29 June 2009

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

We stayed in Whitehorse last night. The ride was eventful, and we've now had rain during 13 of our 14 days on the road.

Yukon Territory has just 60,000 citizens. Half, we were told, work for either the national or provincial government. Whitehorse has a population of aboot 30,000; the balance are scattered across the province. The high proportion of government employment results in a relatively income level.

Whitehorse is a tourist town. Most of the tourists are Germans who, for some reason, have a keen interest in the Yukon. Some Germans have moved to Whitehorse and have become amateur dogsled mushers. We saw groups of Germans huddled outside of downtown restaurants, cigarettes on all hands, muttering about anti-smoking laws.

We took a trolley ride through downtown Whitehorse. This is the primary tourist area and has been re-created as if it is a Whitehorse theme park at Disney World. Everything is cute and sterile, including the few people we saw who actually live downtown. Most of the stores were closed Sunday afternoon. The people were annoyingly happy. And polite, boy were they polite. All traffic halted if it looked like we wanted to cross the street. We were standing on a street corner looking at a map and traffic in all direction halted as smiling drivers waved us across. We hadn't planned to cross the street, but crossed anyhow so as not to be impolite.

We decided to look for the ugly underbelly. Everything was too perfect; there had to be an ugly side of Whitehorse kept from the tourists. We popped our heads into a few bad looking bars. The second one had a fake street sign nailed to the wall. It said "Green Bay Packer Blvd.".

Clear evidence of decay right before our eyes.


  1. Was that a typo in the 2nd paragraph "aboot", or are you turning into a Canadian speaking person now?

  2. I just accidently came across your blog. I enjoyed reading it so much. Congradulations on reaching Alaska. Sounds like you had a lot of adventure. I had to laugh when you described Whitehorse in all it's politeness. I live in Whitehorse and we do have stuff to complain about but only rarely. Come back again sometime. We welcome tourists as though they were the birds coming back on migration! It's a true sign that summer has finally arrived!!

  3. Thanks Julie.

    We stayed in Whitehorse again last week on our way home. It was wonderful!

    Our departure was delayed nearly two hours as everyone we met wanted to talk. We were escorted to City Hall where we were given Whotehorse pins to wear on our jackets and a three day free parking pass.

    Whitehorse is a nice place, and we'll spend more time there next time through.


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