Dawson City, Yukon Friday, October 16, 1998

Pierre Berton holds court at Maximilian's in Dawson. See story below. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

66th International Sourdough Reunion
Pioneers of Alaska
Youth Centre Stereo Recovered
Dawson Still Looks at Bridges and Airports
Yukon Gets Its Own Adventure Guide
S.S. Keno Reconstruction Presents Many Problems
Berton Delighted to Be In Dawson

Welcome to the online version of the October 16, 1998 edition of the Klondike Sun. We're late because the editor, who makes his living as a teacher, has been running back and forth to Whitehorse on government business for 3 of the previous 4 weeks and hasn't been able to get to this chore.

The hardcopy edition boasted 23 photographs and 23 articles, plus one poem. We hope you enjoy the selection we present here.

66th International Sourdough Reunion

by Palma Berger

There is a bond that unites all who pass through the north, whether it be Alaska or Yukon. When people leave, there is inevitably a club they join of past northerners. There are so many that there is an umbrella organization called the International Sourdoughs through which they stay connected. They have an annual get together. This year the reunion was held in Dawson City.

The Yukoners Association of Vancouver is the one with which we are most familiar. But there are clubs in San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, Okanagan, Oregon, Washington state, and of course, Alaska. Their stories of getting here were interesting. One lady puzzled over her travel agent telling her there would be only one stop on the flight between Whitehorse and Dawson. She could not remember any stops? She made her travel agent enquire again and discovered that the one stop would be in Old Crow on that particular flight. Hard to imagine it when one is in Nevada.

The days here were filled with workshops and doing club business, and visiting and viewing the town and its attractions. The final day wound up with a banquet.

At the banquet held in the Han Nation Hall, the outgoing President Carol Fulk of the Alaska Yukon club in San Diego, spoke of her grandfather going to Alaska in 1874 and her father being born in Dawson in 1900. So for her this return to Dawson was very special. She had sailed on the "Wickersham'

in 1973 on its last trip which was in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Gold Rush. Old Yukoners who helped organize this event were Mary McDonald, Barbara Joy Bathgate - both of whom were born in Dawson. Barbara even remembers when the movie theatre was not on Front Street. Nancy Moulton was from Mayo, and her husband worked for the White Pass there. Francis and Jock McLeod never miss a gathering.

Salmon was on the menu at the banquet; the only salmon for some people this year.

After the banquet there were words of welcome from Commissioner Judy Gingell, and Mayor Glenn Everitt. In his speech the Mayor said that people ask him how he can go to these high powered meetings with representatives from across the land and still be assertive enough to have his voice heard. He put it down to the fact that he has four women on City Council and he has to be firm to make himself heard. It has been good training, says he.

Then the Museum presented a unique show, not of the history of how ground was moved and gold recovered, but of how lives were and are lived in Dawson City; from the point of view of how the Rush affected people's lives both in the Klondike and their families elsewhere in Canada. The slides showed Dawson in the glorious light of summer and from the fog of winter to getting vehicles started in the winter. Each slide fitted into a section of a Robert Service poem. Mac Swackhammer of the museum did the narration, and the presentation absolutely held everyone's attention. After the banquet there was the fun of numbers being drawn for various prizes. The new slate of officers was announced. They are (President) Mary Mcdonald;

(Secretary) Sue Brogan; (Treasurer) Vera Siders. Mike Race and Herb Rowe filled two other positions.

Other Dawsonites who returned were Pretoria Butterworth and Daisy Nordling and Betty Mackie.

Don't know about the Magic and Mystery of the Yukon being on Yukon licence plates, I think a good bit of that belongs to Dawson as Dawson draws more people with fond memories back each year.

The next reunion will be in Everett, Washington. So the good-byes included See you in Everett next year!

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Pioneers of Alaska

by Palma Berger


Members of the Alaska Pioneers: Jack and Frances Mcleod and Barbara Jane Bathgate. Photo by Palma Berger

The Pioneers of Alaska held their Grand Banquet in Dawson City this year to commemorate the 100th year of the Gold Rush.

Their week long gathering here culminated in a dinner for 460 people in Dawson. You ask where in this small town could one sit 460 people down to dine and in September? Dawson's Bonanza Centre in the hockey arena with plywood covering the large expanse of dirt floor and every picnic table and bench belonging to the City brought in served perfectly. A sumptuous feast was laid out on tables.

There were so many connections to the Yukon, beginning with the Master of Ceremonies, Glen Franklin who came to the Yukon in 1934 and is now a Fairbanks resident. He had mined on Sixty Mile where he operated a dredge, and cat mined on Eldorado Creek. All had such a wealth of stories. Glen told of mining up Eldorado Creek at 28 Above. There was 12-15 feet of solid ground left on the edge of one claim. Here they ran into a small pillar of ground that they almost left. But this pillar 12" X 80' long yielded 1800 ounces; a fortune then and a fortune at today's prices.

The speaker of the evening was William Berry, grandson of Clarence Berry. Clarence Berry made a fortune in the Klondike, and his grandson related his tale.

It was 'when the economy was low' in 1893 that Clarence Berry came to the Klondike. He was not finding much success at anything up here. Until in 1896, really broke, he and his brother managed to get a job working in the bar at 40 Mile for Bill McPhee. He was there when George Carmacks cane in with a tale of a strike on Bonanza. The others seemed disbelieving and wandered off, but Clarence stayed and listened and became interested. With the permission of their employer he and his brother trekked off to Bonanza Creek, overnighting on the way at a swamp which became Dawson. They staked two claims one of which was very good. Clarence traded half of the good one for a claim on Eldorado which turned out to be rich. They were here to stay. In 1896 Clarence brought up his new wife.

He was always a practical man. In February 1897 he wrote to his brother Henry, 'quit your job. Come here. We have very rich ground. We even have a 14 oz. nugget. Bring 100 lb, each of dried raisins, peaches and apricots. Dried fruit is worth 40-50 cents a pound and then it is no good ....... A wife is a very good thing in this country.'

Clarence never forgot the help that Bill McPhee of Forty Mile gave him. In 1907 when Bill McPhee's hotel in Fairbanks burnt down, he wrote to Bill to go ahead and rebuild it and send the bills to him. In his will, Clarence Berry provided for Bill McPhee with a pension for life.

Bill Berry was pleased to quote Pierre Berton who wrote of his grandfather, "In the tale of Clarence Berry ... here was lucky, honest, sober, industrious, home-loving man."

Clarence Berry died in 1930 and is commemorated in the Hall of Fame in Fairbanks.

The Alaskans gathering in Dawson so thoroughly enjoyed their stay here that some even stayed on for the International Sourdough Reunion.

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Youth Centre Stereo Recovered

by Dan Davidson


Mayor Everitt helps return the recovered Youth Centre stereo equipment. Photo by Dan Davidson

Young people and parents in the community will be happy to know that the Youth Centre's sound system has been recovered. The CD player, speakers and mixing board, which were stolen during the Labour Day weekend, were returned to the building on Friday, October 9 by a jubilant Mayor Glen Everitt and youth centre supervisor Paul Marceau.

The equipment was being stored in the basement of a family's home in Dawson. The parents notified the town office that they had it as a result of publicity in the local papers and the fund raising stunt at last month's talent night. At that time Mayor Glen Everitt and Councillor Joanne Van Nostrand won a prize for their act and donated the money towards the purchase of new equipment.

Everitt says that the family realized what they had after hearing about all this. They were keeping in in storage for another party, who has not been identified at this time.

From the observations of supervisors at the Youth Centre it appears the that the thieves entered the building by loosening the interior screws which held the deadbolt in place and then returning later on. In other words, this was not a spur-of-the-moment crime, but something which was prepared for.

The theft was reported to the public in the Sept. 15 Klondike Sun and the the fund raising in the Sept. 29 Insider.

At the October 5 council meeting Everitt reported to council that a number of leads had emerged as a result of the publicity surrounding the case and that several things appeared to be true. The first was that the theft, according to various sources, had been committed by a youth. The second was that the youth had been hired to steal the equipment by an adult.

There are actual suspects in the case, but no names are being released at present and the RCMP are still investigating.

Paul Marceau said that it was a great relief to have the equipment back. Kids have been asking him why there have been no dances at the Centre and he has had to turn down all requests due to a lack of equipment. This gear was also needed for several school functions that will come up in the near future, including the musical "Tom Sawyer", which will be staged by the school's drama classes and choir on November 7.

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Dawson Still Looks at Bridges and Airports

by Dan Davidson


The George Black Ferry loads in early October, during its last full week of service this year. Photo by Dan Davidson

If Government Leader Piers McDonald was expecting to hear that the Klondike riding had suddenly lost interest in bridges, airports, sewers, recreation centres and other high priced projects, his visit to Dawson on September 22 must have been a disappointment to him.

Meeting in a round table discussion at the new Han Cultural Centre after a day of meetings elsewhere in the community, McDonald faced the current mayor and two former mayors as well as the executive director of the Klondike Visitors Association, the president of the local chamber of commerce and several other people. The discussion was not remarkably different from that of any other pre-budget consultation over the lives of the last three governments.

McDonald began with a summary of the government's economic position heading into this falls budget planning process, and no one could have accused him of trying to raise expectations.

There were some pluses in his talk. He was pleased to note that tourism had been up this summer and that the American decision to continue the Shakwak project would bring work into the territory. He felt that the government's pledge to embark on a three year planning process would establish some security for non-governmental organizations and even communities that rely on YTG for funding.

On the other hand, general spending was expected to be down, the economic future was uncertain, the Pacific rim meltdown was hurting us like everyone else, the shutdown at the Faro mine had jacked the unemployment figures and the government was determined to avoid going into debt.

"We did promise not to raise taxes," he said, "but we didn't promise that we wouldn't lower them." Just how this could take place he wasn't clear.

All of this led Mayor Glen Everitt to start off his reply with the words, "Now that you've got us all depressed..."

Beyond that, however, the discussion quickly shifted to familiar ground.

Praising the government for its efforts to bring European tourists to the territory led directly to the problem inherent in the scheme as it exists now, that it only gets them as far as Whitehorse. What about a bridge to span the Yukon River and create a vastly improved land loop? What about the shortcomings of the Dawson airport, which keep larger planes from bringing in hordes of tourists who would like to avoid the land routes and get right to the point of their visit - points which are probably located in Dawson and Haines Junction in the opinion of the people around the table.

These arguments came from Glen Everitt, Denny Kobayashi, Peter Jenkins and Dick Van Nostrand, with only art store owner (and former mayor) Art Webster raising a dissenting voice in the bridge discussion.

McDonald rejected the notion, which he seemed to feel was implicit in these demands, that simply providing infrastructure was a guarantee of economic success in a given area. He used the example of the "ore body + road + power=a mine" equation to prove his point. If this were always so, he asked, why were there not smoothly operating mines in Faro, Elsa and Watson Lake?

The counter argument was that the tourism industry has proven itself to be more stable and to be in a more positive phase of its existence over the same period as mines in those communities have been up and down.

Some places, Everitt suggested, have the local resource and the spirit to market it effectively, but actually do need infrastructure to make it work better. Both he and Kobayashi were quick to point out that every visitor that comes to Dawson or anywhere else in the Yukon also leaves money along the route they take to get there.

Challenged by McDonald to pick a priority, Everitt declined. The government leader offered to cut a deal to free up the one million dollars a year currently being set aside for either the secondary sewage treatment or the multi-use centre and redirect that funding to airport improvements if that was what the community actually wanted.

Everitt countered with a request to allow council the freedom to use some of that money to continue incremental work on a scaled down version of its recreation centre project, with a new total budget that will still leave at least half of the pledged nine million in the bank for secondary treatment options if it comes to that.

No agreement was reached at that meeting.

No agreement was reached on the bridge either, though McDonald responded positively to Downtown Hotel owner Dick Van Nostrand's plea to continue technical studies on the bridge.

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Yukon Gets Its Own Adventure Guide

by Dan Davidson

As the summer winds to a close, Deiter Reinmuth is contemplating a winter of editing and revision. While his book The Yukon, A Travel Adventure Guide, has only been in circulation for a little over a year, about 70% of the copies in print are already sold and he's ready to bring it up to date.

"We can't continue selling it next year. Too many things have changed. I hope the publisher sees it the same way."

The new edition will be an additional 30 pages in length, which is as much bigger as it can get without driving up the price. That will put it at around 235 pages, and Reinmuth figures that he will be able to add quite a bit of animal information, as well as extend the section on the Alaska Highway as far as Fairbanks.

"There will be more plants, Beringia and native history, Yukon culture, music of the Yukon, cycling in the Yukon. I have a whole list of things I want to add - even the bar scene in Whitehorse."

Pulling out some of the centennial activities that crowded the first edition will give him a bit extra room.

What Reinmuth has tried to do is create a general interest guide to the Yukon that will be of use to anyone who chooses to come here or might, if it is purchased overseas, actually inspire the trip.

Since 1992 Reinmuth has operated the Dawson City River Hostel, offering cabins and tenting sites just across the Yukon River from Dawson. Having travelled the world widely by bicycle and floated the Yukon River he has a tendency to favour the more rugged type of visitor, but he didn't write the book with that in mind.

There is a section on the Yukon River, but he has spent equal amounts of time on all of the major highway systems in the territory and the section called "No Trace Camping" is right next to two sections of the peculiarities of Yukon driving.

Aside from government publications, Reinmuth says his is the only book that does it all and does it with a focus on the Yukon. There are other books in which the territory is part of the package, but he feels that this isn't what a lot of people are looking for and most focus on Whitehorse, Dawson City and Kluane Park.

"There is the Milepost, but it's basically a paid advertisement, and if you don;t pay them you don't exist. In this book everybody exists as long as I can find them or they let me find them."

He sees his book's market as being world wide. His publisher is ITMB Publishing, whose line, at the time that Reinmuth began his book, was essentially a wide range of travel and reference maps. Yukon - A Travel Adventure Guide was its first essay into the market and it has been followed by others since.

It was Reinmuth's second book, the first having been a Yukon River guidebook for a German publisher.

Last winter he spent part of the winter working on a German edition of a book o the Chilkoot Trail and spent the rest of the time visiting book stores to see what he could do about promoting his Yukon guide.

"I visited about 400 book stores," he says, "and found that the book had hardly sold." It seems that people didn't trust a book from a map company to sell. Reinmuth's personal visits got the orders flowing. When the merchants saw the book in the author's hand they were interested. he found the same things whether he was in Seattle, Vancouver or Europe.

Prior to that there had been 400 copies sold, mostly here in Dawson, but after his little tour the numbers climbed to 3,000. "It's been very educational."

His initial success has decided him to take trips to Australia and Japan, where he is certain the book will sell.

"I'm sure it's just a matter of me going there," he says, planning his winter vacation and his income tax deductions at the same time.

"Down the road I hope this is going to be the guide book with enough information to keep (people) tickled. It will, I hope, become the one that people need to buy."

The initial version took him two years to assemble. He works in longhand and then transfers to computer disk. The pictures are mostly his and have accumulated over the years. Since ITMB was new at this game, he found himself involved in every aspect of putting the book together: structure, look of pages and sidebars, placement of photographs, even the yellow-gold cover colour.

"Well, of course. It's the Yukon. You have gold. What else?"

The picture of Dawson is a shot through the trees from the Old Dome Road (Mary McLeod Road or the ACC Trail - the local debate continues) and he says he's taken some flak on it because the Yukon River is actually blue rather than its customary brown. He's been accused of fudging the colour, but he maintains that that's just the way it was that August day.

As the season draws to an end, Reinmuth finds he is looking forward to settling into a Whitehorse hotel room for a few months and hacking away at his book. He figures the page by page process will take him a couple of months this time and that the result will be an even better product for next summer.

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S.S. Keno Reconstruction Presents Many Problems

by Dan Davidson

When it comes to replacing the planking along the side of a slowly disintegrating stern wheeler, it's not just a matter of slapping new planks in place and nailing them down. The boards which make up the sides of the S.S. Keno are curved in two different directions at the same time and vary in thickness from top to bottom. Before they can be placed along the hull they have to be cut to precise measurements and steamed for several hours in order to pliable enough to twist into the proper shape.

Shipwright Wayne Loiselle showed off the tools used to do this during a lecture tour on Discovery Day weekend in Dawson. The band saw with the floating table attached was mounted with most of the other tools in the the large freight deck of the Keno, an area which Loiselle said had provided his crew with an excellent workshop. It would take several workers to manhandle each board through the cutting process.

The propane fired steaming box was outside the ship, next to Front Street. Planks would be inserted 2 1/2 hours before it was known they would be needed, staggering the starting times so as to have a steady supply. Once they emerged from the box the crew had five to ten minutes to fit them into the place where they were needed.

"As you can imagine," Loiselle said, "there is a real rush. The whole crew is ready, the clamps are ready and for ten minutes you just rush. You get that plank up there and get it clamped. Once it's clamped and cooled down, which takes about an hour and a half, you can take the clamps off and it pretty much remains in the same shape."

The crew gets one shot at each plank. The boards are not resilient enough to go through the procedure twice.

One of the goals of the early shipbuilders was to keep the craft watertight, of course. Strands of a special cotton and a substance called oakum were used for this. Ironically, this same waterproofing , which served so well while the boats were in use, turned out to be one of the chief culprits in the spread of the dry rot which is the main enemy (after fire) of a beached stern wheeler.

"We discovered, as we took planks off, that the old oakum was holding the moisture," Loiselle explained. This was ruining the wood along the top and bottom of each seam, and therefore the entire plank had to go. Dry rot is spore fungus which breeds in such conditions and a suspect plank has to be removed lest it spread the rot to others. They've also had to move to a more modern waterproofing material, something that won't hold the dampness.

Loiselle pointed out the rubber matting that was spread along the ground on the starboard side of the Keno. He was, he said, constantly harping at his crew to clean up every bit of sawdust or debris which came out of the boat, for any of it could contain dry rot spores, which can lie dormant for a long time before they find a place to ripen.

He cited the R.C.M.P. vessel, the Saint Roche, which has been stored indoors in Vancouver for years and has nevertheless succumbed to dry rot.

Moving back along the starboard side of the ship Loiselle found that almost every plank and timber had to be replaced. Some modern material have been used to try to prevent further losses. These are being camouflaged as much as possible to keep the heritage appearance of the Keno intact.

"Nobody wants to do this every 20 years and yet, if it's not looked after properly, in 20 years it'll be starting to go downhill again."

Training has been one of Loiselle's tasks here. The Gulf Island based builder brought one trained assistant with him, but has hired in Dawson as much as possible, teaching local woodworkers and carpenters the unique skills needed for boat building along the way.

"If you've got the basic skills with hand tools, you can learn to boat build. Right now we've got a crew of seven guys who've all been with me for three years and they don't need much instruction any more. If they run into problems they call me."

Hand tools? Indeed. With the exception of the band saw and the drills, most of the equipment used in this business is wielded manually and requires a good combination of muscle and precision. Loiselle showed off the many different varieties and sizes of clamps hammers, adzes, chisels, saws and other tools assembled on the freight deck's work benches.

There were a number of design features which were unique to stern wheelers. Five sets of timbers ran the full length of the ship to stiffen the hull. In addition, the boat builders had to do something to counter the great weight fore and aft which tended to flex the ship in the middle. At the stern was the tremendous weight of the paddle, while the foredeck was used for freight. This would cause the ship to sag, or "hog".

"They came up with a system of hogchain posts and cables, turnbuckles, and steel rods, which attached to the front of the (timbers...) and then to the very back. They had huge big turnbuckles and if they saw that the ship was beginning to take extra stress...they could tighten those turnbuckles to bring it back into shape and maintain its shape. It's an ingenious method and its works beautifully."

The paddle wheel area of the Keno posed a number of problems and some changes had to be made in the reconstruction. The knees which held the paddle wheel were originally made from single pieces of wood, actually "grown roots" from enormous fir trees which were then shaped as needed. Very little that size exists any more and the new supports had to be assembled in pieces and fitted together to provide the greatest strength.

Stern wheelers had six to eight rudders on them, which allowed them to maneuver quickly in spite of their bulk, an important feature on a river with shifting channels and inconstant mud flats. There were four ahead of the paddlewheel on the Keno and two more behind. This meant there was always a rudder in the main stream of the river whether the ship was steaming full ahead or trying to back up.

Both the wheel and the rudders, which are also rot damaged, will be restored and remounted on the Keno before the job is finished.

When tours of the Keno were cancelled by Parks Canada because it was no longer safe to walk on the ship, the general opinion of people at Klondike National Historic Sites was that they would never happen again, that the ship would always be interpreted from the outside. Loiselle says that they had good reasons to think that way at the time. However, he is fairly certain that the restored Keno could be opened for tours once all the work is done in a couple of years. While it will probably never be refurbished inside to the degree which has been done with its larger sister ship, the S.S. Klondike, it would still make an interesting presentation, especially with the aid of the notes compiled in Loiselle's annual reports.

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Berton Delighted to Be In Dawson

by Dan Davidson

There was a time when Pierre Berton could come to Dawson and almost no one would appear at his book signings. That's not true any more. People were milling around in Maximilian's for half an hour before he arrived on September 17. The tall, tired looking fellow with the folding cane barely had time to clamber out of his van, look around and catch his breath after the trip before he was forced to put his tiredness to one side and become PIERRE BERTON for the people who had gathered to greet him.

It was a bonus homecoming he really hadn't expected he would make. When he was here for the Discovery Year celebrations in 1996 he told a number of people that he probably wouldn't get back again. Several remind him of this as he signs their books and shakes hands. He has no problem admitting he was wrong and seems quite delighted about it.

He's here as the subject of a "Life and Times" show for CBC, being shot by the Edmonton based production company, the Idea Factory. It's hard to say who's in charge. Berton keeps referring to them as "the boys", and after a couple of weeks together the relationship seems quite familial.

Arriving on Thursday afternoon and departing on Sunday afternoon he has the time to touch bases with some friends, see the show at Diamond Tooth Gerties (which he found delightful) twice and still do all the hours of work which have brought him here in the first place.

Pierre Berton arrived in the Yukon this time with copies of his latest book, Seacoasts, to sell and autograph, but his largest number of sales seems to have been for the Stoddart re-issue of his 15 year old classic, The Klondike Quest. He's quite surprised as as we chat after the bulk of the buyers and autograph seekers have gone.

"You know," he says, "a fellow bought 20 copies of the the $200 leather bound edition to give away for presents yesterday (at his Whitehorse signing)."

He's still chafing at the fact that the book's original publisher, McClelland and Stewart, wouldn't get on the ball and do a centennial edition of the book, which won awards when it was first released. But when no one there would bite he turned to Stoddart, which has handled his last three picture books, Winter, The Great Lakes and Seacoasts.

They obtained the rights to Klondike Quest and not only reissued it, but came out with three variant editions (regular, slipcased and leather) and improved the quality of the photographic reproduction. Besides that, they provided the basic edition at $10 less than the original price. Berton is overjoyed at the way the book, always one of his favourites, is now selling.

When his original Gold Rush history book, Klondike, which is also still selling briskly, first came out Berton was optimistic enough to hope that it would sell 10,000 copies. A bestseller then was 4,000 copies. It had climbed to over 80,000 before the revised edition appeared in 1972 and has continued to sell ever since. He's autographing copies of the centennial edition along with his other books.

At 78, Berton never stops writing. On the plane west he was working on a major history of the first half of the 20th century. "If it works and I can do another one I'll do the other half."

In the can and ready to appear is The Final Farewell to the 20th Century - similar to his recent Worth Repeating , a collection of humour columns which came out this year. These days Berton isn't generally thought of as a humour writer, but he did win awards for this sort of thing when he was doing a regular newspaper column 30 years ago.

The next picture book is probably going to be called Pierre Berton's Canada. It will merge geography and history with lots of pictures and text from about 15 of his previous books to profile 25 characters from Canada's past.

Why continue with this pace when he's already rich and famous?

"Well I can't just lie down and watch television. Besides, it's not work any way for me. I love it. And it's a lot better than shovelling gravel for ten hours a day, like I used to do up here."

As we chat, we are joined by Audrey McLaughlin, who has just been nabbed by "the boys" from the Idea Factory for a few comments. She says, "One of the things I told them was that while people tend to associate you with the past here, I associate you with the present and the future, because of Pierre Berton House and what you gave to us in that."

Berton fairly beams. He's tremendously pleased with the way the Berton House writer's retreat is going.

"It's really working. I'm so pleased about that." What is has become is, he says, so much better than the original proposal.

'When they first asked me to buy (the house), which I did, they wanted to turn it into a museum. I said, 'Ye gods, the whole town is a museum. The last thing you need is a museum.'" He's heard nothing but good things about it from the half dozen writers who have stayed there so far, and the work that has been done on his boyhood home is gratifying.

"I had a meeting in Whitehorse about it while I was there. I suggested that we consider lengthening the time of stay. I think we can do that. I'd like for someone to be here in the winter, too, the coldest weather." One of the objectives of a fund raiser he's planning for later this year will be to raise the money to extend the residency period.

"The town looks pretty lively," he notes, as we step from Maximilian's. "They've done a lot of work on it."

He is particularly pleased to learn that restoration work is beginning on the old CIBC building, though he's still annoyed that the original owner, the bank, gave up on it so easily.

"I gave 'em hell," he recalls. "They're using it in their television advertising after all. It's a beautiful building, a unique one that should be saved. It's a shame that the bank didn't."

The present owner, Mike Palma, plans to put a restaurant on the ground floor and a night club upstairs.

It's just after five when when Audrey McLaughlin pulls up. She's taking Berton to the home of city councillor and school vice-principal Shirley Pennell for a cup of tea or coffee and a chance to rest his legs before he and the boys head up to the Midnight Dome to shoot some location footage. He will be right at home in Pennell's lovely log house. It's on Pierre Berton Drive.

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