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.