From next week, writer Kevin Chong will be blogging from the Dawson City Music Festival in the Yukon, which begins July 17.
This will be my fourth trip to the Yukon in the past two years, and though I’ve managed to squeeze some work assignments into my travels, I keep finding excuses to return to renew my big heart crush on the place and its people. If you don’t like the Yukon, I probably won’t like you.
In my opinion, the Yukon is Canada in its most undiluted, and perhaps best, form. Like the rest of the country, it certainly gets cold enough there. And the abundant natural splendour is barely smudged by its human footprint. Its 30,000 or so permanent residents are an eccentric mixture of First Nations people, Canadians originally from other parts of the country, Europeans (many of the campground signs here are written in English and German) who fell hard for the writing of Jack London and Robert Service at an impressionable age. (Check out Johnny Cash’s spoken-word performance rendition of Service’s spooky tale-in-verse, “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” here.) The pioneer spirit is still alive, its Gold Rush-era steamboats and brothels proudly burnished for happy tourists, and yet because so many Yukoners come from elsewhere and often travel during the cold, dark winter, the smallness of the communities never feels small-minded. (more…)