S.S. Klondike II

Building Location: 

Foot of Fourth Avenue

Whitehorse, YT N/A

Location Context: 

On the edge of the river on a former squatters’ settlement known as Whisky Flats which was removed in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s to make way for the recently retired sternwheeler.


Passenger sternwheeler

Architectural History: 

The vessel is steam and stern driven, flat bottomed with square knuckles.

In 1953 it was extensively refurbished for use as a cruise ship. Parks Canada restored it to the original appearance in the 1970’s. On July 1, 1981 it was declared a National Historic Site.

Cultural History: 

Designed by Herbert Wheeler, the original Klondike was built by the British Yukon Navigation Company in 1929. The first skipper was Bill Bromley. The ship was the first boat big enough to handle over 300 tons (270 tonnes) without having to push a barge. In 1936, the vessel ran aground on a portion of the Yukon River.

The Klondike II was built immediately after and was a duplicate of the original. From 1937 to 1952, the vessel operated primarily as a cargo vessel, carrying general freight, silver ore, and passengers. In 1952, it was modified and operated as a cruise ship in conjunction with CP Airlines. From the late 1860’s to the mid 1950s, sternwheelers were the mainstay of the Yukon transportation system. The route to Dawson from Whitehorse took 36 hours; the return trip took 4 to 5 days. In August 1955, the Klondike had her last run, and in 1966 was moved to its present location in Rotary Park.

Current Use: Interpretive site
Past Use: Passenger and freight ship
Condition: Good
Foundation/Floor: Good
Walls: Good
Windows/Doors: Good
Roof: Good