Dawson City, Yukon Friday, September 15, 2000

About an hour south of Dawson on the Klondike Highway, the Tintina Trench was ablaze with colour on Sunday, September 3. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Gerties Makes it Two Races Running
  • Take Risks, but Play it Safe
  • Yukon Energy Proceeds with Mayo-Dawson Project
  • Another Dempster Travels the Yukon
  • Highway Signs under Discussion
  • Klondike Classic Open Horse Show
  • She Who Was, She Who Is, She Who Will Be
  • New Pioneer Head Boards
  • Clark Presents Hilarious Novel
  • Dawson Business Profile: The Grubstake
  • Obituary: Bruce Cowan
  • Editorial: Oh for a Sunny Day!
  • Welcome to the September 15th on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our 28 page Sept 12th hard copy edition. Wish we could share everything, but getting a subscription (see our home page) is the only way you'll ever see it all. Approximately 450 people viewed our last on-line issue.

    Gerties Makes it Two Races Running

    by Palma Berger

    Four teams hit the trail in the 24th annual Outhouse race. Photo by Clair Dragoman

    There was a smaller number of contestants in this year's International Outhouse Race, down from last year's seven teams. But they were an enthusiastic foursome that gathered at the starting line at Minto Park.

    "The Toileteers" were a noisy bunch and proudly introduced their team - Flush Gordon, Sir Flushalot, Miss Bristle, Lady T. P. (toilet paper). On being inspected and having the rules quoted to them "What you start with, you must end with". They readily assured the judge that they had everything duct taped securely with the very best duct tape. And whenever encouraged they would announce loudly they manage "2000 flushes and beyond."

    "Princess Tours" were an eagerly disruptive bunch. They were made up of bus drivers for Princess Tours that come through Dawson. After being read the rules, they rushed around the crowd with their maps asking where they were. They wanted to go to Florida/Honolulu, and they got lost. They asked one onlooker where was Skagway, Alaska, and the reply came with a dead panned "I don't know". "Is this Canada?" 'What language do they speak here?" "We heard one person speaking German over there. Maybe that's the language" They really knew the tourist industry up here.

    "The Gerties or Village People" were a friendly but cool bunch. They appeared to have their strategy worked out. They announced their biggest song was 'Y.M.C.A.'

    "The Characterful 5%" was a play on Jim Robb's 'Colourful 5%' In fact Jim Robb had painted their Outhouse for them. The push behind this team was a Whitehorse crew. They played up their sponsors one of which was Griffith's Heating who installed their chimney which actually blew smoke. Team member, Johnny had a 'Fisherman's friend'. Was this the can of beer that dangled from the end of his line? Other characters were a moose with antlers, that at one stage sported a bright green udder which resembled a rubber glove. The moose had two pairs of human legs. The can-can dancer looked sexy even in her snow shoes.!! The lovely, well endowed mermaid remained seated on the throne.

    Then all were ready to begin the great race. They lined up at the starting line. The onlookers were lined up with cameras ready. Then the big moment. "Ready, Set, Go" was called. The participants stood there, looked at one another, until someone else yelled 'Go. Go."

    "Now?" But the sneaky Gertie crew were away first. They set off, and the others followed.

    The 'Characterful Five %' suddenly sprang alert as they noticed the others were down the road aways . They set off as fast as the snow shoes and unsynchronised legs would carry them.

    The race continued apace. Three teams finished the route.. Still no sign of the 5%. While driving around looking for them, I was given one report that they had stopped at Russ Richardson's. Presumably to ask directions.

    After the outhouses had returned to the start and the crowd and outhouses had dispersed at Minto Park, the '5%' were spotted at the Triple J where they had rearranged themselves. Here they were probably asking directions also. But by now the moose's head was being carried and the rest of his body was draped around someone's shoulder. The fisherman still fished, and the can-can lady had her snow shoes intact.

    The winners were:

    Fastest Male Team and First Overall: Gerties People in a time of 14 minutes.
    Fastest mixed team: Flush Gordon and the Toileteers, the team from the Palace Grand.

    The longest time to finish was the "Characterful 5%" whose time was 1.5 hours.

    That evening at Gerties prizes were presented to these teams, and the teams' limericks were presented to the judges.

    The Best Limerick prize was awarded to "The Characterful 5%", which also picked up The Best Outhouse prize. Princess Tours' "Tacky Tourists" were judged the Most Humorous group in the race.

    This is the second year for low numbers in this 24 year old event. Last year there were but 7 entries and this year's crowd dropped to 4. Let's hope that something can be done to revive the annual race for its 25th running.


    Take Risks, but Play it Safe

    by Dan Davidson

    Todd, a quadriplegic injury survivor, addresses the kids at the school. Photo by Dan Davidson

    In 1992 an 18-year-old named Todd made what he now says was a bad decision, crossing what he refers to as the "stupid line". He and some friends decided to celebrate a long weekend by cruising and drinking. When the nearly inevitable accident happened, Todd was the driver and the only person in the car to be seriously injured.

    Today he is a quadriplegic. As he wheels himself onto the small stage beside the multimedia setup in the Ancillary Room at the Robert Service School it is immediately obvious that he is in a wheel chair. What is less obvious is that he can only push the wheels of that chair with the palms of his hands and almost all the movement in his arms originates in his upper body. His hands can move slightly, but they are hardly more than club-like extensions of his arms. He has minimal small motor control of a couple of fingers on one hand; the other remains at rest, neither opened nor closed, for either would require muscle action.

    While Todd does not preach at the grade 7 to 12 students assembled on this afternoon, he does relate how he lost everything he had ever planned to do with his life at the beginning of his grade 12 year.

    "A lot of people don't think about injuries just because they don't want to," he tells them. Maybe you think it just can't happen to you."

    That's what Todd had thought. He had been interested in construction and in active sports. He was a hockey player with some hopes. Then he was hanging upside down in his car, waiting to be extracted by the jaws of life, while his friends were able to walk away with minor injuries.

    He says he still wakes up nights hearing the scream of tortured metal being cut apart and peeled aside. But he also says that he is glad to be alive, and that it was only the decision to use a seat belt - one of the few good decisions he made that day - that saved his life.

    When Todd's friends walked away from the car, it wasn't too long before they walked out of his life altogether. He was in hospital for a long time, in rehabilitation for more time after that, and living at home under his father's care for quite a while before he could begin to function within his limits.

    His life sometimes seems to be about limits now. Picking a career, he had to decide what he was still able to do rather than doing what he wanted. So now this former jock and aspiring construction worker has a job in a bank. He can drive a car - well, actually a minivan, because of the chair - but it's loaded with about $1,000 worth of extra controls to allow him to do everything with his arms and damaged hands. Getting up in the morning and ready to face the day takes him close to three hours, but he does it, and considers himself lucky that he's no worse off.

    As he tells the students, dying in an accident is not the worst thing that can happen to you, not in this life. Being injured so badly that you cannot function at all, that your brain doesn't work, that you're trapped in a body which can do nothing, those outcomes would be far worse. Todd came close enough to a fate worse than mere death that he feels the need to warn people about being careful.

    Once a year, since the first time he heard the Heroes program being delivered in a school, he takes a few weeks off work and goes on the road to take his message to school students.

    The message?

    First of all, there is an admission that risk taking is part of being a person.

    "Let's face it, taking risks makes us all feel alive, and by doing it right, we can keep on taking risks."

    The Heroes program is about taking safe risks, about helping others to save their lives, about taking control of that part of your own destiny by being aware of five basic rules of personal conduct. When it comes to any activity which might involve an element of risk, these rules apply to that situation:

    Buckle up - Todd did and he's still alive.

    Drive Sober - Todd didn't, so he has to live with the consequences. He has found that 9 out of 10 injured people that he meets were drinking when it happened.

    Look First - Know how deep the water is and what you're going to hit when you land.

    Wear the gear - It will help to protect you and let you keep stretching your limits instead of contracting them.

    Get trained - Learn the safest ways to do things and learn how to avoid injuries.

    Todd's part of the presentation was sandwiched in between two halves of a pretty impressive multi-media slide show. The first half focussed on the active things that people like to do and how some of these things might lead to disaster if not done right. Dancing, driving, skateboarding, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting and snowboarding were just a few of the examples.

    "If I couldn't ... I'd just die" was a repeated thought that kept emerging from the background. The contrast between expectations and reality was sharp, aided by an edgy soundtrack. The message was clear. If you cross the "stupid line", dying is only one of the possible outcomes. The second part of the slide show dealt with the five rules and how they apply.

    Todd was assisted in his presentation by four RSS grade 11 and 12 students. Rhiannon Juniper and Jennifer Russell tackled the formidable job of mastering the script and the timing on 24 hours notice. Two other students, Georgia Fraser and Shauna Kormendy, handled the roving microphone chores during Todd's question and answer session.

    "You are a hero if you try to save a life," Todd told his audience. The life you can most easily save is your own, by taking safe risks.

    Heroes was presented twice while in Dawson. The school performance was well attended and well received, but the community at large produced only four or five for the audience. Where ever this show travels, it needs to be stressed that this message is not just for young people. Lots of adults have no better sense of how to reduce risks, nor any better idea of where to find their stupid line.


    Yukon Energy Proceeds with Mayo-Dawson Project

    WHITEHORSE - Yukon Energy is continuing to move ahead with plans to build a transmission line to provide electricity from the Mayo hydro facilities to Dawson City.

    This week Yukon Energy issued a pre-qualification call to identify and screen qualified engineering/construction contractors. Then, in October, a request for proposals will be issued. Finally, depending on the bids, the contract would be awarded in December or early January 2001.

    "This project is an important long-term infrastructure initiative that supports reliable, cost-effective and accessible electricity for all Yukon ratepayers," Ray Wells, Chair of the Board of Directors said. "Ratepayers will be protected from any adverse effects on rates by Yukon Development Corporation through flexible financing arrangements."

    The project is expected to create about 70 person years of direct employment in the Yukon over its two-year design and construction period, together with business opportunities in the supply of goods and services.

    The project has already been through feasibility studies, environmental screening and route selection and a peer review by BC Hydro. Preliminary engineering and cost estimates were completed by BC Hydro International, on behalf of Yukon Energy, earlier this year. Financing arrangements with Yukon Development Corporation are in place and Yukon Energy has been working with the First Nations of Tr'ondek Hwech'in and Nacho Nyak Dun to identify economic opportunities.

    The line will be built adjacent to the existing highway corridor, running 223 kilometres from the Mayo Hydro Generating Station to a new substation in the Callison subdivision in Dawson City.

    "In addition to the flexible financing provisions to protect electrical customers from any negative rate effects," Rob McWilliam, President and CEO of Yukon Development Corporation said, "the Yukon Development Corporation will also make a $4-million non-repayable contribution to accelerate the benefits to ratepayers."

    Since Yukon Energy is proceeding with the project on a step-by-step basis, McWilliam noted that a final go-ahead on whether the line will move into construction will not occur for several months. "The Corporation will not proceed with the line unless it is within its estimated budget," he said.

    "When the residents of Dawson City have access to hydro power they will only need diesel as a back-up system," Wells said. "By using less diesel fuel, we will be able to reduce green house gas emissions by up to 20,000 tonnes a year and electrical customers won't be affected by high diesel prices that drive up electricity rates."

    Yukon Energy is a subsidiary of the Yukon Development Corporation, a Yukon Government Crown Corporation.


    Another Dempster Travels the Yukon

    by Dan Davidson

    Hugh Dempster proudly wears the family name. Photo by Dan Davidson

    Hugh Dempster was born in Mayo in 1928 and moved to Dawson around 1930 after his sister was born. The family moved to the lower mainland in 1934, when his father retired.

    Hugh is now retired himself, from his career as a computer science professor from UBC, but has continued to travel to the Yukon whenever he can.

    After all, how many of us would be able to deny a sentimental connection to a place that has a road named after our father?

    William John (Jack) Duncan Dempster was born in 1876 , and came west in 1896/97 after taking his NWMP training in Regina. After a brief posting in Ft. McLeod he was sent to the Klondike, and subsequently bounced all over the territory while rising from Corporal to Inspector.

    Hugh has a diary of that trip. His father only seemed to keep journals when he was on the move. Once he settled down anywhere he would not write unless he was on a patrol.

    At various times he was stationed at Dalton Post, Tagish, Bennett, Halfway, Bonanza, Caribou, McQuesten, Stewart River, Forty Mile, White River, Rampart House, Dawson and Mayo.

    It was in the latter community that he met and married Hugh's mother, a trained nurse from Nova Scotia named Catherine Smith, who had served as a nurse in the Great War. Dempster was part of the hospital committee in Mayo which hired "Smittie", as her friends called her.

    Hugh joined the family in 1928 and his sister two years later, after which came the Inspector's final posting in Dawson.

    When you check the history books, of course, you find that Corporal Dempster made his mark years before, in 1911, when he led the expedition which determined the fate of the ill-starred "Lost Patrol".

    It was neither the first nor the last time that Dempster travelled that route. He did ten patrols in all, and was so associated with the area in many peoples' minds that his name was the obvious choice when it came time to find a name for the new road which the Diefenbaker government decided to build there in the late 1950s.

    Says Hugh Dempster, "I guess the Lost Patrol story and the fact that he had travelled that route so many times was what ... caused a group of the old time Yukoners to petition to have it named for him.

    "That happened while he was still alive, in the early sixties, before he died in 1964."

    When the highway was finally completed Dempster and his sister were invited to attend the opening ceremonies.

    By then, however, he had already taken the plunge and returned to the Yukon. Hugh's first trip was in 1972, almost forty years after he left.

    "That was an interesting trip because there were still people around who knew the family."

    He has been back several times since. One of the things that Hugh has really enjoyed over the years has been meeting people that used to know his family, or descendants of the first nations guides who used to travel with his father.

    The younger Dempsters have also had a Yukon itch to scratch.

    Eldest daughter, Laurie, took an interest in the territory after that 1972 visit, and was among who participated in the second incarnation of the former residential school in Carcross, when it became an alternative school. While there, she travelled a bit in the territory and met a lot of people connected with the Anglican church. At one function, Laurie met Joe and Annie Henry and they became friends. So taken was she with Annie that when she had a daughter she named her after the Tr'ondek Hwech'in elder.

    Dempster and his grand-daughter managed to be present for Joe and Annie's 75th anniversary, celebrated here four years ago.

    Another daughter, Beth, has spent several summer working for a tour company, Sea to Sky Trails, that offers trips in the Yukon, and actually led one of the driving treks with day hike side trips that the Dempsters took here. It took Hugh to Herschel Island, where his father had once visited.

    On another trip they used his father's diaries to follow the old Yukon Patrol route as a summer hike.

    "The year after the Lost Patrol his diaries were quite meticulous and full of little sketch maps. Between those and a topographical map I was able to follow the route quite well," Dempster said.

    This year Hugh seized an opportunity to take a canoe and kayak trip down the Yukon River with Len Webster's Sea to Sky outfit, a sixteen day journey which he thoroughly enjoyed.

    One of the activities on the trip was to read bits of Yukon writing. Hugh chose passages from Pierre Berton's Drifting Home and some of Robert Service's poems.

    And, of course, he thought of his father, now gone these 36 years, but still remembered by his son, who keeps coming back to experience some of his dad's old stomping grounds.


    Highway Signs under Discussion

    by Dan Davidson

    Welcome to Dawson, says the friendly kiosk on the Klondike Highway. Photo by Dan Davidson

    There are close to three dozen business signs on the Klondike Highway between the Dawson airport and the town. Some people find them informative; others find them an eyesore.

    A year ago the Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations finally completed construction of an information kiosk out at the new town boundary, a project which had undergone many incarnations along the way.

    In fact, there was still one more set of changes after it was finished, when the new Dawson City Arts Society took on the chore of transforming a bare bones structure which was generally deemed to be pretty ugly into an appealing little road side stop which has attracted the interest of several hundred visitors this summer.

    It might attract more if there were more to be seen there and less to be seem along the highway. This is where the issue of the signs comes in.

    The chamber and City of Dawson would like to see businesses phase out their use of roadside signs and transfer their advertising to the sheltered inside of the kiosk, where there is room for about 125 uniformly sized plaques.

    So far, according to chamber manager Gail Calder, about 25 businesses have signed onto the project, which is voluntary.

    As she told the August meeting of the group, there have been some concerns expressed on the street.

    "There are all sorts rumours about who's going to take down all these highway signs once the kiosk program is up and running."

    In the coffee shop buzz, both the city and the chamber are said to be planning to hit the highway with chainsaws and do them all in one blitz.

    "In actual truth," Calder said, "nothing has been decided."

    The only person actually talking about a chainsaw has been Downtown Hotel owner Dick Van Nostrand, a kiosk booster. And even he is only talking about destroying his own sign. He is planning a sign levelling and bonfire complete with wiener roast, but he hasn't set a date yet because he doesn't want to be the only one to do it.

    The subject of highway signs was to have been on the City Council agenda for the August 22 meeting, but Calder now says that it will be the focus of a public meeting on September 25, which would be the second regular public council meeting of that month.

    Apparently the territorial government has offered to hand over control of highway signs between the town and the airport to the City of Dawson, but council hasn't indicated yet whether it wants to take on the role of enforcer.

    In the meantime, Calder said, "You really want to let businesses know and people know that we aren't going to go out there at the end of the summer or the beginning of next spring and chop down all their signs."


    Klondike Classic Open Horse Show

    Eve Derry and her horse. Photo by Madeleine Gould

    Record crowds came out on a beautiful sunny weekend for the fourth annual Open Horse Show at Hoofbeats Equestrian center in Henderson Corner. The Klondike Horseman's Association was prepared with covered bleachers and facilities for the spectators, but they were all but not required due to the break in the summer's ongoing rain. Numerous entries from Whitehorse arrived Friday evening and set up camp, settling horses in for the night and getting them rested for the upcoming competition Saturday and Sunday.

    Saturday morning began early, by 6:00 people and horses were starting to stir, and by 7:00 the hot coffee and Cowboy Pancake Breakfast got everyone off to a start grooming and tail braiding. The English riding disciplines dominated Saturday, beginning with Dressage and Equitation . Later, the action moved into an exciting show of Hunter/Jumper classes. The course was designed by Andrew Limbert of Dawson. The KHA would like to show their appreciation to him for setting the jump course for the day.

    Sunday started early again, the grooming and tacking began, this time for Western discipline day. Halter and Showmanship classes moved into Equitation, Pleasure and Versatility classes. Lead Line and little wrangler Freestyle are fun classes for the little ones, and then the game classes, or Gymkhana which are scaled down rodeo games.

    During the two days of competition points are awarded for ribbon placements, at the end of the show each of the division categories, Walk/trot, Novice, Peewee, Junior and Senior have point leaders. These leaders are awarded the High Point and Reserve High Point awards and prizes.


    Reserve - Pat Pierson riding Delilah
    Highpoint - Brooke Neilsen on Frostbite


    Reserve - Fiona Woods riding King's Choice
    Highpoint - Spencer Sumanik riding Puff O' Smoke

    Pee Wee

    Reserve - Alexander Derry, riding Shooting Star
    Highpoint - Caitlin Gammie, riding Wars Yukon Storm


    Reserve - Erin Woods riding King's Choice
    Highpoint - Charmyn Harms riding Denali


    Reserve - Brandi Mitchell riding Dochert Nell
    Highpoint - Julia Fellers riding Zipperbly Frosty

    The horseshow was a complete success due to the hard work of a few dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of many individuals and businesses of Dawson City and Whitehorse. Thank-you to those people, without your help and support we would not be able to hold this event in the Klondike area. Special thanks to our professional Judge for this competition, Ellen Smailes and her husband Glen for traveling all the way from the Southern B.C. show circuit for our show.


    She Who Was, She Who Is, She Who Will Be

    One of the many workshops at the Women's Celebration. Photo by Tara McCauley

    The Woman's Celebration 2000 was a great success! The 4 day celebration drew in many locals and families from all over the North were still arriving by the car load come Saturday morning. During the event, guests enjoyed the Art Show "Shelter" at the Odd Gallery, the various workshops, a community dinner on Friday and Saturday evening, and had the opportunity to meet and talk with numerous people from other communities.

    Women packed workshops dealing with physical, emotional, spiritual, family, and community health. Also featured were many arts, crafts, and recreation activities, all presented by local and visiting women. Saturday evening's Concert Under the Northern Lights was a tremendous hit! With music varying from alternative country to folk/rock there was never a dull moment. Thanks for the dance Ladies!!

    The Woman's Shelter would like to send out a thank you to the volunteers and supporters who made this event possible!

    Special thanks to the City of Dawson, Tr'ondek Hwech'in, Yukon Energy, Harper Street Publishing, the Bunkhouse, the Triple J Hotel, Kluane Freight Lines, the Dawson City Arts Society, the Pop Stop, Bonanza Market, Test Fisheries, Musicfest, Tintina Bakery, the Yukon Order of Pioneers, Robert Service School, St. Mary's' Catholic Church, St. Paul's' Anglican Church, Yukon College, the Dawson Daycare, and all of the workshop facilitators-all who supported Women's Celebration 2000 through donations and services.


    New Pioneer Head Boards

    by James Archibald

    During a cleanup Bee at the eighth avenue YOOP's cemetery about five years ago, Murray Crockett and Jim Leary expressed an interest in replacing some of the headboards at the Pioneer cemetery. Nothing was done at that time. Murray retired from placer mining and moved to his permanent home at Vernon, British Columbia. In the spring of 1999, Murray advised the Pioneers that he was preparing the lumber for the headboards. The cost of the lumber, glue, wafers, paint and preparation came to about $900 that he paid for out of his own pocket. These new boards would be part of the new project to replace over 100 of them at the upper YOOP's cemetery. Rocky Mountain Transport of Vernon obligingly delivered the boards free of charge to Kluane Transportation truck depot at Callison Industrial sub - division in Dawson.

    The boards were stored at Kluane over the winter and in July of this year Jack Fraser and Jim Archibald picked the boards up with their trucks and hauled them to Han Construction. They had them shaped to conform with the traditional YOOP headboards. They did some minor repairs on some boards and applied the second coat of paint. John Gould researched the names that would go on the boards. These names were faxed by John to Murray at his home in British Columbia Each name was put in a computer and a decal was made. It was decided that when Murray came up to Dawson this summer he would bring the 51 decals with him. A committee consisting of Murray and Donna Crockett, Jack Fraser, Jim Archibald and much later Art Sailer put the decals on the boards at the YOOP hall on the 14th and 15th of August. The time that it took the committee to put the decals on was about 12 hours. In the words of Jack Fraser after all the trouble of getting the decals off the paper and onto the boards was that, " they had to have the skill of a brain surgeon and the patience of Job ". It was decided on Discovery Day that the following weekend this part of the project would be finished.

    At 10:00 A.M. on Saturday the 26th of August a working Bee started on the steel base of the boards which would then be driven into the ground at the correct grave site in the upper YOOP's cemetery. The crew was split into two groups, Jack Fraser, Ed Jones, Gordy Caley, Joe Braga and Jim Archibald drilled and bolted the steel bases loosely on the headboards at the YOOP's Hall. As soon as the first dozen were drilled, Jack Fraser and Joe Braga took them to the upper cemetery. At the cemetery Jim Leary and Art Sailer with the help of Jack and Joe started putting them on the proper grave sites and tightening the bases, making sure they were level. As they were finishing the first set, Jack came back to the YOOP's Hall and picked up another dozen. They broke off for lunch, then Jack took the final load up and they were put into place and rechecked for accuracy by 3:00 P.M. Only one headboard had the wrong name on it, but it will be corrected very easily and be set up in it's proper place.

    Out of respect for the Pioneers that have passed on, this project without the volunteer help of the above people would not have taken place. The Pioneer Lodge would like to thank the people and business of Dawson for there support on the Gold Poke Draw. All the profits from the Gold Poke Draw will be used to help pay for new linoleum at the Pioneer Hall.


    Clark Presents Hilarious Novel

    by Dan Davidson

    Sally Clark reads from her novel in progress. Photo by Dan Davidson

    If Sally Clark's reading from her work in progress, The Luck of the Spinozas, is any hint of how the final product will turn out, her novel is going to be hilarious.

    Clark, and artist and playwright, came to Berton House as writer in residence to work on a novel, signaling a bit of a career change. On August 22 she gave a small group of literary fans in the audio visual room of the Dawson City Museum a peek at some sections of the work in progress.

    The evening, sponsored by the Canada Council and the Museum began with an anecdotal summary of the history of the Berton House Project, which began to take shape in 1989, when Pierre Berton bought his former family home for $50,000 and turned it over to the Yukon Arts Council to develop a writers' retreat program. Berton likes to recall the price as being about 25 times what his father paid for it when it was in much better shape.

    Between 1990-91 the arts council developed an outline for the program. Local committee members included Dan Davidson, Leslie Piercy, Helen Winton and Joann Vriend, as well as YAC members Jack Wenaus, Sharron Sweeny, Richard Lawrence and Neva Murtha.

    The Arts Council YAC developed a partnership with KVA to manage the residence and restorations begin on the building, which had to be brought up to a suitable standard before it could be used for anything. This cost about $97,000.

    On August 14, 1996 the official opening was held with Pierre and Janet Berton and Laura (Berton) Woodward in attendance. Russell Smith, now a fixture in the Globe and Mail, was the first tenant.

    In the beginning the program was spring and summer; then spring, summer and fall. By accident, Julie Lawson become the first writer to spend the deep winter here in 1999, and after that, it was clear that a year round program could be done. Berton House has been full ever since.

    Clark who is an accomplished reader, presented two sections for her novel. She brought the audience to tears (of laughter) with her account of a disastrous diner party in Toronto. Key elements of the scene included one two many drinks, a tray of meticulously prepared deviled eggs, the laws of inertia and subsequent developments.

    The second. longer, section, dealt with a different set of characters and really seemed to be about the predatory relationships of a amusing deluded young woman who seemed still to be suffering from the teenaged "Lost Princess" complex while well into her twenties. There were several shifts in point of view which allowed from some interesting observations about "what was really going on" as seen from different viewpoints. The passage accomplished the complex feat of having the audience develop a sympathetic relationship with a person who was really not very nice at all at first glance.

    Sally Clark will be continuing her work here in Dawson for an additional three weeks, an extension of her original term. She was ecstatic to get the news because, as she told her audience, this has turned out to be a really good place for her to write.


    Dawson Business Profile: The Grubstake

    by Tara McCauley

    Bernard Shedler, owner of the Grubstake. Photo by Tara McCauley

    Bernard Schedler, originally from Campbell River on Vancouver Island, came to Dawson three years ago looking for a "new experience". He spent two years as a chef at the Downtown Hotel before moving on to his own endeavors.

    A qualified chef, Bernard trained at Aberdeen College in Scotland for four years and worked all over Europe for several years. He also lived and worked in Australia for five years. While drawn by the fast pace of fine dining, Bernard wanted to move away from that to a more, "community oriented place."

    It'll be one year in October, since he took over the Grubstake from the previous owners. With a two year lease and an agreement to buy, he's in it for the long haul.

    Although his main business is pizza and subs, the Grubstake offers sandwiches, bagels, croissants, and is also a licensed establishment. Tuesday is 2 for 1 pizza night and they also sell pizza by the slice at lunchtime.

    In January 2000, Bernard launched an Internet service with five computers. At $4/hour, Bernard says, "I wanted to keep it cheap. All I want is for the computers to pay for themselves." In the summer, mostly tourists and transients use the Internet service but it has also become a popular hangout for youth to come and play computer games year round.

    "I am so looking forward to winter, the relaxed pace, lots to do" And keep busy he certainly does. He has helped out the Women's Shelter, the Dawson City Music Festival, & the Klondike Jamboree by volunteering or donating stuff. During the Dawson Volleyball Tournament the Grubstake, had a special $5 lunch coupon for participants. In the winter months he also ran a bakery service out of the Grubstake supplying hotels with sourdough rolls, cinnamon buns, french sticks, pretzels and other baked goods.

    As for the future, Bernard is already thinking expansion. He has already bought a new pizza oven. Other plans include more inside seating, a walk-in-freezer and a couple additions to the menu. He plans to expand gradually and keep it simple.

    "The bottom line is more than a dollar sign. Never let someone leave unhappy. Good value for your dollar and support the community, they'll support you."


    Obituary: Bruce Cowan

    Bruce was born in New Zealand in 1950 and emigrated to Canada with his wife and family in 1990. He was involved in the placer Mining Industry and was a director of the KPMA. The Yukon became home and Bruce became a Canadian citizen in 1999.

    Bruce will be greatly missed by his family and friends including his wife Elaine, children Lisa, Hayden and Tanjie, parents Roy and Florence, sisters Alison (Colin) Benjamin and Sandra (Andy) Miles, brother Murray (Joy), brother-in-law Keith (Dawn) Vallance, sister-in-law Glenda Vallance, Uncle Bruce and his many friends.


    Editorial: Oh for a Sunny Day!

    by Dan Davidson

    The strange epidemic of retinal damage which seems to have afflicted many people in Dawson found its explanation last week, according to a bulletin from the territory's chief medical health officer.

    The CMHO issued this diagnosis just before press time, along with a cautionary warning for those who might still be surprised in this fashion over the next couple of months.

    All summer people in Dawson have been complaining of spots before their eyes and of hazy vision. But recently there have been new reports of a burning sensation, and sudden fits of sneezing, followed, a few weeks later, by temporary blind spots.

    According to the CMHO the earlier symptoms were caused by the unusual summer which Dawson has just had. People who were used to wearing sunglasses all the time due to the bright summer days were actually seeing rain splatters on their lenses, and the haze was simply the morning fog which accompanied the inclement weather.

    However, the season was not consistent, and a sudden change on September 9 took everyone by surprise.

    Weather records at Environment Canada have confirmed that the sun actually emerged from behind a cloud for several hours on the afternoon of September 9.

    There were earlier reports of this phenomenon throughout the season, but most people refuse to believe it.

    People hadn't seen the sun for so long that many of them made the mistake of stopping to stare directly at it in wonder.

    It's fortunate that the entire town had the same reaction at the same time, otherwise there would surely have been reports of traffic accidents.

    The burning and sneezing were natural outcomes of gazing at the solar orb, but the long term consequences could be more serious. Fortunately most people tear up and sneeze when they gaze too long into the sun, thus saving themselves from the worst of the side effects.

    Members of the public are reminded that there is a sun up there, and that it may appear from time to time between now and the first of December, after which the danger period will be past until mid-January.


    Klondike Sun Home Page