|Mounties, Dancers and Voyageurs make a great photo opportunity on Canada Day. Photo by Dan Davidson|
Welcome to the July 19, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 47 photographs and 44 articles that were in the 32-page July 16 hard copy edition. This posting is late due to our editor being very, very busy.
This issue Heather Pauls continues as our summer intern. Heather is doing a great job, as you can see here.
The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?
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by Heather Pauls
Small for the average city but large for our little Dawson, the Canada Day Parade, moving from Front Street, down on Queen Street, and finally on Fifth Street, sparkled with enthusiasm as each feature floated past. There were definitely more recording devices hanging around necks than people marching in the parade as locals and tourists alike lined up to view the spectacle through their camera lenses to watch later.
Flaunting Mounties, classic cars, mud bogs, Gertie Girls, fire trucks and more, the Dawson City Annual Canada Day Parade pleased onlookers' eyes and their children grabbing at thrown candy. Due to the small number of children in the crowd, Canada Day seemed more like Hallowe'en due to each child's excessive amounts of sweets.
As the parade sauntered past, people relocated to the other streets by ducking through alleys and side roads to catch the scene again as it traveled through town.
by Dan Davidson
It rained several times during Canada Day events in Dawson City this year but, during the day at least, it seemed to be timed just right.
It didn't rain for the 8 a.m. flag raising, at which perhaps 50 people (mostly tourists) turned out to see the Maple Leaf rise and sing the National Anthem.
It didn't rain during the parade, which was enlivened by a convoy of classic cars and mud bog contenders, along with the usual fire engines, Mounties and performers. No one even minded when the fire department's antique ladder truck broke down, causing Diamond Tooth Gertie and her dancers to shift to more modern transport.
It didn't rain during the speeches, which were fairly short and to the point.
Mayor Glen Everitt spoke to the theme that Canada is the "best country in the world ... a nation of opportunity that does not look at skin colour, religion, gender, language or culture to determine who belongs."
"Our county," he said, "is a living vision that wars are fought for and that parents read about in fairy tales as they put their children to sleep overseas."
MLA Peter Jenkins sounded the theme that Canada is made important by the quality of its people.
Legionnaire John Gould had hoped to unveil a plaque listing the 600 Dawsonites who served in the Great War, but the plaque is in too delicate a condition to show outside, so it had to be displayed inside the Museum.
From Parks Canada, Paula Hassard introduced the Blackwater Paddlers of Quesnel, B.C., a group of six Voyageur clad paddlers, which had just participated in the crew boat category of the Yukon River Quest.
Jeff Dinsdale explained the purpose of their trip, which was to link the two great western gold rushes of the 19th century, the Cariboo and the Klondike. Many of the people who were involved in the 1860s rush in BC. later participated in the rush of 1896-98.
"We'd like to think that we have recreated their steps," he said.
There was an exchange of memorabilia between the Paddlers and Parks Canada.
Then the birthday cake was cut and distributed and then came the first downpour of the day.
The afternoon was divided between activities on the dyke, and the Yukon Goldpanning Championships in the North End.
At the dyke there was music and food, the Yukon River Quest Awards ceremony, a reenactment of the Voyageur's arrival and a free concert with music by Cool Blue Method and Fishhead Stew.
At the Gold Panning venue there was four hours of gold panning contests, from youth to seniors, from novices to pros, from individuals to teams.
Attendance was good at both sites and the streets were packed throughout the day. There was rain just after the panning ended, a downpour complete with thunder and lightning to rival any fireworks display around supper time and more showers later in the evening, but almost everything had been accomplished by then.
The week isn't over. This year Dawson's reviving a gold rush tradition and celebrating Independence Day as well. That, for the benefit of our American visitors, will be on July 4th.
by Heather Pauls
The highly animated Team Cariboo (spelling intentional) to Klondike had three main reasons for canoeing from Whitehorse after driving up from Barkerville, British Columbia: to connect Canada's first two gold rush cities, to reenact the lives of the voyageur culture (unique to Canada), and to have a good time.
"It's very social, canoeing down a river with friends," says canoeist Jeff Dinsdale with a smile. The throng of brightly clad canoers are ten in total, all from Quesnel, BC, if you count the four people who travel via land to set up camp where the canoers stop for the night. After paddling all day, the six seaward friends are grateful to be pampered a bit before the next full day of exercise.
Historic voyageurs, of course, did not have this service supplied for them, but Team Cariboo to Klondike still practices a number of the original traditions. The ceinture flêchés they wear to imitate the Metis traders are symbolic of French culture, although they also have the practical purpose of supporting the stomach and back over long portages as everything has to be carried. They had 90 pound canvas bundles to lug around, as all loads were calculated in multiples of 90.
"Many Voyageurs died of hernias from the strain," Dinsdale noted, making it quite clear how necessary the colorful belts were. The more color and dangling things, like spoons or coins for women voyageurs, became status symbols based on quality and flashiness. Other typical voyageur garb includes a dipping cup to scoop water from the river for drinking. Each canoer had to carve their own from the wood of their choice. Dinsdale admits that his team's dipping cups are not all made by the hands that hold them. Leather pouches were also important as tobacco needed to be kept high and dry due to the water up to their knees every time they had to get on shore. Because their canoes were made of birch wood, it was imperative that the hull never touch the rock bed for fear of splitting. Also worn by team members are pink ribbons, a new addition, to show the their support for competitors who are survivors of breast cancer.
The Gold Rush of 1860 in Barkerville precedes the Rush of 1898 in Dawson City. Team Cariboo to Klondike is not a competing team, but a group finding their enjoyment in connecting these two cities with a similar past.
by Heather Pauls
Like most live performances, The Cool Blue Method's first set at Bombay Peggy's on the eve of June 28th started off rather awkwardly, with patrons not knowing whether to sit or stand, far too nervous to actually get up to dance to the energetic vibes. There were a few head-boppers, myself included, but most people were stiff as celery.
This changed, of course, after a few drinks had been passed around and more people showed up, and show up they did! Self-conscious shuffling morphed into all-out dancing as people covered the floor, causing annoyed-looking waitresses to forthrightly jerk the tables aside and tuck them up under the bellies of those still sitting. A lineup grew outside, and the doorman was quite staunch about the exact amount of people in the building. If two left, two got in. If three left, that's how many were filling their space. The demand to get in kept growing, and soon I was told by the barmaid that if I didn't drink more, I would cordially yet under no uncertain terms get kicked out. Chuckling it off with a comment like, "Oh, I've had two beers so I can stay" (or something to that effect) I was tolerated but not without a bit of eye-rolling. Crammed to the gills, Peggy's became a high-traffic zone, making the barmaid's face contort with displeasure every time she had to shove their way through the crowded mess, dodging the flailing arms of dancers who had now found their courage. More like a restaurant than a bar, Bombay Peggy's seems to be the place for showcasing music such as a stringed quartet, not a rambunctious funk, jazz, ska, reggae and rock group to rev up a crowd. Squeezed into a corner, Cool Blue Method hardly had space for their elbows and the necks of their guitars. The few that decided to leave were probably some token claustrophobics.
Despite the need for space, Cool Blue Method reportedly had a fantastic time playing for the enthusiastic Dawsonites, who seemed to be having a terrific time themselves. The crowd was coated in smiles, and lucky for them, they could continue to see the band at their other gigs: two evenings at the Pit, a private party, and at the Gazebo on Canada Day.
They were a truly dance-worthy band, churning out Bob Marley cover songs and spoof Celtic reels, pleasing the crowd, forever yelling out the wonders of Dawson to the delight of patriotic residents, and referring the crowd to the drumming skills of Dawsonite Sandy Silver who filled in for Ban Dodds who was stranded somewhere in expansive Yukon having bad luck hitch-hiking.
In terms of music style, Josh Dodds proclaims their influences to be a combination of jazz, ska, funk, rock, and vintage punk. Guitarist, Ryan Andrew, appeared quite fond of high-pitched guitar riffs, seemingly vintage-style from the 60s, while bassist, Josh Dodds, favored plucky fast paced lines like The Red Hot Chili Peppers...except an octave higher. Kevin Flesher on vocals had the skill that so many male singers lack in today's popular music scene: the ability to sing.
After running through the majority of this set they may or may not have arranged prior to their performance, Cool Blue Method began taking requests. ACDC was denied at first, but they later gave in and showed the crowd their ability to play music they didn't write themselves. Although they love to cover their favorite songs, their sights are set on producing their own original songs which locals soon came to be fond of after five opportunities to hear them.
"It's hard to stop when everybody's groovin'', you know? It keeps the energy going. It's like a symbiotic relationship...you and the crowd," Josh says but not without a smirk.
After the likes of such instruments as guitars, drums, bass guitar, and harmonica, the band whipped out the allusive Australian didgeridoo. Traditionally, this instrument is made from hollowed-out branches - the handiwork of thousands of termites. This addition, with its snazzy decorated exterior, didn't contribute much to the pieces, as it sounds like a continuous drone, but it sure made them look cool, and in the music industry, that's what it's all about.
"It's our tribal element," explains Josh.
Other attempted instruments include the organ, but due to a lack of gig-playing experience, that venture didn't go over very well.
Together as a cohesive band for about three years with a vocalist, but Josh, Ben and Kevin playing together since they were little tikes, Cool Blue Method has racked up plenty of live performance experience. Their first gig was in Edmonton, also known as their hometown and where they decided by a process of illumination to call themselves "Cool Blue Method". Desperate for a title, a mutual friend suggested the name to an unenthusiastic nameless band. Not able to think of something better, Josh, Ben, Kevin, and Ryan settled on the name by default.
"We need a name, we'll use this name, and it just stuck. At least it's not Hootie & the Blowfish or something like that," Josh reasons.
Cool Blue Method's recent goal is to accumulate a little cash by planting trees, a feat which only twin brothers Josh and Ben are attempting at the moment.
by Dan Davidson
Verlen Kruger added another candle to his birthday cake in Dawson City on Sunday, June 30, and became an honorary citizen on the Klondike Capital. Mayor Glen Everitt and Deputy Chief of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Clara Van Bibber were on hand to greet Verlen and Jenny Kruger. Van Bibber presented a birthday gift and Everitt proclaimed them both honorary citizens.
The party, held under two canopies amid the wind, rain and sunshine of that strange afternoon, was organized by members of the Yukon River Quest and or the Kruger support group of 17 friends who have bought custom built Kruger canoes over the years.
Both Van Bibber and Everitt referred to the Krugers as being an inspiration to others.
Leaving Whitehorse before the start of the Yukon River Quest, the couple actually arrived in Dawson a few days earlier and were on hand to greet the racers as they pulled in.
The Kruger team reserved the couple a room at Bombay Peggy's Victorian Inn as a birthday present.
The Krugers will leave Dawson after the Canada Day festivities this week and continue on their trek to the Bering Sea, a total journey of 3,000 kilometres which they hope to complete by the end of August. Their trip, called the Yukon Canoe Odyssey, will push Verlen over the 160,000 kilometre mark and into the Guinness Book of World Records.
To make this deadline, the Lansing, Michigan, couple are travelling an average of 42 kilometres daily, allowing for time off along the way to sightsee a bit and spend a few days in places like Dawson.
Their trip began on June 10 in Carcross.
by Dan Davidson
By about 4:30 on Sunday afternoon things were getting a little slow at the Yukon River Checkpoint. Earlier there had been some excitement when a boy on a bicycle inadvertently spooked a tour wagon horse and it got hurt, but for the most part the late afternoon was filled with comments like "any sign of anything yet?"
About then Pam Boyd decided to play a joke on one of the eager folk who kept coming back. Perched on a rock with binoculars in hand she yelled out that she could see something coming. Then, just as the man turned around to hear a big "got'cha!" someone else called out, "Y'know - there IS someone out there."
And there was.
So that's how it happened that some people were still chuckling when Bob Vincent of Dorchester, Ontario, and Bob Bradford of Lapeer, Michigan, paddled into the docking area, past the two flags and onto the gravel beach, where eager hands helped them out of their canoe after their 742 kilometre journey.
Vincent, who has some trouble moving properly when his limbs are cold, had to be supported while he walked about and the control returned to his legs after the long haul from Minto, but he was perfectly coherent and willing to talk, as was his partner, Bradford.
The two 59 year olds called themselves "The Old Guys" and have paddled together before, but it was their first time as a team here. Vincent did the race two years ago and invited his friend along.
"He's much older than I am - three weeks."
The pair made the trip in 55 hours and 22 minutes, which is not a record but a good time.
The high point, Vincent said, was Five Finger Rapids.
"It was a real good ride this year. He (Bradford) hasn't been in waves like that before. We bounced him on all three of them."
The Old Guys had a good trip, he said, and were only frustrated while chasing after a kayak that got ahead of them on Lake Laberge. They passed him later on and had not seen it all day on the last leg of the trip.
"It was an excellent race for us and we had a good time."
Bob Bradford recalled the race in much the same way.
After that it was almost exactly one hour and one minute before the next racers arrived, a kayak team with the name Chesapeake Light Craft. Brandon Nelson and Jim Weed from Lotus, California, set a new tandem kayak record with a finishing time of 56 hours and 23 minutes.
The rest of the racers trickled in over the next day, many hours after these initial contestants.
The race was very hard on solo kayaks this year. There were eight entered and three finished. Rick Amschler from Spruce Grove, Alberta, was first in a time of 65 hours and 40 minutes.
The mixed canoe class team of Hank Tim (Tok, AK) and Colleen Haney (Whitehorse) were first in their category with a time of 60 hours and 59 minutes.
Finally there was a crew boat category won by the Paddlers Abreast team from Whitehorse in 79 hours and 26 minutes.
MC Paul Harris introduced the awards and prizes at the Front Street Gazebo on the afternoon of Canada Day. He noted that this year the race featured a record 36 teams (of which 9 scratched) including 20 tandem canoes, 6 tandem kayaks, 8 solo kayaks and 2 crew boats.
There were competitors from several Canadian provinces and territories, a number of American states, Austria, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, and even one from Dawson City.
He thanked lead sponsors AcuView and Norcan, as well as the Canadian Rangers (who worked on the checkpoints) and Up North Adventures, who booked the canoes.
Speaking to the crowd Dawson's Mayor Glen Everitt revealed that he and Whitehorse Mayor Ernie Bourassa (whose wife was in the race) had concluded that the race needed some logistical and advertising support from the two cities in order to increase the crowds at the starting and finishing lines. Everitt half committed to entering the race next year with Bourassa as a partner.
The mayor also presented the Key to the City to Verlen Kruger, the 80 year old canoeist who arrived just a day or so ahead of the racer with his wife, Jenny, as part of their trek to the Bering Sea.
by Dan Davidson
The 2002 edition of the Yukon Goldpanning Championships were as busy as ever this year, with nearly eighty entries spread over the seven categories.
The most prestigious of the contests on Canada Day afternoon was the Yukon Open, in which nine contestants struggled to find the 8 flakes of gold that were hidden in their buckets of pay dirt, transfer the gold into their vials, jam in the stopper and hold it high before anyone could beat them to it.
David Millar pulled it off in 5:07, comfortably ahead of second place Art Sailer and third place Noreen Sailer. For his pains, Millar gets $2500 of his travel expenses paid to represent the Yukon in the this year's World Goldpanning event, which will be held in Japan later this summer. Art Sailer received $1500 to help him attend the Canadian Goldpanning Championships in Edmonton.
The Klondike Open attracted 15 contestants this year. Roger Stuart found all 7 flakes in 4:28, easily defeating Tom Nichol and David McBurney.
The Cheechako Event is for first time adult panners. This pack of 21 had to locate 4 flakes of gold. Dick Mullins only found 3, but had the fastest time in spite of the 5 minute penalty which gave him a time of 10:14. The second place panner, Richard Bofuton found all the gold, but took almost 3 minutes longer to do it. Don Matthews also had penalty time.
Familiar names turned up again in the Seniors category, where Noreen Sailer found all 5 flakes in 4:51, beating the slightly faster times of Jack Fraser and Art Sailer, who both had to absorb penalties to missing a flake.
In the Youth 13-15 group Jessica Burian missed one of the five flakes and finished with a penalty added time of 22:13. Natalie Kingston and Gavin Clarkson also missed flakes in their finishing times. There were 6 in this division.
Tod Hunter found all 4 flakes and did it in a new record time of 11:22 in the Youth 11 and under category. Matthew Klein missed one flake and Pascal McBurney missed two. There were 11 competitors.
The final event was the Corporate Challenge Relay, won for the umpteenth time by the Ace Placer team led by Art Sailer, which found all 16 flakes in the four buckets of gravel in 22:09. David Millar's Goldbottom Tours team took second spot ("Again!"" he griped playfully) as usual after missing a flake. The Westminster Pit panners had a good time, but lost half of the gold to collect 40 minutes in penalties.
by Dan Davidson
When Glenn Everitt met with the federal finance committee in May, in his capacity as president of the Association of Yukon Communities, he was a bit surprised to learn that his outline of an infrastructure program for the territory was taken seriously, so seriously that he was invited to by then Finance Minister Paul Martin return with a full proposal.
He took this opportunity to the Yukon government, which provided some staff time and expertise to assist the AYC in developing a submission.
The AYC has long held that the Yukon's participation in other federal infrastructure programs has been hobbled by the fact of our small population. These projects have been funded using a per capita formula which has left the territory pretty much out in the cold.
Everitt's original estimate was that worthy projects in the territory might add up to about $160 million, but the project team didn't leave it there. Every one of the territory's thirty-one communities, as well as each of the first nations, was asked to contribute a list of projects to the project team. The AYC was assisted by a YTG staff person, who was seconded to this project by Infrastructure Minister Scott Kent after the annual general meeting of the AYC, held in Dawson in May.
"When we were done the whole Yukon study," Everitt told a recent meeting of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce, "it was $370 million."
At a second meeting with the new federal Finance Minister, John Manley, and some other members of the cabinet, Everitt was encouraged to continue the process but told the request would have to come in below $200 million. The trimming exercise by the executive of the AYC cut it down to $198,680,700, which is the amount of the request that will go to cabinet in Ottawa on June 17.
In all, 92 projects, some in every community, have been identified, many of them being related to either sewage handling and water delivery, or to recreation. The following sample of the projects approved by the AYC executive includes some of the bigger ticket items from various communities.
The program would run over a five year period, from 2003 to 2008. During the first two years some 30 million would be spent in planning and preparation. Actual projects would begin in year three, with $50 million in expenditures, followed by $60 million in each for the final two years.
Projects were chosen according to criteria which looked at the enhancement of the quality of the environment, support for long term economic growth, improvement of community infrastructure, innovation, partnerships and the use of new approaches and best practices.
"We're asking them to identify this as one application through the federal infrastructure program or as a completely separate program.. We're giving them two options.
Everitt says he was told by the feds not to get upset if the results of the application were not part of the infrastructure announcements this August, that he should look for it to be mentioned in the fall throne speech.
by Dan Davidson
The City of Dawson was scheduled to take over the keys to its incomplete recreation centre on July 5, but by mid-morning city manager Scott Coulson still had not heard from the contractor, TSL, as to just when this would be happening. This was ironically similar to the whole situation with regard to the ice arena surface, which still has no concrete floor after two years of construction.
On July 3 Mayor Glen Everitt informed the chamber of commerce of the handover, saying that TSL had notified the City of Dawson that the city was in default of its contract with the company and that TSL was walking away from the project.
This, in spite of the fact that the disputes between the two sides will be going to an arbitration hearing on July 29-August 9.
In its statement TSL claims that the town did not have the proper ground conditions for the completion of the arena.
"At the same time the city has called the contractor in default," Everitt said. This is for having failed to pour the concrete floor within its scheduled time frame.
Engineers are now telling the town that it could take up to three years for the permafrost under the arena to freeze back so that the thermal siphons can maintain it at that temperature.
The good news is that the ground under the curling rink portion of the building has frozen back. City crews will be hooking the curling rink ice plant up to the thermal siphons to hurry the arena ground along, but it will still take a lot of time.
The town is having to take ownership of the building now in order to activate its insurance now that the contractor is walking away. Since it is doing that, Everitt says that the recreation department will be moving into its offices there.
The building is actually complete except for the two floors - the curling rink and the arena - and Everitt says it is a beautiful building which he hopes to be able to allow people in to see shortly.
Everitt says that there will be skating in the arena this fall, whatever the decision is on the final outcome of the floor. The town has been looking into everything from natural ice to an artificial surface called "glice" as temporary measures until the permafrost returns and the proper floor can be poured. One suggestion from the chamber meeting was to install a metal floor as a kind of enormous pan and make the ice surface in that.
by Dan Davidson
In Dawson, even the kids are taken by the cut-out picture boards that are scattered around the town. This one is located beside the headquarters of the Klondyke Centennial Society, where Blackjack and his riders sometimes hang out between rides around town. Here group of kids from the Trinke Zho Daycare take turns poking their heads through the cut-out hole and acting the rider's part, graciously allowing the others to touch the horse.
The live appearance of the actual horse and rider can stop traffic. One tourist actually did come to a halt in the middle of the street and get out of his vehicle to snap a photo, apparently oblivious of the line-up behind him.
Other times, as here, the pair simply come across people in a ride along the dyke and stop to pass the time of day. The adults don't actually say, "Please, can I touch your horse?" but you can see it in their eyes and their body language.
by Heather Pauls
It seems that the Klondike Sun has spoken too soon on Holgar "Holly" Haulstein's new business, Slow Rush Tours.
On Saturday, June 29, Holly's Belgium horse, Clyde, was spooked by a combination of a hose spraying water and a boy riding his bike up behind him, sending the horse galloping up the slope of the dyke. The wagon overturned and Clyde took a bad spill, injuring one of his legs.
Unable to transport Clyde to an x-ray machine in Whitehorse because he couldn't handle the trailer ride that far, the condition of his leg was unknown. After no improvement, Clyde had to be put down on July 4th.
Holly will continue his tour guide business when he manages to find another suitable horse.
by Dan Davidson
The ink may scarcely be dry on Bylaw 02-11, Dawson's no smoking bylaw. It may not yet be certain if enforcement of the bylaw will be easy or if the community at large, so silent during the public consultation phase, will cooperate. The mayor himself may still arrive at meetings carrying a package of smokes and a lighter (to be used when he leaves the restaurant).
What is certain is that the Government of the Yukon approves whole heartedly. Health Minister Sue Edelman and Medical Health Officer Bryce Larke were in town to discuss health matters with council on June 28 and expressed their appreciation by presenting a plaque to the council.
The plaque, engraved metal on a marbled blue base, reads:
"Presented to His Worship, Mayor Glen Everitt, and Councillors Byrun Shandler, Wayne Potoroka, Joanne Van Nostrand and Debbie Nagano by the Honourable Sue Edelman, Minister of Health and Social Services.
"To recognize your courage in leading the battle against tobacco and second hand smoke in Dawson City, Yukon."
There was no rush by councillors to join the mayor and the officials in the official portrait. After all, the bylaw passed by a hair with councillors on both sides of the issue that it was either too lax or too tough.
"You're being backed up by the territorial government in our prevention program this fall," Edelman told them.
"When I was being considered as a candidate for this job a year ago," Larke said, "one of the questions they asked was 'what do you see as the big health problem that you can address?'
"I said, I think if they could stop smoking, that would be the biggest step they could take. I was told that, politically, no one will go there, so I really congratulate you. I think it's wonderful."
Edelman is also hoping that the recent increases in the cost of a package and carton of cigarettes will keep some youngsters from starting the habit.
"What we have found from studies is that children who would start may not start because the cost is prohibitive. If we can prevent one kid from starting smoking, we'll have done our job."
by Dan Davidson
Dawson's new smoking bylaw is creating economic hardship for at least one restaurant owner. Wade LaMarche says he has seen a very clear drop in local support for Klondike Kate's since the bylaw was passed. Close to a dozen regular customers have fallen off his list of patrons, and most of them have been specific in citing the smoking bylaw as the reason.
At Kate's, which is open seasonally from April to September, there are two options for eating. Inside LaMarche has the recently renovated cafe with high ceilings and lots of ventilation, changes he made to the original building when he was looking at the smoking situation several years ago.
Then there is the patio, or deck, a lattice enclosed, roofed over area with deck type furniture at the back of the restaurant. In good weather, the deck is the most popular of the two options, but good weather is not a constant thing in Dawson. A few years ago LaMarche and his partner, Josee Savard, purchased large gas heaters to take the chill off on bad days.
There have been some bad days this summer. On July 5, for instance, it was -3?C on the deck at 6:30 when the early shift of diners arrived. The heaters really aren't made to handle that.
"The people who make this place rock for me are my locals," LaMarche said in a recent interview. This is the working crowd that comes in for breakfast, coffee and a smoke in the early morning, and perhaps comes back for lunch.
He's found this is the key his shoulder season success, what has allowed him to extend his opening date from early June back to April and his closing from late August to late September. He does well enough in the summer, but the regular customers form the cornerstone of his profit.
Some of the unseasonable mornings lately raise another issue for LaMarche. What happens in late August and early September when the patio smoking option will be gone as the weather turns?
LaMarche says that a lot of people seem to be confused about where they can and can't smoke, and since, for some of them, smoking is an integral part of their eating experience, they prefer to go where there is no confusion.
"I've had over a dozen people come to me - call me - and say 'This is our last meal at Kate's'."
The bylaw affects only restaurants that might cater to people under 18 years of age. This fits Kate's, which LaMarche says is a family oriented place.
LaMarche is a non-smoker himself, and says that if he had a clientele that supported this lifestyle choice he would be happy to make his establishment non-smoking, but that's not the case, and he doesn't feel he should be the one having to enforce the council's rule.
Further, he feels that the bylaw actually does discriminate against places that are just restaurants. The hotels in town, most of which have both dining rooms and bars, have the option of simply serving food to smokers along with their alcohol. Places like Kate's are losing out on that account, he says.
"Ever since this (bylaw) has been read in, I've lost business. And it's the local people, and the people who have come here once and twice a day. Those are my bread and butter customers."
After 13 years in the business, building it up as he has, spending close to a million dollars on improvements to both the restaurant and cabins over the last 7 years, LaMarche is annoyed to suddenly be saddled with this bylaw over which he feels he has no control.
For this reason, and the loss of business, LaMarche has had his lawyer looking at the bylaw to see if it is a legal document. He says that taking council to court is the last thing he wants to do, but he feels pushed to examine his options.
When council passed the bylaw it was stated that enforcement would be reactive, driven by complaints, rather than proactive. LaMarche has already had his first complaint filed, and it was by Councillor Byrun Shandler, who observed a smoker on July 3, two days after the bylaw came into force.
There was a smoker. There's been at least one every day, and LaMarche says his staff all have orders to tell them to butt out or move to the patio, but it's a new duty and it's not their primary concern. The next day he found himself being visited by Mayor Everitt and city manager Scott Coulson to talk to him about the bylaw.
The bylaw, says LaMarche, is an infringement on the rights of both smokers and business people. If there must be such a law, and he would prefer there was not, then it should apply equally to restaurants, patios, bars - anywhere where any food or beverage is being served.
As it stands, he feels that his ability to run a legal business in a manner that he feels is best has been taken away from him, and he is seriously considering listing the place for sale.
by Heather Pauls
It seemed that the actual walk was the least important aspect of the Women's Shelter's annual Walkathon to raise funds to give a safe haven for abused women where they can make a fresh start. With its face painting, live musicians, BBQ and performance by Resolution Road, the event seemed to be more like a community carnival than a fund-raiser. The sunshine beamed on colorful balloons and eager participants who left to walk, leaving visitors on the lawn by the gazebo to enjoy the many things the Women's Shelter had planned.
Walkers participated by raising pledges for the Shelter for their walking abilities, and left the scene at the gazebo at 3:00 pm, July 6th to stroll or power-walk the perimeter of Dawson City together. Those that raised pledges received the BBQ dinner at 5:00 pm for free, while those that came for the fun of it paid $8 for a hamburger dinner or $7 for a hot dog meal. Considering the magnitude of the food cooked by volunteers and RCMP members, this was definitely a deal. The funds raised from pledges, raffle tickets and BBQ sales combined reached over $1,600.
Participants were entertained by an open mike, as guitarist after pianist after singer braved the stage to please the growing crowd. Spliced between performances were the results of the raffle, chosen by little helpers who pulled names out of brown paper bags for the master of ceremonies to announce. Prizes included such things as gold nugget earrings, a round trip on the Yukon Queen, and craft supplies.
Due to many complicated border crossing rules, Resolution Road, a band from Anchorage, Alaska, were not allowed to play at the Downtown Hotel as planned, and so found the Women's Shelter Walkathon event the perfect place to legally play. Dave Manning on keyboard, Robin Greene on vocals, Rolfe Buzzell on harmonica, and Mike Schultz on guitar captured everyone's attention at 7:00 pm when they took center stage for their country, folk and rock sounding performance. Their music was a great finish to a successful day of fundraising for a worthy cause.
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