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Dawson City - History

A century ago, Dawson City was a gold rush boomtown. Today the community of Dawson City is still a gold mining centre. However, the main economic activity is tourism, based on the community's colourful past and historical importance. Dawson is located about 536 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse, at the end of the Klondike Highway.

The town of Dawson City lies within the traditional lands of the Han people, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation. The Han used the site where the town now stands, at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, as a seasonal fishing camp.


Dawson City Attractions

Gold Dredge No 4


Yukon Goldrush


Gold Mining


The discovery of gold in the Klondike valley in 1896 led to the establishment of a tiny community where the Klondike flows into the Yukon. By the summer of 1898 Dawson City was the largest city in Canada west of Winnipeg, with a population of 40,000 in the immediate area. Within months, Dawson boasted telephones, running water, steam heat, steamboat services, and a wide range of elaborate hotels, theatres, and dance halls.

A A year later the Gold Rush was over and 8,000 people left town in a single summer. By 1902 Dawson City's population had dropped to 5,000, declining further in the early part of this century.

In the early 1960s Dawson City was declared a National Historic Site. Preservation of buildings and historic areas, an assortment of activities related to the Klondike Gold Rush, and other tourism initiatives, draw some 60,000 visitors each year.



George Black Ferry

This ferry is a free service that runs 24 hours per day except Wednesday mornings, when it is shut down for servicing between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
The Dawson City Chamber of Commerce runs a commercial priority pass system for local commercial businesses. PLEASE WATCH FOR LANE CONTROL SIGNS INDICATING THE CORRECT LANES TO ENTER. Peak traffic times for the ferry are daily 7 AM to 11 AM leaving Dawson and 2 PM to 8 PM coming into town. If possible, you can help by avoiding use of the ferry around these times.


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last updated:  15.04.2008