Top 13 Places to Visit in Canada

Dawson City, Yukon Territories

Author/Editor: Jennifer J. Lacelle
August 4, 2021

Bright, glittering streams of gold and flowing waters. Hidden behind mountain “gates” and protected from the bustling cities like Vancouver or Ottawa.

The beautiful terrain, albeit far up north and therefore a touch cold, will leave you wide-eyed like a child opening a gift or hearing an adventurous story.

The Yukon Territories sits next to the Alaskan, Northwest Territories and British Columbia borders.


The Bering Strait land bridge was used to cross over from Asia, and the Yukon is the oldest recorded (and continuously resided in) territory in North America.

It might be up for dispute among archeologists as the oldest area of inhabitation as some records reflect 10,000 BCE, but others date back 25,000-45,000 years prior.

The Indigenous tribes in the Yukon region are varied with the Tagish, Kaska, Teslin, Mountain, Goat, and Tutchone. The Inuit are the northernmost tribe and distinctive in their own culture.

Though, the Northern Yukon territories were predominantly occupied by the Gwich’in, who stayed in the Yukon River’s basin. In fact, Yu-kun-ah translates to ‘great river’ in their native tongue, which is where Yukon derives from.

Unfortunately, their population was decimated by sicknesses such as smallpox. These illnesses made it to their homes prior to the actual arrival of explorers.

The Yukon’s most famous activity is the 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race. It goes between Whitehorse, YK and Fairbanks, Alaska. The teams have raced each other, regardless of weather conditions, since 1984 and it usually last 10-16 days (or until the last team crosses the finishes line). It’s against the rules to get help except at their halfway mark in Dawson City.

Dawson City

This city flourished during the time of the gold rush, which between the years of 1896-99 prospectors found $29-million worth of gold in the earth. When the previous metal was discovered elsewhere, prospectors began moving away.

Now, the small town has tourist attractions for the adventure enthusiast, arts and Indigenous communities, music and festivals.

Kiac School of Visual Arts & Gas 4 Less in Dawson City. Photo by Patrick Federi.

Claim 33 – Gold Panning and Mining Museum should be your first stop in Dawson City. Family operated and welcoming, you’ll be taught how to pan for gold before going on your adventure to find treasure. Once you’ve discovered and claimed your gold, they can put your findings inside gold or silver lockets that you can have as a keepsake forever (or perhaps gift to a loved one).

Or you can get a bird’s eye view from a flight in a helicopter! While their predominant services are fighting fires, wildlife management and mining and exploration they do offer some tourist flights overlooking the stunning landscape surrounding Dawson City. Those interested need to call the office and check in with their schedule. You’ll get to fly over the Klondike Goldfields and Tombstone Park.

The Park is 2,200 squared kilometers that’s rich with Indigenous history. The wildlife is abundant, along with the permafrost lands, peaks and mountainous terrain. It’s about 1.5 hours from the city and follows Dempster Highway. Be prepared with your own food, water and supplies since Dawson is the closest city in range. The weather shifts fast in this environment, combined with the jagged land, be sure your fitness is up to snuff.

If you’d rather give horseback riding a shot, then you can do that here as well. They offer two-hour, half-day, full-day and overnight trips. With the latter of the collection, you get to stay in a nice cabin that sits along the riverbed. They’ll even provide snacks or a light meal on the other trips through Tombstone Park.

Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, you can try becoming a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. But hold up before screaming, “I volunteer!”

The drink actually comes from a long history when two brothers fled the police during a rum-run in the 1920s. As the story goes, one of the brothers tried to ease their dog sled team during a rough storm and his foot plunged into water. They kept going on their journey, because they feared being caught by police, until they had to pause…

Frostbite had taken his big toe! So, like any rational person he took a woodcutting axe and bam! No more toe.

However, they chose to remember the moment by preserving the frostbitten toe in alcohol. It was rediscovered a number of years later in an abandoned cabin. Eventually, the club was established and rules created. Apparently, 10 toes have been volunteered to the club since its inception.

So, what is the drink you may ask?

  • 1 ounce of alcohol
  • 1 dehydrated toe
  • Apparently… a little courage

They only have five rules too… one, you have to go to Sourdough Saloon and ask to see Captain River Rat, then buy a shot. Next is to pledge the oath, followed by watching a dehydrated toe dropped into your cup and finally: drink it. Apparently your lips must touch it.

If you’re not up to the challenge just have yourself a regular cocktail, grub and sit back to enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Work off that meal, or Sourtoe, with a gentle walk around the city at Ninth Avenue Trail. It’s only about 30-45 minutes but you’ll get to see the town in a fresh, engaging light. If it’s not long enough, this trail connects to a multitude of others. Or, sneak into the core of downtown with this trail.


For such a small town, there are over 20 selections for places to stay. From camping sites to RVs to rental lodges and luxury hotels. You can even find yourself a quant or modern cabin.

If you’d rather leave the planning to someone more knowledgeable about the area then pick a package that suits you. Want to capture the aurora borealis? There’s a three-day, two-night bundle designed specifically for those who have longed to see the spectacle.

Want to take an arctic safari? Yep, there’s one of those as well. It’s a weeklong and not overly expensive either. It requires a minimum of four people, and only takes place in the fall. But you’ll get to see a wide array of terrain, wildlife and maybe even the aurora lighting up.

It’s more than a small, outdated town. It’s lively, upbeat and priceless to visit. Get some history, relaxation and excitement all in one location.

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