Dawson City is situated at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. TheTr’ondëk Hwëch’in (People of the River) were the First Nation people of the area known to have used this place as their summer fishing camp for thousands of years.
It is possible that the name Klondike is derived from the word Tr’ondëk.
What was once moose pasture and a summer fish camp for these people, was transformed in just two years into a metropolis following the discovery of rich gold deposits in 1896, turning Dawson City into the largest city north of Seattle and west of Winnipeg by 1899. Evidence of one of the biggest and most well known gold rushes in history, The Klondike, is everywhere. Tailings piles dominate the river beds and all visible flat land for many miles around. This was the first place in North America where the huge mining dredges were used and they changed the face of mining in this and many other areas – effectively industrializing mining and in the process changing the landscape forever.
The town was lost in time after the gold rush ended but recently Parks Canada and the local Council has begun restoration of many original buildings and has created an interesting and informative place to learn about the history of the area. You can visit some restored buildings and stay in new ones, built to the strict heritage code.
No gold rush town would be complete without CanCan Girls and a Gambling Hall. In Dawson, these come together at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall – a not-for-profit casino (yes!), where any profits go into the local community.
In Dawson City you can still pan for gold and have it turned into jewellery, buy a Wooly Mammoth tusk or a wolf skin, watch the Can Can girls and gamble at the gambling hall or ride the Yukon in a restored Stern-wheeler.
Situated in a beautiful and a little bit remote part of Yukon, Canada, Dawson City was a great place to stay a couple of days, learn some of the history and clean up after the wet and muddy trip up the Dempster Highway.