Diamond Tooth Gertie's celebrates its coup of being the first modern licensed gambling casino in Canada. The casino offers live entertainment including three different Can Can shows nightly, full bar service, food concession, slot machines, blackjack tables, roulette wheels and more! Open Daily: 7:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.

The Gold Room is a historic memento of the Klondike Gold Rush, located on the second floor of the original Bank of Commerce building, on the waterfront. Miners brought their pokes to be weighed in the gold room, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during summer.

The Dawson City Museum is located in the former Territorial Administration Building on 5th Avenue, featuring many exhibits on the history of the Klondike. Silent films of the period, unearthed during a restoration project in 1978, are shown in the museum ,along with a slide-audio program on the Dempster Highway. There's a coffee and gift shop. The museum is open daily from early June through Labor Day.

Jack London's Cabin is an interpretive centre devoted to the author of Call of the Wild and other classics of the north. The cabin was moved to Dawson City from a more southerly location, and contains exhibits and readings from London's works.

Dawson Events

Yukon Gold Panning Championship
Every Canada Day July 1st, the Klondike Visitors Association hosts the Yukon Gold Panning Championship. Participants are given a bucket of gravel containing a few gold flakes, and then timed to see who can take out the most gold in the shortest time. There is a category for visitors and others who have never panned before, so everyone feels welcomed at this holiday event.

Yukon Quest
The 1,000-mile dog sled is the longest in the world, and Dawson is the half-way point. It starts alternatine years in Whitehorse, Y.T. and Fairbanks, Alaska. Contestants and their dogs have a 36-hour layover in Dawson. The frigid city (it's February, after all) plays host to hundreds of visitors. For information on the race, Go Here.

Discovery Days
Held each August, Discovery Days celebrates the discovery of Klondike Gold at Bonanza Creek. Events include a fastball tournament, the annual parade hosted by the Yukon order of Pioneers, a horticultural show, relay race, games for children, the Klondike Country Jamboree, a demolition derby, canoe race, and a youth triathlon. A highlight of the festival is the arrival of bathtubs from Whitehorse. The bathtub race is an hilarious annual ritual.

International Dome Race
Run on the third week of July, and usually coinciding with Musicfest (see below, this race sends several dozen participants up the Midnight Dome, climbing to an elevation of almost 3000ft over a distance of 7 km. A true test of endurance and mental toughness. For more info, call 867 993-2350 or Go Here.

Dawson City Music Festival
This 30day event (third week of July) his 3 day event is more than just a fringe event, although it usually features the up-and-coming artists and groups from across Canada. For information, Go Here.

Yukon River Quest
This is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world, it take place upstream from Whitehorse, almost 700 miles to Dawson. It's a very arduous trip and only the hardiest reach the old Gold Rust town. As the race ends, there are opportunities to meet the racers at the end of their journey or. For more information, Go Here.

Klondike Outdoors

Claim # 6
This gold claim (free to visitors) is No. 6 above Discovery on historic Eldorado Creek. It was first staked by F. Ladouceur in October, 1896, not long after George Carmack made his famous discovery about a half-mile downstream. It has been owned by a variety of miners and mining companies, including the Yukon Gold Company. The Klondike Visitors Association owns the claim, and visitors are welcome to pan for free and can keep the gold that they find. Panning is restricted to hand tools only.

Guggieville, a combination RV park and gold rush theme park, offers panning on the original Guggenheim family mining camp at the junction of Bonanza Creek Road and the Klondike Highway. The sand here is also salted, to guarantee you a pay day. For information, call (867) 993-5008.

Dredge # 4: This huge dredge is 13 KM (8 miles) south of Dawson City on Bonanza Creek Road (off the Klondike Hwy.) These dredges floated in their own ponds, scooping up creek gravel and gold. This is the largest wooden-hulled dredge ever built. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Yukon River provides opportunities for cruising and sightseeing. Yukon Queen II, operated by Westmark Tours, takes tourists for cruises on the Yukon River, covering the 174 KM (108 miles) from Dawson to Eagle, Alaska. Check at the tour desk in the Westmark Inn for times and cost. For advance information, call (867) 993-5599.

Midnight Dome is the hill that overlooks Dawson City and the gold creeks. You can drive to the top of the Dome to walk around it, viewing the historic landscape. A midnight celebration is held on the Dome by locals on June 21st, when the sun pops behind the tops of the Ogilvie Mountains for just a few seconds. It's a thrilling sight which is available on several evenings each June. The old original RCMP cemetery is along this road.

Eureka Gold Panning Adventures offers a pioneer-style experience on the banks of Hunker Creek, one of the original gold rush locations. You can take a day tour, with pickup in Dawson City, to pan for gold (and keep what you get). You can also re-live the experience of actually camping in tents at the gold claim, along 3,800 feet of gold bearing creek valley. The wall tents are large, comfortable, and well equipped. All you need to bring are sleeping bags and food. Panning equipment provided includes a gold pan, shovel, rubber boots, and rubber gloves. Overnight guests are picked up in Dawson City, for the one hour drive to the gold fields. For information, call Morris and Sandy George at (867) 633-6519. Info: Go Here.

As with other areas of the Yukon, the Klondike region offers many outdoor activities, including canoeing, fishing, and hunting. Outfitters in Whitehorse offer canoe trips down the Yukon River to Dawson. The North Klondike River provides good canoe tripping, with the Dempster Highway available to take you to a launching point. For hunting possibilities, contact a local guide.

The town information centre has names of registered hunting and fishing guides. Winter provides other possibilities for outdoor recreation. The most exciting cold-weather activity is dog sledding. Excursions are available from Dawson through Yukon Dog Voyageurs, (867) 993-5256. While the daytime temperatures may be in the frigid range, accommodations in Dawson hotels and cabins along the way provide creature comforts. These dog sled trips operate from November through March.

Where to Stay -- Hotel Guide

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Some of the more popular Dawson hotels include the Aurora Inn, The Eldorado Hotel, the Midnight Sun Hotel, and the Downtown Hotel.

Bombay Peggy's Inn and Pub is located in an historic building, formerly a mining company headquarters and brothel. the rooms are suitable named and decorated in Brothel Chique. The Dawson City Bed & Breakfast is a nicely decorated house within walking distance of almost everything in Dawson. It's open year-round with winter rates from October 1st to April 30th

For travelers on a budget, the Dawson City River Hostel is located on the opposite side of the Yukon River from the town, and accessible by ferryboat. The hostel has cabins holding 2-6 people. It's open from Mid-May to September 30th. For info, call 867-993-6823.

Dawson Camping

Guggieville Campground
P.O. Box 311, Dawson City YT Y0B 1G0
(867) 993-5008
You'll see Guggieville signs as you approach Dawson City from the south. This is the site of the former Guggenheim mining camp, just outside Dawson City on Bonanza Creek Road. The campground and gold panning attraction is located on famed Bonanza Creek, and facilities include hookups, tent sites, showers,gift shop, laundry, free WiFi, and a car wash. Off season phone: 888-993-6789. For information and reservations, Go Here.
ttractions.

Gold Rush Campground
P.O. Box 198, Dawson City YT Y0B 1G0
(867) 993-5247
This small private campground is at 5th Avenue and York Street, in downtown Dawson. Facilities include full and partial hookups, showers, laundry, store, car wash, and dump station. Open May through September.

Klondike River Yukon Government Campground
Located 13 miles south of Dawson City on Yukon Highway 2, with 30 campsites.

Yukon River Government Campground
Located on the west bank of Yukon River, across from downtown Dawson.

 

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