The city of Whitehorse is located on the banks of the Yukon River in south-western Yukon, an hour and half from Kluane National Park, home of Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain. Whitehorse was an important river and railway hub for prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 and was named for the white “manes” of the nearby river rapids close to a former First Nations salmon fishing site.
Whitehorse became Yukon’s capital in 1953, a decade after the construction of the Alaska Highway brought increased development and access to the town. Today, Whitehorse is a modern community with daily jet service to Vancouver and other major cities. Its 28,000 residents value a lifestyle close to nature in this town that lies in a forested valley surrounded by mountains and lakes, in the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwächan Council.
In addition to its public sector, involving federal, territorial, First Nations and municipal governments, Whitehorse’s economy is tied closely to Yukon’s established mining sector, and a diverse tourism industry. Beyond its classic Main Street, with shopping and restaurants, Whitehorse offers a variety of museums and cultural attractions including the national historic site the S.S. Klondike, a restored sternwheeler, the Yukon Beringia Centre and the new Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. Music and film festivals attract thousands of visitors each year, as do events like the Yukon Quest, an international 1,600 km sled dog race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, Alaska.
As a regular host of the Arctic Winter Games, most recently in 2012, Whitehorse also has a number of impressive sports facilities including the Canada Games Centre and the world-class Whitehorse Nordic Centre, offering 85 kilometres of groomed ski trails, just minutes from downtown.
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