Dawson City, Yukon Friday, August 3, 2001

The big striped tents make up the main stage venue for the DCMF, which also uses the local churches, the Palace Grand Theatre and the Front Street Gazebo along the dyke. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

DCMF 2001 Jam-packed with Musical Goodies
Volunteers are the Heart of the Festival
Fan Letter to the Rheostatics
3rd Annual Klondike Motorcycle Run, July 13-15
Introducing the Yukon Arts Festival
Fisheries Minister First to Visit Klondike in Years
The Mail Plane Returns to Dawson City
Letter: Runner's Paradise - Yukon - Dawson City and Mayo

Welcome to the August 3, 2001 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 35 photographs and 31 articles which were in the 28 page July 31 hard copy edition. The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle and, obviously, all the material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?

Seriously, we do encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun (details on the home page). It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online, and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers.

DCMF 2001 Jam-packed with Musical Goodies

by Dan Davidson

Synchronicity can be a lot of fun. On Sunday afternoon Mother Nature decided to add percussion to the drummers' workshop and the potluck session in Minto Park. The rolling thunder review probably drive a few people in out of the rain, but the main stage tent is pretty big, and most of the other events of the afternoon were in buildings, so it wasn't a disaster.

In fact, the weather at the 2001 edition of the Dawson City Music Festival was actually quite good for most of the weekend. Friday was the best day - sunny and very hot. Saturday threatened to drizzle, but never did, and the relative coolness was a bit of a relief after 33? C. When the rain came, after midnight, it didn't last long.

Sunday provided a fine morning and was fine again by the evening, which was a great relief to all those organizers who recall the sloppy weather of Festival 2000.

The 2001 Festival kicked off on Friday night, with crews still hanging advertising from the main tent roof as the bands tuned up and set their levels. Main stage featured seven acts: a Cajun opening from Robert David and the Mighty Mardi Gras; a jazzy second act from Paul Lucas and company; eastern and farther eastern sounds from the Bodra Aliyah band; rambling music from the Be God Tanyas.

The Rheostatics were the big name act of the evening and their arrival with the well known hit "Claire" was the occasion for lots of shouted requests from the dance floor.

Glamour Puss kept up the dancing beat with their "zydeco tinged" rock and the Might Popo closed the evening with African and Caribbean sounds.

Meanwhile, over at the Odd Fellows Hall, Bearfoot Blugrass, Wauntid and Jazzberry Ram were hard at work entertaining the younger crowd.

Both venues could only be termed eclectic. There was something for everyone and nothing that last long enough for anyone to get enough of it.

That might almost be a phrase to describe the entire music festival, the way that the entertainment committee programs performances.

Saturday night would continue the mix, with seven acts performing in the main stage tent, three at Saint Paul's Church and three others at the Odd Fellows Hall. Likewise, Sunday night had six acts at Minto Park, three at Saint Mary's Church and three at the Oddfellows Hall. The mini-concerts ran from 8 to 10 and allowed the crowds there to wend their way to the main tent to finish off the evening.

Daytimes start rather late at the DCMF - something about the night before. From 11 to 12:30 the entertainers remember that families with kids need something to do together. The afternoons are workshop times, 24 in all: country style, rock and roll, Blues, strings, jazzamatazz, songwriting, guitar workshops, concerts at the Front Street Gazebo, African music, religious music, fiddle music, and on and on.

If you can't find something in the realm of popular music to interest you at the Dawson City Music Festival, then you probably don't like this kind of music at all.

top.gif

Volunteers are the Heart of the Festival

by Dan Davidson

It's Sunday night. The Dawson City Music Festival 2001 has about 90 minutes before its lease on life runs out. Dominic Lloyd is coming to the end of a four day stretch in which he's had about 12 ours sleep all told. But he's happy.

Dom wears the button that says Producer, and he is the festival's only year round employee (though they have a summer staffer, too). This weekend in July is the culmination of work he's been doing for the last 12 months, and it's all working just fine.

"People are happy. There are lots of people dancing in the tent. I just came back from Saint Mary's and there's a packed house over there. Everybody's having fun. There's one more act to come ... and then it'll be another one for the books."

Asked to comment on his worst nightmare this year (aside from the fear of a repeat of last year's weather), Dom is hard pressed to find a real problem.

"It was a really smooth year," he says after a moment or two. "The amount of effort that everybody put in - it really shows."

Probably the worst thing was when several musicians from three different groups arrived on Thursday and their bags hadn't followed them. They all needed their gear in order to perform on Friday night. The phone lines were humming, but the airlines were cooperative, and everything was in place when it needed to be.

"It was miraculous the way it appeared here."

He refuses to take more than his share of the credit for the smoothness that is so evident on the grounds and in the venues.

"There are more than 300 volunteers doing everything from picking up cigarette butts and empty beer cups to handing out full beer cups, selling T-shirts - everything.

"The volunteers are the heart and soul of the festival, and it would be impossible, literally impossible, to do anything even remotely close to what we do without those people."

The whole process starts with a board of directors, eight dedicated individuals who may meet anywhere from monthly to several times a week. Most of the members are fairly experienced, Some have had ties to the festival for two decades. Dom himself is in his third year with the DCMF as producer. Prior to that he was organizing events for the Klondike Visitors Association and volunteering. He's had some connection with the festival for 12 years now.

"I've always loved it. I'm in my happy zone on Sunday night at 11 o'clock."

He bends over quickly to touch the wood floor of the hospitality enclosure when it's mentioned that there haven't been any power failures and the RCMP have hardly been needed on the grounds.

"There's .. still .. an .. hour .. to .. go," he says as he leans down, indicating that it's not a good idea to talk about a shut-out until it's over.

All joking aside, Dom has come through this year without looking too stressed at all, even surviving the relocation of the president of the association when Paul Marceau took a job in Alberta two months ago. Glenda Bolt picked up the role and carried on.

His halftime winter job involves booking acts, managing festival affairs and carrying out the wishes of the directors. In addition the DCMF either sponsored or co-sponsored seven events during the off season this year, many of them in cooperation with the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture.

"We're a year round operation here."

The other 290+ volunteers turn up in the months just prior to the festival itself. Some start sooner, as members of planning committees. Some only serve during the three days of the festival, which requires a hoard of security people, ticket takers, beer sellers, chauffeurs, salespersons and helpers just to get it all done. Depending on how many hours you choose to give to the festival during the weekend, you could score anything from a concert pass to a weekend pass as your reward.

"We get people from all over the place, a lot of e-mails from out of the territory, and the summer population is always up for that. Part of the charm of coming (to work) in Dawson in the summer is, I think, that they've heard of this festival and being a part of it."

Some years there have been "problems", but this year seems quite free of them. The DCMF reached an accommodation with the Yukon Liquor Corporation a few years ago now, and runs a fenced and fairly well mannered beer garden throughout the weekend. The RCMP always bring in extra staff for the weekend but, as of Sunday night, the only problem Dom is aware of had been at a local bar.

Our interview done, he trots off to catch the last act.

Back inside the tent the Rheostatics are plugging in and getting ready to motivate the dance floor, which they proceed to do for a bit longer than their allotted time. No one complains, though it does probably shorten up the finale event by a few minutes.

This starts out with the Rheostatics belting out a rocky version of the Stompin' Tom Connors' "Bud the Spud" while as many of the other performers as could join them on the stage, creating a soundman's nightmare.

From there the performers ring the changes though any songs they can think of that do not involve a change of key, chord progression or tempo. This is not always a perfect process, but "I Saw the Light" does come though quite clearly before the medley cycles back to where it began.

The Sunday night concert closes quite punctually at about 12:30 these days, and Sharon Shorty, the evening's emcee, wishes everyone a good night and invites them back for DCMF 2002 next summer.

When no one seems about to move, a male voice rings out: "We can't say that you have to go home now, but - you - can't - stay - here."

Hours later deck and back yard parties can still be heard sending up singalongs to the midnight sun and moon, but it is pleasant stuff and easy to forgive.

top.gif

Fan Letter to the Rheostatics

by Heather Robb


Martin Tielli is the lead guitarist of the Rheostatics, the biggest name band at this year's DCMF. Heather is a fan. Photo by Heather Robb

"I must appear a mess to
have to write a song about you..."

-- the Rheostatics, from "Introducing Happiness"

At some point, in the midst of the Dawson City Music festival, I found myself at the Pit during happy hour, sharing a few pints and a booth with Rheostatics' vocalist and lead guitarist Martin Tielli. Martin Tielli!

Yes, of course I'm bragging. (The embers of the gloat soften once the story gets rolling.)

We chatted about stuff that interests me. Like what are Martin's likes and dislikes. Martin likes Montreal smoked meat, Dolly Parton's voice and Nature. He dislikes Much Music, "New age hippie speak" and singers who over-sing.

We also talked about the politics of hero worship. Which is funny, since-- get this-- the Rheostatics are heroes of mine.

I've seen the Rheos play many times in Victoria BC, but have never talked to them. I have friends who have followed them around Ontario for years, but won't speak to them. It is difficult, sometimes unfathomable to confront a hero. But I decided that this time ought to be different. This is Dawson, after all. Everybody talks to everybody here.

I tried comforting myself by checking out a few of the chat sessions, between the Rheos and their fans, published on-line. At least they're used to stupid questions, I reasoned. And they've even managed to be polite about it.

In anticipation of seeing my favorite band in my favorite town, I passed some hours fretting about the perfect gift for the occasion. My friend brilliantly suggested a poster of the Dawson City Nuggets, since the Rheos are, of course, big hockey fans. On the day of their arrival in town (someone told me they'd been spotted driving down Front Street, in a car), I was making a purchase to contribute to my personal welcome-to-Dawson package when Martin entered the store.

As soon as I spotted him-- unmistakable in the fedora and bright yellow shirt-- I made a dash for the back and tried to disappear behind a rack of gift cards. I overcompensated by asking some American tourists to "cover me." While Tielli bought a pack of Player's filter and shared a joke with the clerk (unrelated to me in any way, the clerk would later have to reassure me), I contended with a pounding in my head and a rigidity in my throat that left me humiliated.

And wholly mute.

The underlying arc of this scenario-- me bumping into a Rheostat, me running away-- played itself out a few more times over the following 24 or so hours, before I finally managed to eke out some kind of sound in Tielli's presence. So much for aggressive reporting. I should be fired, I thought. But remarkably, the concept of an "interview" was transmitted. I know, because I heard him say it back to me with a grin (albeit slight) and a shoulder shrug.

And then I was dreamily leading Martin Tielli through hot dusty streets, away from the Music-fest crowd. Pit-ward. I almost forgot where the Pit was.

Tired from travel and not yet adapted to continuous daylight, Tielli asked me what day it was, and I really had to think-- hard-- about it. I had lost all connection with linear, rational systems. It felt like floating. The only thing that kept me near-to-ground was the sharp, grave voice that pierced inside, from the very base of my skull.

"Don't be an ass," it seethed. I don't think 'it' made its desired impact. I don't know. I am still deliberating about just how ridiculous I appeared and sounded. The debate is an endless loop playing in my head forever.

The Rheos had never been to Dawson before, Tielli told me. But he knew about Barnacle Bob and Tagish Elvis from friends who spend time here.

"It feels good. I love the North county. I wish this were closer to Toronto-- I'd buy some land here," he said, after he sat down and looked twice at the portrait of Halin groping the queen.

" My first love is nature. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with birds and trees. And then I got into music and became urban," he added.

Still he likes to walk through the woods with a sketch pad. Sketching natural objects is the best way to remember the experience, he remarked.

Indeed, many of Tielli's paintings (which adorn every Rheostatics album I can think of) and song lyrics reveal a fascination with nature and animals. He illustrated the children's book that accompanies their latest album Harmelodia.

My hands shook. (His did too, a little. Probably from lack of sleep, disorientation, nicotine and/or nervousness around strangers). My notes (I later discovered) are barely legible. I still managed to ask him about some of the stuff I'd been wondering about.

I asked him how he felt about drummer Don Kerr's departure from the band this year.

"It's an exciting change. Don was always trying to do too many things at once. He had to choose. So he chose Ron [Sexsmith] and touring the world. With the Rheostatics, he ended up taking on a lot of the organizational stuff and it was burning him out. I think they're in Japan right now."

A slight pout at the mention of Don's "choice" hinted of some sadness about the separation.

The Rheos have adopted drummer Steve Pitkin, formerly of the Vancouver based Flashing Lights. The Dawson shows marked the Rheostatics' first performances in their new incarnation.

I asked him what the general dynamics are within the band-- a band that has been around for twenty years.

"We're like a family-- we're always fighting for something. I push for a more intricate, avant-garde sound. And I've got a flare for the dramatic. Tim's there to keep it in check. Dave keeps things simple in an extroverted sort of way. He's taught me to write simpler. And he's the best with people. I usually let him talk."

The Rheos are doing a tour of folk festivals this summer, which is a different kind of venue for them. They'd just recently played at the Vancouver Folk Festival, and were heading to the Calgary Folk Festival after leaving the Yukon.

"It's not really our scene-- some of them [folk festivals] are really conservative. We've been banned from them before. For being unfolky," said Tielli.

"This one's pretty rockin'," he added.

Tielli insisted that his "first love is folk music." Initially, listening to Neil Young, Bob Dylan and even John Denver inspired him to become a songwriter. But he's weary of the potential "pretentious fascism" within the folk scene.

He thinks the Vancouver festival is a "wonderful event," but that there's inevitably folks who take themselves too seriously. Like when it started to rain during the festival he overheard someone say "Thank the goddess that there's tents."

"Thank the goddess? Come on. Whatever sex it was, it's dead," he said with a fiendish cackle.

I asked him if the Rheos have ever been accused of taking themselves too seriously.

"No. Never. It's against the mandate of the band. If anything we get accused of not taking ourselves seriously enough."

He's against the idea that musicians must either be introspective and serious or else just about standard bar noise.

"I think we can make a poetic statement and then in the next song be lighthearted and fun," he said.

I think the band often achieves this contrast within the same song-- like in Christopher or Introducing Happiness, two songs they played on Sunday night in Dawson. That's an after thought, of course. That's what I should have said.

Instead I asked him if he likes Rheostatics fans. He said he did.

"I think our music is challenging, and so they tend to be more open minded than the average rock audience."

"Most of my favorite music I didn't like at first. Like the Pixies. But there was that one little thing that draws you in, makes you go-- ah. So you listen to it again. Then I was hooked for years," he said.

While touring with the Tragically Hip, he said the Rheos acquired some jock-rocker fans who continue to appear at their gigs.

"One guy spent an entire show yelling "Record Body Count!" He was draped on my monitor and I almost kicked him by mistake. So eventually we played it, then as soon as it was done he started yelling it again. I was like-- we just played it! And invariably these guys have some bored looking nymphet beside them, who's like, yeah, this is my boyfriend's favorite band. If you're bored, go.

"They're screaming, and in between screams they're yawning," he added.

He attributes this kind of behaviour partially to t.v., and the distance it creates between observer and performer.

"There's a deifying effect. But once you're in it, it's demystified really quickly. Everyone should be educated about the manipulative power of the media," he said.

Do you hate being interviewed?, I asked.

"I don't mind this-- this is detailed. Being interviewed by Much Music is annoying-- you're at the mercy of a moron."

The Rheos have a new album coming out in the fall-- about hauntings and ghosts. Horror music, he called it.

Tielli has a solo album coming out too. I think he said it's called "We didn't even Suspect that he was a Poppy Salesman."

Tielli's album was recorded in a church, and has live acoustic guitar and voice. It marks a return to his initial interest in acoustic music.

The poppy theme comes from his admiration of the flower, but also plays with the concept of "poppie." The music is inspired by a Paul Simon record that incorporates poppies.

"It was recorded in 66 or 67, and only ever released in England. He was trying to pull a Dylan-- this really abstract story that doesn't make sense. But the album is beautiful," he said.

Tielli's material for the album comes from a "song writing glut" that he experienced last October.

"After two and a half weeks I suddenly realized I had thirty five songs."

By the end of it he had written about a hundred songs.

Is your creation process always like that? Does it just all flow out at once?, I asked.

"The only other giant glut like that was in 1989. I was working in an all night gas station [that's where the song comes from]. There was nothing to do so I just kept writing songs. Until I met this homeless kid and started putting him up," he said.

I asked him again about his creative process.

"The ideas come in a flash. But you have to be there to grab it. To finish a song is hard work. I wrote one song that took 15 years."

There is hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing, he assured me.

"Before this tour, I was pulling all nighters three or four nights a week to finish things. I'm a vampire, by the way."

And he has the pale skin to prove it.

Though he still resorts to staying up all night to finish projects, he confessed that the method "gets old."

He suggested that the selection and editing process that must follow a "glut" is one of the more difficult parts of writing. Right now he has fifteen songs for his solo album that he really likes, and wants to narrow it down to ten.

"It's hard. I'm just going to let someone else decide."

"Art can be a lot of work," he added.

All this openness and sincerity was demystifying Martin for me. It felt good. He was animated and bizarre, but also funny, shy and kind. Each note I jotted down, I half regretted-- because it meant a missed note in his acute facial expressions. But the deep concern never left me-- that he would think I was a dweeb. Or worse yet, get bored.

So like, what have you been listening to lately? I asked. Nervous giggle (my own) ensued. My tummy convulses just thinking about it. What an obscenely dull question.

(He just got a really great record player, so he's been listening to his old vinyl collection -- like a piano record called Mood Music for Beer and Pretzels. And he really likes Iris Dement. And Scott Walker.)

The topic of hero worship came up well into the second round of pints (or third or whatever.) I'd heard him cover the Mary Margaret O'Hara song "To Cry About" at Steamer's Pub Victoria a few years ago. Mary Margaret O'Hara is a Canadian singer-songwriter who recorded one prodigy album in 1988 and then retreated into obscurity. So I asked, was he a fan of hers?

He swooned.

"She's one of my biggest inspirations."

"Do you know her?," I asked.

He said he sees her in Toronto often, but basically has avoided her for seven years.

"I would only ever hang out with her if she wanted to hang out with me," he confessed.

But she did express interest in meeting him-- to mutual friends. Finally, only a few months ago, the two met.

He said he would never hang out with her again. Ever.

"I can't even believe such silly awkward behaviour [came] out of me. It was painful-- for both of us. So I'd just rather not."

What a rush. I felt this surge of empathy-- the gap collapsing. I got it! I was a mere link in the chain of hero worship-- but so was Martin Tielli!

And yet, and yet, this confirmation-- from one of my heroes-- of my initial theory that heroes are better left unconfronted.

Well, maybe just once is o.k. Once, with enough detail (he likes to flip between the comedy, nature and history channels, he thinks we live in an era ripe for comedy writing) to soak in for years. I can't wait to check out the ghost album AND the poppy album. I may even try hunting down that old Paul Simon record. But I promise I won't start smoking Player's filter-- just because Martin Tielli does.

top.gif

3rd Annual Klondike Motorcycle Run, July 13-15

by Loire Passmore, President of Klondike Motorcycle Association


Martin Tielli is the lead guitarist of the Rheostatics, the biggest name band at this year's DCMF. Heather is a fan. Photo by KMA

Again we gather together, brothers and sisters in the wind. Old friends reuniting and new acquaintances being made at the third annual Klondike Motorcycle Run. Every year this event is growing as word spreads throughout the biker communities of Canada and the USA. This year riders came from as far South as New Mexico, USA, and as far as Saskatchewan. As well as riders came from Inuvik, NT, Alberta, British Columbia, and Alaska. Some of these people plan to return with larger groups next year.

Of all the events the Poker Run was a huge hit. It was impressive to see all the bikes ride together, thundering around the community. I hope many of you were able to experience our bike games. The turnout was great and we all had an awesome time! There were many prizes given out thanks to the growing support of the businesses who donated them. We thank you all very, very much! Also many thanks to the people who helped make this event successful and well organized. I would like to extend a special thank you to Kelly Miller and the Klondyke Centennial Society who took on an extremely large portion of the help needed to organize and advertise the weekend, and the City of Dawson.

Those who rode here loved our town for its hospitality, the friendly people and the beauty of the land. Next year these people will return in larger groups as evidence that the Klondike Run is becoming more and more noticed through word of mouth, broader advertisement and recognition in biker magazines. We are planning to submit a write-up with photos to the Canadian Biker and Easy Riders magazines. We expect this to become a huge biker run in the future. It will bring revenue into the community and help promote tourism in the Yukon.

I would like to remind readers that this bike run is for all riders, not just Harley Riders. I would also like to introduce to Dawson City and the Yukon the Klondike Motorcycle Association. We are a small group of riders in Dawson City who plan to organize events which will benefit our community, and donate a percentage of funds to areas that are in need of help. Such as the school 'Breakfast for Learning Fund', the Women's Shelter, Christmas food hampers and more. There will be a Harley Raffle at the 2002 Klondike Run next year. Tickets will go on sale soon.

We will be organizing a Toy Run this year on Saturday, September 1, 2001. Donate a New Toy or $10.00 and you will receive a Toy Run pin and the gratification of having helped a child or someone in need have a happier Christmas. You do not have to be a rider to participate.

Planning of these events is still in its beginning stages at this time but should be in full swing by mid August. Anyone who would like to become a member of the Klondike Motorcycle Association, P.O. Box 1163, Dawson City or call Kelly at 993-1996. You will receive a crest and, periodically, a newsletter. The Klondike Motorcycle Association would like to call on interested people to participate or volunteer some time to help out during any of our events. We would like to see more participation from our local riders here in Dawson City. It will be lots of fun. So, thank you all, and until we meet again, share the road and ride safe!

Bike Games Winners: Klondike Run 2001 Poker Run

Winner - Prize 1/3 oz Gold Nugget - Alex Bowie
2nd Place: Prize 1/4 oz Gold Nugget - Bill Bowie
Plank Run: Winner - Karen Bovard of Nebraska
Cone & Egg Race: Wayne Culkin & Taryn Campbell
Slow Race: Loire Passmore
Barrel Race: Pat Campbell
Weenie Bite Contest: Guy Petitclerc & Barbie Bertin
Best Guy weenie Bite: Steve Kocsis
Longest Distance Entry: Randy from New Mexico & Mark and the Getty up go guy - North Battleford Sask
Most Miles on a Learner's License: Bev Lindstrom - Fort St. James, B.C.

top.gif

Introducing the Yukon Arts Festival

by Heather Robb

The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture is taking paint brush, chisel and charcoal pencil to Dawson's Discovery Days celebration. The concept is not to supplant, but to enhance the annual event- by holding the new Yukon Arts Festival on the weekend when the discovery of Klondike gold is commemorated in Dawson.

Plans for the festival are still tentative, since KIAC only recently submitted its proposal to the City for road closures and the use of the dike area, and has not yet received approval.

"We've approached all the businesses in the immediate area first. So it looks good that we have the community behind us," said Kendra Wallace, the Yukon Arts Festival Coordinator.

KIAC hopes to adorn the dike with interactive-art wall tents with displays of things like print making, paper making, beadwork, forging, raku firing, oil and acrylic painting. Wallace emphasized the interactive potential of the festival.

"If you want to, say, make a floor mat, you can. Or if you want to take a photo with a pin hole camera, you can- and then we'll develop it."

Additionally, on Saturday there will be some more involved art workshops offered.

"You can get a program on Friday, see what's going on and then sign up for a Saturday workshop. We're going to keep them affordable," she said.

So far, about twenty Yukon artists have confirmed they will be participating- including Jackie Olsen, Sheila Alexandrovich, Gordon Kerr, Susan Stewart and John Steins. Wallace expects five or six more participants yet.

"We're trying to reach out to artists in the territory. We want to create an environment for the arts in Dawson and in the territory," she said.

According to Wallace, the festival is being assembled with an eye to the social and economic benefits to the community- which is part of the Dawson City Arts Society's (KIAC's parent organization) mandate.

"We want to involve businesses by asking them to display artwork," she added.

Festival plans also include a youth activity tent where there will be, among other things, mask making and face painting for young people who wish to participate in the Saturday parade. Throughout the weekend, artists will visit the tent and host programs- for both youth under thirteen, and those thirteen and over.

From Whitehorse, a youth art show titled "The Traveling Circus Show," inspired by the Chagall exhibit at the Yukon Arts Center, will be on display at the youth tent.

Wallace hopes the art activities on the dike will compliment Discovery Days activities on the dike, such as the proposed horticultural tent, pancake breakfast and music at the gazebo.

"If permission is granted, we'll occupy the dike from the gazebo all the way down to the rock garden," said Wallace.

On Friday evening, KIAC hopes to take advantage of the darkness, and hold a late night art film viewing on the dike. The featured film will be a classic black and white- something rated PG 13 so that youth can come. They hope to have the viewing under the stars.

"But if it rains, we can all watch it in the tent and get cozy with our sweaters and hot chocolate!," exclaimed Wallace.

On Saturday night, organizers have proposed a street party on Queen Street from between the Bunkhouse and the Drug Store down to Bombay Peggy's and KIAC. If the request is approved, Steve Slade's band (all male) called the Fabulous Full Figure Gals will play out of the back of a truck.

"There'll be buskers and street theater throughout the weekend. We've asked for the street closure for the three days," said Wallace.

Other activities include the grand opening of the Artist's in Residence program at the Macaulay house, an art opening at the Odd Gallery (both on Friday night), and an art auction at KIAC on Saturday.

According to KIAC executive director Gary Parker, the budget for the festival is $12 thousand: $9 thousand came from the Yukon Arts Fund, $2850 came from On Yukon Time and $500 is being generated internally.

"The success of everything we do is because of volunteerism," he added.

Parker remarked that KIAC has received a very enthusiastic response from Yukon artists about the festival.

"There's not any other visual arts focused festival in the territory per se.

"We want to transform Dawson into a place that people come to for arts and culture... I hope that in 25 years this festival will have carved out the kind of niche that the Dawson City Music Festival has. I definitely think it has that kind of potential."

top.gif

Fisheries Minister First to Visit Klondike in Years

by Dan Davidson


Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal spent the night at Bombay Peggy's Victorian Inn in Dawson. Photo by Dan Davidson

While there are a number of issues that might have brought him to the Yukon anyway, federal Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal credited Yukon M.P. Larry Bagnell with persuading him that it would be a good idea right now.

"He thought it was important that I hear and meet with the many interest groups to get a better understanding of fisheries out here as well as the placer mining."

It's early in the morning - before breakfast - when we meet in the parlour of Bombay Peggy's Victorian Inn, and the minister has already done two interviews after a short night's sleep. When he notes that he has already met with several interest groups and the "premier of the province" while he was in Yukon the day before, the confusion is understandable.

Dhaliwal spent part of Wednesday on a helicopter jaunt around the gold fields, dropping in on a number of mining camps and getting a look at their operations.

"It's been very interesting. I believe that in order to understand some of these complicated regional issues we have to be there to meet the people."

Placer miners, he noted, were concerned about the review of the mining legislation currently under way: "They want certainty. They wanted me to have a look and see how they deal with the stream beds and the effort they've made to protect and rebuild them. They feel that, at this time, any additional burden of regulation would be difficult due to the price of gold.

"Having seen some of the operations, it was very interesting for me."

Dhaliwal would not anticipate or prejudge the possible outcomes of the review process, but he did note that the review was a requirement under the legislation.

"Of course we learn from our activity about the effects we have on the environment and we learn different ways to improve our practices.

"Part of the review is how we can do it better, and I hope we can reach a consensus on it, that they can come forward to me as minister and say that these are some of the improvement we can make and still maintain the mining aspect of it but also protect the fish and fish habitat."

On the issue of Dawson's effluent discharge Dhaliwal was clear in his opinions.

"I'm aware of that. I, as minister, have a responsibility to protect our oceans ... and one of the ways is to stop the municipal discharge that's going into our oceans. It's something we should focus on as a country. If we continue to not show respect for our waterways and our oceans, we'll have serious problems as a global community.

Dhaliwal said that the federal infrastructure program was there to assist communities in meeting the capital costs of dealing with some of these issues, but he conceded that there was nothing in the way of grants to help meet operations and maintenance costs, and that is the area where Dawson's various councils have repeatedly said they can't finance treatment in the long term.

In the area of fisheries, Dhaliwal holds out hope that the agreement recently signed between Canada and the USA will improve things for the fishing industry in the Yukon.

"It's in the interest of both countries to have a sustainable fishery. Now we have an agreement which outlines what the percentage divided between Canada and the US should be, and it creates financial resources to do more work on research and restoration of the habitat.

"I think this is good for the long term. Before we didn't have any control, and Alaska got first chance and were basically able to fish whenever they wanted to. Now we have a clear sharing formula ... (which) takes the scientific advice in terms of escapement to ensure that we get sufficient numbers to spawn, and in the long term it will help us to rebuild the salmon resource in the Yukon.

"I think things will improve."

top.gif

The Mail Plane Returns to Dawson City

by Dan Davidson


Clark Seaborn, Bob Cameron and Don McLean pose for the cameras beside Bob Cartwright's restored Model T in Dawson. Photo by Dan Davidson

On the day of the Commissioner's Tea and Dawson's Yukon Birthday Party bash a bright orange single engine aircraft sailed in over the town and up and down along the river front. The Fokker Super Universal CF-AAM, which ran the mail to Dawson and other communities north of Whitehorse for Northern Airways Ltd. had returned to the town where it was abandoned in the late 1930s.

Spokesman Bob Cameron explained some of his feelings to the crowd at the birthday party later in the afternoon.

"Bringing this airplane back to Dawson where it used to fly and haul in the anxiously awaited airmail back in the 1930s, it was a great joy for us to arrive here with it this afternoon."

"It crashed here in 1937," Bob Cameron explained, when we talked earlier in the evening. "It was a minor accident - no injuries - out at the airport."

Northern Airways had started their company in 1934 with this aircraft, an American made version of a German plane and, Cameron later learned, had just laid out money to restore the aircraft. For reasons he has never been able to fathom, they gave up on it after a minor takeoff accident and it sat in the Klondike for over 30 years.

"Somebody eventually dragged it into Dawson ... and it sat right in behind Klondike Motors in the back alley, and the local kids, like Tony Hanulik and kids that age, played in it."

The story gets stranger. As the years went on, someone cut the Fokker in half and took the front half out to Granville Forks. Why? Co-pilot Clarke Seaborn speculates that they wanted to make a sluicebox or something out of it. Whatever was intended, it apparently didn't happen, because almost all the pieces were intact when it was eventually recovered.

"They left it there," Cameron said, "there in the bush, with the bush growing all through it."

Eventually Bob Cameron and Tony Hanulik, who had played in the plane as a boy, ended up working together for Trans North and their knowledge was pooled.

"I knew this airplane had ended up here somehow. I knew how it ended up here but I had no idea where it was. Tony knew where it was but had no idea what it was. So we were a good pair."

Twenty-seven years ago, in 1974, they went out to the bush, picked up the front end and brought the pieces together again.

Bob sought out the talents of Clark Seaborn, who had previously restored a 1933 Wacco biplane that had been in even worse shape. He teamed up with Don McLean, an aircraft maintenance engineer who loves old planes.

"That was a godsend. He and Clark fell in together and it took 18 years out of their lives (to restore the Fokker). All I could do was cheer them on and bring them more parts. Can't little, I might say."

"An airplane gets pretty tattered after over 40 years in the bush," said Seaborn, "so what you see is about 10,000 hours of work over 20 years."

Their Calgary shop saw them hard at it Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends, about 500 hours a year. Seaborn compares it to recreational time spent watching football or television, but thinks this was time better spent.

The plane was ready to fly again in 1998, 61 years after its crash.

"The neat thing about an airplane," Clark said, "is that it gets an identification a registration, that stays with it all its life. This was CF-AAM. We knew where it came from, we knew the operators, we could find out the history and what it had done. It had been through several rescue missions on the Arctic coast; it has been on this exploration in the St. Elias. We knew this history."

"We ended up with all the logbooks," Bob said. 'We knew who the pilots were. Some were still alive."

"We had to bring it back," Clark said. "We're not just mechanics throwing an airplane together, we're historians too."

The process was not without its roadblocks. Aside from the sheer effort of reconstructing the Fokker, it took a year to get the Department of Transport to approve it for flight.

In 1999 the three pilots took off to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where, besides making overalls, they put on the world's biggest air show, attracting over 1,000,000 people and 10,000 airplanes annually.

"They made us sort of a centrepiece of the show," Bob said, "and in the end they gave us the judge's top choice award."

In 2000 they did the western Canada air show circuit, along the way taking it to see the 92 year old pilot who had flown the Fokker in the Yukon for three years from 1934 to 1937 and later retired as a DC-8 pilot.

In 2001 they wanted to bring it back to its Yukon roots.

CF-AAM had a life before Northern Airways put it into service. It was owned by Cominco and helped to open up the north to mineral exploration. Earlier, its sister craft had been among the first to fly across North America non-stop, down to Australia and all over the world.

This second generation of the aircraft that were built after the Dutch born Fokker were workhorses for exploration and mining. Clark says that the twenty-eight planes of this type that were used in Canada established many records.

"(They were) the airplanes to cross the Barrens, first airplane to the northern magnetic pole, first to the Franklin expedition remains."

Cameron, Seaborn and McLean wanted to document some of this history within the framework of their homecoming flight and so they managed to spark some interest from Black Spring productions. On the days they flew over the town Garth Prichard, part owner of Black Springs, was busy with his cam corder, getting some of the footage which will eventually become a documentary for the CBC.

top.gif

Letter: Runner's Paradise - Yukon - Dawson City and Mayo

by Tom Sparrow, Whitehorse, Yukon
(a former Dawsonite)


This group of runners is off to climb the Dome Road to the viewpoint way above Dawson. Photo by Dan Davidson

Congratulations to both communities for organizing two outstanding annual running events.

The Mayo Midnight Marathon, June 23 and the Dawson Midnight Dome Run, July 21.

Anyone who enjoys running recognizes the many pleasures associated with our sport such as developing life-long friendships, enjoying new scenery, and reaching those lofty goals & personal challenges.

The real pleasure for many of us comes from being able to appreciate the wonderful hospitality provided by the organizers, the volunteers, the sponsors, and the entire host community, as it comes together to showcase these events.

Having run the half-marathon at the Vancouver International Marathon earlier this year with 9,000 of my closest friends, I truly recognize the meaning of quality runs and appreciate the intimate post breakfast and barbecue festivities shared by fellow runners, walkers, and the entire race committee team.

Other races pale in comparison to these world-class events, put on by two of our Yukon communities - Dawson City and Mayo.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in making these events so very special for all participants!!

See you next year!

top.gif

Klondike Sun Home Page