|This iconic Raven was one of many ice sculptures along Front Street during the Thaw di Gras spring festival. Photo by Dan Davidson|
Welcome to the March 29, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 30 photographs and 22 articles which were in the 24 page March 26 hard copy edition. The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, the locally created cartoon "Camp Life", our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?
Seriously, we do 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. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online, and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers. See our home page for subscription information.
by Louise Ranger
From the size of the crowd that gathered on our slumbering river you'd think the Fab Four were in town. In fact, the draw was the greatly anticipated rugby match between the Dawson City Barbarians and the British Army Training Unit Suffield (aka BATUS).
The event was classic Dawson. Shiny, happy faces soaked up the new found sun, cheering and laughing despite the nippy temperatures. Gumboots and backpacks were reconnoitered for side line duty on the pitch, while Dominic Lloyd's mellifluous muffled mutterings and rugged dashboard soundtrack (including "Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot," and "We are the Champions") kept the pressure on the visiting Brits. Quick study "ref" Constable Jeffrey Kalles blew the whistle and the game commenced. There could not have been a more perfect day for a rugby match.
The Barbarians were iced heat to the Brit's valiant efforts from the start. With only a few minutes of game play and much snow under their belts, Dawson ended the first 20 minutes of play with a 10-5 lead. At half time, the crowd was loud and spirits were high; players sported frosted doos, burning cold hands and red noses. Something in the air foretold the fall of the British Empire.
And fall they did, as Dawson added 4 more tries in the second period, bringing the score to 30-5. At one point in the second half of the game, play was suspended while a hurt British player was attended to by the healing hands of John Tyrrell and the "Stayin' Alive" EMS crew. The Brits fought back, scoring a second try, but in the end were no match for the superior ball-handling, lightning speed and physical play of the home team.
The final score - Dawson Barbarians 30, BAKUS 10. Barbarian tries were scored by Dorian Amos (2), Jonathan Howe, Carolyn Risebrough, Mike Linley, and Martin Kiensler. Ervin "Eddy the British Whippet" Brown scored both the Brit tries, earning him the MVP award.
The game was full of firsts. Constable Jeffrey Kalles, with only one Sunday rugby cram session under his referee belt, was ecstatic about the game and his own performance, noting with a grin that "everybody's smiling, nobody beat me up!" The novice enthusiasm was shared by the British Captain (militarily and rugby wise) Kate Gibbs, who cited the rugby game as an "added bonus" to the military expeditions they were up for, not to mention our famous hospitality. You couldn't get a word in edgewise with the Brits post- game, and rest assured they raised a little heck later that night in our springing town.
The Barbarians have a few firsts up their frosty sleeves as well. Coach Carolyn Risebrough and Assistant Coach Mike Linley were even more ecstatic about their plans for this team and the game. They're planning for a Sunday drop in league and summer clinics for high school students. And if that isn't enough, they've got their eyes set on a Yukon Rugby Association.
The Barbarians would like to thank the following for their support and donations for this event: The Klondike Centennial Society, the Klondike Visitors Association and Diamond Tooth Gerties, Madame Bouzane Enterprises (Bombay Peggy's), the Eldorado Hotel, the Westminster Hotel, the Dawson City General Store, the City of Dawson Recreation Department, the Klondike Sun, Constable Jeff Kalles, Dominic Lloyd, Ray Dagostin, Justine MacKellar, the Rangers, Kevin Hastings, the Dawson City Ambulance volunteers, and of course all the spectators that lined the home-team side of the pitch.
We at the Sun are sorry to hear of the passing of well-known Dawson elder, Joe Henry. While Joe died on March 20, his funeral was a week later, on March 27, a day after our newsstand edition appeared. We will be covering Joe's passing in some detail in our next issue. Our thoughts are with the Henry family. For anyone who can't wait that long, the story of the funeral itself is contained in the March 28 edition of the Whitehorse Star online.
Submitted by Race Committee
The 26th Annual Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race got off to a good start beginning at 10 am Thursday, March 21, under sunny skies and temperature of -20C but quickly warming up. We had assistance from the Canadian Rangers on 4-wheelers to bring the dog teams up safely to the start line as volunteers ran with the teams to guide them in the right direction. We had a large field of 25 mushers from as far away as Colorado, Yellowknife and Minnesota with lots of new comers to the race. Dominic Lloyd did a great job as Race Announcer and we would like to thank our many volunteers for making it a smooth start. The winner of the race was expected back to Dawson in the afternoon of Friday, March 22/02. For detailed race info visit www.thepercy.com
At 12:30 later that day, we saw a new race take off on the river. It was a mass start, where all dog teams are waiting side by side and all take off at the same time. It was very exciting to watch as 10 teams took off with mushers from Wisconsin, Alaska, Yukon and Saskatchewan. Everyone safely made it down the trail. Mushers stayed overnight at 40 Mile and returned to Dawson Friday afternoon as well.
Thank you to - The Downtown Hotel, City of Dawson, Canadian Rangers, Klondike Kate's, Parks Canada, Klondyke Centennial Society, Klondike Visitors Association, Post Master, RCMP, Mayor Everitt, Yukon Government, Northern Metallic, Dawson Hardware, Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, John Steins, Kevin Hastings, Troy Suzuki, Dr. John Overell and Vet team, Mel Besharah, John Borg and people of Eagle and our volunteers!! If we have forgotten to mention you, sorry, but Thank YOU!!
The Percy Entrants
Robin Harvey - NWT
Ingabritt Scholven - AK
Eric Butcher - AK
Deborah Bicknell - AK
Marcel Marin - NWT
Catherine Pinard - YT
Hugh Neff - AK
Ryan Kelly - MN
Thomas Tetz - YT
Bruce Milne - AK
Paul Geoffrion - YT
Nigel Hill - SK
Brian MacDougall - YT
Eric Nicolier - AK
Michelle Phillips - YT
Ann Doyle - YT
Lachlan Clarke - CO
Don Woodruff - AK
David Britz - AK
Amy Wright - AK
William Kleedehn - YT
Kenny Tetlichi - YT
Dave Wilson - YT
Marcus Ohm - BC
Steve Taylor - AB
Percy Jr Entrants
Ken Anderson - AK
Lincoln Seeley - YT
Serge Sawrenko - YT
Gerry Willomitzer - YT
Harold Frost - YT
Ed Hopkins - YT
Lucas Cramer - WI
Peter Ledwidge - YT
Will van Randen - YT
Danielle Hill - SK
by Dan Davidson
The new board of the Klondike Visitors Association faces a bit of a conundrum as it moves into what it expects to be a less that highly profitable year for the organization.
The conundrum is simply stated, even though the answer is complex. When does a non-profit organization set up to attract business to the community cross the line and become part of the competition for the existing businesses?
There's no question but that the KVA isn't making the money that it was. The financial report presented to membership by Father Tim Coonen showed that, while the organization managed to make a profit of $221,479.97 last year, it expects to clear only $57,368.00 in 2002.
Executive members were very clear in their statements to the membership that all of their income figures were best guesses, and that no one really knows what the impact of September 11, 2001 will be on a market that was already in decline.
The KVA actually hopes it will make have more revenue this year than last ($2.7 million as opposed to $2.6) but it is also looking at major expenses that need to be made at Diamond Tooth Gerties, and it is heading into a new round of employee bargaining, so it expects to be spending more this year as well. Projected expenses have jumped to $2,667,332, up from last year's actual of $2,395,560.10.
So is this the time for the KVA to start acting more like a business? Take on a harder edge? Market more aggressively?
During the open discussion called the voice of the membership there were calls to increase marketing in the direction of Alaska, which Eldorado Hotel owner and MLA Peter Jenkins said was a natural market.
Jenkins cited the recent three weekends of the Trek Over the Top as an "excellent example" of what can be done to take advantage of the region's natural drawing cards.
Winter casinos were the big item for discussion during the meeting, especially those which are called "community casinos" in the draft budget.
The revenue from community casinos is a zero sum item for the KVA's budget because, other than operating costs, all the money earned goes out in donations to various non-profit organizations in the region. Last year $62,945.76 was disbursed in this manner. The 2002 budget anticipates $46,750.00.
Part of this drop is due to rising operational costs, but the decrease is of concern to organizations like the Dawson City Music Festival Society, who use a winter casino as a major fund raiser. DCMF manager Dominic Lloyd spoke to this concern, saying that he just felt the board should know how important these events are to the community.
On the other side of the argument was hotelier Jenkins, who expressed the concern that a growing number of winter casinos was simply taking money from the private sector and diverting it to the KVA.
"I have no argument," he said, "as long as there's new money coming into town. Is more happening, or are we just slicing the pie thinner?"
Long time member Giovanni Castellarin echoed the concern. Castellarin is a partner in the seasonal Triple J Hotel.
"I would be upset if I were open and lost business," he said.
Outgoing chair Dick Van Nostrand, owner of the Downtown Hotel, was muted in his comments at the meeting, but it was clear that the one winter casino that was on the hotel and bar owners' minds was the one held during the Superbowl weekend, one that did not involve a visitor event, designed to bring people to the Klondike for a purpose aside from a visit to Gerties.
Most of the bars in town rely on sports bar business, and don't see this as part of the KVA's traditional market.
Coonen and Van Nostrand were quick to point out that this was a discussion that the new board would have to undertake, though they agreed that, for the purposes of the budget, it made no difference at all. The effect on the KVA, other than a few pay packets for employees called in for winter events, was the same whether there was one community casino or two dozen. Other winter casinos were another matter.
Castellarin reminded the membership that it needed to speak out on such issues and make its wishes clear to the board.
"The membership must drive the board," he said, leaving it clear that if it did not, the board would have to set its own agenda, and this might be at odds with the business community. There was not, he felt, any need for that to happen.
by Suzanne Gagnon, Public Librarian
As many of you have probably already heard there has been a reprieve for the community libraries with regard to hours being cut. The new Minister of Community Services, which will include Libraries, Pam Buckway, will be revisiting the formula and making some changes to it. Note that this is a reprieve only. We need to continue to let the government know how important the library is to our community. Come to the library to take out books, attend programs, or read the paper. If you do not have the new plastic bar-coded membership card please come in and sign up. It's free. I would like to thank all the community members for their support, especially those who signed petitions and wrote letters, and also to Mayor Glenn Everitt for his very vocal support of the library and its importance to this community.
by Dan Davidson
Dawson's troubled Recreation Centre is once again plagued with bad news.
Council went on the community cable channel on March 11 to being the community up to date on the latest problems. The biggest single delay in getting the project finished and the doors open has been the restoration of the permafrost under the building. Where the ground was dug up for the new foundation it has been slow to freeze back.
It hasn't yet, and it doesn't look like it will now before spring.
Byrun Shandler, one of the three council members who sit on the project management team with representatives from the contractors and a project manager loaned from YTG, was blunt.
"The best guess from the architects, engineers, soils engineers and our own PMT is that it probably will not freeze back by spring without us doing something else."
Just what the something else might be hasn't been decided yet. The engineers are looking at heat pumps, ice plants and various possible solutions.
"We're looking to the experts to give us opinions," Shandler said.
"Our commitment is still that this rink will be usable next fall."
It was a lack of frozen ground that kept the cement pad from being poured last spring and again in the fall. In the spring the ground just wasn't ready and somehow it got exposed to the summer weather, so once again it was not ready in the fall.
There seem to be internal design problems which have kept both the arena and the crawl space beneath the building warmer than they should have been over the winter. That, combined with the fact that the thermalsyphons which are supposed maintain cooler ground conditions were not working at optimum efficiency during part of the colder season, has meant that the permafrost has not reformed below the foundation.
Thermalsyphons, Shandler added, do not freeze the ground. They just help keep it frozen once it gets there. There is not, he said, any foundation to the rumor that the units in place are going to be torn out, nor is it true that the recreation complex itself cannot be salvaged at this point.
But all that, he said, will likely cost more money.
"We know it's going to cost more, no matter what we do. We're looking at some kind of active system now to freeze back the ground. That's not in the budget that we had to change a year and a half ago and now ... we'll have to increase that budget."
He didn't mention an actual figure on air, but at the previous week's council meeting he said that it could be from $300 to $500 thousand more. This would be an addition to the $9.2 million already budgeted.
Shandler and Everitt did have some news that they felt was positive. Everitt has maintained for some time that many of the problems with the building were the result of the various contractors involved failing to communicate with each other. The faulty temperature settings over the winter seem to be a direct result of that.
"The contractors are now all working together," Everitt said, "for perhaps the first time since the contract was signed."
Shandler joked, "It's like they all learned English and are now going to communicate.
"Finally - finally, everyone who we've paid wonderful amounts of money to - the engineers, the soils people, the thermalsyphon people, the contractor, the mechanical engineers and the architects - are all talking. They're on the same page of the same book, without trying to place blame on each other by pointing fingers."
Not that blame will never be assigned. There's every indication that issues surrounding this project will be heading to arbitration or court, as they already have with projects in which some of the same companies were involved in Carmacks and Whitehorse. But that, said Shandler, is for later. The job now is to get the project finished.
by Palma Berger
'Where's the art?' was the question several visitors to the Odd Gallery asked when they first walked in. It was a reasonable question as people are used to seeing paintings displayed at regular intervals and at the same level around the Gallery. This time there were no framed, hung paintings. Instead you had to look carefully, and spot the sections of the Gallery that had been painted a different colour. On these sections were small, sometimes very small drawings, and writing, all done with pencil.
The small 'figures' looked as if they had been traced around a finger. Some were at eye level, some lower, some on a post, one way up and too high for short-sighted people to read.
But why? Why do these figures? Why the small but similar ceramic figures in their little round dessert dishes nestling on a 'bed' of 'straw'.?
The artist Candice Tarnowski explained that the figures have become minimal, almost amoeba like, as she stripped them of distinctive human features. They in their places on the walls are going through different experiences in life. So you see some crying. Some are busy at their mundane work while from their heads float day-dreams of perhaps where they would prefer to be. The aeroplane, eating a cake, fishing are examples of where their main interest lies.
The idea for a map came from an installation she did in North Carolina. It needed a map to get there, so she created a 'map' page by page, and had it bound into a booklet. These are a sort of map of where one goes in life. These drawings are likened to navigating through life. The idea for the drawings on painted sections of wall came from a 1999 visual arts exhibition in Calgary. Here she had only on old wall in an old office building to work on. She loved it. She got to know every hole or scratch on the wall, and incorporated them into her display. She made her little figures to come out of the holes. The figures became a metaphor for life. Some stayed whole, some broke badly, others just lost pieces of themselves. Hence they or their pieces are now nurtured in their encompassing containers settled on straw, or in one instance on part of her dog's hair as she gave a part of her life's belongings to nurture the tiny figure.
There was also humour. One piece was painted around a plug in, and the accompanying words said 'looking for an outlet', or another one said 'power up'.
Another said 'Little things looked big'. It showed a small figure offering a peanut to an elephant who looked down from his huge size at the tiny figure with the tinier offering. The size of the peanut will be judged by the two very different viewers.
It was satisfying to hear that she did not endorse the quotes from "What will change the world?" Quotes that said 'Increased attention to pets', 'a universal language'. 'merchandise cheaper to replace than clean', 'increased streamlining'. She had found these in an old science book and found them either unreal or so abhorrent that she drew the small crying figure underneath.
Tarnowski is from Alberta where she has studied art, but she also studied at Penfield in North Carolina. With her small figures she has not indicated whether they are animal, vegetable or human. Each embodies an emotion. They comment on life, not offering any judgment, just to say this or that happened. She has distilled them down to this size as, like life, they do not have too many choices.
Each visitor interpreted the show his own way. Some didn't like it, but one wrote, "I like this show. It is mostly about brains and how they really work., quite scientific actually and the little creatures on their nests don't seem lonely with so many places to fly to." Which would reflect the warmth of the character of the creator.
Tarnowski is Dawson's artist-in-residence and will be here for another month.
by Dan Davidson
The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture is currently in the middle of several short courses in film making. Just wrapping up is the two week course called Introductory Film and Video, being taught by Rob McDonagh, a Vancouver based film maker.
On March 7 McDonagh and his local technical assistant, Gabby Sgaga, were in the home of Akio and Suzanne Saito, which was being used as the set for a short video being created by dramatist Sally Clark and Maureen Abbott.
Clark, who has been living at the Berton House residence over the winter, recruited some of her friends, including this writer and Judith Blackburn- Johnson, to play bit parts in the video, which they filmed that morning.
In the photograph, Sgaga is holding the boom mike, while Abbot, Clark and teacher McDonagh check the video playback to see if the scene they have just shot is a keeper.
In the following weeks there will be short courses on cinematography, location/sound, and broadcasting video on the internet.
Film and video mania at KIAC will climax over the Easter long weekend (March 20- April 1) with the third annual Dawson Short Film Festival.
by Palma Berger
We shed our parkas and maneuvered into our seats as best as our large winter boots allowed us. In the KIAC ballroom, the audience had gathered to experience an evening with the much travelled Toronto Dance Theatre. We just didn't know what a treat we were in for.
Artistic Director and choreographer, Christopher House gave the origins of this thirty-five year old company and acknowledged the support of Canada Council.
This was the second time House had been to the Yukon. The first time was with a group of individuals from different arts backgrounds. They had come to the Yukon in July 2000 to experience the Yukon as organized by Christopher Dray of the Yukon Arts Centre. They drove the Dempster, experienced Tombstone, went rafting and listened and learned. This experience inspired House to create "Severe Clear" which was one of the dances performed.
The first dance was "Fairlight" which had no particular story. It was to show movement and quality of movement. Barefoot and in their long jackets of a very light fabric, the dancers showed lightness and leaping and then into slow and sinuous. As the music built up faster, so did their movements. When the music seemed to set too fast a beat, the movements became concentrated, slower and controlled.
In "Severe Clear" the soundtrack by Phil Strong in the Yukon incorporated Yukon sounds. The costume designer, Anne Michener, is also from the Yukon. At the opening a recorded voice told of the Artic tern, the snow goose, and the tundra swan. House said, "Severe Clear" evokes the feelings, stories and astounding physicality of the North, both real and imagined. It is spontaneous, risky and profoundly moving. It combines choreography and text to conjure an eccentric and uniquely charming world." The costumes appeared to be of natural fibre, and one was woven. The torn sections also evoked the roughness of the terrain.
The excerpt from "Persephone's Lunch" was set on Circe's Island. The sounds of water heralded the entrance of the soloist. She was later joined by the other dancers. This was a more sensual dance, heightened by the costumes of bright red. The political events of the Fall of 2001 inspired the choreography of this dance.
"Four Towers" began with the straight backs expected of dancers dressed in kilts. But their dancing loosened up and changed as the violin music changed.
The dancers in all dances were so very well trained and flawless. One dancer later explained they rehearse for 7 hours each day, not counting any breaks. Every part of their body was expressive. From head and eye following a slowly raising arm, to the twitching of a shoulder. Their gracefulness and expressiveness hid the fact that they were also very athletic and strong. Try doing what one dancer did. Raise yourself onto the ball of one foot, and at the same time raise the other leg forward and upward till it is at the level of your head and don't even twitch.
All dancers were a relaxed and friendly group as we met with them afterwards. But we had to don our heavy parkas once again, tie up our winter boots and be on our way. The hundred year old floor of the Ball room has certainly seen a change in dance styles since it was first built.
by Dan Davidson
Readers will recall that we started out the season with what we have called the Peoples' Ice Bridge to the west bank of the Yukon. It evolved from a foot path to a rough but serviceable one lane road over a period of several weeks in December and January.
It gets coverage here because it is a fascinating indicator of our urge to overcome problems, not as some sort of slight against Community and Transportation Services, which does a good job when it can. The simple fact is that their equipment is just too heavy to take out on the river until the ice reaches a certain thickness.
Well, the ice thickened up at last and the highways folks have responded by building the mother of all ice bridges across the Yukon River.
This is hardly a bridge. It's more of a four lane highway; one very wide lane (easily two lanes wide) goes in either direction with a dividing wind row between them. A veritable boulevard of ice bridges, this one, though it should be noted that the inner lane has iced up to a fairly slick surface and most people seem to be using the outer lane in both directions now.
It leads off from the dyke near the entry to the boat launch area and heads south, making a tidy U shape that loops back north to the west bank and on to the ferry landing. By the odometer it's about 1.5 kilometres, or half a klick shorter than the other route, which ends up in the same place, but approaches it from the north.
It's not quite the adventure that the Peoples' Bridge seems to be, but it's wide and smooth and you feel like you can take it a whole lot faster. It's also a great place to get photos of the town from the river.
Ice bridges are kind of neat to those of us who don't use them all the time. Everyone should drive across ours a couple of times each winter, just for the experience.
by Dan Davidson
Dick Van Nostrand is looking for a toe. To be completely honest, he'd like an entire foot, but a toe would be enough to keep the franchise going.
Franchise? Why the Sourtoe Cocktail franchise, of course. Begun by Cap'n Dick Stevenson in 1973 with a pickled toe he found in a jar up on one of the creeks, this gruesome institution has used up a number of pedal extremities over the years. One was swallowed, a second stolen and a third was lost, but the good Cap'n left the briefcase full of digits (an entire foot's worth, and no metric measurement about it) when he turned it over to Bill Holmes on his retirement about four years ago.
For the last two years this saucy beverage has been served out of the bar at the Downtown Hotel, but the last twelve months have taken a terrible toll on the little piggies. The very last remaining toe disappeared about a month ago, while Dick and Joanne Van Nostrand were on holidays.
It seems to have been thrown out.
"It was announced to us when we got home that we were toeless," Van Nostrand said.
The procedure of serving the drink lends itself to this sort of accident. The blackened toe is taken from its vial of pickling salt and immersed in a glass of pure alcohol, the stronger the better (for several reasons). The hapless inductee into the register of tipplers must down the hatch with the drink, touching the toe to his or her lips as the liquor passes.
The toe, hopefully still in the glass after that, is then removed from the dregs and wrapped in a napkin to dry before being put back to rest in the salts. (That's so nothing will start to grow, you see.)
While that's happening the certificate is signed and the victim - er, customer, heaves a sigh of relief (if not something more substantial).
And if all goes badly, as it apparently did this winter, the napkin containing the toe gets picked up with all the others lying about and ends up at the Quigley Landfill.
At least they think that's what happened. The bartender went dumpster diving the next morning when he figured it out and even hied himself off to Quigley to search the bags but, alas, this little piggy had gone to that great market in the sky.
Van Nostrand has been in search of a new toe ever since he got back, having refused the offer of self-mutilation by his distraught employee. He even hit the media trail.
"I had an interview in Ottawa last week, and I ended up with national CBC coverage, and we haven't had any toe offers so far."
Mayor Glen Everitt contacted Jay Leno and David Letterman's people, who professed themselves "flabbergasted" but they haven't phoned back yet. Maybe they're having trouble thinking up ten top reasons to donate your toe to tourism.
Van Nostrand is getting a bit concerned. It takes six weeks to "cure" a toe once you find one, and that's cutting it pretty close for tourist season.
Speaking of cutting, Van Nostrand agreed that it's late in the year for wood splitting accidents and just a few months too early for lawnmowers.
Anyone wanting to become a part of Dawson's ambiance should contact Dick Van Nostrand at the Downtown Hotel. He offers to look after all the related medical bills and may even offer a reward.
So the only toes at the Downtown Hotel right now are the replicas made by Charlie's Chocolate Factory in Vancouver. These are just about the right colour, made of dark Belgian chocolate and are moulded from a cast of the toe that just vanished.
At the present time these are just wrapped in cellophane, but by summer they will be sold in little coffins ("You're not serious!" an astonished bar employee exploded involuntarily at this intelligence.) with a small legend on the front. The cocktail may be toeless for the moment, but the memory lingers on.
by Palma Berger
We are saving our heritage and culture. We now have protection for Canadian songs, and magazines must have Canadian content. Help is given to ensure Canadian writing gets a fair share of the market. Visual arts get help. We say we are saving our culture from being taken over by the giant south of the border.
But are we saving our heritage? Not likely. The records of our heritage are preserved in the museums and archives of the country. That is where we can be amazed at the tools our pioneers used, their clothing, how they coped with conditions of the time, their work history. We can learn of the giants of finance, their workers and where they came from. How the country and its society evolved into what it is today. "If we do not know where we came from , we do not know where we are going" is a quote often heard.
There is so much work that had been done in the Yukon in the fields of say, paleontology and mammology. But the Federal government cut back the funding years ago. Cuts were made to all such research.
The museums across Canada are in a sorry state. All are underfunded. All have staff who wonder where any, if any, money is coming from. The existing collections must be preserved. The National Library in Ottawa, is constantly reporting of water leaking onto priceless books and documents. But there is no money to make repairs.
This is our heritage.
But there is money for show-casing. For something that catches the eye. A few years ago the Federal Dept. of Heritage spent $20 million on having Canadian flags manufactured and distributed. Is looking at a flag going to give you food for thought to the extent that perusing the wealth of history a museum has. Do the visitors to this country look at a flag to learn about us?
In the Yukon we have a show-case also. It is the Beringia Museum. Lovely to look at, and funded directly by the government. Costs lots of money to operate, and it even has an advertising budget. But it does not allow a visitor to delve into all the history of the Yukon. That is left to the museums. But the museums have to raise their own funding for the majority of their work. They are so short-staffed they cannot give the help to all visitors who want to do research, let alone do the work a museum worker should do. The Beringia marketing budget alone is $70,000 while the Dawson City Museum gets only $23,500 per annum from the territory to run its whole operation for the year. So where do the priorities lie? Where is our pride in our heritage? Is putting on a show more important than preserving the history of this world famous area?
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