Tagged with " dawson attractions"
Jun 22, 2009 -

A Night on the Town

When I arrived in Dawson City, I promised myself a night on the town with dinner and a show soon as I got my first pay cheque. Since getting first said pay cheque, no night felt ‘right.’ But, after today’s grueling workload, a night on the town was just what I needed, so I went out and had some fun.

First stop was Sourdough Joe’s for dinner. I’d heard good things about this restaurant, so I didn’t explore other options. I had the ‘special’–king salmon with lemon-butter sauce, steamed veggies (carrots and green beans), and herbed rice. The meal was very good; nothing fancy or special, but the price was just right for a homestyle dinner. I had a beer with it and came out at 26$ with tip which would not be considered expensive south of the 60th parallel for such a meal. I will definitely go back to this restaurant and try their ‘famous’ fish and chips.

Next stop was Klondyke Cream & Candy. As it turns out they rotate flavours, so the triple chocolate brownie I was addicted to is no longer available. No problem, I am now addicted to New York-style cherry cheesecake over peanut butter chocolate. 😀

And, then, the pièce de résistance: Diamond Tooth Gerties. This is the oldest casino in Canada and it is non-profit to boot, so all the money taken in goes back to the community. There are three cancan shows a night. Entrance to Gerties for two nights is 6$ per person. In case that’s not clear, a 6$ pass gets you access to all three shows for two nights. What a bargain! As an employee in the tourism industry, I get an even better bargain, a free season’s pass! I like to go out for a drink on occasion and will make it a point to time these outings with a Gerties show!

I went in a bit early tonight and played the slot machines, something I do very rarely, but which is fun on occasion. I never play more than my budget and I find it sad to watch the compulsive gamblers who are so stressed out and focussed on winning. I played the penny slots and had fun watching my fortune wax and wane. Then I sat down in front of the stage and ordered a drink, trying out a house special called ‘Gertie’s Garter’ which is rum, some sort of fruity liqueur, and cranberry and pineapple juices; very tasty!

The show started promptly at 8:30 (next shows are 10:30 and midnight) and it was a lot of fun. I loved watching the incredibly athletic gals kick up their heels, showing off beautiful coloured petticoats. All the staff at Gerties is dressed to the nines, with the servers and show girls dressed in period costumes. When the music starts, you are transported back 120 years in history to the Gold Rush days; it is quite an experience!

When leaving Gerties, I suggest putting on sunglasses inside the dimly lit building as the glaring 9PM sun will just about blind you. 😀

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Campgrounds, Canada, Restaurants, Travel, Yukon    2 Comments
Jun 14, 2009 -

Good Thing I Didn’t Come For the Gold

Gold was the theme of the day.

Claim No. 6

The mosquitoes at Discovery Claim sure hit the jackpot with me today! 😀

It was the discovery of gold at this claim on Bonanza Creek that launched the Gold Rush of 1898. Today, you can park at the claim site and stroll down to the water to try your hand at panning for gold. I borrowed a pan and shovel from work and had fun spending about a half hour playing in the mud before the mosquitoes and frozen ground chased me away. I’m pretty sure I struck iron pyrite based on the number of gold-coloured flakes lying at the bottom of my pan. There is no way I am going to even think that they might have been real gold. 🙂

Dredge No. 4

Dredge No. 4 was one of several barges (set in man-made lakes) used to mine for gold from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.  How they work is a bit complicated to explain without actually being on site, but I’ll try. I’d say the nearest comparison is a mechanical shovel:

The dredge works on a similar pivot-system and has a thingamabob sticking out of it like the shovel of the digger. This thingamabob gobbles up all the gravel and dirt in front of it in a wide radius and sends it into the bowels of the dredge to be processed for gold. When all the gravel and dirt has been eaten, the dredge moves ahead. It spits out its back the unusable rock forming the Klondike’s famous rock piles called ‘tailings.’ I was surprised to learn that only four men where needed to operate these behemouths. That figure is misleading, however, since a ‘dredge camp’ had more than 100 employees.

The method for mining gold in the Klondike appears to be quite different than in Val d’Or, but this might be because of the permafrost here. There seems to be a lot of tourmaline and quartz in the tailings, so I think we can assume that Klondike miners are looking for the same thing as Val d’Or miners, but have a different way of getting at it.

Dredge no. 4 sank into muck in the sixties and in the eighties the decision was made to salvage it. Work on that project did not start until the early nineties. The lower level had been stuck in silt and ice for almost thirty years by this point, but the structure still came out mostly intact! They were even able to salvage the old floors. What impressed me the most, thought, was that the mechanical parts that had been buried for so long still worked perfectly.

Parks Canada now manages the site and gives a very good hour and fifteen minute tour ending with a ten minute video presentation of the raising of the barge. Well worth a visit!

The statistic I remember best from the tour is something I haven’t been able to confirm or deny. Apparently, Dawson City was the third city in North America to get electrical power after Chicago and Montreal. If that’s the case, I am very impressed!

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Canada, Travel, Yukon    1 Comment
Jun 11, 2009 -

Dawson’s Cemeteries

I hiked back up to Crocus Bluff today to get in some Chilkoot training and also to explore the numerous Dawson City cemeteries along Mary McLeod Road. There is a much less exhausting way of getting up there, of course, straight up King Street, which becomes Mary McLeod. Park at the Crocus Bluff Recreation Area parking lot and prepare for some slight uphill strolling.

There are several cemeteries in Dawson City, one for Catholics, one for Jews, one for Masons, one for the general public, a new one for the general public (since the older one is filled up), one for the NWMP (Northwest Mounted Police) and one of the members of the Y.O.O.P. (Yukon Order of Pioneers).

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, it was very expensive to have marble brought up the Yukon River on a barge, so grave markers tended to be plain crosses painted white black lettering. Much of the markings have worn off now, but historians and family members have managed to identify a surprising number of graves. It would be easy to spend a full day exploring the cemeteries, there is so much of interest.

The weight of history was very heavy and I sort of melancholy overtook me as I respectfully made my way through the cemeteries. What struck me the most was how the majority of the graves were of people born a world away. In fact, no one is born in Dawson City today. Expecting mothers are flown to Whitehorse.

The Dawson Visitors’ Centre has a booklet about the cemeteries containing information about some of the more interesting graves. Much of the info in the following gallery is quoted from this guide. Let me add that the booklet is written with a tone of affection and respect, like the author knew and loved the people he or she was writing about.

This evening, guests asked me where they could find the cemeteries, so my timing in going there today was perfect!

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Canada, Travel, Yukon    2 Comments