Dawson City, Yukon Friday, April 2, 1999

The starting route of the Percy DeWolfe Dog Race follows Front Street past the Han Cultural Centre. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Hopkins Takes the Percy At Last!
Hopkins Raced with a New Attitude
The Percy Is a Class Act, Says Race Marshall
Snowmobile Races Are a Go!
Governor General to Launch National Internet Project
Tourism: The Northern Image
Dawson City's Arts Community Finds a Home
Comment: Who Was There First?

Welcome to the April 2 edition of the online Klondike Sun. The news stand edition was 24 pages long, contained 25 photographs, 21 stories, our bi-weekly television guide, a 2 page photo spreads on our Thaw di Gras Spring Carnival, a special editorial cartoon by artist Albert Fuhre and the cartoon strips Paws and Mukluk & Honisukle.

Hopkins Takes the Percy At Last!

by Dan Davidson

It's taken five tries and a couple of second place finishes, but this year Ed Hopkins got the Percy DeWolfe Dog Race clearly in his sites and loped home to to a winning finish in a time of 20 minutes and 51 seconds. This was just two seconds off the course record for the 340 km round trip, which was set last year.

The man whose dogs set that record, Brian MacDougall, pulled up in second place about an hour later.

Third place Gord Wood arrived in a time of 22:11.

After that, groups tended to arrive in clusters, with not a lot of time between them.

Jim Tompkins was 4th in 23:16. Robin Jacobson arrived 5 minutes later, in 5th. Doug Harris scored 6th place just 5 minutes after that.

Peter Ledwidge led the next group with a 7th place in a time of 25:15. He credited his placing with the fact that a fox got onto the trail in front of his team at one point.

Two minutes behind him Bradon Bennett placed 8th. Darren Kinvig arrived in 9th place at 25:41. Nine minutes later Brian Camilli took 10th, the last of the paying positions.

Continuing in descending order were Caleb Banse, Agata Franczak, Shannon Brockman, Kilian Huwyler, Todd MacKinaw and Abby West, and Paul Geoffrion.

Kyla Boivin, a 16 year old local girl now in her second year of mushing, was the Red Lantern winner this year.

Doug Vollman and Mark Taylor started the race, but had to scratch along the way.

Numerous awards were given out at the Downtown Hotel post -race banquet, which was attended by at least 100 people.

Shannon Brock won the Humane Society's Award. Karen McWilliam presented the award and said the society remained proud to be associated with the race.

Rookie of the Year was Saskatchewan musher Jim Tomkins, who noted in his acceptance remarks that it was the first time he'd ever received a rookie award in all his years of mushing.

Kyla Boivin was up to the podium twice, first to collect her red lantern and again as the the Best Sport.


Hopkins Raced with a New Attitude

by Dan Davidson

Ed Hopkins (cap) receives the first place trophy from Downtown Hotel owner Dick Van Nostrand. Photo by Dan Davidson

Ed Hopkins figures his first place finish in the Percy DeWolfe Mail Race this year is largely due to a change in his attitude. After four previous races and finishes ranging from 5th to 2nd, he decided to lighten up.

"The team I had this year was just as fast as the team I had last year, except I was too heavy on the throttle last year.

"This year I kinda just slowed 'em down, took my time going up to Eagle, just let them eventually speed up and let them set their pace. They did. They sped up and ... kept their pace all the way in to Dawson, which is kinda nice."

Hopkins also credits his lead dog for this race, Joel, for helping to forge a winning combination.

"Eight of those dogs are from my Quest team. I threw in a leader that I hadn't run all year, but that my girlfriend was running all winter. he made a lot of difference. I used him in lots of races and won quite a few with him. He's actually the guy who made that team do what they did.

"He's always nice to have up front because he's 'Mister Reliable'. You can just jump in your sled and go to sleep and he'll you where you want to go. He's the best free dog I ever got."

For Hopkins its was wonderful to see his team so strong and so happy. They had a hard Quest, he said, plagued with illness and quite debilitated by the whole experience.

"It wasn't really a fair evaluation of those dogs, I knew they were better than that."

In the Percy they proved it, and had a good time doing it.

"It was a highlight for me just to see that they could do what they did."

According to Hopkins the trail from Dawson to Eagle was nearly perfect: well marked, solid, cool without being cold and easy to follow. Coming back along the same trail, he encountered head winds and crosswinds that really did present a bit of difficulty.

"Taking the river crossings it would basically just blow the sled right off the trail. It would pick up the snow off the trail and blow it right at you like you were going into a small storm - a mini-whiteout."

Hopkins says he will be back for another Percy.

"I've got to defend my title."

"I was pretty happy to get second place," six time winner Brian MacDougall said. "I didn't think it was a winning team when I came, and we proved it."

He found the going a bit slow for his sled and team, "gritty but still pretty good."


The Percy Is a Class Act, Says Race Marshall

by Dan Davidson

For Race Marshal John Borg there's no question about one thing: the Percy DeWolfe Mail Race has become a class act. He's watched it for 23 years and seen it grow from a memorial run held just for local mushers for the fun of it, to a race that pays out $10,000 in prize money and attracts teams from all over Canada, the United States and even as far away as this year's entry from Switzerland.

"The way the word is getting out it isn't just local participants any more," says Eagle's postmaster. "The race is getting better. The competition's getting keener. We've got to do our homework to make sure we fulfill out part of putting on a good race for people who are coming from other than across town to participate.

"I don't think the founders of this race in 1976 - when it was a mail run - had any idea that it would ever develop into a class act, but that's what it is.

"Talk to any of these people who have run it, whether they've won or not. They have a great deal of respect for the calibre of the race and for the organizers."

Borg says the Percy is a great way to bring the mushing season to a close.

"This is a tremendous race to end up the mushing season. For most of them it will be end for this year. The calibre of people here, from the workers to the participants, make this a great race."

For Borg the camaraderie of the race, the skill of the organizing committee, the local cooperation on both side of the border, and the high quality of animal care, all combine to make this a winning proposition. He only real concern is that if it gets much bigger Eagle will have trouble finding places for the mushers to sleep during their mandatory four hour layover.


Snowmobile Races Are a Go!

Submitted by J. & J. Fellers

Snowmobile race on the Yukon River. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Dawson City Snowmobile Club held its 3rd annual Race Day on March 14th. The Event was host to 49 competitors and had a new division added for 3 to 8 year olds sponsored by Harry & Vi Campbell as well we had a Mini Cross Country/Snow Cross with $500.00 added purse from the Dawson City Snowmobile Club.

The winners of the events are as follows:

Kitty Cat/Mini Z Ovals

3 and 4 year olds, Colson Fellers
5 and 6 year olds, Megan Elliot
7 and 8 year olds, Shawn Gillespie

Adult Kitty Cat/Mini Z race

Fred Taylor

Junior Ovals, Boys

Cody Rudniski

Junior Ovals, Girls

Caitlin Gammie

Ladies Ovals

381 - 500, Heather Favron
501 - 600, Julia Fellers
600 - Open, Carlene Kerr

Mens Ovals Non Traction

0 - 380, Jeff Barber
501 - 600, Gordon Kerr

Mens Ovals Traction

501 - 600, J.J. Fellers
600 - Open, Guy Favron

Junior Drags

0 - 380, Victoria McLeod

Ladies Drags

381 - 500, Donna Reynolds
501 - 600, Kelly Maguire
600 - Open, Heather Favron

Mens Drags

381 - 500, Kevin Hastings
501 - 600, Dan Reynolds
600 - Open, Guy Favron

Ladies Snow Cross/Cross Country

501- 600, Julia Fellers
600 - Open, Kelly Maguire

Mens Snow Cross/Cross Country

0 - 380, Mark Favron
501 - 600, Willy Fellers
600 - Open, Willy Fellers

We would like to thank all our competitors, spectators, and a huge thank you to our volunteers and sponsors:


Mel Crockett, Willy Fellers, Julia Fellers, J.J. Fellers, Heather Favron, Mark Favron, Pat Cayen, Bill Holmes, Jimmy Vandusen, Wendy and Gordon Burns, Dawson City Ambulance, R.C.M.P. Sylvia Burkhart, Carlene Kerr, Donna Reynolds, Stryder LaCosse, Peter Nagano (for help and sled for Will), Klondike Transport, Joe Uri, Kevin Hastings, Dawson City Fire Department, Joel Cyr, Sandy Marks, and a big thanks to Joe Fellers for building the great Oval and Drag strip this year.

Sponsors: We know you give all the time to special events, Thank you, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.....

Eldorodo Hotel and Peter and Karen Jenkins, Vi and Harry Campbell and Gerry, Klondike Transport, Northern Metallic, Finning, North of 60 Petro, Dawson City Taxi, Beaver Lumber, Northern Lights Recreation, Mackenzie Petrolium, Dominion Co.(new video store at new Gas Shack), Grubstake, Dawson City Hardware, Northern Superior, Maximillians, Yukon Honda, Fisher Contracting, River West, Ravens Nook, Trek Over The Top, Dawson Donuts, Hair Caberet, Ray of Sunshine, Wild & Wooly, Pop N Stop, Bonanza Meats, Gold City Tours.

Please support the businesses that support us so generously.

If you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to contact Club President Bill Holmes.


Governor General to Launch National Internet Project

The Internet will bring together students from over a thousand Canadian schools on April 15. That is the day Governor General Roméo LeBlanc will launch the Canadian Heritage Interactive Journey - a nine-week exploration of Canada by three cycling teams.

The launch will take place simultaneously in Ottawa and Vancouver and also involves a number of top political leaders who have helped bring the project to life.

During the Canadian Heritage Interactive Journey (CHIJ) the three cycling teams will be travelling to each coast and throughout northern Canada. As the cyclists experience the stories, culture and heritage of Canada, they will share those discoveries with students on an interactive web site at www.chij.com. Students have the opportunity to play an active role in the journey, posting and sharing information they have researched about their own communities.

"This project is about empowerment. Empowering our children to accept the challenge of becoming local historians, and then conveying what they discover to hundreds of thousands of their peers across Canada, " says Ingenuity Works Inc. CEO and President Gary Gumley. Ingenuity Works, of Burnaby, BC, is the developer of the CHIJ. "Canadian students and the cycling teams will literally bring Canadian history, culture and geography alive through this journey.

"And furthermore, we are delighted that Governor General Roméo LeBlanc is the honourary patron of the first-ever Canadian Heritage Interactive Journey," adds Gumley.

Every day during the journey students will log onto the web site to see where the cyclists will travel next, and what they will discover about distant locations, such as the new territory of Nunavut. Cyclists will convey their findings via daily email updates, and will be recording digital images of the areas they visit. Students will have the opportunity to talk directly to the cycling teams via email. Questions and answers will be posted on the web site.

As they journey, the cycling teams will be stopping at 75 host schools. During the day of the team's visit those schools will host the CHIJ web site, and their students will post projects, prepared in advance, about their community. In order to gather this information students went out into the community, and talked to seniors, artists and local politicians. Many schools not on the cycling routes are participating as 'project schools', posting similar information.

The CHIJ is being used to introduce students to the Internet and to help them develop basic technology skills, from using email to designing web pages. Industry Canada is supporting the development of these skills through SchoolNet's Jr. GrassRoots program, by providing access to the CHIJ for 880 schools.

Schools taking part in the CHIJ are also being encouraged to use the work they are doing for this project to host a Heritage Fair. Heritage Fairs, sponsored by the Charles R. Bronfman (CRB) Foundation, encourage students to do an in-depth study of their local culture and history, and present the results in a community fair.

But the main goal of the Canadian Heritage Interactive Journey is to promote interaction between schools, and a grassroots exchange of information. Indeed, that exchange started long before the start of the journey.

The CHIJ web site first became active in November, and teachers began to share ideas on the site about how to incorporate the CHIJ into their curriculum for the school year. Some schools researched and exchanged information about their community's architecture, or famous residents. Younger grades coordinated the exchange of school mascots.

Enthusiasm has been growing since the start.

"We've introduced the site and journey to our students and they are excited!" wrote a Langley Meadows, BC teacher early on in the project. "It's great to be part of such an exciting project," wrote Linda Cass-Jones from Grenville Elementary in Quebec. Those comments are echoed throughout the Teacher Idea Board on the CHIJ web site, where teachers have been exchanging information.

A weekly Canadian trivia quiz on the web site helped students start the research process, while another quiz - The Great Canadian Challenge, introduced students to famous Canadians who ask essay questions about Canadian culture and history.

"How exciting for students to be given the opportunity to watch, talk and be a part of such an exciting event in this nation's history," said Heather Briske, an elementary teacher in Surrey, BC.

Sponsors and partners of the CHIJ include Industry Canada, Canadian Heritage, the BC Ministry of Education, the Corel Corporation, BC Tel. Telus, Cruise Canada Motorhome Rentals and Sales, IBM, Discover Learning, Canadian North Airlines, Norco, McClelland & Stewart, Timex and Totally Hip Software.

"By giving young people opportunities to learn more about their vast country and one another, the Interactive Journey will help to enhance their understanding of Canada and its rich, natural, historical and cultural heritage," says Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps.

Robert Service School is one of the host schools for the CH IJ. Team number three is scheduled to be here in May, about a week before school ends.


Tourism: The Northern Image

Submitted by the Winter Tourism Committee

Kelly Miller and Jon McDade wowed delegates at the Winter Cities Forum in Prince George with their fancy outfits.

The newly formed Winter Tourism Committee recently sent two representatives to the International Winter Cities Forum in Prince George, BC. Winter Tourism Committee members Jon McDade and Kelly Miller, along with City Planner Henry Procyk were sent to participate in the three-day affair to evaluate the relevance and importance of becoming a member of this international association.

Delegate members came to this forum from places as far away as Mongolia, Japan, China, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Greenland. Member representatives also came from dozens of Canadian and American communities to participate.

But it was always Dawson, and not their hometowns that conversations revolved around. The fascination with the aura of our northern town captivated all those that would listen. Jon and Kelly wore their period dress at the larger functions, only to be besieged with questions and enthusiastic comments. This was yet another positive experience that again reaffirmed the potential of turning ìCold Feverî into a winter tourism reality.

As Dawson residents, we are aware that the winter can make life difficult: that the image of a community in winter is often a negative one. Media, inappropriate design standards, and negative thinking constantly reinforce this image of a northern town or city. This image is also reflected in attitudes of many northern residents. Winter is often not recognized as part of the culture of most North American communities.

The Winter Cities Association primarily serves as a conduit for sharing information, research, and successful implementation of projects targeting winter issues, which challenge life in the north. It will be the responsibility of the Winter Tourism Committee to decide if membership in such an association is of benefit to the Dawson area. No matter what the decision will be, the reality of our situation is that tourists will (and want to) visit in winter, itís just a question of how many, and how will we maximize this potential.

If you want any information regarding the Winter Tourism Committee, or would like a copy of the forum report, call the Klondyke Centennial Society/Winter Tourism Centre at 993-1996.

I Love Winter in Dawson!!!


Dawson City's Arts Community Finds a Home

by Dan Davidson

The future home of the Dawson City Arts Society is the old home of the International Order of Odd Fellows, which sits on the corner of Second Avenue and Princess Street. Photo by Dan Davidson

When it comes to dreaming dreams, folks in Dawson tend to dream large. Witness the Dawson City Arts Society, newly formed just last May and currently boasting a membership of 100.

In that short time, it has already taken on a project most other organizations would gasp and walk away from, the creation of a home for itself and the beginnings of a permanent home for the arts in the Klondike capital.

The building is the old Oddfellows Building, located at the corner of Princess Street and Second Avenue. It has been in the hand of the Klondike Visitors Association for several years now, and the KVA once harboured dreams of making its home there. Those dreams have shrunk with the profit margins from Diamond Tooth Gerties, and so the KVA was only too happy to cooperate with the fledgling society when it came calling last fall.

The end result is an extensive renovation project which has been under way since last November. Some 7,000 square feet of historic property is being converted on the inside to match the dreams of DCAS (say DeeKas). In mid-March the building was still in the midst of that reshaping, though most of the interior wall frames were in place and the basic spaces were mapped out.

Greg Hakonson, the president of DCAS, can obviously visualize what the place will look like as he strides through the building. A placer miner by profession, Hakonson might seem an unlikely candidate for leading an arts society. His artistic side emerges slowly, the way his detailed wood carvings emerge from their raw materials.

To date, DCAS has spent about $60,000 on the project, addressing all the interior structural matters. KVA did the foundation some years back, and Hakonson says the building probably still exists due to that.

When DCAS workers began they discovered that the roof was about due to collapse, having bowed in the middle. There was much work to be done there.

The rest of the building was no joy, either. While it looks like a big sturdy building from the street, the Odd Fellows Hall betrayed a convoluted carpenter's history once DCAS workers had begun on it.

"It was originally a little 15 foot wide, 40 foot wide two story building, and it had at least five additions, possibly six.

"Somewhere after the third, or maybe the third - that's when the Odd Fellows bought the building - they cut the roofs off most of it, added the walls and put the second floor on.

The second floor ballroom had been created by 1914, under the ownership of the IOOF.

"It is made up of five or six additions," Hakonson says. "Structurally a nightmare, just because of the way they framed at that time."

DCAS was aware of some of the problems, but others, like the extent of the roof damage, caught the society by surprise.

"It had let go completely and the roof was coming apart, pushing the walls out. The ceiling of the ballroom was just hanging on one by fours, ready to fall in.

"We had to get come-a-longs and turk jacks and draw the building back together and tie it all up. I don't think it would have stood without the work the KVA did.

"Every times we opened a wall up we wondered how that wall managed to stand. There was no solid bearing anywhere."

It its present state the building is two floors. The ground floor contains spaces set aside for several classrooms, including a gallery which will be able to double as a studio. There is walk-in storage for art supplies, a mechanical room to handle the buildings functions, office space for the manager, bathrooms and an historic entrance off Second Avenue.

Upstairs is the centerpiece of the structure, a grand ballroom with a wooden floor. The space is considerable and could be used for theatre, dance, banquet and other purposes. When completed it will be a valuable addition to the community. Along the north wall of the building will be the change rooms and a small classroom/bar area. On the west, next to the stairs, will be a service kitchen, above which will be the control area for lights and sound.

There isn't a lot of storage room, but the plans call for a addition to copy the storage shed which used to be attached to the east side of the building, and that will answer that need.

All of this costs money. The Community Development Fund advanced $48,000 for the beginning phrase and the City of Dawson guaranteed $200,000. A CDF grant application for an additional $230,000 would just about finish the work that has been started.

The plan is to have the building ready to use by September, 1999 and in actual use by January, 2000. An additional half a million will be needed to bring the work to its conclusion and hire a manager for the Art Centre.

Hakonson says it will have taken close to a million dollars by the time the building is up and running, and to justify that takes more than the desire for Dawson area artistic types to have a place to meet and show their wares. DCAS has bigger plans, including becoming the central hub of an arts education and tourism network that might span the whole territory. But that's another dream and another story.


Comment: Who Was There First?

by Wayne Potoroka

The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in are well-accustomed to a tough slog at the bargaining table. For the past almost 30 years in their face-offs with the Federal and Territorial Governments during land claims negotiations, the First Nation has done its share of winning, losing and compromising.

So, it is an awfully large pill to swallow when a conflict that was thought to be amicably settled with the Yukon Territorial Government has come back to haunt the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in and throw them back into the heat of battle.

The latest melee is over a planned mining operation to take place at the heart of the proposed boundaries of the Tombstone Park. If the Canada United Minerals group has its way, they will soon be firing up a hard rock mine operation on the Horn claims inside the Tombstone Park. And if that happens, the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in will be left wondering how they ever found themselves in this predicament in the first place.

The Hän people refer to the Tombstone and Blackstone Uplands area as "Ddhah Ch'aa Tat? meaning, "among the rough peaked mountains". There are two ancient villages in this region, one in the Seela Pass area and Black City near Chapman Lake. Ask an elder, and they will tell you that this area holds high cultural and spiritual significance for the First Nations.

The YTG also recognize the importance of this area. In the early 70's they identified the Tombstone area as an ideal candidate for a Territorial Park and by 1987 had included their proposed boundaries on maps for the first time.

In 1989, however, during land claims negotiations, the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in tabled a Land Selection, R-10, in order to preserve the cultural and historic values of the Blackstone Uplands and Tombstone area. This selection included the now disputed Horn Claims. The YTG would not agree to the selection because of their interest in establishing a Park. The YTG assured the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in that the land encompassed by R-10 and associated cultural values would be protected with Park designation.

The issue was resolved in June of 1992 , or at least thought to be, when the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in agreed to drop the selection in favour of creating a public Park. The agreement included a dual-management scheme that saw responsbility for the park shared by both the YTG and The First Nation. The objective, as laid out in the Land Claims Schedule, was to "protect for all time a natural area of Territorial significance which includes representative portions of the Mackenzie Mountains eco-region, including the Ogilvie Mountains and Blackstone Uplands areas".

When boundaries for the Park were agreed to in September, 1992 - which included the Horn claims - everyone was happy. In the words of the YTG lands negotiator - the park was a "true gem".

But, as the winds of political change go, so do the commitments of Government.

In October 1992, the Ostashek regime was elected and went back on the good faith deal entered into by the previous government. Running with a commitment "not to alienate Yukon lands from potential mineral development", the Yukon Party began taking stock of the potential dollar value of areas within the proposed Tombstone Park.

Going on a few encouraging indications, the Yukon Party redefined the boundaries of the park without consulting the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, effectively reneging on a deal agreed to by the previous government.

During this period the debate spilled over into the public domain. The result was mass support for an enlarged park as evidenced a petition signed by more than a thousand people and presented to the Territorial Assembly on March 12, 1996.

In September of 1996 there was another territorial election, this time with a pro-Park NDP emerging victorious. As well, in May of 1997 the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in completed their land claims negotiations which included a Schedule A of Chapter 10 which laid out a process for determining Park Boundaries and developing a Management Plan for the Tombstone area as per the promise that was made years prior.

The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in believed they were preserving sacred land for all time. The general population thought they were getting the Park they wanted. But while all this was happening, on March 8, 1997, Canadian United Minerals did what most other mining outfits wouldn't have dreamed of doing while the Park boundaries were being sorted out. At the head of the Blackstone, in the heart of the proposed Park, on land left exposed by the previous Yukon Government and not yet protected by the Land Claims Treaty, they staked claims.

So where does this leave a First Nation that voluntarily dropped a land selection to pursue a partnership with the Territorial Government? No doubt wondering what went wrong.

According to Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in councillor, Ronald Johnson, "the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in are not opposed to mining but that area is supposed to be a park."

Councillor Robert Rear adds that "there is a lot of country, but not like that. It is a sensitive and unique ecology. It must be protected."

Not to mention the cultural significance the area contains as well as the wealth of First Nations artifacts.

The repercussions of this issue are being felt in the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in government offices right now. As Trondëk Hwëch'in Land Resource Officer, Darren Taylor says about the obvious contravention of the signed agreement: "It's only been a year since the final agreement was signed. What happens in four or five years? It makes me think the whole thing isn't worth the paper it's written on."

Certainly not as much as a mittful of beads if you ask me.


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