Dawson City, Yukon Friday, May 10, 2002

Most of the Robert Service School is reflected in the enormous melt puddles that recently filled the corner at Fifth and Queen. Photo Janice Cliff of Peabody's Photo Parlour

Feature Stories

Floodpuddles Narrow the Streets of Dawson
KIAC and Yukon College Graduate Nine From Arts Program
Arts for Employment
KVA 2002 Entertainment
Tourism Industry Opposes Combined Marketing Plan
Youngest KPMA President Has Lived Her Life in Mining
Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Plan for Summer Displays at Cultural Centre
Tourism Operators Gathered to Gain Strength
TIAY Awards Recognize Former Deputy Minister
And the Beat Goes On...

Welcome to the May 10, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 22 photographs and 23 articles that were in the 24 page May 7 hard copy edition. 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?

Seriously, we do encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun. 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. See our home page for subscription information.

Floodpuddles Narrow the Streets of Dawson

by Dan Davidson

Dawson City's public works department has been right on schedule lately, scraping the overburden of snow off the streets and doing what it can to minimize the depths of mid season when it finally hits us, but the weather isn't quite cooperating.

Last week we stopped having those -20 degree nights and the degree of nocturnal freezeback fell precipitately. Combine that with a mixture of sunny days, rainy days, sleet and a scattering of snowflurries and you get a bit more water than the storm drains can handle.

That's especially true is not all the corner drains have been opened yet - because you have to remove the snow and dig them up to steam out any remaining ice in the grates.

At any rate, the effect is quite dramatic when it takes place, as visitors noted during the annual general meeting of the Tourism Association of the Yukon. Rabbi Peter Tarlow, addressing the delegates on the need to make the most of what you have in abundance, spun a scenario in which the Klondike capital mounted an annual Mud Festival during the spring shoulder season.

As he was speaking, the corner of Queen Street and Fifth Avenue was beginning its transformation into a pair of small lakes, drowning the boardwalk in front of the Robert Service School and reducing Fifth Avenue to a narrow single lane. By 11 a.m. on Saturday morning city crews were hard at work playing Moses at the Red Sea crossing.

It took about five hours to drain these floodpuddles down to mud puddle status.

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KIAC and Yukon College Graduate Nine From Arts Program

by Dan Davidson


KIAC/Yukon College grads take turns at the microphone. The class consisted of Kim Joseph, Tish Lindgren, Jen Leece, Dominic Guillet, Dylan Griffith, Jeanette Sudsbear, Gail Calder, Casey Woodfine and Andy Levesque (missing). Photo by Dan Davidson

The Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture and Yukon College celebrated a joint graduation ceremony in the Oddfellows Hall on April 27. The occasion was the second graduating class from the six month Arts for Employment program, which the two institutions have been co-sponsoring over the winter.

The nine students, ranging in age from late teens to mid- forties, have spent their days since last October pursuing skills in computer design & layout, photography, drawing and painting, as well as developing some business skills in the hope of parlaying their interest in the arts into a career, or at least a lucrative hobby.

The course is finished now, and their graduation, attended by friends and supporters, came the day after the opening of an exhibition of their work, called "What are the Odds?" in the ODD Gallery downstairs.

As an adult level program, Arts for Employment had a unique feel that it's hard to duplicate in a school classroom.

"Our teachers," said Jeanette Sudsbear, who moved to Dawson to take this course, " weren't teachers at all, they were ... mentors and dream weavers, the whole gamut."

The students went on, one by one, to express their gratitude to the two institutions, office staff, teachers and all who had helped them to achieve their goals.

Dawsonite Kim Joseph seemed to be speaking for many of the students when she said, "I can't believe some of the stuff I did in this course. I'd just like to say, 'Mahsi Cho.'"

Photography instructor Mario Villeneuve had some thoughts about the experience, speaking as one of the guest instructors: "The students, the staff and the people of Dawson City in general really make outsiders feel like they're not outsiders, but actually part of Dawson City. It's a great gift you have.

"When you know, after your first year, that one of your past students has graduated to the instructor level, then you know that the program is working." He was referring to Paul Henderson, who graduated from last year's program as worked as a teacher in this year's.

"I think I can speak for all the instructors that really ... we learned as much as the students did, and it makes us realize that learning is just a process throughout your life and you should never stop. This is a great program to promote learning (for life) and we will only grow if we do that."

David Curtis, who taught art, spoke of his transformation from a "reluctant conscript" instructor, to one who now sees teaching as having a vital role in giving something back to the community and passing on traditions. While the graduation might mark the end of the program for this year, he said, there are no endings in art and the students were just at a new beginning.

The evening was full of good cheer and high spirits, including champagne provided by Bombay Peggy's Victorian Inn. Mario Villeneuve actually auctioned off the rights to his long ponytail to the highest bidder as a small fund raising challenge and made $200 for the program from Yukon College instructor Aedes Scheer.

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Arts for Employment

by Palma Berger


The Oddhalls's students show off their work. This collection is by Andy Levesque. Photo by Dan Davidson

Over ninety five people gathered to view the showing of the work of the students from the Arts for Employment class. The Odd Gallery was filled with well-wishers as well as the curious. What had these students done in the past six months?

Arts for Employment as the name suggests, is a program devised for the unemployed who need new training to further their employment opportunities. It was first created two years ago by Pat Russell of the Dawson College Campus and Karen Dubois of the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. The first program was a crammed four month course and was so popular that it was offered again last fall. The only change being that it was extended to six months. The funding for this course is provided by the Department of Advanced Education and the Klondike Region Training Trust Fund.

The instructors were a diverse group and they added much input to the curriculum to develop it further. There were David Curtis (Art Foundations), Paul Henderson (Photoshop), Helen Winton ( proposal writing) and Aedes Sheer (introduction to computers) from Dawson; Mario Villenveuve (photography) and Craig Moddle and Paul Gatien (sound and lighting) from Whitehorse; Rob Toohey (Production Assistant Training), Jessica Hall (film making) from Whitehorse, and Anthony Raulston (web-design) from Calgary.

Again this had been an intensive course. One could see the lights on at KIAC in the wee small hours of the morning, or see glassy eyed participants mumbling "had to work late on my film, photography or whatever". But at the showing the results were impressive, as was the development of their talents. Dylan Griffiths who was more interested in the film making but had to learn to draw, secretly showed his first attempts at a self-portrait, and the result was a cartoon like face with the eyes in the middle of the forehead. Then six weeks later, there was a remarkably good self portrait.

The creativity shown on the walls of the Odd Gallery was surprising. One realized that one does not know what goes on in the minds of ordinary looking folk one meets on the streets.

There were photos some of easily recognizable sites around town to patterning, to developing photos onto different types of material to give a whole new dimension. Dominic Guillet's photo album Guatemala and Thailand had a certain interesting mistiness to the photos as given by her developing methods.

The large drawings were great. But others scanned theirs with Photoshop and added colour and other lines to create a completely new piece of art, as in Jen Leece's work.

Tish Lindgren took old photos of her parents when they were much younger and printed these with her own design around them. Her oil-painting reflected her First Nations heritage. KC Woodbine developed new labels for soda bottles with her own comical sales pitch. Jeannette Sudsbear's drawing had much depth and her photography of friends and relatives was interesting. Gail Calder showed her talent for design in many of her pieces. Kim Joseph's large drawing had rhythm and her photos showed her keen observation of Dawson sites. Andy Levesque surprised with his talent for art. While the students were mainly from the Dawson area, again there was an out-of-town student who came to Dawson especially to do this course.

While people milled around the Odd Gallery, others were viewing the videos the students created, which were being shown in the back room. All were so original. Some had such a sense of fun, while another portrayed symbolically the agonizing struggle of one person to gain a love of self again after getting out of an abusive relationship.

The students had worked so closely and intimately over the past six months had bonded rather tightly and all were sad to see it come to an end, and having to say good bye to their friends and that other world of art they had entered together. A couple have already got an art related job and will be leaving Dawson. Kim Joseph who admits to having been drifting a bit, is now so focussed she plans to attend Camosan College in Victoria next. Others want to pursue their art further.

Some of the visitors looked enviously at the work created and admitted to their long suppressed desire to indulge in art. "I want to do that course," wailed one by-stander. It could be possible as KIAC is offering the course again in mid-October of this year.

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KVA 2002 Entertainment

The Klondike Visitors Association is excited to announce brand new shows at Diamond Tooth Gerties and the Gaslight Follies.

The Diamond Tooth Gertie show is being produced by Shane Snow, a performer familiar to Dawson audiences, of Snowblind Productions from Victoria, B.C. The show stars Leslie O'Conner as Miss Diamond Tooth Gertie, with well-known local performer Tracy Horbachuk also appearing in this role. Peter Brown returns as musical director and Terrie Turrai-Gill is back as choreographer. She and her four naughty can-can compatriots will tear up the stage with vibrant can cans, tap, jazz and more! Shows run nightly at 8:30, 10:30 and midnight beginning Thursday, May 16. Join us for a preview at our special openings May 10 & 11.

The Gaslight Follies show is a new play written by local producer Bronwyn Jones and artistic director Alex Jones, who have both been very active in the Yukon Arts community for over a decade. This year's show is a fast-paced physical comedy, "The Palace Grand Prize". The play takes the audience back to 1898 through presentations of wild west acts, musical extravaganzas, ridiculous comedy, a touch of burlesque and boxing - all of which actually took place in the Palace Grand Theatre. Did you know that Alexander Pantages, was a boxer? See him compete with Willie "the Rooster D'amingo" for the "The Palace Grand Prize" and the heart of Klondike Kate! Opening night for the Gaslight Follies is Saturday, May 18. The show will be performed nightly at 8:30 p.m. through the summer season. Reservations can be made by calling (867) 993-6217.

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Tourism Industry Opposes Combined Marketing Plan

by Dan Davidson

When Doug Phillips took the podium at the TIAY conference to discuss his task for the government, that of framing the shape of the proposed Marketing Branch, he knew in advance he had a hard sell. Since the combined marketing branch concept was first floated the tourism industry has been solidly opposed to it; members of this same organization also belong to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, which spoke in opposition to the concept at its annual general meeting last fall in Dawson.

Phillips has been hired by the government to investigate the advantages to creating a an agency which would, in the words of his presentation handout, "embody marketing functions which are focussed on tourism, business and the hiring of specialized employees (i.e. nurses,, teachers, etc.)."

Phillips' role, as he explained it, was to set up the structure for this agency and to be a liaison with the tourism and business sector, "to hear your concerns, which I have heard ... and to pass them on to the politicians."

According to Phillips the impetus for this project was the recognition that the tourism industry already does a good job of selling the territory.

"The chambers of commerce said that we have to do try and do as good a job of selling the Yukon to investors, to bring more businesses to the Yukon," Phillips said.

The other idea behind creating an agency was that a body at a distance from government could be more flexible in how it used its money, could react more quickly in a crisis, and would not have to deal with the red tape of the financial administration act.

Apparently this was one of the reasons why government renewal saw the creation of the new Department of Business, Tourism and Culture, a move which also does not seem to sit well with TIAY members. During the weekend several speakers made reference to the department by calling it the "Department of blah-blah-blah and Tourism and blah-blah-blah."

Phillips was sensitive to this mood and told his audience he had spoken about it to Premier Duncan.

"I said that I really didn't want to be part of any exercise that did anything to diminish the good work that the people in tourism do."

He was assured by Duncan that this was the farthest thing from her intentions. He said he does not have to deliver a defence of the proposal, that he was free to recommend anything from the maintenance of the status quo to the creation of a new marketing agency.

In spite of the financial advantages (investment, fiscal year rollover, etc.) to the proposal, it remains clear that the TIAY audience was uncomfortable with the concept.

Steve Leonard, the president of TIAY, conceded that the organization had once proposed a tourism marketing board, but that it had no interest in the hybrid agency outlined in the handout.

"They took that idea and went somewhere, but God knows where they're going."

He challenged Phillips as to whether his research to date had turned up any examples of the "tourism and industry and this or that marketing board that works. I haven't heard of any. I don't think there's any that could be called a success, so why we're going down this road, I'm not sure."

Leonard was critical of the time line for this project, which will see an options paper delivered for consideration by August 31. The industry is ready now, he said, to tell government what it thinks will work, and doesn't need to be told by government what it wants to do.

"Let us talk to government first and not have government tell us what they'd like."

Phillips replied that some governments have created agencies. PEI had one but has disbanded it. Other variations do tourism but don't involve other economic sectors.

Randy Williams, the president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, spoke in favour of the privatization of tourism marketing, but warned against combining things. Tourism, he said, is not the same and economic development or culture.

"Don't go down that route. Tourism marketing is very specific, it's handled differently than economic development. People keep trying, all across the country, joining tourism with a whole bunch of other things, because they don't understand it."

Phillips seemed to get the message.

"I have no intention," he said, "whatsoever to take a position that I don't feel, in August, has the support of the industry. I will do whatever I have to do in consultation ... to get some kind of idea of what (people) would like to see. I don't feel there's any point to take something to government that the industry won't support, because it simply won't fly."

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Youngest KPMA President Has Lived Her Life in Mining

by Dan Davidson


Tara Christie is the youngest and first female president of the KPMA. Photo by Dan Davidson

Tara Christie may be the youngest president the Klondike Placer Miners' Association has ever had, but that doesn't say a thing about the length and depth of her experience with the placer gold industry. Christie, who operates Gimlex Gold Mines in the Dominion Creek area near Granville in partnership with the other members of the Christie family, has been in mining since she was a child and, at 28, has spent most of her life in the field and on the creeks.

"We started on Scroggie Creek when I was a child. We've mined in the Black Hills and Twelve Mile and now we're on Dominion."

In addition to working on mining claims she's also been involved in exploration work, which she began doing with her father when she was in her late teens.

Gold mining has been her life, so much so that when she went to university she acquired first a Bachelor of Science in geological engineering, with a specialty in geotechnical work, and then a Masters in the same discipline with a sub-specialty in environmental geochemistry.

"I've been involved in geology and mining and exploration all my life. My father (Jim Christie) was a PhD. in geology."

The family had explored in British Columbia. but left that province when the regulations there became too tough in the early 1980s and moved to the Yukon.

"I chose to stay with it because it's a family business. It's been a good lifestyle. I'm a partner with my parents and my brother now, since 1993."

At that time Gimlex had one cat, one backhoe and a combination of leased and staked claims to work.

"Now, we're quite big. We haven't been paid a lot yet, but we've got a lot of capital investment."

She says she loves the life on the creeks.

"It's a beautiful place. There's no place I'd rather be. I'd like a little more time off and not have to work quite so hard, but it is a good life.

"I get to spend time with my parents and my nieces. It's how my parents raised me. It's enabled them too teach me practical skills as well as the value of having an education, and that's something that I really hope to be able to do with my children. I noticed in university that there's a tremendous number of people who go to school, get an education, and can't do anything."

Christie is a jack (or jill)-of-all-trades in the business, working on the planning of the operation, running heavy equipment, welding, drilling, turning her hand to whatever needs to be done. Gimlex is, she says, a scientifically run operation that runs on a pretty tight schedule backed by a mining plan.

"Mining isn't done by the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method that it was 20 or 30 years ago," she said. "We can't afford that kind of risk."

Christie dismisses the idea of the standard 100 day mining season. Gimlex is able to start work in mid-March and runs until October, and she believes that is the case with many other placer outfits.

"You just don't see us in town a lot because the road is so bad, with glaciers and everything."

Between the low gold prices and the generally depressed economy, the Christies take other jobs in what might normally be their off season in order to make ends meet.

For Tara Christie, however, the luxury of having any downtime at all came to an end last September when she was elected the first woman president of the KPMA at the age of 27. Through the fall and winter she's been living on a pull-out sofa in a friend's living room in Whitehorse as she has followed the Yukon Placer Authorization Review consultation around the territory.

After years of low key involvement with the KPMA, she vaulted into the president's chair rather suddenly.

"I made the mistake of saying I would do it," she said ruefully. "There was really nobody else willing to step in."

Past presidents were burned out. She had the technical expertise to deal with the issues in the Placer Review, her partners were able to cover her at work, she didn't have a family to look after, so the fit seemed perfect.

"Not that I'm doing this all myself. I've got a strong board of directors that's helping me a lot. It just seemed like something I should do.

"It's a big job and carries a lot of commitments."

Aside from being a fresh young female face at a table where it is assumed placer miners will be older and male, the large portion of the alphabet that she carries after her name is also useful.

"It is important," she said. "The Department of Fisheries and Oceans tries to snow you with science and using big words. They love to do this. Your average miner comes along and goes, 'Woo, we must be sunk'."

Christie said that there's more to it than there seems. While DFO is happy just to protect fish and ignore any other data, she said the reality is that there is science which says that some degree of placer activity actually improves fish habitat, or at least isn't hurting it.

"We need to work on our image," she said. "I feel very confident that we're doing a better job of protecting fish and the environment. That's why we stand behind the YPA, because we all agree that you have to protect salmon spawning beds.

"But there are other issues, too. Why can't we have more reasonable discharge standards in type four streams where there are no fish?"

KPMA president is an unpaid position with the only money attached being for expenses, so effectively whatever company the president comes from is subsidizing the work of the organization.

The YPA review makes it particularly hard. Gimlex has had to hire someone to cover some of the work Christie would normally do.

This is just the first review, too. The legislation makes it probable that reviews could occur on a five year cycle.

"Are we going to go through this every five years, really? It's a huge hardship on the industry - a huge cost - not to mention that we pay for part of the studies."

There are several organizations represented on the YPA committee: DIAND, DFO, KPMA, the Yukon Salmon Committee and the Yukon Conservation Society. The latter two contribute nothing to the cost of running the YPA, which is a sore point with Christie.

The KPMA is not in a good financial position, according to Christie, and the cost of the YPA review isn't helping it at all.

"But there's no point in having an association and no industry," she said, "so we might as well spend the money."

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Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Plan for Summer Displays at Cultural Centre

by Dan Davidson


The Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre will house a Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in museum this summer. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre will be a hotbed of activity once the summer season begins. During late April and early May a work crew is transforming the circular display room at the south end of the building into a first nation's interpretive site.

Glenda Bolt, on loan to the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in from Parks Canada, is helping the first nation's cultural planners get the new site up and running.

"This is temporary exhibit which will be in lace for the next two or three years while we work on our Canadian Heritage Museums Assistance Program application," she explained, gesturing at the now vacant room with the beautifully curved display area being completed along the west wall.

Eventually there will be a permanent gallery, but this is something that was not actually planned for when the unique looking building went up during the anniversaries years.

From left to right, the room will commemorate the fish camp of Tr'ochëk; the life of Chief Isaac, who was a leader in getting the Hän people to relocate to Moosehide; and a display about Moosehide itself.

There will be what Bolt calls "a tiny part on the dark days that followed" the Moosehide years, and then a celebration of the revival of native culture that, using the costumes from the readers' play "Beat of the Drum", and a display on the politics that led to the land claims settlement of a few years ago.

Both of these segments, cultural and political, are seen as different ways of addressing the hard issues from the century along association between the two cultures in this region.

Finally, the circle will close with an account of the law suits and settlements that finally reclaimed the Tr'ochëk site for the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, ending with the former Klondike City and Lousetown becoming a national historic site.

It's a lot of history to pack into a small room, and the interpreters at the exhibit will have to do good work to bring it all to life for their guests.

The gallery will have some seating inside so that visitors can enjoy the displays (and the air conditioning).

The cultural centre will open for the season about June 10.

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Tourism Operators Gathered to Gain Strength

by Dan Davidson

In a time when the projections for tourism this summer are not good, and when people are still trying to assess the impact of the new terrorism, what did members of the tourism industry hope to accomplish at last weekend's Dawson gathering?

Claire Festel, the executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, says that the annual general meeting had a few definite goals.

"It was a meeting during a really tough time where they could get together and bring out each other's strengths.

"I think we accomplished that," she said at the conclusion of the Saturday night gala. "I think people came away with a real feeling of solidarity from the conference."

The other goal was "to give people some of the tools they would need to operate in a new environment."

Festel sees these as being an awareness of what the changes are, a knowledge of what one can do to adjust to the changes, and "how to get that different perspective because of the paradigm shift in the way that people travel and in the whole travel industry."

The shift was summed up by various speakers as a need by travellers for more "surety" (a combination of security and general sense of well being and safety).

TIAY president Steve Leonard spoke of 9/11 (as it was called so many times) as an event which "has not only affected the Yukon, it has effected the world."

He saw Dawson as the perfect place for TIAY members to regroup.

"Y'know, for a small town Dawson is just so damn wonderful; so many people doing so much and doing it so well. No place that will ever have a convention is gonna match Dawson City. With a lot of Dawson Cities we're gonna have good tourism for a long time to come."

The overall theme of the annual general meeting was "Tourism, People and Change" and it highlighted issues such as the need to provide greater security for the tourist of 2002, ways to get the most out of your marketing dollars, and what you ought to do when the market is slow and times are tight.

Sgt Greg Peters was on hand to tell people how to make use of the RCMP's brand presence in acceptable ways.

Randy Williams, the president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, came to outline that body's programs and give a perspective on national issues.

Various Yukon organizations made presentations to show how they could be of assistance to operators.

The Department of Business Tourism and Culture organized a set of rotating workshops to highlight its marketing plans as well as a presentation of its product development strategy.

Networking was also a major part of the weekend, and there was lots of that going on at every one of the coffee breaks at the Yukon Order of Pioneers Hall, which was also the site of the trade show.

Most of the major presentations were held in the Palace Grand Theatre, but some were in the Visitors Reception Center.

Diamond Tooth Gerties was open for the weekend. Lunches and lunch presentations took place there, as well as the reception on Thursday and the gala banquet and awards presentation on Saturday night. Friday night's meal was a progressive dinner in which the 156 delegates moved from restaurant to restaurant in different groups, each in search of the next course.

Delegates were generally enthusiastic about the Dawson's ambiance, in spite of weather that ranged from sunny and warm to grey and chilly, and precipitation of all types.

"We had spots of sunshine, spots of rain, spots of snow, fog, sleet, hail; it was great," Festel said.

"Dawson does such a bang-up job. The feeling that you have here is beyond belief and the way that everyone in Dawson pitched in and went out of their way to make this a special event was just fantastic."

A special feature of the weekend was a bonus Sunday morning showing of Troy Suzuki's 70 minute video "From Moccasin Square Gardens", his chronicle of the 1997 Dawson Nuggets trek to battle the Ottawa Senators Old Timers in a rematch of a game fought in 1904. The general feeling was that this video ought to be running daily somewhere in the town all summer.

Next year's TIAY AGM will be held in Watson Lake.

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TIAY Awards Recognize Former Deputy Minister

by Dan Davidson


Diamond Tooth Gertie (Tracy Horbachuk) chooses a victim. Photo by Dan Davidson

Two Klondike based operations, a Whitehorse organization and a former deputy minister of tourism were singled out for honours at this year's Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon annual general meeting.

The Yukon Award is presented to a Yukon resident for outstanding individual efforts in the field or endeavor which contributes to the advancement of the Yukon's tourism industry.

The membership stretched the definition just a little in presenting the award to Dan Brennan, the former deputy minister of the former department of tourism. In making the announcement TIAY president Steve Leonard listed the extent of Brennan's accomplishments.

"This year the award is being given to someone who only half-way, maybe doesn't quite, did, but doesn't now qualify. But that person built a legacy that remains and we honour him tonight for all (he) did for us while (he was) there.

"(Dan Brennan) brought the industry and the department of tourism together, unleashed an incredible amount of creativity and constructive energy.

"Here's a partial list of what (he) pioneered: a new logo and brand for the Yukon - Canada's True North; the Stay Another Day Program; increased marketing support and accountabilities for the Yukon Convention Bureau and the Yukon Quest; ... helped to implement the Yukon Tourism Marketing Partnership; developed the first strong, successful winter marketing campaign; and pushed heartily with support for the Asian market."

The announcement and Brennan's speech, which was delivered by last year's winner Nancy Huston, brought a standing ovation.

Brennan wrote that he missed the people in the Yukon, that he was honoured, that he hoped lots of networking, business and fun was happening at this AGM. He added that he was "almost certain there will be no open mike comedy feast this year."

Brennan was suspended from his position in the wake of a fire storm of protest over an off-colour racial joke he made during the open mike event at last year's AGM. He was brought back but was eventually fired when the Liberal government went through another round of deputy minister dismissals. It would appear that his peers still consider that a mistake.

He thanked them all for supporting his work in the field in spite of everything.

The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, based in Dawson City's Oddfellows Hall, was voted the Sourdough Award, which was presented by Wendy Cairns of Bombay Peggy's.

The award goes to a Yukon resident of group "which for high achievement in the development or management of a facility, event, attraction or service which has improved the quality of Yukon's tourism industry in the past year."

KIAC was cited for having an enormous impact on the cultural and economic scene in Dawson and beyond.

"(KIAC) has partnered with outfitters to combine a wilderness experience with an art course. They have also combined arts education with ESL courses. They are inventive and innovative. They have brought outsiders to the Yukon and Yukoners to Dawson City.

"They have opened the ODD Gallery, with its year-round displays. They have pioneered events such as ... the Short Films Festival and ... the ODD Ball, which happens on New Years Eve. They've injected new life into Discovery Days weekend with an Arts Festival and a street party. They sponsor the Artist in Residence program (with the help of Parks Canada) and sponsor course and workshops in performing, visual and creative writing arts."

Executive Director Gary Parker accepted the award on behalf of KIAC.

"KIAC has a very long way to go to fulfill its ambitious mandate for create and environment for the arts throughout the Yukon with social, cultural and, not least, economic, impacts," he said.

The Klondike Award was presented by Sheila Dodd to Akemi Matsumiyo, owner of CJ Link Service. Matsumiyo came to the Yukon nine years ago with her experience of working with Japanese tourists in Banff, Dodd said, adding that she brought with her contacts, experience and a five year plan.

"Since then she has grown her business and developed a new market in Aurora viewing for the Japanese in the Yukon. Her clients now list in the thousands each winter when we need them the most. Her partnerships with accommodation providers and activity providers have proved successful for all parties."

Matsumiyo was not able to be in Dawson, having just returned from Japan. Mary Ann Ferguson accepted the award for her.

The final award of the evening was the Little Guy Award, sponsored by CKRW radio. Dick Van Nostrand of the Downtown Hotel was pleased to present the award to a blushing Eric Zalitas, who runs the successful Trek Over the Top snowmobile trip from Tok, Alaska, each winter for three weekends with his wife, Laurie McCrory.

The award is presented to a Yukon small business which has "demonstrated community spirit, promotional excellence, and/or management professionalism for the benefit of Yukoners and visitors in the past year.

Zalitas was, said Van Nostrand, a "key player in development of the winter tourism industry." He noted that numbers for the Trek were off by about 10% this year, but attributed it to the absence of military personnel from Alaska, many of whom were still on alert at the time.

Zalitas, a man of few words, thanked the crowd for the support and the town of Dawson for supporting the growth of the Trek over the last ten years.

TIAY won a prize as well, the Local Hero Award, presented by Steven Dunbar of the Yukon Convention Bureau. TIYA was praised for moving its annual conference around the territory each year, bringing visitors to various communities to discuss tourism relate issues and to spend lots of money. The presentation may have been a bit tongue in cheek, but the AGM was a convention, and the YCB loves to promote just this kind of event.

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And the Beat Goes On...

by Dan Davidson


Public Librarian Suzanne Gagnon sets the sartorial tone for Beat Night at Peggy's. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Beat generation may have started doing its thing well before anyone in attendance at Bombay Peggy's on April 25 would have been old enough to have noticed, but the memory lingers on. So on this night at the pub the theme, promoted by the Dawson Community Library, was beat poetry.

The beats, including such poets as Allen Ginsberg, and Charles Bukowski, and novelists Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, were rough and rowdy bunch who sought, as the Britannica puts it, "to liberate poetry from academic preciosity and bring it 'back to the streets'".

Their streets were grimy and gritty, awash in alcohol and laced with drugs. The language and imagery of their work reflects this.

In these days of Eminem and Gangsta Rap that might seem like an unnecessary effort, but the original beats were as much of an explosion in their day as Elvis was when he hit the Ed Sullivan show (from the waist up). Perhaps the camera's delicacy around the King is one way of looking at how shocking it must have been to readers and listeners of the day to hear the casual profanity and explicit sexuality that is sprinkled throughout the beats' poetry.

Which is not to say that Beat Night at Peggy's was entirely an adult rated evening, but you can't celebrate the movement without noting some of its excesses.

Whether you see the beats as being beat (world-weary) or beatific (enlightened in some manner), you can't ignore them. They opened up a way of writing and looking at the world which remains a part of literature to this day. It would be hard to find a collection or anthology which had not been influenced by these writers in some way.

So, a packed and smoky Peggy's crowds paid tribute in a variety of ways. One of these was to commit a bit of serial poetry as the audience was challenged to add imagery to a sheet of paper, fold over their lines and pass it on to someone else to continue. The results were rather Ginsbergian, and the method of creation not unlike one he discusses in his writings.

There was original material from Penny Soderland and Louise Ranger, tribute poems from John Steins and Jorn Meier, even some non-beat material from a certain local reporter.

In between the versifying there was music, provided by Barnacle Bob on the ivories, Clive Betts on skins and Carlos on percussion.

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