“Pic of the Week”, May 8, 2020: A Century of Yukon License Plates

Yukon Transporation Museum (135)

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this display of license plates at the Yukon Transportation Museum.  Where else would you find an actual  (not a custom plate) license plate #2?

Besides its displays of cars, trucks and planes, the museum features an exhibit of a century of Yukon license plates in one of its halls.  Licensing of motor vehicles was not required in this Canadian territory until 1914.  It was interesting to see how little the style of the plates changed, and how small the number of motor vehicles must have been in those early years given the single and double digit plate numbers.  Even today Yukon vehicle plates only have three letters and 2 numbers …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 10, 2020: Airplane Weathervane, Whitehorse

03 Airplane Weathervane Yukon Transporation Museum (95)

The world’s largest weathervane, an actual Douglas DC-3 aircraft, sits on a pedestal in front of the Yukon Transportation Museum.  It’s an interesting sight made more impressive by the fact that the plane slowly and quietly moves, always with her nose pointed into the wind.  The plane is so finely balanced that even a 5 knot wind will turn her.  I made a point of watching over a period of several days and she always seemed pointed in a slightly different direction.  

The idea for this weathervane belongs to the The Yukon Flying Club (which morphed into the the Yukon Transporation Museum).  In 1977, members of the Club started a multiyear project to create what was to become …

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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

The Yukon Transporation Museum, Whitehorse

14 Yukon Transporation Museum (86)

I enjoy transportation and car museums, so it’s no surprise that I thought this was one of the most interesting places to visit in Whitehorse.  The museum is mostly housed in a large building with several wings, but also spreads onto the surrounding grounds.  The Yukon is large territory, but is sparsely populated.  The museum focuses on those things that made the Yukon Territory what it is today, so there is a heavy emphasis of large machinery, trucks and airplanes — the type of equipment needed to get around in and develop a wild and frozen land.  But the collection goes beyond that.

Diorama of the Chilkoot Pass, Yukon Transporation Museum

Diorama of the Chilkoot Pass, Yukon Transporation Museum

The Museum tells some of the stories of the Yukon’s development, especially of the very important Klondike Gold Rush.  This …

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North America / Western Canada / Yukon

“Pic of the Week”, January 24, 2020: Sam Steele, The Lion of the Yukon

05 Whitehorse Street Art (7)

There are times in history when one man can make an enormous difference to the lives of thousands of people.  Sam Steele, known as the “Lion of the Yukon”, was just such a man.  His formal title, in time, was to be Major General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele.

Sam had a distinguished career as a soldier and officer in military and in the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP),  which today has morphed into Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  Sam was head of the Yukon detachment of the NWMP during the Klondike Goldrush.  What was a sleepy outpost initially turned into a challenging position for Sam and his Mounties.

He established Custom outposts atop the Chilkoot and White Passes, and the Mounties did …

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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory

04 Kluane NP (8)

One of the more remote regions on the North American continent is Kluane National Park, located in southwestern Yukon, 160 kilometres west of Whitehorse.  It’s minimally accessible by car and has few hiking trails, most of which are near the outskirts of the park.  The park’s backcountry is largely inaccessible except to rugged individuals who like to blaze their own trail.  The best way to see Kluane’s backcountry is by plane (on a clear day).  It’s a very beautiful but rough landscape, filled with tall peaks, roaring rivers and glaciers. 

Alaska Highway and Kluane National Park

Alaska Highway and Kluane National Park

The town of Haines Junction is at the convergence point of the two highways that skirt Kluane National Park and Reserve, namely the Haines Highway heading north from Haines in the …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 15, 2019: A Drive along the Alaska Highway to Kluane National Park

04 Trip to Kluane – Alaska Highway (12)

One of the greatest construction achievements of the 20th century was the building of the Alaska Highway (a.k.a. the Alaska-Canadian or ALCAN highway).

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and showed growing interest in the Alaskan coast, the US government made construction of a road leading from the lower 48 states into Alaska a top priority.  Up to that point in time, the most common route of entry to Alaska was by boat, which was considered threatened by Japanese submarines (a threat which in reality did not materialize).  

The Alaska Highway begins in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ends in Delta Junction, Alaska, passing through Whitehorse in the Yukon territory.  The route, when constructed, was 1700 miles (2700 km …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 11, 2019: Robert W Service, the Bard of the North

01 Whitehorse Street Art (32)

While I love reading whenever I find the time, I’ve never been much of a fan of poetry, with two exceptions — the writing of Rudyard Kipling and (the man featured in today’s Pic of the Day) Robert W. Service.

Robert Service was born in England and began writing poems as a child, dreaming of a life of exploration and adventure, and of one day being a cowboy in Western Canada.  He emigrated to Canada in 1895, although he never became a cowboy.

Service is well know to Canadians because of his writing about life in Canada’s Yukon territory during the Klondike Goldrush.  He moved to the Yukon during this colorful period in history and loved the characters he met and heard …

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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

Historic Miles Canyon, Whitehorse

00 Miles Canyon (3)

Miles Canyon is well known to students of the Klondike Goldrush.  It was here that the Yukon River began a stretch of rough and dangerous water, the Miles Canyon Rapids and shortly thereafter the Whitehorse Rapids.  Many of the home made boats and rafts constructed by the would-be gold prospectors were destroyed or over-turned in these rapids, and many people lost their lives here.  The presence of these rapids catalyzed the formation of the city of Whitehorse as a access point to the Yukon River (down-river from these rapids) and Dawson City.

A hydroelectric plant and dam have since been built near the site of the Whitehorse Rapids, which resulted in flooding and effacement of the Whitehorse Rapids and to a …

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