46 FOCUS - JULY 2018 A black bear out for his morning snack. Canada has a great deal to offer tour- ists and residents alike, and the great white north is no exception. I had the pleasure of travelling into the Yukon and discovering the wonderful city of Daw- son with all its historic significance. Dawson is not that easy to get to. I drove from Fairbanks, Alaska, and after 13 hours behind the wheel, I was glad to be out of the car. I was amazed at how much emptiness exists in Canada. Driving four and five hours without see- ing any signs of civilization makes you appreciate the vast beauty, at the same time, realizing how insignificant we are in comparison to Mother Nature. I pulled into Dawson and immediately looked for Jack London. The closest I came was a torn copy of Cry of the Wild on a bookshelf in my hotel, the Westmark. The town of just shy of 1,400 residents is built on permafrost, so the buildings tend to be on a bit of a kilter. Of course from a tourist perspective, this adds to the uniqueness, however, I’m not sure residents feel the same way. The history of Dawson and the Yukon Gold rush is amazing. More than 100,000 people set out from Seattle in the late 1800s to find fame and fortune. Word had spread rapidly that one woman, while doing her laundry in Bonanza Creek, a small tributary of the Klondike River, found a few nuggets of gold. People were totally unprepared and ironically, most of the land had already been claimed when the prospectors arrived. The driving force was a major re- cession in the US, which caused great unemployment, and gave people a reason to flee north to the land of milk and honey. Travellers came in light jack- ets and shoes, with little in the way of provisions and had to cross the Chilkoot Pass, high in the mountains which make up the Canada, US border. Of the hun- dred thousand or so that set out, only 30,000 made it, as the gruelling Yukon temperatures were no match for the ill prepared would be prospectors. Finally, after an entire winter of devastation, the North West Mounted Police were handed the authority from the government to lie down and enforce some rules. Anyone wishing to travel the Chilkoot Pass had to have a minimum of one year’s supply of food weighing a thousand pounds, as well as another thousand pounds of equipment. Many unhappy prospectors were turned back, however, unbeknownst to them at the time, their lives had been spared. Dawson City has gone through some stabilization issues. When it was first settled, in 1898, the population skyrock- eted to 40,000. In 1902 it became incor- porated as a city. Just over one hundred years later, the town declared bank- ruptcy and the Mayor and Council were removed. Today Dawson is under the jurisdiction of the Yukon Government. In 1978, a discovery was made in the rubble beneath an old hockey rink. More than 500 films, dating back between 1905 and 1921, were found buried in the permafrost. The films have been ...................... Please turn to page 48 BY JONATHAN VAN BILSEN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH