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The rugged western border of Canada is a place where arts and culture reflect not just the people who live there but the unique landscape they live in.
Infused with First Nations heritage, backed by a long history of exploration and settlement, and supported by recent newcomers drawn to the territory’s opportunities and beauty, arts and culture are celebrated in the Yukon like no other place on Earth.
Indigenous heritage is honoured in cultural centres which are scattered around the territory. The Binet House Interpretive Centre in Mayo preserves area history, shows early medical instruments, provides access to local scientific reports, and has displays on wildlife and geology. The Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre in Whitehorse is one of the territory’s top attractions – situated on the banks of the Yukon River, the facility is in a striking modern building which houses aboriginal art and local displays. Haines Junction’s contemporary Da Ku Cultural Centre is large, bright, and full of helpful staff. Discover the geology of nearby Kluane National Park and learn about how this nation negotiated land rights with the federal government. In Dawson City, the Danoja Zha Cultural Centre displays native clothing and hosts events and festivals. Even tiny towns have cultural centres – look for them in Teslin, Carmacks, and Faro.
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Only In Yukon: Mining History And an Aurora Museum
Experience Yukon’s rich mining history at the Keno City Mining Museum. Built in the city’s old community center, the museum catalogues the area’s gold and silver mining boom days. Be sure to bring your hiking shoes – a network of marked hiking trails begins at the Alpine Interpretive Centre next door. The MacBride Museum of Yukon History is one of the largest museums in the territory – situated in downtown Whitehorse, the museum lets you walk through stories depicting Yukon’s past. Discover the truth behind the legend of Robert Service, learn about the locomotive which built the WP&YR Railway, and visit a candy shop and miner’s saloon. Nearby, the Yukon Transportation Museum is full of the cars, trucks, boats, and trains which worked hard to settle the wilderness.
Look up at night to see the magical aurora borealis – and during the day venture to Watson Lake’s Northern Lights Centre – one of the world’s only facilities dedicated to the science and folklore of the auroras. While there, make sure to see “The Yukon’s Northern Lights” – a one-hour presentation featuring lighthearted storytelling and 3-D animation. In Whitehorse, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre has a full-size cast of the largest woolly mammoth ever recovered in North America and a reconstruction of Bluefish Caves, one of the oldest archaeological sites in Yukon. And if you find yourself in tiny Faro, stop in at the Campbell River Interpretive Centre, which hosts guided walks, has displays on the area’s history and wildlife, and explains the town’s mining heritage.
Yukon Attracts Talent From Around the World
Yukon’s indigenous people produce haunting and magical music, much of which can be heard during the summer festival season. Year-round, artists from all over the world come to Yukon on tour. Major festivals include the Dawson City Music Festival, the Frostbite Music Festival in Whitehorse, and the Atlin Arts & Music Festival. Keep an ear out for local artists performing traditional folk songs such as “Rush to the Klondike” and “I’ve Got the Klondike Fever.”
The capital of the territory’s arts scene is the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse. This non-profit organization hosts local and visiting artists and musicians and has indoor and outdoor space for concerts and exhibitions as well as an active calendar of classes and interactive programs. Want to take some of the Yukon’s art home? The territory is dotted with galleries large and small. Whitehorse is home to Arts Underground, Yukon Artists at Work, Lumel Glass Blowing Studio, and the North End Gallery; art can also be found for sale in the Yukon Arts Centre. Dennis Shorty Fine Art can be found in Ross River and be sure to visit Art House Carcross.
Whatever your passion is, Yukon has a vibrant arts and culture scene mixing historic heritage and modern tastes.
Yukon adventure starts here! Visit the MacBridge Museum of Yukon History for gold panning and family fun. From gold rush fever to the birth of Whitehorse, the MacBride Museum offers a complete view of the people and events that built Canada’s Yukon. Open all year. Stay close to the museum in a comfortable Best Western guest room and enjoy your time in Whitehorse.
Located near downtown Whitehorse, the Old Log Church Museum and Heritage Society takes care to preserve the church's history and historical material. Built in 1900, the church is one of the oldest buildings in Whitehorse. Throughout the years, the church has served as the center of worship for Whitehorse and has played an important role as the social gathering place for the local community. Today, the church also displays exhibits and artifacts on the relationship of the church with the people of Whitehorse.
Those ready to spend time with creative minds have just the place to go. Visit Whitehorse's own Yukon Artists At Work. Stop by for a wonderful opportunity to see exclusive fine art and craft originals. Take the time to meet these thirty-five renowned artists, from the Yukon territory. Stay close to this incredible attraction, in a local Best Western guest room and enjoy a wonderful night's rest.
Explore the Ice Age history of the Yukon. Visit the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre to meet Woolly Mammoths and other large extinct animals. Hunt in the spear-throwing range and watch the two films, to learn more about the rich history of Whitehorse and the Yukon territory. Be sure to schedule enough time to partake in a guided tour. The centre is open daily from May to September. Rest comfortably in a Best Western guest room and enjoy excellent guest services.
A Moving Experience. True Yukon stories live at the Yukon Transportation Museum, in Whitehorse. This museum houses a unique collection of artifacts depicting the Gold Rush transportation heritage, the building of the Alaska Highway and unusual modes of travel used in the north. Experience big, impressive modes of transportation—dramatic, authentic, and personal stories of Yukon ingenuity and self-sufficiency. Group tours are welcome and the museum's location is easily accessible from the Klondike Highway. While in town, stay close to the museum and many attractions in town as a guest of Best Western hotels.