Dawson City, Yukon Friday, June 26, 1998

Guests crowd the lawn at the Commissioner's Residence for the annual June Tea. Photo by Kevin Hastings

Feature Stories

Happy Birthday, Yukon
Commissioner's Ball is Largest Ever
Tr'ondek Hwech'in Ratify Land Claim
Three Locals Enter the Centennial Dyea to Dawson Race
Berton House is Finally Complete
Russel Smith Makes a Big Noise
Cemeteries of Dawson Project
Six Community Bikes Introduced in Dawson
Jenkins Offers World Heritage Status as "Birthday Present"
Dawson City Dispels False Rumours about Accommodation Shortage
Father Judge's Niece Visits Dawson
Letter from the Net

Welcome to the June 26 edition of the Klondike Sun. This one will be late getting posted. Our editor and our webmaster have been on overlapping trips out of their respective towns. (This is being written in Dawson, while the page is assembled in Whitehorse after electronic transfer.) The hardcopy edition of the Sun contained about 28 stories, 13 photos, our Klondike Krossword, and various other tidbits that didn't make it to this site. We think we're worth subscribing to. Help keep us alive.

Happy Birthday, Yukon

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe


Joe Henry, respected first nations elder, cuts the cake at the CIBC bank in Dawson, as Peggy Kine (soon to be departing) branch manager looks on. CIBC is celebrating 100 years in the Yukon and Mr. Henry recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Photo by Kevin Hastings

The Yukon has a new special day, a day which recognizes its birthday in a way that nothing else has. It hasn't been declared a holiday, but perhaps there's hope for the future.

The business of the continuation of the first session of the twenty-ninth legislative assembly, held in Dawson on June 13, 1998, was to pass a bill aptly named Bill 100. It would bring to fruition a dream long held by the former MLA from Watson Lake, Don Taylor, and raised as a motion by David Miller, when he was the Yukon Party MLA for Klondike in 1995.

Both men wanted to set aside this day, the day in 1898 when the Parliament of Canada carved the Yukon out of the greater Northwest Territories, as the Yukon's birthday.

It was, as speaker after speaker indicated, the discovery of gold and the subsequent invasion of the Klondike by 30,000 or more gold seekers - many of them Americans - which made it vital for the young Dominion of Canada to pay attention to the Yukon and make special arrangements for its governance. The result of that was the territory as we know it today.

Since Dawson City was its first capital, it was fitting, all MLAs agreed, that the announcement creating an official birthday for the territory should come from here, from the very chamber on the second floor of the old territorial building which now houses the Dawson City Museum, where the government of the Yukon used to sit in deliberation during the first 55 years of the territory's existence.

Perhaps it was the subdued wood panelling of the room, the subject of the legislation, or the immediacy of the public gallery, but this session contained none of the acrimony which seems to characterize the legislature when it meets in Whitehorse. The only amendment to the government's proposal was a friendly addition from Doug Phillips (Yukon Party), obviously agreed to earlier, that Yukon Day should also be considered a good time for people to learn more about their home and celebrate their traditions.

Each member spoke in turn to the motion, most exceeding the two minute time limit which had been agreed upon for their speeches.

Government Leader Piers McDonald expanded on the preamble to the bill, tracing the line of exploration and discussing the forces which came to bear on the land and people as the stampeders arrived in force. He traced the development of responsible government from its earliest days, noting that "...the (federal) government believed that once the gold was gone the newcomers would leave. They couldn't have been more wrong."

Picking up that theme, Opposition Leader John Ostashek noted that one of the cabinet ministers during his last mandate was Willard Phelps, a man whose father and grandfather had both served in Yukon governments during their lifetimes. He was careful to point out, however, that the Yukon had people and history which predated the Gold Rush.

"There are some historical revisionists who will say that the Klondike Gold Rush has been a non-native event," Ostashek said, "when in fact two of the three co-finders of gold on Rabbit Creek on that famous day in August were, in fact, Yukon first nation people." That, he said, made it an important day for everyone.

Lois Moorcroft (NDP) commented on the development of the legislative history of the Yukon, from a format intended to deal with transients to the complex structure we now have in place.

She also took the opportunity to point out that the role of women in those days was significant: "To no one's surprise, women were doing everything that they do today."

Pat Duncan (Lib.) framed her remarks within the context of a speculation about what thoughts might have been in the minds of the legislators who originally framed the Yukon Act. She cited a number of former MLAs who have died over the last decade and praised their contributions to the development of government in the territory. In addition, she mentioned native leaders Elijah Smith and Harry Allen as being major contributors to Yukon history.

"I see a land which has been strengthened by the people who came before us and ... most importantly ... I see hope."

David Keenan (NDP) spoke of the pleasure of being part of a process which seeks to find ways to move forward as a territory while respecting and cherishing the things of the past. He mentioned a number of first nations people who have been members of the the legislature in the past.

"...Our job is not done. We must continue to work to evolve so we will be able to hold and preserve the integrity of the Yukon territory as it was in the past and be able to take it into the future."

Trevor Harding set his remarks within the context of Marty Waldman's song "Another Day in Paradise" and put forth a vision of Yukon Day as a time to celebrate the efforts of everyone who strives to make the territory successful, especially workers in all sectors of the economy.

"It's about ... blue skies and people relaxing...hard work, pioneering spirit...tradition, culture and history...," Harding said.

Doug Phillips (Yukon Party) noted that it had been fifty years since his own family had arrived in the Yukon and proposed the cultural amendment already mentioned. He ended by reading part of Service's "Spell of the Yukon".

David Sloan (NDP) celebrated the "true political evolution" that the territory was making as more and more first nations ratified their land claims.

To Eric Fairclough (NDP)the Yukon was quite simply "God's Country" and he welcomed Yukon Day as a way to celebrate that.

Jack Cable (Lib.) characterized the Gold Rush as a time when "a culture whose members then focussed on extraction of a metal from the ground came face to face with a culture whose members had a different relationship with the land. Over the last 100 years the members of the two cultures have slowly grown together and they've exchanged cultural values to our benefit...It is interesting to reflect on that growing together... and the changing face of this legislative assembly."

He said that by far the majority of the present council had some time and roots invested in the Yukon, unlike the transients of the first council. "We are representative of the changing face of the Yukon."

Dennis Fentie (NDP) saw Yukon Day as a day to renew commitments and "build a better and brighter future for all people in the territory. It is indeed a pleasure to support this legislation."

Doug Livingston (NDP) spoke of "a spirit of common themes and common goals which give us much hope for the future and much reason to celebrate."

Todd Hardy (NDP) noted that the regular people, the workers, are often forgotten when contributions to the Yukon are mentioned. He saw a need to look forward to the coming millennium at the same time as we look back at the past. He noted that the territory was no longer isolated from either the good or bad things of the Outside world and that we face many challenges, both in terms of our environment and our economy as a result.

"We're Yukoners and very proud of it," said Sue Edelman (Lib.). Her speech was a celebration of the natural beauty of the land, a land which "hits... you by surprise and reminds you why you decided to live (here)."

Yukon's people have, she said, always had to adapt to the land, whether you consider the Beringian nomads of 30,000 years ago, the stampeders of the 1898 or the workers who followed the Alaska Highway just over 50 years ago. Our boom and bust cycles and our sometimes wild social statistics (we lead the country in murders, alcoholism and unmarried births) are, she said, indicative of our pioneer state.

"Right now we're in a bust cycle, but we'll survive," Edelman concluded. "We're Yukoners."

Gary McRobb (NDP) presented a tour of his riding before indicating his support of the bill.

When it came the final vote, all sixteen voices spoke in the affirmative and the bill was declared a law by Commissioner Judy Gingell.

Several MLAs took the occasion to congratulate the Tr'ondek Hwech'in on the ratification of their Land Claim, which took place and was finalized on June 12, the day before the legislature met.

Speaker Robert Bruce (NDP) presented an antique wall clock to the Museum, a 1920 model similar to one which might once have been in the building.

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Commissioner's Ball is Largest Ever

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe


Dick and Joanne Van Nostrand don elaborate masks to complement their costumes at the Commissioner's Ball. Photo by Kevin Hastings

The chair of this year's Commissioner's Ball committee believes that the organizers have outdone themselves once again.

"It's fabulous. One of the finest events of the season, that's for sure," said Lambert Curzon.

This year's banquet numbers are far in excess of anything attempted before. The Palace Grand can only hold 184 and the years that the meal was held at Gerties the committee squeezed in 283. This year the Ball finally outgrew the Palace Grand Theatre entirely and moved outside into the Dawson City Music Festival Tent, which was pitched in the parking lot.

Special features this year included the addition of some valuable and interesting gifts which more than ate up the price of the meal. At each plate there was either a little gold pan with some gold dust, or a commemorative card with a nugget attached. Most of the tables also contained centrepieces made up of the masques which people had worn when they first arrived at the Ball that evening.

"How many events do you attend where people are giving away gold?" Curzon asked.

Giveaways also included the champagne flutes, donated by the CIBC, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in the Yukon on June 15. The tables this year were each named for famous or infamous characters of the Klondike era, and guests were called to the buffet laid on by the Triple J Hotel by table name.

Later in the evening Denny Kobayashi, the general manager of the Klondike Visitors Association, informed the guests that the KVA had decided early on to run this year's ball at a loss in order to finance the grandeur they felt the year deserved.

Then guests were proved with a million dollars in gambling money so they could participate in the Klondike Millionaires' Casino set up in the PG after the meal.

After Commissioner Judy Gingell had introduced her guests and delivered her thoughts on the significance of the evening (see separate story), she presented Commissioner's Pins to Denny Kobayashi and Lambert Curzon, two Dawson residents who have, she said, been more than generous with time, words and ideas to help her promote the Yukon when she is travelling.

As a result of Kobayashi's assistance, a group of Lieutenant Governors and Commissioners will be meeting in Whitehorse in September for a two day conference.

"I'm very grateful to have Denny there to be able to help me when I do need this assistance," the Commissioner said.

Of Lambert Curzon she said that he knew she could "always call on him on a moment's notice for his advice."

Kobayashi took the opportunity to announce that Central Mountain Air will be flying to Dawson on a regular basis for the next while. Company representative were present at the ball.

American Consul General, Jay Bruns, spoke briefly of his enthusiasm for the Yukon and the importance that he personally attributes to the Klondike Gold Rush.

"One hundred years ago (it) captured the imagination of the entire world."

Bruns holds to Pierre Berton's Klondike thesis that the rush was a search for hope as much as for gold, and that even those who went away without a dusting of the yellow metal left rich in spirit, a richness which he believes helped to energize the turn of the last century. (For more on Brun's reaction see a separate interview.)

From the CIBC came Jack Shore, senior vice-president for the B.C. and Yukon Region of the CIBC, bringing greetings from the bank's 42,000 employees.

"CIBC is extremely proud to be part of the history in the Klondike and in Dawson City," Shore said. Representatives from the bank made the trek here in 1898 at the behest of the Canadian government, hoping to establish the first Yukon bank. "Lo and behold, one hundred years later, CIBC is still here and in fact the only bank which has stuck it through. It was an exciting time.. even for bankers...who probably don't get excited very easily."

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Tr'ondek Hwech'in Ratify Land Claim

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe

The Tr'ondek Hwech'in have ratified their Land Claims agreement, bringing to a close some 24 years of negotiations and planning.

Chief Steve Taylor made the announcement at the Commissioner's Tea on June 13, the day after the vote, which was passed by a substantial margin on June 12. Government Leader Piers McDonald had also announced it during the special sitting of the legislature, earlier that day.

It was just last year, May 24, 1997, that the parties finally reached agreement on the main points of the Claim. It has taken a year to study the package and get the information out to the members of the first nation, about half of whom do not live in Dawson.

The response for the vote was tremendous by local standards. Returning officer Bonnie Barber confirms that most first nation elections do not have a high turn out, but not this time.

Of the Dawson residents who could have voted, only six failed to do so. Ninety-nine bend members living in Whitehorse also did not vote. But the total turn-out, including mail-in ballots from Outside the Yukon brought the total up to an 82% response, and of those 472 voters, 72% ratified the Land Claim document. There were 576 people who could have voted and 105, nearly all from outside the Klondike, did not.

Chief Steve Taylor attributed the high response rate to the hard work put in by his committee over the last year. There have been regular information sessions at the Tro Chu Tin Hall, door-to-door visits, a video production and lots of information hand-outs. The Tr'ondek Hwech'in leadership was fully behind the draft claim and wanted to make sure it was accepted.

"We had a group of people and a ratification committee that ensured that the people did get out and vote and get informed. It was only through their efforts that we had such a large turn-out."

Two days after the vote Taylor admitted he was feeling a bit at lose ends. So much of his time over his last eight years as chief has been spent on Land Claims that it was hard to see that phase as having ended.

"Now it's implementation of the agreement," Taylor said. "There's still a lot to be done yet. It's not all over by any means. We have to develop our self-government structures."

Final Agreement Highlights

The Final Agreement also provides for:

Self-Government Agreement Highlights

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Three Locals Enter the Centennial Dyea to Dawson Race

by Jocelyn Bell
Sun Reporter

Three local people are representing Dawson City at the Dyea to Dawson Centennial Race. Troy Suzuki and Brent McDonald are one team and Reinald Nohal and his sister, Hanne Raab of Austria, form the other. There are 55 teams in total competing for the top prize of $5,000 (U.S.) in Klondike Gold.

The distance of the race, which began Saturday, June 13, is approximately 600 miles, taking same route that gold prospectors would have taken during the Gold Rush 100 years ago.

It begins with a 35-mile hike on Chilkoot Trail from Dyea, Alaska to Bennett Lake, B.C. Racers must carry a minimum of 50 lbs each over the Chilkoot Trail from Dyea to Lake Bennett. In keeping with the spirit of the Gold Rush, teams are required to carry the same items that were required of stampeders 100 years ago: a 12" gold pan; a 10" cast iron frying pan; a hatchet; an 8" diameter shovel; a 22 oz. hammer; 5 lbs. of nails' a 5-lb. sack of beans; a 5-lb. sack of flour; 5 lbs. of dried fruit; 1-lb. sack of coffee; 1-lb. sack of sugar. Contestants can eat the food after the Lake Bennett checkpoint or they can drop it off. All other items must make it to Dawson.

After the Chilkoot Trail, the teams get into canoes and paddle 565 miles on Yukon Headwater Lakes and the Yukon River to Dawson City.

There are strict regulations on the canoes contestants are allowed to take. They must be either touring/wilderness canoes or cruiser canoes, and 15' to 18' in length. Kayaks, sails, motors, rudders, umbrellas and any other item that would give a team an advantage are not allowed.

There are also required layovers at different points along the way so that even the most competitive team has to rest.

Reinald Nohal and Troy Suzuki spoke to the Klondike Sun just days before they embarked on the race.

KS: How does your trek compare to what the stampeders of old had to do?

RN: In the old days, each person was required to carry 1000 lbs. They either had to hire packers, who were often natives, or they had to go over the Chilkoot Trail 20 times -- 10 if they were very strong. In our race, we are required to carry 50 lbs. They weren't racing in those days -- except for the gold -- so they could rest along the way. When the stampeders arrived at Bennett Lake, they had to build boats or rafts. We'll have our canoes shipped in for us by train.

KS: Have you done a lot of training for this race?

RN: I don't think I've done enough. It would have been better to have done more.

KS: What physical strains are you anticipating?

RN: The weight of the pack will be tough on our joints. Then it's simply endurance and getting over sleep deprivation. You can camp along the lakes and there are mandatory lay overs. But once you hit the Yukon river, you have to keep going with no breaks. We will even have to cook in the canoe, without stopping. One person can sleep a bit in the canoe while the other one paddles.

KS: What's your edge in this race?

RN: Our combined age is 120. What we may lack in physical strength, wel'l make up for in patience and endurance. We'll see if 120 years of experience will pay. I've hike the Chilkoot before, so I know what to expect. I've also done a lot of canoeing in the Yukon and Alaska. I've been up the Porcupine River to Old Crow. My sister is a rower, so she know how to read the water too. We don't expect to win, but we want to finish with an honourable time. I'm really determined to finish it before the final barbecue.

KS: Why did you decide to enter in the race?

RN: Last year I was at the final barbecue and that made me certain that I wanted to be part of this year's race.

KS: How did you convince your sister to join you?

RN: She knows I'm crazy and she is not much different.

KS: Anything we should watch for as you cross the finish line?

RN: I will be flying the Canadian flag. I'm a landed immigrant, but on July 1, I will be becoming a Canadian citizen.

Troy Suzuki

KS: When did you decide you wanted to enter this race?

TS: We were a late entry into the race. For a while we were eighth on the waiting list. I was never completely sure that I wanted to do it. But it seems like I was meant to do it because I was snuck in at the last minute.

KS: What's the competition like?

TS: The people at Wenonah canoes say that the guy who won it last year wouldn't come in the top 20 of this year's competitors. I guess the canoe racing community is pretty small. Or maybe they were just trash talking. I know we're completely out of our league. But I don't know how many competititors are supermen and how many are like me. I think we'll place somewhere in the 40s. But just to finish it, that's something. I don't want to get psyched out about the competition.

KS: What have you been doing to train?

TS: I've been lusting after huge sums of cash to get in the spirit of the Gold Rush. Seriously though, I was jogging up the dome with dog food and rocks in my back pack. But the last three weeks haven't been so good for training because I've been working. I canoe to work, but it's only about 10 or 20 minutes across the river.

KS: How do you prepare yourself psychologically for this?

TS: You get focussed on the fact that you're not doing it to win. When all thses guys are running past you, the tendency is to want to chase them.

KS: Is re-enacting the history of the Gold Rush part of your reason for doing this?

TS: I'm not really into the history or the gold rush. That's like a politically incorrect thing to say around here, but I don't understand gold. I haven't bonded with it. I think it's neat that the race ends up in Dawson, and I'm from Dawson. And it's the journey that made this town what it is today. I can understand the people that came during the gold rush. They were looking for money and adventure. To do this race, it's a bit esoteric. Why would you put yourself through this if there's not the possibility of being rich at the end? I think I'm doing this because I need a kick in the ass. I need to get pushed toward some edge because I get too comfortable.

KS: Will you tell your grandchildren about it one day?

TS: I hope not. I hope I've got something better to tell them about than this. I don't think I'll even talk about it much. It's more for my own satisfaction.

KS: What's your team dynamic like?

TS: Brent and I have spent about 10 minutes in a canoe together and we have yet to hike together. I think he's going to surprise both himself and me. I think he's really competitive. I have a feeling I'm competitive too. I'm sure we'll snap at each other when we're delirious. I get bitchy when I'm tired.

KS: Anything else?

TS: I want to mention that our sponsor is Earl MacKenzie of MacKenzie Petroleum. And Louis Borste, who is the mayor of West Dawson, gave us a donation with the condition that we fly the flag of the West Dawson Liberation Front.

Results of the Dyea-Dawson Race, as posted by the organizing committee, were as follows:

Finish Line - Dawson City, Yukon - June 18

1. Carriere/Landick #40 (Sask./Mich) 9:29 a.m.
2. Lokken/Endestad #1 (Alaska) 12:16 p.m.
3. Kazik/Hajsky #41 (Czech. Republic) 12:28 p.m.
4. McConnochie/Moritz #7 (Alaska) 1:00 p.m.
5. Olson/Cupp #29 (Wash./B.C.) 4:51 p.m.
6. Jakob/Kellerhals #43 (B.C.) 5:20 p.m.
7. Jull/McKague #30 (Yukon) 9:32 p.m.
8. Settle/Zidek, #39 (Alberta) 11:13 p.m.
9. Fekete/Phillips #27 (Yukon) 11:13 p.m. June 19
10. Jacobson/Wheeler #5 (Alaska) 12:11 a.m.
11. Reifenstuhl/Gaede #3 (Alaska) 1:33 a.m.
12. Albisser/Labelle #52 (Yukon)3:13 a.m.
13. Cobb/Cobb #11 (Oregon) 4:05 a.m.
14. Timm/Timm #32 (Alaska) 6:37 a.m.
15. Todd/Leighton #38 (Yukon/B.C.) 7:04 a.m.
16. Varieur/Varieur #35 (Ont./Alb.) 11:27 a.m.
17. Brewer/Whiting, #53 (Alaska) 1:54 p.m.
18. Misik/Misikova #45 (Slovakia) 4:21 p.m. (Mixed Winner)
19. Moore/Jager #55 (Minn./Alaska) 11:46 p.m. June 20
20. Bamford/Staples, #44 (Yukon/Alb.) 12:47 a.m.
21. Suzuki/McDonald #50 (Dawson City) 3:28 a.m.
22. Timmermans/Timmermans #26 (Yukon) 5:51 a.m.
23. Seethaler/Forsythe #15 (Alaska) 9:02 a.m.
24. Heminway/Carr #12 (Washington) 10:03 a.m.
25. McLain/McLain #21 (New Hampshire) 8:53 p.m.
26. Arcand/Lutz #49 (Yukon) 9:07 p.m.
27. Roussell/Brown #19 (Yukon) 10:22 p.m. June 21
28. Broten/Costa #31 (Saskatchewan) 2:33 a.m.
29. Jack/Winstanley #37 (Yukon) 7:25 a.m.
30. Bousson/Russo #34 (Dyea/Skagway) 8:44 a.m.
31. Martin/Garrett #33 (Washington) 8:58 a.m.
32. Harris/Dunn #14 (Yukon) 9:48 a.m. (Women?s Winner)
33. Dixon/Crangle #36 (Alaska) 6:26 p.m.
34. Soderstrom/McKibben #54 (Illinois) 6:41 p.m.
35. Staeck/Darnell #24 (Nevada/Alaska) 7:09 p.m.
36. Morrison/Tibbetts #2 (Tex./New Mex.-Online team) 8:09 p.m.
37. Ramsey/Slocum #9 (Alaska) 10:38 p.m. June 22
38. Zimmerman/McDonald #51 (Yukon) 12:06 a.m.
39. Firth/Farkvam #28 (Yukon) 3:55 a.m.
40. Nohal/Raab # 22 (Dawson/Austria) 7:43 p.m.
41. O'Brien/O'Brien #8 (Yukon/Ireland) 7:52 p.m.
42. Simpson/Hennigan #47 (England/Yukon) 7:59 p.m. June 23
43. Fermont/Theunissen #48 (Netherlands) 7:50 p.m. June 25
44. Hartwick/Hartwick, #25 (Ontario) 1:20 a.m.

Out of Fort Selkirk - June 23

Davis/Stewart #16 (Ontario/Mass.) 2:45 p.m.
Stewart/McClatchy #18 (Quebec) 2:45 p.m. June 24
Koons/Reid #6 (Calif./Oregon) 10:30 a.m.

Scratched

Bayard/James, #23 (B.C.) - Carcross, 6-15
Blake/Robert #17 (NWT) - Carcross, 6-15
Bishop/Schick #4 (Yukon) - Lake Laberge, 6-16
Robb/Norbury, #46 (Great Britain) - Whitehorse, 6-16 (Robb switched to solo kayak, left Whitehorse 6-18, arrived Dawson City at 4:25 p.m. on 6-22)
Solie/Sturm #20 (Alaska) - Carmacks, 6-17 (Solie continued with sub, left Carmacks at 8:30 p.m. 6-18 in team 40's canoe, arrived Dawson City at 9:24 a.m. on 6-20)
Muse/Smith, #10 (Washington) - Whitehorse (drove to Carmacks and put in at noon on 6-20, arrived Dawson City at 10:00 p.m. on 6-23)

Race Summary

Solomon Carriere of Cumberland House, Sask. and Steven Landick of Marquette, Mich. paddled into the heart of the Klondike at 9:29 a.m. Thursday, June 18. The U.S./Canada team covered the 600-mile Dyea to Dawson route in an elapsed time of four days, one hour and 52 minutes, seven hours faster than last year's winning time posted by Jim Lokken and Art Ward of Fairbanks, Alaska. Lokken, with new partner Auden Endestad, finished second, almost two hours behind the winners. The team of Robert Kazik and Stanislav Hajsky of the Czech Republic came on strong at the end of the race to overtake the Juneau, Alaska team of John McConnochie and Phil Moritz for third place.

Upon reaching Dawson, teams get their mandatory gold rush gear checked, including a gold pan which is used to pan for gold. Once they find "color in the pan," their time is recorded.

All teams arrived by noon Friday in time for the Dyea to Dawson Awards BBQ on the grounds of the restored Yukon Commissioner's Residence.

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Berton House is Finally Complete

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe

In Dawson we know how to milk a centennial or an opening for all it's worth. At least that was the conclusion reached by several of the speakers at the official ceremony to mark the completion of the renovations at Berton House on June 12, 1998.

Members of the Legislative Assembly from all three political parties were present for the event, which came the day before the Commissioners' annual tea and ball. KVA general manager Denny Kobayashi introduced Minister of Health Dave Sloan (NDP), Minister of Education Lois Moorcroft (NDP), Doug Phillips (Yukon Party), Pat Duncan (Liberal Leader), House Speaker Robert Bruce (NDP), Jack Cable (Liberal) and Sue Edelman (Liberal).

Berton House, though owned by the Yukon Arts Council, is under the administration of the Klondike Visitors Association, and current chair Dick Van Nostrand was first to speak.

It was Mark Smith of the Yukon Anniversaries Commission who drew to Van Nostrand's attention the fact that Berton House had been officially opened before, back in 1996, when the author himself was present for the event. The KVA chair's return quip was, "Yeah, that's how we survive up here."

"It's nice," he continued, "to be part of something that finally has come to a completion. Berton House was acquired by the Yukon Arts Council in 1989, thanks to a generous donation of some $50,000 from Pierre Berton. Renovations and landscaping have been a project of the KVA in partnership with the Arts Council."

Van Nostrand credited former KVA chair Giovanni Castellarin for shepherding the project through to its end. Since 1989 the KVA has invested $135,000 on building repairs, upgrading and landscaping, transforming what was a sagging, foundation wracked old house into a structure which will have housed half a dozen writers-in-residence by the end of 1998.

Van Nostrand thanked all the patrons of Diamond Tooth Gerties who have made the project financially possible and provided jobs for the local contractors and landscapers who did the work. Territorial and municipal programs also assisted.

Lois Moorcroft told the audience that she could "truly attest from personal experience of the benefits of having a writer-in-residence" (she is married to freelancer Al Pope).

"I hope Berton House, in having ongoing writers here, can raise the profile of the Yukon and further the arts in the Yukon and Canada."

Jack Short of the CIBC brought his own greetings, and worked in mention of his Bank's 100th anniversary in the Yukon. CIBC helps to fund the writers-in-residence program. He termed it another contribution from "the bank who brought you Robert Service", who was, of course, a clerk in the bank when he first came to the Yukon.

"We're very pleased to be able to support the Berton House project, not only through our support of Pierre Berton personally , but through the support of the construction and writer-in-residence program."

From the Yukon Arts Council came a message of thanks to the YTG for its support in backing the program in Dawson. "The writers' retreat that now is a living part of this community is a dream come true for many people, in particular Pierre Berton...The working partnership of the YAC and the KVA...bore fruit in 1996 when the house was opened and received its first writer, Russell Smith.

"This grand literary adventure will continue for many years to come and could well be the living inspiration for other, similar artistic undertakings in Dawson."

Denny Kobayashi took a few minutes to introduce Tess Fragoulis, the second writer this year to take up residence in the house, following the several months spent here by Michael Kusugak.

The work being celebrated at the house this day was the completion of renovations and landscaping, and the establishment of the viewing pad, which its three plagues explaining the history of the house and the Berton family.

The small crowd of locals and visitors stayed for a time after the speeches to sample the catering of Bonanza Meats and chat with members of the KVA and the new writer.

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Russel Smith Makes a Big Noise

by Palma Berger ("Mrs. Yukon")

In the fall of 1996 Dawson had as its first writer inresidence in the Berton House an author from Toronto, Russell Smith. Smith had lived in a noisier part of Toronto. His move to Dawson was to help him work on a new book.

On C.B.C.'s Midday on June 9th, he was interviewed for this new book which he has named Noise. It is about an uncool guy, James, a freelance writer who likes classical music. To outward appearances James is a 'hip' sort of fellow. But as Smith says, "'Hip' people who do not define themselves as 'hip' are doing only what they are interested in." There are many amusing incidents in James' life. But it is also about noise. The noise we have in our life, i.e. the noise if one lives in busy Toronto, or works in a busy office of fax machines, phones, photocopiers etc.

Our lives are played out to a soundtrack of noise. Whether it be the aforementioned or our choice of making our own noise, as in playing the tape of our choice. James uses music to give a sense of order to his life.

Smith found it helpful to write on this topic in Dawson because, after leaving busy Toronto, he was astounded at the stillness and quiet of Dawson in winter. Eventually in his mind, the memories of Toronto became darker, uglier and more intense compared to the dead quiet of Dawson in the winter. This helped him understand the topic better. The book sounds most interesting.

Noise by Russel Smith is published by Porcupine Quill.

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Cemeteries of Dawson Project

by Ed Jones
Sun Volunteer

Beginning June 29 through September 5, visitors to Dawson looking for the grave of a relative family friend or someone from their hometown who died sometime between 1897 and the present, will have help available.

Names of those buried in Dawson's cemeteries (Y.O.O.P., Masons, Jewish, Catholic, City, RNWMP/RCMP), and in most instances their burial sites will be available. Assistance will be provided for locating information on others who may have died in other locations in the Yukon.

The long-term objective of the project is to gather information from those seeking grave locations, compiling it, and giving it to the Klondike history Library at the Dawson City Museum.

The community at large is encouraged to participate in the long-range objective. Please call to contribute any information you have about an ancestor, relative or friend buried in the cemeteries of Dawson. Every person's life is a story of joy, sorrow, success, failure, comedy and tragedy -- we are much more than birth and death statistics. Any bit of information is important.

Don't let any of Dawson's people of the past be forgotten. Someday in the future perhaps you great-grandchildren will come seeking information about your grandfather. If you contribute it today it will be available at the Klondike History Library in the Dawson City Museum tomorrow.

A brochure at the Reception Centre and a sign at the top of Mary McLeod Road will provide information on how to use this free service.

For information call 993-5874.

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Six Community Bikes Introduced in Dawson

by Jocelyn Bell
Sun Reporter

In an effort to curb the problem of bike theft in Dawson, the RCMP has initiated the Community Bike Program. "We do have such a problem with bikes being stolen around town," said RCMP Sgt. John Taylor.

On June 10, six brightly-painted bicycles were distributed around the downtown area to be used by community members to get around town. The RCMP chose good, sturdy mountain bikes from among the ones that were turned in unclaimed. The idea is that after a person uses a bike, they leave it in an accessible area in the downtown core for the next person.

Bob Cartwright, owner of Klondike Autobody in Whitehorse, donated his time and money to paint the bikes. They come in four different colours: bright yellow, bright orange, bright green and royal blue. Cartwright painted the entire bikes -- tires, spokes, and handle bars too -- "so nobody can pilfer any parts off them," he said.

"If it works, I guess it would be alright. You're gonna see 'em all lined up in front of the Westminster. But I'm sure somebody will get some transportation out of it," he predicted.

Taylor said he knows this program isn't going to solve the bike theft problem, but it may prevent bikes from being stolen when somebody is trying to get home from work or the bars and doesn't have a ride. He's confident people won't leave them at home, and will return them to the downtown core.

The RCMP doesn't have any funds to repair the bikes and is counting on the community to get them tuned up when needed. "I hope people will be responsible enough to get them repaired," said Taylor.

Tim Gunter, owner of Circle Cycle, said he thinks the bike program is "a great idea... I think if it helps to cut down bike theft in town then that's to the benefit of everybody."

However, Gunter is concerned that since no one owns the bikes, no one will be responsible for their upkeep. "I'm doubtful that anyone will take it upon themselves to do the repairs needed," he said. "What happens if they get a flat tire?" he asked. "An inner tube costs money."

Gunter didn't want to commit to volunteering to keep the bikes in repair as this could become very costly for him. He did indicate that he would be happy to at least look at a bike if something was wrong with it.

He also cautioned community bike users. "You can usually tell in the first few minutes of riding a bike if something's wrong with it." But he didn't like to think of anybody going down a hill without working brakes.

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Jenkins Offers World Heritage Status as "Birthday Present"

by Dan Davidson
Sun Scribe

Peter Jenkins is never one to miss an opportunity to promote the interests of his Klondike Riding. He seized his time during the debate on the Yukon Day Act to raise once again a proposal which was first floated last summer by Pierre Berton.

Jenkins termed his proposal a "birthday gift" to the Yukon.

Berton and former Parks Canada official, Jacques Dalibard, have proposed that Dawson City be named a World Heritage Site as part of the United Nations World Heritage List. This proposal was made almost a year ago.

"The City of Dawson...has already taken the first step in applying for this designation," Jenkins told the Legislature.

"The World Heritage Site Program was established by the UN's Convention Concerning the Protection of the World 's Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972."

Dawson meets three of the six criteria which would place it in the company of such sites in Canada as the old part of Quebec City and the old town section Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. There are 506 such sites around the world and 10 in Canada.

Jenkins said that Dawson would benefit by becoming more widely know throughout the world. This would add in general to "the enhancement and lure of the Yukon, which would present many more opportunities for all Yukoners."

He got a laugh when he noted that "this world class designation, I am sure, would also require Dawson City to have an expanded airport and a bridge across the Yukon River."

Jenkins continued: 'Mr Speaker, I believe this present to the Yukon could be forthcoming in a relatively short period of time, unlike the 100 years it has taken to officially recognize the birthday of one of the most scenic, beautiful and historically colourful places in all of Canada."

Yukon's greatest asset, Jenkins said, was its people, "both first nations and those of us who have chosen Yukon as our home. What a present - what a gift for Yukon, Mr. Speaker."

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Dawson City Dispels False Rumours about Accommodation Shortage

Dawson City The Klondike Visitors Association and the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce are issuing this joint release to dispel false rumors about the availability of accommodation in Dawson City this summer

President of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce Dick Van Nostrand said: "While it is true that Dawson City's major hotels are sold out on a few specific dates, there is an abundance of accommodation available throughout the summer. In addition, the hotel properties often have rooms released by tour companies, throughout the season." Mr. Van Nostrand went on to say that: "there are ample Recreational vehicle spaces available all summer and overflow campgrounds are in place."

Denny Kobayashi Executive Director of The Klondike Visitors Association stated that: "A visitor has NEVER been stranded without a room in Dawson City.

The local Visitor Reception Center conducts a daily count of available rooms and Dawson City is not sold out on ANY night this summer The City of Dawson, the Klondike Visitors Association, the Chamber of Commerce, local Tourism Yukon officials and the Klondike Centennial Society met a month ago to develop emergency shelter plans to accommodate any visitor who can not find a room. This plan is discussed each year, but has never been implemented as rooms have always been available.'' Kobayashi went on to say that: "It is true that a tour operator looking for 20 rooms for 3 consecutive nights in the same property is going to have some problems. However, even this type of request can be accommodated most of the summer. We are pleased to say that we have an abundance of space for RV I Rubbertire traffic visitors."

Dawson City will be contacting the travel trade to ensure they have accurate and timely information about accommodation in Dawson City this summer. Inquiries can be directed to the Klondike Visitors Association at (867) 993-5575 or fax (867) 993-6415 or the Dawson City Visitors Reception Center at (867) 933-5566. For information contact Dick Van Nostrand President Dawson City Chamber of Commerce (867) 993-5346 or Denny Kobayashi, Executive Director, Klondike Visitors Association, (867) 9935575

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Father Judge's Niece Visits Dawson

by Anne Saunders
Sun Staff

Marty Peterson's life-long dream of visiting the grave of her uncle, gold rush hero Father William H. Judge, founder of the first hospital in Dawson City in 1898, was finally realized last week.

Almost 76 years old, the resident of San Jose, California has desired to make this trip all her life.

"My mother had planned to come to Dawson, but was unable to, due to the responsibilities of a family. I feel very fortunate to see uncle Will's church and the place where he's buried.

Marty travelled with a friend, Helen Hafner and stayed 3 days enjoying Dawson.

Marty appreciated the thoughtfulness and gregarious nature of the current priest of St. Mary's Church, Father Tim Coonen who showed them around town.

Her companion, (who is approximately in the same age bracket as Marty) playfully quipped that maybe "Marty could have waited a few years longer to get to meet her uncle Will in person!"

Father Judge, an American Jesuit missionary, was known as the "Saint of Dawson" passed away in January, 1899. As the plaque near his gravesite says, " he was well loved by the local people and his death caused widespread mourning throughout the community."

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Letter from the Net

Greetings from Switzerland

Dear Editor:

As a former student and worker in Dawson, I really enjoyed reading your paper. A real "blast from the past", I was amazed to see many names of people I knew. Anyone remembering me or my family may also send me an Email.

Thanks,

Ernest Stricker
Zuerich, Switzerland
E-mail skrampal@webshuttle.ch

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