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June 7th – “On The Road Again”

Not much to talk about today. It was a travelling day. Gassed up the car, waved good-bye to Dawson City, and made my way back down the 600kms of the Klondike Highway. I passed few cars, two gas stations, and no wildlife, but once again the scenery was breathtaking.

I spent a couple of hours this evening wandering around Whitehorse (I can pretty much cover the entire city in that time). I was so struck by the differences between Dawson City and Whitehorse. First of all, here are some things they have in common (in my opinion):

They are both isolated northern communities.

They have both been capital cities of the Yukon.

They both have their genesis in the same historical event (prior to the gold rush Whitehorse was a trading post, and Dawson City didn’t even exist.

They both are situated on the Yukon River and have nearly identical climates.

But from there it appears to me that the similarities end. Whitehorse is as modern as Dawson is not. Whitehorse has box stores, fast food restaurants, radio and TV stations, and not one, but two Tim Horton’s (Phew!!) Dawson has none of these. None. Whitehorse prides itself on being a modern city. Dawson prides itself on its living history. Whitehorse seems to want to be noticed as a 21st century thriving Canadian metropolis. And I think that is the last thing in the world that Dawson wants. The people of Whitehorse seem to embody the very establishment from which the people of Dawson seek to escape.

Isn’t it fascinating that two places that share a similar history, use that history in such different ways? One seeks to build on it, while the other wants to mine it.

I get to have two full days in Whitehorse to see what it has to offer. I already have lots planned to do. And of course I will do it all with a Tim Horton’s coffee in hand. For now, there is a hockey game and an election to watch. Go Washington!! Go (I’ll keep my voting choices to myself)!!