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This post is part of Matador’s partnership with Canada, where journalists show how to explore Canada like a local.

BACK IN THE LATE 1800s, Whitehorse’s population surged as a number of Gold Rush stampeders shipwrecked their hastily built rafts on the rapids of the Yukon. Being marooned far from the Klondike goldfields, many of these desperate men sold off whatever they could salvage from their wreckage, putting Whitehorse on the map as a place to “supply up” before continuing to the Klondike.

According to local lore, Whitehorse is named for a set of rapids that used to exist just outside of town, where the water flowed like a horse’s mane until it was dammed to produce electricity in the 1950s. It’s an apt metaphor. Even with the slow arrival of organic coffee houses and international cuisine, the remainders of a wilder existence are always right under the surface.

Here are five places in the territorial capital where you can get a feel for the frontier, plus a few more images to help fill out the portrait.

Trip Planning


About The Author

Zack Embree

Stepping lightly on the earth, and covering a lot of ground. Whether it's hanging out with gold miners of the Yukon, riding a motorbike through the Indian Himalayas, or journeying into Brazil's Amazon rainforest, I let my curiosity and love for adventure guide me. I keep my camera close and always eye out for a story. I am currently very interested in the lessons ancient cultures and indigenous peoples can teach our modern civilization about spirituality and sustainability.

  • Joy Rothke

    Very nice. The Yukon is one of my favorite places on earth.

  • Star Brand

    It’s my project in the futur.

  • Nancy Elizabeth Whitson

    My birthplace Whitehorse, Yukon Territories.

    • Joe Doherty

      That sculpture of the horse is amazing!!

  • Cat lover

    What ever happened to the Capital Cat?

  • Cat lover

    I’ll post a picture so he lives forever…

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