22 Dawson City
The Top of the World Highway was well named. What a view! It even included a couple of caribou that strolled across the road in front of us. The weather was perfect - there had been just enough rain to get rid of the dust. We re-entered Canada, took the ferry across the Yukon River, and entered Dawson City.
The place to start is the Visitor Center. They offer many guided tours that add immensely to the understanding and enjoyment of the town. There are even cruises along the Yukon available, from a paddlewheel boat to a trip to a native fishing village.
A walking tour of the city (either on your own, using the guide from the visitor center, or with a guide) is well worth the time. Many of the old houses remain, some at a severe slant, caused by melting of the permafrost beneath them. The newer houses must be built in the manner of the gold rush days, so the character of Dawson City remains.
A trip up Dome Road, leads to an observation point far above town, which affords great views, not only of Dawson City, but of Bonanza Creek. This is the site of the gold discovery which started the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, and it is still worked today (obviously, with gold approaching $1800/ounce vs. $10 they got back then.). You can also see the weirdly shaped “worms” formed by the dredging operations.
The old log homes of Robert Service and Jack London has been preserved as they were when they spent time in Dawson City, but one of the most impressive homes was that of the Commissioners Residence. Beautifully restored and featuring actual furniture of the day, it is well worth a visit, and the video on the Commissioner’s wife, Martha Black, tells the story of an amazing woman. Too bad it was only used for a few years. The problem? It took 240 cords of wood to heat it for a year.
Of course, a visit to Dawson is not complete without a trip to Diamond tooth Gerties, where Bobie taught us the fine art of 21. Three shows a night (progressively more risqué) feature the can-can girls, a form of entertainment apparently never seen in early Dawson City. The Palace Grand Theater (as well as others) had many kinds of entertainment, but not that.