As winter closes in and the roads snow over in Dawson City, newly arrived journalist Jo Silver investigates the dubious suicide of a local politician and quickly discovers that not everything in this tourist town is what it seems.
Introducing Elle Wild, the author of Strange Things Done —find out what inspired her to write about Dawson City and get a little taste of life during the “Freeze Up” in this video.
A Discovery in the River
As the last tourists make their way out of town before winter, the body of a Dawson City politician is found floating in the Yukon River. Once the “Freeze Up” hits, the airports will be closed, the roads will be closed, and the river will be frozen over. In short, there will be no way out of town. Not for Jo. Not for anyone.
“Dawson would be cut off from the rest of the world. Jo thought about the shots ringing out in the darkness, and wondered who would be shut in with her."
While the people of Dawson City do get snowed in from time to time, the winters are actually quite fun and full of activity. For instance, the airport and highways are open year round. Which means you’ll get your chance to see the northern lights in action.
The best way to see the Yukon River, however, is from the deck of an old fashioned paddlewheeler (that’s a boat, by the way). If you plan a visit during the summer, you can enjoy a narrated tour and unobstructed views of Dawson City and the local wildlife.
The people of Dawson love to frequent the cozy confines of Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall. It’s a great way to keep the cold at bay and it becomes quite the social hub for folks around town. Jo even stopped in for a drink on her first night in town. And that’s when everything changed.
Believe it or not, Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall was Canada’s first casino. All done up in Klondike style, it boasts casino games, nostalgic and contemporary music and, of course, the famous can-can dancers. And if you’re interested in trying the dance out for yourself, you can always check out the moves in our Gerties dance class on Instagram TV.
The mines still play an important part in the daily life of Dawson City, with gold being discovered and dug up around the region to this day. And one way to understand their role in the community is to study their past.
Dredge No. 4 is an 8-storey earth-eating monstrosity that was built to devour the land in search of gold. Nowadays, you can take the family on a guided tour, seeing the inner workings of the biggest dredge of its kind in North America.
The views around Dawson City are popular with locals, tourists and newly-arrived journalists alike. Why else would Byrnie and Jo have ended up on the bluffs? Their vantage point is just the thing to inspire awestruck gazes. Or a convenient alibi.
You can reach the Crocus Bluffs lookout point via a walking trail. And you can reach the head of that walking trail with a little help from the friendly people in the Dawson City Visitor Information Centre.