From a wee bit kooky to just plain crazy, the Yukon has “strange” down to a science. Join us as we explore what’s weird and wonderful about this territory.
What stands at 18 metres high and has captured 9 tons of gold in its lifetime? No, it’s not the world’s tallest and most successful pirate, it’s the historic Dredge No. 4 National Historic Site in Dawson City.
This relic of the Gold Rush is located in the Klondike Goldfields on Claim #17. In its heyday, it was an engineering miracle built to mine in the harsh permafrost. Today, it is a designated National Historic Site of Canada, and still holds the title as the largest wooden-hulled dredge in North America.
Fair warning, you can’t board the dredge unaccompanied, but you’re more than welcome to view it from below or join a guided tour group. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, try to locate the three geocaches hidden there. It’s kind of like finding gold. Kind of.
Martin Berrigan’s answer to the post-war Yukon housing crisis was innovative, to say the least. In 1947, he built the world’s first log skyscrapers. Yes, you read that right. And boy, were they ever profitable.
These double and triple decker creations were built in response to a massive influx of labourers and military personnel who arrived to work on three major construction projects. Today, they are still in use as apartments with a well-earned Municipal Historic Site designation. Their architecture is so unique that these log behemoths are the only buildings of this type in Canada. How’s that for a legacy?
The next time you’re in Whitehorse, take a stroll down to 208 Lambert Street and get an eyeful of these wooden wonders. Just don’t linger too long outside people’s homes because, you know, that’d be weird.
The word “Yukon” is more likely to conjure up images of glaciers and snow forts than deserts and sand dunes. But that’s precisely where the world’s tiniest desert is located. Welcome to Carcross, sand dunes and all.
The desert was formed over 10,000 years ago when a glacial lake dried up, exposing the sandy sediments at the bottom. Add strong winds and little rainfall to the mix, and voilà: a teeny desert in the unlikeliest of spots.
The dunes are popular with sandboarders in the summer and tobogganers in the winter. But if a giant natural playground isn’t your thing, the nearby town of Carcross has plenty to offer. We would recommend hunting for treasures at Carcross Commons or taking a moment to breathe it all in at Bennett Lake. Ah, smells like serenity.
Geordie Dobson was nothing if not resourceful. As the owner of Keno City Hotel and its resident bartender, he had amassed a hefty 32,000 empty beer bottles. Seeing no way to recycle them, Geordie did what any sensible man would do—he built a beer bottle house.
He claims it was for purely practical reasons, and he was only half-joking. The bottles provide excellent insulation, and his two-bedroom bungalow is said to be the warmest in Keno. In a place where temperatures can dip below -26, we can drink to that.
Geordie no longer resides in Keno, but his house still stands as a legacy to his can-do spirit. After all, when life gives you lemons, you build a lemon house. Right?