|The annual Klondike Run Motorcycle Rally came to Dawson again this July. Here, some of the participants are clowning for the camera. Photo by Anne Tyrrell|
Welcome to the July 18, 2003 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the photographs and articles that were in the July 15 hard copy edition. We're catching up on July postings now that the editor is back from his vacation.
The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here.
We encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun. It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. The only thing you would not get is the colour photo at the beginning of the on-line issues. We can't afford to print in colour.
Since we went online in March 1996 our counter has crashed a number of times. The first counter logged about 25,000 visitors. The second one, which crashed recently, logged about 51,000. The current counter went online in April of this spring and was sitting at 7,990 on August 9, 2003.
Anybody Got a Loonie?
If every person who logged onto this website would send us a loonie, we'd be able to pay off the lease on our new laser printer in just a few issues. Seriously folks, since the beginning of this year there are more of you reading this digest edition of the Sun than there are reading the real thing on paper. A second online reader has made a contribution to our printer fund. More on that in a few weeks.
by Dan Davidson
According to Gerry Couture, the members of the Yukon Queen II Working Group spent the first year of its existence learning how to talk to one another, a process which he, as the chair, often found frustrating, if not outright painful.
"At this moment in time," he said at the end of the June 28 public meeting, "everyone in the working group is committed to finding a solution that everybody can live with."
After an hour and a half of summary statements and charged comments from the floor, Couture was only stating the obvious when he summed up the situation.
"This is a difficult problem. There are hard positions on both sides - firm, not hard - firmly held positions on both sides and it sometimes takes time to get through those."
This would seem to be an understatement at the very least.
The working group was set up in response to complaints about the effect the Yukon Queen, especially its wake, was having on the Yukon River. The background was summed up by co-chair Marcia Jordan early in the evening.
The Dawson District Renewable Resources Council was formed three years ago as a condition of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Land Claim Final Agreement. Shortly after its formation, the office began to hear complaints about the Queen, similar, but more intense, than complaints about the boat's predecessor, the smaller Yukon Queen I. The job of the group is to come up with solutions to those concerns.
Jordan outlined the specifics.
What was learned from the evening's presentations and questions is that the range of views on the committee is pretty wide.
To take the extremes, there is no doubt in Sebastian Jones' mind that the Yukon Queen II is doing all the things that the DDRRC has heard about. His solution would look something like using two slower, smaller boats to accomplish the same traffic that Holland America is currently bringing into Dawson. Jones sits on the working group as a representative of the Yukon River Commercial Fishing Association.
Gordon Garcia was there for Holland America. In his view the Queen is thoroughly regulated and safe to run. He doubts that the boat is contributing to riverbank erosion and feels that the ups and downs of the river between breakup and the end of the season accomplish far more than his company's boat.
He pledges to slow the Queen down for travellers, but asks that they use a reflective radar marker to make themselves more obvious to the boat. He offers to sell fishermen special marker buoys to help them identify their nets and fishing spots.
Garcia made very little impression on the audience, which was made up mostly of people sympathetic to the YRCFA position. Most of the questions and negative comments were addressed to him and the company, though the tourism business sector, which supports the Queen, came in for some knocks as well.
Speaking of which, there was hardly any one at the meeting from the Dawson business community, a fact noted by several of the 30 people in the audience and lamented by Jorn Meier, the president of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce.
Much of the discussion during the evening focussed on a survey which established that the Queen strands between 13 and 14 thousand salmon fry in the creeks each year, Given a 99% mortality rate for salmon hatchlings, this would translate into about 150 adult fish late in the life cycle. How significant this is and what it means is the subject of a third study which is under way this summer.
Another survey, also inconclusive at this time, has been set up to study the effects of comparatively sized vessels on the waterways which they ply in other places.
It's uncertain what impact a completed study with outcomes on either end of the scale would have.
Dawson City Councillor Byrun Shandler asked if everyone on the working group was committed to taking whatever direction was indicated by the science once all studies were complete. There was no clear response to that from anyone.
Couture indicated that the process will simply take "as long as it takes," a reply which elicited quite a few further statements from the audience, most of whom covered pretty much the same ground but from their own perspectives. A lot of the comments were angry, so much so that Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in elder Percy Henry rose and made something of a plea for compromise. All sectors of the economy were important in his view.
"I think we should support everything we got here, 'cause we only got a short season. It's time to stop pointing fingers and find out what's causing the problem. Let's work together." Responding specifically to Henry, Shelly Brown said, "What you're hearing is the frustration of the people who live along the river."
She said she had been to several of these meetings now and had heard the same people making much the same points about the Queen, but the working group did not seem to be really paying attention. She wasn't advocating a witch hunt, but her patience, along with that of others in the room, was wearing thin.
From the sound of the meeting, it could be a lot thinner before a solution is found.
by Dan Davidson
There weren't a lot of people out to brave the morning at 8 am when Canada Day celebrations in Dawson began with a flag raising in Victory Gardens, but the number had risen to 30 or so by the time Betty Davidson has finished leading the singing of the national anthem.
The next item of the morning was the rededication of a World War One veterans'' plaque at the Museum at 9:30, and then things were fairly quiet until the beginning of the parade at 11.
Led off by the RCMP and the Legion, this assemblage of small floats, decorated bicycles and fire trucks made its way to the Gardens, augmented this year by the timely arrival of a flotilla of antique motor cars from Alaska.
As they were arriving Steve Kurth, otherwise known as Captain Canada, touched down behind the Museum with his paraglider, having circled the gardens with a large flag several times on his way down.
The much larger crowd of several hundred now repeated the singing of "O Canada" led this time by Diamond Tooth Gertie and her dancers, flanked by the Scarlet Force.
Councillor Wayne Potoroka addressed the crowd on behalf of the City of Dawson, exploring the diversity of our 136 year old nation by talking a bit about his own poly-ethnic roots. With his name, he had always considered himself Ukrainian, with English on his mother's side, but digging into it he has turned up some German as well as Jewish ancestry, making him pretty much, as he put it, "a mutt."
In addition to being an elected official, he works now for the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, a people whose roots in the country go back much further than the four generations he can trace.
"The sense of place, the roots that take in that sort of history, are both humbling and overwhelming for not only this fourth generation Canadian but this first generation Dawsonite.
"I believe that my life, the mixture of culture and creed that has defined my time so far, is as typical of the Canadian experience as you can get. It's a diverse experience that anyone who has visited other countries will recognize as something that is unique to Canada.
"We are all on this ship together. While our differences have kept this vessel afloat and (made for) quite an interesting ride, it is, more importantly, our shared Canadian value of acceptance for all that has kept us together."
MLA Peter Jenkins reflected on some of the same themes. noting that our country is generally well thought of throughout the world and ranked by the United Nations as one of the more favoured places in which to live.
"We don't always get it right," said the territorial Health Minister, "but we do enjoy a quality of life which s usually second to none in the world, and for that we are thankful."
Referring to the Antique Auto Mushers from Alaska, Jenkins joked that the parade had looked rather like "Henry Ford had put his assembly plant here for a whole group of antique motor vehicles."
Jenkins took the opportunity to make a presentation along with his speech, delivering a cheque from the Minister of Education to the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture. The $30,000 presented to John Steins, the representing KIAC, will support the Arts for Employment Program, which will be in its fourth year this fall.
"This is another initiative that has been begun by Canada's most precious asset, our people, right her in the Klondike. It's a program that is recognized, not only throughout the Yukon but throughout Canada."
Other events of the day included the annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at the Museum, more kids' games in the same area, a free afternoon at the pool, music and a barbecue at the Front Street Gazebo and the Yukon Goldpanning Championships (separate coverage tomorrow) at the North End panning site.
Someone also organized the weather, which was bakingly hot all day. Any clouds were a welcome respite from the sun, and didn't linger long.
by Dan & Betty Davidson
A memorial plaque from World War One was restored to its place in the Dawson Museum and unveiled on Canada Day.
The plaque commemorates some 600 Dawson men who went off to fight in the trenches of France and Belgium. Those who died in the conflict are marked with a star on the four panels of names.
The plaque is actually in three sections, and closes up like a cupboard when not on display. At the top, in gold letters, are the words, "For God, King and Empire", while just above the names, in blood red, is the legend, "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This".
"When I was a youngster this is where it hung," said John Gould,, who persuaded the Museum to get the plaque out of storage and restored.
It was removed when the Old Administration Building had to be pressed into service as a school in the late 1950's after the fire that took the Dawson Public School. In all the shuffling that has happened since them, including the establishment of the Museum and the renovation of the building, it had never been returned to its place.
Julia Pike, the museum's new curator/director, credits Gould with pushing to have the plaque restored, the wood refurnished and the glass replaced. The list in the panels is a reproduction of the original, and has been dyed with tea to give it that antique look.
The work, according to Pike, took several weeks.
Peggy-Anne Berton, who is back in Dawson again this summer, was on hand to seek out the name of her grandfather, Francis George Berton, of whom she has heard much from her father, Pierre. Frank Berton was one of the many Dawsonites who went off to war. Many of them did not return, but he did, and it was only after his return that he and Laura began their family.
"He was an old guy when he went off. They didn't have kids until he came back. She was forty then and he was fifty," said Peggy-Anne. She says her father recalls him as a man who liked to press flowers and enjoyed photography, but their circumstances were such that Pierre didn't see as much of him as he would have liked.
Gould is glad to see the plaque back in its place. While he might have been happy too see it in the new Legion building, the work would have cost more than the branch could afford.
"The fact that the Museum did it means that the government paid the bill - and a lot more people will see it here."
by Dan Davidson
Citing projected losses of $140,000 for this season and the drastic changes that have occurred in the tourism industry during the last few years, the Klondike Visitors Association announced on June 4 that it was bringing down the curtain on the Gaslight Follies.
The Gaslight Follies show at the Palace Grand Theatre is never a money maker. There's an annual rental of $26,000 to Parks Canada, plus the cost of the entertainment contract to think of, but it has been considered as an attraction in the KVA's bid to get people to stay more than one night in the town. The association expected it to lose almost $65 thousand last year, and it lost only $34.5.
Factoring in all costs, the KVA has now calculated that its 2002 losses on the Follies were $40 thousand.
As KVA Chair Tim Coonen put it during the association's annual general meeting in late February, "We got kicked only half as hard as we had thought."
This year, the association is projecting losses of four times that, based on the attendance figures and sales so far.
When the KVA was planning its budget for this year it had assumed that things would be similar or a little worse than last year, but then Holland America, the tour company for whom the program at the PG has been tailored and adjusted on an annual basis over the last two decades, decided not to have the Follies as an automatic part of its Dawson tours, thus eliminating with the click of a spreadsheet the guaranteed block of seats that the show needs each night in order to survive.
Visitors can still sign up for The Gaslight Follies when they book on the company website, but it is now an option, and with the company aiming its sales pitch at a less well-heeled demographic since September 11, 2001, quite a few people are no longer booking the extras.
Reports from the Palace Grand itself indicate that the show began with audiences of as little as two dozen people, and while the house is now comfortably over 120 most nights, it has only rarely hit the 200+ level that the show needs to survive.
"It was a tough decision," said Coonen in a press release, "but we couldn't afford to run the show any more."
On top of the attendance, the portion of the Old Post Office across the street that the KVA has used as its box office has been out of commission all summer as Parks Canada rebuilds the entry stairs. The box office has been a cramped space behind the bar in the theatre, with a window looking out on King Street as its wicket. It would be difficult to say how much this has affected the sales of Follies and PG related souvenirs for this season.
What of the Palace Grand Theatre? Will it become simply a venue for Parks Canada tours and the odd concert or travelling play?
"It's the Yukon's most beautiful venue," Coonen wrote, "and for decades the shows were successful both artistically and financially, but the whole industry has changed very quickly. We sincerely hope another entertainment company will step in with a new product for a new market."
The press release urges Parks to identify "another use for this magnificent facility" and encourages other interested groups to come forward. One possibility for program development might be the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, though this organization's forays into drama have so far been for younger actors.
Meanwhile, the Follies will play out the year with the production of "The Palace Grand Prize", put on by Whitehorse based Garter Girl Productions. It runs nightly at the PG beginning at 8:30. The box office is open from 3:30 each afternoon and reservations may also be made at (867)993-6217.
It will be reviewed here sometime in the next two weeks.
by Dan Davidson
It was with great reluctance that the Klondike Visitors Association made its decision to get out of presenting the Gaslight Follies at the Palace Grand Theatre, but general manager Valerie Anderson said the board didn't feel it had a choice after the low numbers at the beginning of this season came in even worse than those last year.
"We had just made the decision," Anderson said, "and we wanted to be able to let Parks Canada know in enough time that they can maybe arrange some other uses of the building. We want to see if anybody is interested in the community in doing something. I know at least one person has expressed interest."
She said that interested parties needed to know the situation in time to get applications ready for Canada Council grants and so on.
"We know that even when we have renewed our entertainment contract, we have to have it signed by September in order to get a new company in the following year. By the time they've arranged scripts, actors and financing it takes quite a while.
"If something else could happen, we didn't want it to be our fault if it got held up."
Anderson said that the KVA had tried about three times to set up a meeting among various potentially interested parties, but everyone's schedules were in conflict, and it didn't happen. The KVA and Parks Canada are scheduled to meet next week to discuss how both bodies might react.
So far Parks Canada has been muted in its response. Paula Hassard, Acting Superintendent for the Dawson Historical Complex, issued a brief statement on Tuesday.
"Parks Canada regrets that KVA had to make that decision, but we will be having meetings to discuss short term and long term options for the future. We recognize the tremendous contribution that the Gaslight Follies have made to tourism in Dawson over the years and their value in helping to present our historic site in the way it was intended.
"For the sake of the community we are hopeful that there will still be some form of evening entertainment offered next year in the Palace Grand."
There were clear signs at the KVA's annual general meeting in February that something like this might happen, though most of the membership that spoke to the issue didn't want to see the Follies disappear, they were also willing to accept whatever decision the board might have to make.
"I don't have a clue what we're walking into," said chair Tim Coonen at that time. "It's going to be a tough year."
With houses of less than 50 at the beginning of the year, only getting into the magic range of 200 towards the end of June, the KVA looked at its budget. In 2002 the organization had expected and had been prepared to lose $65,000 on the show and was pleased to discover that it lost only $34.5 thousand. The 2003 budget allowed for that same $65,000, but when attendance projections ballooned the shortfall to $140,000, the board pulled the plug.
"That's not to say that we won't help if somebody else wants to run something," Anderson said. "They might want help with the bookings, the ushers, the marketing of it, some aspect of it. We're open to considering that.
"We were torn. On the one hand you don't want to lose an attraction in your town. On the other hand we need to get over 200 people a night in that building in order to break even, and that isn't happening any more."
Anderson confirmed that the loss of the automatic booking of Holland America's tour groups into the Follies was a major blow from which the show has not recovered this year. While local Holland America staff are doing a good job of helping the KVA to sell the show, promote the Jack London Cabin and Diamond Tooth Gerties when tour groups arrive here, it's not the same as having the decision already made when you first joined the tour.
"We haven't been able to make those numbers up," Anderson said.
The K.V.A. board was also looking with some trepidation at the prospect of having to pay more than the current $25,000 rental to Parks Canada for the use of the Palace Grand. Indications had been that Parks, which has been forced to move closer to cost recovery on many of its sites, were going to be looking for more money. In the face of declining revenues that wasn't a welcome thought.
"We're not questioning their numbers," Anderson said, "but we can't justify increasing that at all, given our bottom line."
by Anne Tyrrell
On June 26 Nicole Bauberger opened her show at the Tombstone Gallery. Sitting with Nicole before the crowd of people arrived I found the artist was very approachable and willing to talk about her work.
After studying math and literature Bauberger travelled, eventually returning to Peterborough, Ontario.
Most of her intensive education in oil paint, methods and materials, art history and contemporary art practices was developed through an apprenticeship with David Bierk. She started by pushing a broom in the studio and eventually worked her way up to being Bierk's assistant painter.
For the last three summers Bauberger has been spending most of her time in the Tombstone mountains painting.
" The horizon draws me to the Yukon," Bauberger says in her biographical statement. "I can almost hear the conversation between these dynamic skies and strong wide mountains. That conversation is what I try to paint."
While sitting on the porch of Tintina Bakery Bauberger mentioned that she has had glasses since grade 2 because she is so short sighted. She likes painting because she can do it up close.
Her work displayed at the Tombstone Gallery shows some her "conversations" with the mountains that she has painted. Bauberger paints stunning landscapes in oil or acrylics on plywood. The eye-catching colors transport the viewer to the beautiful scenery of the Tombstone mountains.
The landscapes that really stand out are those painted with the encaustic method. This is where colour pigment is combine with wax to give the painting a interesting luster. She pointed out that she used plywood because canvas is easily punctured and with the amount of traveling she does with her work it is just easier to move the plywood without worry.
Like many other artists she wears many creative hats. In the last four years Bauberger has completed 12 major murals through her work with high school students in the Ontario Arts Council Artists in Education program. One of the murals can be seen at the Dawson City Library.
Bauberger's paintings bring a glimpse of the Tombstone mountains to people who might not have the chance to see that part of the Yukon.
Submitted by Julia Fellers
The 3rd Hoof and Woof Farm Annual Summer Solstice Open Horse Show was held recently at the Hoof and Woof Farm (owned and operated by former Dawsonite Cas Blattler) in Whitehorse.
Caitlin Gammie, a member of the Dawson City Bits n' Bridles Horse 4-H Club, as well as the Klondike Horseman's Association, travelled to Whitehorse to represent Dawson at this show.
Several horses & riders competed in the two day show, which included English flat and jumping classes, as well as Western flat and gymkhana events.
Caitlin, with her horse Wars Yukon Storm (Doc), competed in several classes at the show, and came away with the High Point award for the Junior Division (riders 11 to 18 years of age).
Congratulations to Caitlin!!
Watch for our own Dawson City Klondike Classic Open Horse Show, which will take place this year on August 23 & 24. It will be held at the brand new Top of the World Equestrian Center, just across from the Golf Course in Sunnydale.
Our show will also feature English and Western classes over the two-day period. Riders usually attend from all over the Yukon, and sometimes even Alaska. We urge spectators to come on out and cheer on our local horse-riding athletes of all ages. Of special note this year, our Saturday Night Extravaganza, at 8 pm - come and watch the musical freestyles, where riders perform a choreographed routine set to their favourite music. Always a highlight of the show!!
Watch for posters around town, and the rolling ads, for further details, or call Sylvie Gammie at 993-5392 or Julia Fellers at 993-5888.
by Dan Davidson
David Millar, owner of Goldbottom Mine and Tours, may be heading off to Switzerland in August to try his luck at the World Goldpanning Championships. That is his prize for locating all eight flakes of gold in his pan in 4:44 during the Yukon Open at the Yukon Goldpanning Championships on Canada Day in Dawson.
Millar was followed by Noreen and Art Sailor in this heat, which had only five contestants this year. Noreen's prize is her entry in the Klondike Days panning event in Edmonton later this summer.
Art and Noreen also placed first and second in the Seniors' event in which five contestants searched their buckets of pay dirt for five flakes of gold. Karl Ortlepp was third in that contest.
The Sailors' Stewart Placers Team defeated the Millars' Goldbottom crew for first place in the Corporate Challenge event, while the foursome called Daunt's team came in third. There were just three teams in the event.
The Millar children captured first and third in the Youth 11 and Under category with Andrea and Rachel taking those ribbons while Spencer Foltinek placed second.
In the Youth 12-15 category eight contestants searched for 5 gold flakes in the buckets. All of them found four with Randy Sabo coming first. followed by Axel Nordling and Ashley Bower.
In the Klondike Open event, which is open to anyone over 16, there were fourteen panners. Roger Stuart repeated last year's winning performance, finding five of the 6 flakes, while John Brown and Jim Stuart found only four. There is a penalty of five minutes for each missing flake.
The big surprise of the day. considering the low number of contestants in the senior level contests, was the 39 entrants in the Cheechako category which is open to first time panners mainly visitors to the Yukon.
There were so many panners that there had to be two separate heats to accommodate them all. The winner was Dieter Burghardt from Germany, followed by Faye Mark from Alberta and Andrew Greig from B.C.
The international character of the event was sustained this year, with panners from Switzerland and Germany as well as a good selection of the American states and several provinces.
Harmony Hunter, the event coordinator for the Klondike Visitors Association, says that the KVA was very pleased about that part of the turn-out. It would, she agreed, be nice to see more of the professional miners in the Klondike vying for the big prizes in the Yukon Open, which has been basically owned by the Millar and Sailor families for a few years now.
The other thing that might be good would perhaps be to switch the order of the events, or issue the prizes at more than one time, so that more of the people who won ribbons in the junior events would actually be there to collect them at the end of the long, hot day.
by Palma Berger
Not only is the Odd Gallery doing very well, but the Artists-in-residence program has taken off with many enquiries coming in. The Gallery has received 30 submissions for the 7 available exhibitions in 2004. This was in the report presented by Odd Gallery Co-ordinator, Mike Yuhasz at the Annual General Meeting of the Dawson City Arts Society.
He reported, "Since its inception, the Odd Gallery has developed a rich and diverse schedule of year round programming and special events, which include solo and group exhibitions by student and professional, emerging and established local, regional and national artists and a wide array of outreach programs including artists' talks, screenings, readings, workshops and children's programs. They have continued to foster and encourage the development and appreciation of regional visual arts practice through a diverse range of exhibition and events programming - most notably, annual exhibitions of student work from the Arts for Employment Program and the Youth Art Enrichment Program, and the Bi-annual DCAS Members exhibition, and the annual Art Auction and Arts & Crafts Fair."
The Odd Gallery committee identified as one of its priorities is to bring in more young people. The Kids in the Gallery program has brought in over 100 young people to view the art and sometimes meet the artist.
The Gallery attendance reached 4149 for the past year for all programs. Over the three years of its life it has had an attendance of 7836 and 16 regional exhibitions and 8 national ones. Which reflects its continued growth.
This past year the Gallery has been fortunate to have a year round part-time Gallery Co-ordinator. This has been funded by YTG Arts Fund. The operational funding has been partially through fund raising which has generated $11, 360.75 which is 55% of the total revenues needed to operate. Fund raising is through the annual Art auction, sale of merchandise, Arts and Crafts Fair and donations to the Gallery. The Gallery has also received project funding from the Yukon Arts Fund and from the Canada Council.
The Gallery can now offer the national standard exhibition fees and shipping assistance as suggested by Car/Fac.
Local, regional and national awareness of Odd Gallery programming continues to increase with regular coverage by local and regional news media and mail-outs, and recent coverage in Canadian Art magazine.
The Odd Gallery has worked toward increasing presentation opportunities for local artists by utilizing additional space for the exhibition of their work, as in Bombay Peggy's "Another Night of Northern Naughtiness" earlier this year. The Odd Gallery also has the use of a display case in the foyer of the Yukon Arts Centre for local Dawson artists.
The Artist-in-Residence Program is now in its second year. This house is the old Macauley house on Princess and 7th. In 2002 there were 11 Canadian artists in residence. This year there will be 9 artists from across Canada and two international artists , (one from Lithuania and one from Holland.) There has been the film maker, Lulu Keating, plus printmakers, fabric artists and many others with diverse talents. The residents have to give workshops, exhibitions, lectures and produce new and ongoing bodies of work. Thus the local community benefits also.
At the heart of the Odd Gallery operations Yuhasz said, 'there is a very dedicated and active volunteer group', whom he thanked. There is also the Gallery committee, elected at the AGM who advise and make recommendations, help with planning approving and implementing Gallery programs. This year these members are Joann Vriend, Byrun Shandler, John Steins, Paul Henderson, Mindy Potoroka, Sharon Edmunds, Gail Calder, Kyla MacArthur, Jennifer Leece and Janice Cliff.
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