|Dawson's Centennial Ball is in full swing as the band plays on. See story. Photo by Kevin Hastings|
by Dan Davidson
Spray-painting vandals struck at a couple of locations on Friday night in Dawson, hitting some vehicles and several houses on Craig Street during their spree. The one most disfigured was the home occupied by Pat and John Reid, who were out of town to attend the funeral of his mother in Ontario.
The Reid dwelling, a Yukon Housing Corporation staff duplex, was spray painted in black with obscenities and crude depictions of male genitalia. Only the Reid's side of the duplex was damaged, but the marauders hit that on three sides, as well as spraying the utility trailer in the back yard.
Some damage was also done at the front and rear of the Rudniski residence next door, as well as to their vehicle, though this appears to have been a case of mistaken identity.
The damage was reported to school authorities on Saturday morning by Jon Magnusson, whose Dawson City Bed and Breakfast establishment is right next door. Vice-principal Shirley Pennell and Superintendent of Education Carol McCauley got the RCMP on the case immediately.
Pennell said she was disgusted with the graffiti, which bears a stylistic and content resemblance to material already found at the school over the last few weeks. Several students have been dealt with over this school damage already.
McCauley said she was concerned and upset by the desecration, which seemed to her to be "a much more serious violation...than an egg on a window. It's not just an act against the school - it's against the entire community."
Keeping it in perspective, however, she noted that there are just a very few people involved in this kind of behavior, and that the victims need to remember that, no matter how violated and vulnerable this type of vandalism may make them feel.
Chris Hunter, a parent and member of the school council, said she personally felt that "ninety-nine percent of people in this community would feel that this level of behavior was unacceptable."
Interview by Anne Saunders
Anne: I'm sitting here with Elizabeth Connellan, the official spokesperson for the Upstream Secondary Sewage Rats; Dawson's contingent in the Northern Community Challenge at last weekends Sourdough Rendezvous in Whitehorse .
A: So how come you're so tired 2 days after this event?
E: I think I have every right to be tired...(laughter.) It was a very, very, full schedule.
A: So how many events did you participate in?
E: The 5 official events of the Northern Community Challenge. There was a Murder Mystery that needed to be solved for twenty points at the Stampeders Ball. Also that evening, each community had to provide entertainment, again for points. The Upstream Secondary Sewage Rats bribed other members of the Klondike River Dancers who debuted at last years Yukon Talent night, into performing. We knew from the reaction in Dawson that the Klondike River Dance was a really funny, very popular act. It was reasonable to expect a similar reaction from the crowd in Whitehorse.
A: Marvelous, what happened?
E.You thought the Ice Dancing judging at Nagano was questionable .We performed as we had in Dawson, we could hear the crowd going wild, but when it came to the judging, Whitehorse was given the winning points. I want to suggest that their Applause Meter went on the fritz just as they judged our group. It was very disheartening, but we did our best to take it in stride. After an official protest launched by another team, the Rendezvous judges redistributed the point; Faro 7, Dawson 7, Whitehorse 6.
E: The first contest on Saturday was the Smoosh Race held on Main St. It was fun because all 3 teams strapped on to their 2 x 4's side by side for a mass start. Considering that we had not practiced together and only 1 of the 5 women had done any smooshing before and that was on snow, we did really well. We smooshed 3 heats, winning the first, wiping out in the second and finishing 3rd in the final.
A: Anybody get hurt since there was no snow to land on?
E: Community pride was seriously damaged, but no physical injuries. Even though the streets are paved in Whitehorse, they are really mucky this time of the year and the beautiful shirts you designed for us should never have been white, because they didn't survive the first event.
A: Any events reminiscent of the Klondike Gold Rush?
E: The Snowshoe Obstacle Course. We had to scale a huge mound of snow, on poorly fitting snowshoes carrying eggs, socks, wood and sugar. It was hilarious to watch Mayor Everitt, Kris Larsen, Dale Cooper and Norm Carlson "scaling the summit". At one point, we watched Kris bolt up the hill and then she disappeared, for the longest time . Her uphill technique was far superior to her downhill , she'd taken a spill down the other side. Uphill wasn't Glen Everitts forte, the generic bindings didn't fit anybody on our team. Glens' strategy was to not strap the snow shoes on, a judgment that proved fatal to our position, but certainly added to the humour. Had he been allowed to finish wearing one snowshoe we'd have won handily.
A: I heard a rumour that you really cleaned up in the bed race and I couldn't help but notice that you were the one in bed. Was that significant?
E:That was a really good move. There was some question as to who was going to be the ballast, Contrary to popular opinion it's possible to propel the team from the basket. That's' where you yell your commands from, "Move out, move in. Faster-faster-faster!. We smoked the other communities by a good 4 seconds.The result at the end of the weekend was that Faro had won. Though they were fiercely competitive and won the gold medal in the Community Challenge, Dawson took Best in Bed, a reputation each one of our team members can live with.
A.: Congratulations. How many communities participated in the Challenge events?
E: Out of 11 or so communities in the Yukon, only 3 participated, but that's a good turnout for a first time event. Dawson had an extremely high profile on the streets and on the radio. The Mayor was everywhere, wearing the chain of office, we had a lot of positive feedback, the competition was friendly and next year I think you'll see more of the communities involved.
A:Would you do this again next year?
E.: I can't imagine not going back to Rendezvous. Enter Dale Courtice
A.: So tell me Dale about the Tug-of-War
Dale: Faro won. They beat us quiet handily , my shirt can prove that. 1st heat won against Whitehorse...but against Faro, we might have been over confident. We lost quite badly and I ended up on the pavement, shirt covered in mud. Glen's ribs were hurting from anchoring the rope around himself.
D: It was a hoot, the whole team had fun, we did Dawson proud.
A: Dale, how was the Rendezvous Parade ?
D: I sat in the back of a decorated Pick up with Dalton the sheep, the Mayor, and Norm Carlson as we wound slowly through the streets of Whitehorse. It was a very windy Sunday for my first ever parade.
A: Did you feel self conscious?
D:Yeah, I felt out of place...we had fun... we were waving and all the kids were waving at Dalton.
A: So the stuffed sheep was stealing your thunder?
D: Yes and I think that the Mayor though he was getting waved at a lot, but Dalton was taking it away from him too.
A: Tell us about what happened along the parade route.
D: Glenn reached into his pocket and had about 10 City pins. Meanwhile all the other floats are throwing handfulls of candy to the kids. So we had 5 pins, and had to space them out over 20 blocks. So that was embarrassing... we could have been a bit more prepared for the parade, but there was only 3 of us in the float, quote 'float'.
E: It looked like the Red-Green Show with Dalton the sheep in the back of the truck with these guys bundled up against the cold.
A: So the parade wasn't the highlight of Rendezvous for the Sewage Rats?
E: No the bed race was the high point for the whole team. It was a good event. We could do it here for Thaw-di-gras, we could do it on the river ...put the beds on skis and run everybody at once...the crash-ups would be amazing.
A: So Dale, are you tired?
Team members were: Glen Everitt, Norm Carlson, Dale Courtice, Elizabeth Connellan, Heather Favron, Mark Favron, Kris Larson, Paula Pawlovich, Grant Hartwick, Dale Cooper and Mac Swackhammer.
by Palma Berger
In the very early hours of Saturday morning some young morons of this town went on a spraying spree. The word 'young' is used purposefully as a more mature person would not have done damage in this way. They were most likely males also as one cannot imagine females to be so fascinated by male genitalia as to draw pictures of this part of a male's anatomy all over the outside walls of houses. The f--- word was also liberally sprayed over the walls and a trailer at the back.
The main intent of this spraying seemed to be to hit the principal's house. This is particularly low as the principal is absent due to a death in his family, and has enough grief in his personal life to deal with. The duplexes in the same row were also sprayed, maybe to be sure to get all the teachers. They also sprayed the vehicles as well as the duplexes of employees of Social Services and Renewable Resources. But the most damage was done to the principal's duplex.
This vandalism affects not only the principal, but also the owner of the duplexes, Yukon Housing Corporation. The units of Yukon Housing are maintained very well by all tenants as well as the maintenance crew and this sight would give the impression to the contrary. The sight is also disgusting as it is on Front street opposite the Klondike River, and is most visible to people driving that road. Dawson is a tourist town and this is not a welcoming sight and negates a lot of work done by many, many civic minded citizens.
This is the week-end of the Trek-Over-the-Top when the Alaskan snowmobilers are in town. A lovely sight for them to see. Right next door to the most damaged duplex is Dawson Bed & Breakfast who have many of the snow-mobilers staying with them, so one can imagine the feelings of the owners when they look out their windows at the neighbour's house.
If it is young people, what were the parents doing thinking it perfectly all right for their young children (teens or otherwise) to be out and about in the darkness of a very Saturday morning. The whole episode is disgusting.
The police are investigating.
By Michael Gates
The Dawson City Museum was the proud recipient of a national award at the Yukon Historical and Museums Association annual heritage awards on Monday, February 16th at the Yukon Archives in Whitehorse. The award, the Heritage Canada Foundation Achievement Award, was presented by its chair, Shane O'Dea, of Newfoundland, who is currently on a tour of Western Canada.
The award, which was given to the museum for the traveling exhibit Klondike Gold/L'Or du Klondike, reads: "For creating and organizing an outstanding cross country traveling exhibit on the Yukon gold rush". And outstanding it is; Klondike Gold is now in its fourth year on the road. It has traveled the width and breadth of the country from tiny rural communities to the national museum in Ottawa, as well as the United States.
Sally Robinson received the award on behalf of the museum. Robinson has been involved with the exhibit from its inception. Starting first as the planner, she became the designer, and then the coordinator. During its evolution from an idea to a reality, Four different museum directors were involved in its progress. But Robinson is quick to share the credit, explaining that at least a dozen people were involved in a significant way in the development of the exhibit.
In addition to the exhibit, an educational kit was designed to accompany it on its travels. A considerable amount of time and money were also invested in A CD-ROM program which complements the exhibit. Every 10 weeks or so, Klondike Gold opens in another museum somewhere in Canada, spreading the word about the great event which gave the Yukon territory its economic and constitutional jump-start.
Sally gives much of the credit for the success of the exhibit on the road to John Gould, who has traveled across the country following the exhibit from one community to another. John has been an excellent ambassador, providing valuable publicity wherever he goes, and introducing thousands of eager school children to the fascination of gold and the excitement of the gold rush.
In addition to the heritage award, the exhibit has garnered two other prestigious awards; one is the Hilroy award, which was presented to Ellen Johnson and Cathy Hines, a former Dawsonite, and now teaching in Whitehorse, for developing a Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum guide to complement the exhibit. The other award was given to Bob Nardi, also a former Dawsonite now working in Whitehorse, who developed the CD-ROM program now currently on sale throughout the territory. Nardi was awarded the 1997 Apple Award (no connection to the famous computers) by The National Educational Media Network in the United States.
Everybody who has been involved in this project should take a bow. Dawsonites should be proud of another of the museum's contributions to the Klondike Centennial.
by Dan Davidson
The four members of the Arctic Education Project arrived in Dawson at 10 a.m. on February 7 at the end of a 15 hour snow machine ride from Tetlin Junction, bringing to an end the wilderness part of a trip that began in Inuvik on January 14.
This last section was beautiful, said project leader Julian Tomlinson, travelling east from Fairbanks ahead of the either the Yukon Quest or the Trek Over the Top was the most challenging section of their route, even more than travelling on sea ice, which they had done during the first half of the trip.
The plan, developed over the last year, was, in the words of the team's prospectus, to "undertake a 900+ mile, 14 day overland snowmobile expedition from Inuvik, NWT across the edge of Arctic Ocean as far as Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and then south along the pipeline corridor to Fairbanks,using traditional coastal travel routes and modern inland travel routes" taking the opportunity along the way to "explore the landscape, wildlife, history, culture and valuable traditional knowledge of the area".
After losing all its maps on the first day and making most of the trip by dead reckoning and the skill of its navigators, a guided tour of the highlights of Dawson City hosted by Denny Kobayashi must have seemed a bit tame to these adventurers, but they seemed as fascinated by the slot machines in Gerties as any ordinary tourists.
Later, in his online report to the expedition's website (www.aurcoll.nt.ca), Tomlinson would record: "We spent the day resting and relaxing. We were introduced to Peter Jenkins, who is the MLA for this area, and he was kind enough to make all sorts of arrangements for us. As a result, we received a tour of the community by the Executive Director of the Klondike Visitor's Association. We also met with the Mayor, and passed on a letter of New Year's greetings from the Mayor and Council of Inuvik. Once again, this community has treated us very well."
Julian Tomlinson is an Instructor with Aurora College's Recreation Leaders Program in Inuvik. He describes himself as "driven by a deeply held desire to learn, celebrate and share with others the phenomenal landscape and cultures of the Arctic."
As spokesman for the riders he described the purpose of the trip and explained that the team was comprised of four people from different areas of the Arctic.
John Roland is an Inuvialuit hunter and trapper from the Inuvik Region, As a veteran traveller in the Western Arctic, John led the team along the NWT, Yukon and Alaska Coasts to Prudhoe Bay; and then south over the Brooks Mountain Range towards Fairbanks, a task made a little more daunting by the loss of the maps and the gravelly conditions along the corridor.
Seemee Nookiguak is a college student from Broughton Island, NWT, now attending Tomlinson's program at Aurora College. Seemee contributed a wealth of traditional knowledge and land based skills from the Eastern Arctic as well as considerable television production experience. His particular task was to coordinate the video documentary work during the expedition.
Paul Iquallaq hails from the Central Arctic community of Gjoa Haven, NWT, where he is a Hamlet Councillor. As an active leader in his community he proved an excellent ambassador of Inuit culture from his region of the Arctic.
The project was intended to capitalize on the existing interest in the mythology, mystery and scientific curiosities of the Arctic.
"There is valuable and unique knowledge held by northerners and a proud heritage that is important to share," says the group's press release.. "The philosophy behind this project is to allow northern students to utilize their own Arctic environment and cultures to explore and learn educational concepts that are currently being taught in the classroom..."
They travelled this time with an M-Sat communications hook-up, which they used to relay their daily reports back to Aurora College, where they were entered on the team's web page. The entries deal with the trip, weather conditions, stories about the area, and other items which the college hopes interested students elsewhere will consider use as a kind of educational resource, "perhaps like going on a virtual field trip."
They also visited classrooms in communities along their route and encouraged students to share their knowledge and stories.
"At the University of Alaska," Tomlinson said, "we were sitting in on a Klondike history class, and the students there all submitted information for our web site."
From Dawson, getting home was proving to be difficult. Two of their five sleds had been "ground down to nothing" by the conditions north of Fairbanks. They were supposed to be hauling them back on a truck, but the Dempster Highway was closed north of Eagle Plains and so the truck hadn't made it to Dawson from Inuvik. Later on Sunday they ski-dooed out to Klondike River Lodge, there to wait for a change in the weather and a ride home.
by Dan Davidson
"Paris of the North" was the theme for the 1998 edition of the Centennial Ball, held this year in Diamond Tooth Gerties, or, since its original name was restored for the evening, The Arctic Brotherhood Hall. The Klondyke Centennials Society pulled out all the stops and spared no expense to make this what Comissioner Judy Gingell called "one of the premier events" of the 1998 Goldrush Anniversary year.
The energetic sounds of Vancouver's Tuxedo Junction Jazz Trio set the tone for the 6 to 7 p.m. cocktail hour, during which the guests mingled and took the opportunity to check out the goods on display for the silect auction that ran until 11 o'clock.
During this time people were also free to have their ball portraits snapped up on the balcony by the folks from Peabody's Photo Parlour, a ball tradition sponsored this year by Viceroy Resources Inc.
The buffet dinner, catered by chefs from Klondike Kates, the Triple J and Downtown Hotels, was a huge success, with a menu that included cold canapes, prime rib, baked halibut, steamed vegetables, roasted potatos, rice pilaf and a scrumptious apple crumble dessert appropriately called "Sweet Temptation."
There was lots of dancing, as the full Tuxedo Junction band held the stage for several sets. Back in one corner of the hall a roulette wheel was spinning. Each guest had been provided with $100 in "Dawson dollars" to fritter away painlessly on the wheel, or amass into a bogus fortune which would allow them to choose from a variety of gambling prizes. If there was any problem with the evening at all, it was probably that one wheel just wasn't enough to accomodate the gambling urges brought on by the event.
In welcoming the company to the Paris of the North, Commissioner Gingell made special mention of members of the Yukon Quest, who are helping to keep the tradition of dog use alive in the Yukon.
"The use of dogs sleds was prominent in the early history of the territory. Although they are used differently today, we admire their dedication and hard work.
"Tonight we are magnificently transported back to the Victorian days of 1898," said Gingell. "As we enjoy the atmosphere it is important to remember our history, the relationships we've created and how Yukon life has changed over the last one hundred years."
Some things, she noted, such as feasting and celebration, are common to both major cultures in the territory. She likened the ball to a potlach.
"The Goldrush brought many changes, some for the good and some for the bad. Today as we celebrate this world famous 100th anniversary, we are also at a stage of renewal and new beginnings for the Yukon First Nations of this land.
"Today is also the third year anniversary of the proclamation of Land Claims agreements. I am one of the many individuals who worked to make changes to improve the lives of first nations people. Yes, there was pain and many have worked very hard to become full partners in modern Yukon society. I look back at the Gold Rush, at a world renowned historical event, and think how far Yukon society has progressed. I believe we are all proud of the partnership we've created and can be optimistic about our future and the future of our children."
Gingell presented a commemorative necktie and Yukon coat of arms pin to Yukon Anniversaries Commission president Mark Smith in recognition of the assistance he has rendered to her during her time in office.
Other dignitaries at the ball included MLA Peter Jenkins, Mayor Glen Everitt and the members of City Council, and Mr. and Mrs. Yukon, Dawson's own Fred and Palma Berger.
by Dan Davidson
Municipal garbage disposal in Dawson used to be a easy matter. In the simpler days of yore the annual accumulation was shoved out onto the frozen Yukon River during the winter and flushed away in the spring during breakup. Dawson was not the only community to engage in this environmentally dubious procedure. Long time residents talk of identifying the source of the ice flows going down the river by the content of the refuse. Be that as it may, we can't do it any more.
Since last summer Dawson has a new dump at Quigley, a facility jointly run by the city and the territorial government (which is responsible for garbage outside the town's boundaries). This replaced the Dome Dump, which had been the main city landfill for decades.
For the municipality this is a mixed blessing. It took the fire hazard on the Dome out of service, but it created a new dump that is considerably more expensive to manage. If it were to be staffed and open 12 hours a day, it could cost up to $150,000 a year to operate, versus the $8,000 that ran the old Dome Dump.
It is also farther from town, meaning that the time and cost of transporting the garbage to it has increased.
Further, its land management plan requires that it be staffed and have some variety of set hours, otherwise it will soon deteriorate to look as it did last spring before it was organized during the summer. Several folks at the meeting noted that it has slipped in appearance and effectiveness since the contract lapsed with the individual who had been doing this work.
Finally, it appears that our dump is a pilot project for other new landfills that may be created in the Yukon. The regulations to govern them are being written now, and council is trying to anticipate what may be in then so that a little as possible will need to be changed when they become law.
In attempting to gather information and opinions from which to develop new operating procedures and rate structures for the future council has not hesitated to use shock tactics in order to guarantee public interest.
"Cessation of Garbage Pickup...from Commercial Properties" was the subject of the meetings held on Feb 11 and 26 and business owners showed up in healthy numbers up to find out what this meant for them.
There is no set plan by the town for eliminating commercial pick-ups, not yet any way, but there are certain facts which Mayor Glen Everitt laid out at both meetings.
There hasn't been a strictly controlled survey so far, but preliminary results indicate that the average business in the community produces three times the number of garbage pick-ups per week as does the average residence. Everitt says the actual results during the spring, summer and fall period showed six times the activity, but the city scaled it down to allow for the winter months.
It is estimated that 50% of all the garbage heading to the landfill is commercial or government in nature.
Other towns in the Yukon do not cover commercial pick-ups as part of their regular service.
One of the primary discussions at the meeting was how to set a new rate and what to base it on. The general consensus seemed to be in favour of "user pay", which would see rates for collection rise for those businesses that produced the greater volumes of refuse.
Most speakers at the meeting seemed to favour having the city continue to provide the service, even it if did mean that their rates went up.
Most businesses would like to see a survey of actual use carried out over the next year to see just what volumes are before the rates are set.
Some don't see why the increased cost isn't simply spread over the entire community since, one way or another, everyone in town will end up paying it anyway, either through taxes or through increased prices at stores.
Many business owners felt that they could scarcely afford any kind of increase in utility billings, especially, as pointed out by the General Store's June Mather, in the light of expected increases in power following the shutdown at the Anvil Range Mine in Faro.
Speaking for Klondike National Historic Sites, Byrun Shandler wondered why the government agency, which already handles the bulk of its own refuse, would need to be considered for a fee hike under those circumstances.
Downtown Hotel owner Dick Van Nostrand summed up a lot of the discussion when he said, "We have to face reality on garbage." People needed, he said, to learn the hours of operation and used the facility when it was available or else prepare for even high costs.
"I'm in no better position than anyone else to pay more," said Van Nostrand. He went on to suggest - perhaps as a joke - that he thought he might put in a bid the next time the contract goes to tender. "Not everyone drinks beer, but everyone produces garbage."
Speaking finally as current president of the Chamber of Commerce, Van Nostrand praised the council for its attempts to involve users and citizens in the decision making process. Consultation is, he said, the best way to develop this kind of policy.
The process will continue with the writing of an options paper over the next several weeks. After that the city will be looking for further reactions and ideas.
by Stephanie Matchett and Amanda Taylor, Grade 6
with some editorial assistance
"The Grade 6 students made a grand entrance to the Star Lab on Thursday, February 19th. The kids were wearing space suits that were made by ourselves. We had made helmets and space suits and some of us even made back packs."
So begins the grade 6 class's account of their experience in the mobile planetarium which visited Robert Service School recently. Star Lab itself is a large inflatable igloo made of light resistant material. It's tall enough for an adult to stand up in quite comfortably, though the entrance is a tunnel which operator David Dodge likens to "reliving the birth experience in reverse."
In the middle of the room is a miniature light projection device similar to that found in real planetariums, set up to emit light patterns all around the curved "sky" inside the dome. Star Lab came to Dawson through the efforts of the Dawson City Museum from the Pacific Space Centre in Vancouver.
For a week prior to experiencing the night sky, grade 6 spent its time getting ready. They went all out and got into the spirit of the event, even to timing their entrance to the music of Strauss' "Thus Spake Zarathustra", probably better known as the main theme from the movie 2001, a Space Odyssey. Their account continues in the next paragraph.
"The first thing that we made were the helmets. All we did was paper mache a balloon. For the final layer we put paper towel on the balloon. Then next we made the spacesuits. What we did was get suits from a pulp and paper mill. We decided to turn them into spacesuits. What we did was draw on them and then we made mission patches. One mission patch went to Uranus; one went to Neptune, one went to Juniper, and one went to Saturn. They all had Canadian patches and Yukon patches.
"When we went down to Star Lab we took our suits off so we could get into the dome. In Star Lab it was a tight fit for the Grade 6 class and the Grades 3/4's. They showed us what it looked like at night in Dawson, Watson Lake, the North Pole and they showed us how the Romans saw the sky in the past.
"Mr. Dodge told us a story about the Zodiac signs. Medusa ( a witch with snakes for hair) had a power. If you stared into her eyes you turned to stone. She chained up a girl and put her where the monster lived. Then the hero came down and chopped off Medusa's head, put it in a bag and went where the girl is chained up. The sea monster was just about to eat the girl when the hero took Medusa's head out and put it in the sea monster's face. The monster turned to stone and fell into the sea. The hero unchained the girl and they lived happily ever after.
"In the Star Lab Mr. Dodge also showed us the planets. It was awesome. It was a great experience and we liked it a lot."
The Dawson City Chamber of Commerce applauds the funds set aside in the new budget to replace our faltering recreation facility and believes these monies should be invested in an account administered by the City of Dawson so they do not mysteriously disappear as has happened in the past.
The Chamber is extremely disappointed to see no funding set aside for continued engineering work for a bridge across the Yukon River or for a building fund for the future for the bridge. The government does not seem to realize that placer mining is in serious trouble, Parks Canada had centralized staff to Whitehorse, and federal and territorial government staff have been relocated to Whitehorse. Dawson City cannot continue to exist on three months of tourism, and the effects are already beginning to surface.
We have half a million people right next door who enjoy visiting the Yukon and all the traffic from down south looking for alternate routes to create an interesting vacation. Not preparing to build a bridge will be the single biggest mistake a government can make for the future of the Yukon. Continuing to ignore the importance of this infrastructure so vita to the economic well-being of the entire Territory, while setting aside millions of dollars for recreation infrastructure in Whitehorse-on which the O & M will not be affordable even by the entire Territory-is foolish.
The Chamber is also concerned with the large sums of money set aside for land and housing development in Whitehorse when there is not one lot approved for mobile homes in Dawson City.
by Anne Saunders
Dave Robinson and Ron Ryant's business has come a long way since beginning in the old Caley's building on 3rd Avenue back in 1987 when these two had pooled together a low budget to open a retail store that sold hunting, fishing and camping equipment.
Caley's had no heating, plumbing or lighting so it wasn't unusual to see the men working in their parkas in the fall. Dave also noted, "When it got light, we opened, when it got dark, we closed." They did have a space heater for awhile, but it developed a short in the cord and burst into flames one cold day!
After one season on 3rd Avenue, they moved over to the present 5th Avenue building across from the Westmark Hotel. There they rented space until April 1995 at which point they purchased the structure.
The first 2 years, both worked elsewhere as well as running the Trading Post and all income generated from store sales was put directly back into the business.
The new front addition was added in September 1997, effectively doubling the square footage of the store. The inside has been drywalled and the pale tint of green makes a good background for the articles hanging on the walls. The old oil stove that graced this store for so many years has been removed and a much smaller Monitor oil stove placed in its stead.
A new line of antiques and collectibles dating between mid-1800 to mid-1900 have been added to the line of camping and hunting inventory. Such whimsical items such as bedpans, old tools, oil lamps to very delicate vases can be found on the shelves. (Incidentally, the shelving was hand made by both Dave and Ron.)
During the busy 1997 tourist season, they each took only one day off out of 90. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to run a business.
One of the secrets of their success seems to be a very stable partnership in which they are able to consult effectively together. If they can't agree on a certain issue, the matter simply gets shelved. The partnership is complimentary with Ron enjoying some of the aspects of the operation that Dave prefers not to do and vice versa. Dave feels another key point is the fact that their philosophy of life is about the same.
Dave stated, "Since 1987, over 24 local businesses have come and gone. To run a successful business, one has to work long hours with 110% devotion, managing finances and projecting long term. This is a town of opportunity."
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