After the Robert Service program I headed back to Front Street for an ice cream, then went to visit the Commissioner’s Residence.
Territorial administration is a little different from that of the provinces and I’m not quite up to speed on it. If I understand correctly, the Commissioner of Yukon is the Queen’s representative in the territory, similar to the role of the Governor General.
At the time when Dawson was the capital of the Yukon territory, the commissioner resided in a grand house on Front Street. It was grander once upon a time, but burned down during a Christmas fire and was rebuilt much more simply.
Today, it’s possible to tour the house and grounds at your leisure. There isn’t much information provided, so it’s not the best value attraction in Dawson. I’d do it as part of the Pick-a-Pack and consider it the ‘free’ option.
Like many buildings in Dawson, the gorgeous bright yellow exterior of the house is a façade belying the fact that most of the interior is a wreck. The front bottom half of the house was restored to Edwardian splendour and reminds me of Rutherford House in Edmonton, decorated in the same era. The back bottom and top halves of the house are almost in ruins. This actually adds a level of interest to the visit. In the second incarnation of the home, it was used as a hospital run by nuns, so wandering through the house you can see all the layers of history associated with it. I loved that I could open just about any door and peak inside, but was disappointed that the third story is off limits. My favourite part of the house was the huge second story porch. I can just imagine sitting up there with binoculars and watching steamboats go up and down the Yukon River.
A notable resident of this home was the Honourable Martha Black, Canada’s second female Member of Parliament (MP) who took on the mantle after her husband died in office. Mrs. Black came over the Chilkoot Pass with her brother and is one of the most famous women associated with the golden age of the Klondike.
Thus ended by mostly free day and off to work I went. I still have several attractions to visit!Share on Facebook