The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway Depot

Building Location: 

1109 Front Street

Whitehorse, YT Y1A5G4

Location Context: 

Very few structures remain from the era in which the depot symbolized the prosperity of White Pass and Whitehorse. The Old Firehall directly to the south sits awaiting a new use; a few of the piers which once supported the vast wharf and buildings remain; and the Taylor & Drury Building, now Horwood’s, has been altered considerably over the years.


Two-storey Frame Building

Architectural History: 

This building is a two-storey wood frame structure with a gable roof and log siding. Cedar shingles cover the roof.

An extension to the second storey and the placement of log siding to the exterior occurred in the 1950’s.

Cultural History: 

This depot is located at the foot of Main Street, and is the second to occupy the site. The first depot, constructed in October 1900, was formally and aesthetically consistent with the architecture of small town depots scattered across Canada in the early part of the century. It accommodated the White Pass & Yukon Route offices, a customs house, and the North West Mounted Police station.

The station was destroyed in 1905 by a fire that ravaged most of Whitehorse’s business community, but was reconstructed on the same site within two months. The new depot lacks the characteristic architecture of its earlier version, perhaps because of the haste and necessity of its construction. The upper floor was expanded in the 1950’s, and the wood faux-log siding was applied to the exterior.

The building remained in use as a depot until the railway ceased operations in 1982.

Construction of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad commenced in 1898 in Skagway, Alaska. It reached Lake Bennett in 1899 where goods were shipped down lakes and rivers to Whitehorse. A link to Whitehorse was completed in 1900.

In 1901, the British Yukon Navigation Company, a subsidiary of White Pass, established a river route between Whitehorse and Dawson. The company became the supply line for the entire Yukon Territory. Whitehorse became the major operational base for the company’s rail and water transportation system (and somewhat of a company town).

White Pass supplied many jobs and attracted other commercial ventures to the community. Through another subsidiary, the British Yukon Land Company, created in 1900, controlled the sale or lease of property in Whitehorse.

Biographical Information: 


Current Use: Office
Past Use: Train depot / office
Condition: Good
Foundation/Floor: Good
Walls: Good
Windows/Doors: Good
Roof: Good