Previous Recipients


Capitol Hotel: The Capitol Hotel was built in the 1920s, a time of great optimism in Whitehorse. This  despite a decline in the territory’s population partially due to the 1918 flu epidemic, the sinking of the Princess Sophia and the fact that many young men who enlisted in the First World War did not return. Tourism grew after the war and equipment and supplies were flowing through Whitehorse to the silver mines near Mayo. The British Yukon Navigation crews and about 60 shipyard workers returned to Whitehorse every spring, swelling the population of the town from 350 to 700 people. Since it was built in the 1920s, the Capitol Hotel building has served as a warehouse, a hardware store, a hair salon and was rumoured to be a brothel. In the 1960s, Cal Miller was the owner of the hotel and his bar was known as the place to be if you were part of the Whitehorse mining scene. The miners, prospectors and exploration crews met in Miller’s bar to tell yarns and cut deals. The recent exterior renovations of the Capitol Hotel have recreated the early spirit of Whitehorse and make a heritage statement on Main Street.

Bruce Harvey (d. 1982): Bruce Harvey was the first Parks Canada superintendent of Yukon Historic Sites. Bruce was a founder of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and supported the preservation of Yukon heritage in many ways. He was instrumental in establishing the Chilkoot Trail Historic Site, involved in the designation of the Yukon Hotel as a National Historic Site of Canada and contributed to the 1982 Federal Heritage Building Policy that requires a preservation agency to acquire, use and dispose of federal buildings in a manner that protects their heritage value.  Bruce is remembered for his deep connection with the Yukon landscape through the naming of Mt. Harvey, south of Carcross and 20 km north of the Yukon/Alaska border.

White Pass & Yukon Route: Construction began on the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) railway in 1898. The line between the coast at Skagway and the head of navigation on the Yukon River at White Horse Rapids was completed in 1900 and the railway became the primary route into the Yukon. The company was financially restructured in the early 1950s, at a time when most American narrow-gauge railways were closing. New diesel engines were purchased and the railway was re-imaged as an early pioneer of containerized transport. The Faro lead-zinc mine opened in 1969 and WP&YP upgraded to larger locomotives to carry ore and connected in this way with the company’s new fleet of trucks and a new ore dock at Skagway. A tunnel and bridge, bypassing Dead Horse Gulch, was built to carry the heavier loads. The South Klondike Highway from Whitehorse to Skagway was completed in 1978 and trucks were able to travel the route directly, bypassing the railway link. May 29, 1982 saw the inaugural run of the restored WP&YR locomotive steam engine #73. A bottle of champagne launched a short trip to Carcross and back. Metal prices plunged in 1982 with a devastating effect on the WP&YR’s commercial customers. The company operated at a significant loss for several months but the famous and well-loved railway stopped running on 7 October 1982. Over the years it had transported Klondike gold seekers and their goods, flocks of sheep and herds of cattle to feed the men in the goldfields, troops and equipment destined for the Alaska Highway construction and associated WWII projects, ore from one of Yukon’s richest mines and many, many tourists and adventurers. It was the end of an illustrious era for this venerable pioneer.


Allen Arthur Wright (1916 – 1983): Al Wright served six years with the Royal Canadian Engineers during WWII and he worked on highway construction projects in the north. He and his wife settled in Whitehorse in 1958 and he was involved in locating the Dempster Highway. He worked for the Department of Public Works, was an alderman on the Whitehorse City Council, wrote columns for the Whitehorse Star and had a great interest in Yukon history. His book Prelude to Bonanza: discovery and exploration of the Yukon (1976) is a great resource for researchers and an eye-opener for those who think that Yukon exploration and mining history began with the Klondike Gold Rush.  A pass on the Dempster Highway at the Yukon /NWT border was named for him in June 1984 and a memorial plaque was erected. Al received a posthumous Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 1986. The Allen A. Wright fonds held at the Yukon Archives contains photographs/films, notes, maps and correspondence related to historical research on transportation. Link to

Jim Robb: Jim Robb came to the Yukon from Montreal in 1955 and started a career of gathering, recording and promoting Yukon history. His earliest work as an artist was done on moosehide stretched inside a snowshoe frame. In 1961 he started to use pen, ink, watercolour and photography. In 1971 he began writing about historic buildings and colourful characters for the Whitehorse Star and he now has three books of short stories, photographs and drawings on the same theme.  Jim has been very generous to the Yukon heritage community, donating works of art to many charities and organizations over the years. He was referring to his book The Colourful Five Per Cent (reprint 1992) when he said “I think it’s important to record the interesting people so we can have that heritage to look back on in the future.” He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2003 for his contribution of gathering and preserving Yukon history.

Yukon Native Language Centre: The Yukon Native Language Centre (YNLC) is a training and research facility that provides linguistic and educational services to Yukon First Nations and the public and is administered by the Council of Yukon First Nations. The Centre offers training for Yukon aboriginal language teachers in a certificate and diploma program developed by YNLC staff and elders. The certificate is conferred by Yukon College. Courses in most areas of the program are transferrable to the University of Alaska and the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, British Columbia.  The need for professionally trained instructors is ongoing and graduates of this program serve in many communities of Yukon, British Columbia, NWT and Alaska.


Kathy Jones-Gates: Kathy Jones-Gates was the director of the Dawson City Museum and Historical Society for many years and worked with long-time residents to create a vibrant and community-minded historical society. In 1978 a Dawson City work crew uncovered reels of nitrate film buried at the site of the Dawson Amateur Athletic Association swimming pool. Nitrate films can spontaneous combust and Hollywood lost much of its early film history when industry warehouses burned.  The National Film Archives became very interested in the Dawson silent film find so Kathy and husband Michael Gates developed a recovery plan for the collection of over 500 films. Over the course of the next summer hundreds of reels of were identified by museum workers. The Dawson Film Find includes westerns, serials, romance movies and almost 200 news reels. The movies featured some of the most famous names in Hollywood and soon newspapers all around the world were announcing the discovery. Kathy was also instrumental in the founding of a Dawson newspaper and she and friend Jean Evans produced The Dawson Packet, a free summer newspaper printed by the Whitehorse Star between 1980 and 1982. Kathy remains a tireless researcher of Yukon-related facts and legends and contributes notes of historical interest to the CBC and local newspapers. Read more about the Dawson Film Find at or in Sam Kula’s book This Film is Dangerous: A Celebration of Nitrate Film (2002).

Chappie and Mattie Chapman: Charles “Chappie” Chapman (d. 1985) was a Mounted Police officer in 1920 when he volunteered for the Whitehorse detachment where he worked as a teamster. He was sent to Ross River in 1921 and back to Whitehorse in 1922 before he quit the force in 1929. He worked on a diamond drill in the Whitehorse Copper Belt with Jimmy Kerruish and then prospected on the Teslin River and in the Kluane area. He went to Mayo and there he started a long career working for the Northern Commercial Company. He managed the Mayo store until 1933 when he transferred to Dawson as the company bookkeeper and was soon managing that store. He and Mattie Barton married in 1934 and they raised two children. They moved back to Mayo in 1951 where Chappie sold insurance. The couple took over the local cinema and then bought Bud Fisher’s garage and started delivering fuel.  When times changed in Mayo, the couple moved to Whitehorse where Chappie worked as an accountant with the Transport Division of Cassiar Asbestos. He was later appointed the manager for Northern Metallic Sales in Watson Lake and they lived there for 17 years. Chappie held many positions in his life including that of Notary Public, Justice of the Peace and Coroner for Yukon and parts of NWT and Northern BC.  Martha “Mattie” Chapman, nee Barton, was born in England and moved to Nanaimo with her family. She went to business school and moved to Vancouver. When her family refused permission for her to marry she moved to Dawson to live with her sister, a nurse at St. Mary’s hospital. Her sister’s husband, Superintendent Howard Cronkite (RCMP) was friends with Chappie Chapman who often visited the house.  After they were married, Chappie developed photographs in his darkroom and Mattie hand coloured them. They bought a drug store in Dawson and ran it themselves. In Whitehorse Mattie worked in Hougen’s Photography Store and in Watson Lake she supervised the first Tourist Information Office. After retirement she supervised the Watson Lake Library and was a correspondent for CBC radio. In 1972 Mattie and Chappie were named Mr. and Mrs. Yukon during the annual Sourdough Rendezvous and they both received the Commissioner’s Award for Public Service in 1981.

Kitty McClellan (1921 – 2009): Catherine McClellan was a cultural anthropologist renowned for her documentation of the Tlingit and Tagish culture. She first travelled to the Yukon in 1947 with Frederica de Laguna and continued her Yukon studies though the 1950s to the 1980s. She was one of the first to focus on the northern oral tradition and helped to standardize the rules for transcribing oral history. She became very close to the people she studied. They called her “Kitty” with great affection and Maria John, Ida Calmegane’s grandmother, adopted her and gave her a first nation name.  My Old People Say, an Ethnographic Survey of the Southern Yukon Territory was published in 1975. Her work on the three volumes of My Old people’s Stories: A Legacy for Yukon First Nations (2007, reprinted 2010) documents all of the stories she recorded and has become a Yukon classic. Part of the Land, Part of the Water: A History of Yukon Indians (1987) is used as a text book in Yukon schools. Catherine’s library was donated to the Yukon Archives so that her material was available to the Yukon people.


John Gould (d. 2012): John Gould’s knowledge of the goldfields and mining technology made the Klondike a living museum for all those who were lucky enough to hear him speak. John was a second generation miner in the Dawson goldfields and went on to become the mining technology curator at Klondike National Historic Sites. His Parks Canada legacy was a detailed inventory of the goldfields historic mine workings, artifacts and communities, many of them long gone. He was the local historian for the Dawson Yukon Order of Pioneers and a diligent researcher on their past membership. He was instrumental in persuading his childhood friend Pierre Burton to donate his Dawson home to a new Writers in Residence program. After he retired from Parks Canada, John started work at the Dawson City Museum. He was a researcher on a travelling exhibit about the gold rush in the 1990s and travelled with the exhibit to opening ceremonies across North America. He became a library researcher at the museum, helping those searching for their ancestors and often taking them to the ground those ancestors had worked. His patience, detailed work and sense of humour made him an extremely valued member of the team.  John was an active board member of the Klondyke Centennial Society and threw his full support behind the successful creation of the Ridge Road Heritage Trail, the installation of a bronze stature on the waterfront to honour the area miners, and interpreted trails at Bonanza Creek Discovery Claim. His collection of photographs, especially those of the Eagle Plains oil exploration in the 1950s, is a valuable resource for the community. A fellow historian described him as “the heart and soul of community history.” (Michael Gates, 2012) John’s Frozen Gold: A Treatise on Early Klondike Mining Technology, Methods and History was published in 2001. John and Madeleine Gould received the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 2000 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

Johnnie Johns (1898-1988): Johnnie Johns (Yêl Shàn) started a big-game guiding business in the Southern Lakes in 1917. In 1926 he was the first Yukon First Nation person to obtain his chief guide’s license. He became a famous personality and had a successful career for over 50 years. After he placed an ad in Outdoor Life magazine in 1918 he had wealthy Americans as clients and gained a reputation of conducting successful hunts with trophy-sized Dall Sheep, caribou and moose. He hired and trained many First Nation families in big-game hunting and guiding. He would never leave a camp without checking that proper respect was given to the land by leaving it just the way he found it. He guided U.S. Army surveyors along the route of the Alaska Highway east of Teslin in the 1940s, was involved in drawing up the Yukon’s hunting concession boundaries for big-game hunters in 1958 and was involved in the early land claims process. He was a great story-teller, singer and poet.  Johnnie Johns received many awards and accolades over his long career including the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 1987 and was a well-respected elder in his community and to his friends and clients across North America.

Julie Cruikshank: Julie Cruikshank started her long career of documenting the lives of northern women in 1979 by publishing Women: Lives and Legends and followed that book with The Stolen Woman: Female Journeys in Tagish and Tutchone Narrative (1983), her co-authored Life Lived Like a Story (1990), Reading Voices: Oral and Written Interpretations of the Yukon’s Past (1991) and The Social Life of Stories: Narrative and Knowledge in the Yukon Territory (1998). Her skillful and acclaimed work showcases the integrity, wisdom and gentle humour of the Yukon elders she worked with. She was awarded the Sir. John A. Macdonald Prize by the Canadian Historical Association for Life Lived like a Story in 1991 and the Robert F. Heizer Prize awarded by the American Society for Ethnohistory for her paper “Claiming Legitimacy: Prophecy Narratives from Northern Aboriginal Women” in 1995. Julie is a Professor Emerita at the University of British Columbia and a curator at the university’s Museum of Anthropology.


Stan and Mae Bendera: The Ben-Elle Hotel was built in 1965 by Stan and Mae Bandera who made a significant investment in the future of Whitehorse by creating a 22-room building on the Main Street.  The hotel was named “Ben” from Stan’s late father’s surname and “Elle” from his mother’s name, May-Ellen. The Ben-Elle became a Whitehorse landmark and a venue for many community events. In the 1980s Stan and Mae undertook an exterior restoration of the historic P. Burns Co. Building. This is one of the oldest buildings remaining in the downtown area. Pat Burns was an entrepreneur who capitalized on the Klondike Gold Rush by driving cattle to the Yukon. He used the Dalton Trail until the White Pass & Yukon Route rail line as completed in 1900 and then he set up a store on Main Street and a slaughter house by the shipyards. The Burns building is an important piece of the early Whitehorse streetscape.

Angela Sidney (1902-1991): Angela  Sidney was given two names at birth: Ch’óonehte’ Ma in the Tagish language of her father and Stóow in the Tlingit language of her mother. She spent much of her youth listening to her mother’s stories and later worked for her community, contributing to Tagish linguistics and ethnography and ensuring that her people’s traditions, language, dances and stories were passed on to the younger generations. She famously said “I have no money to leave my grandchildren. My stories are my wealth.” She taught the art of storytelling, emphasizing the need to listen to the audience and preface the telling with a prayer to allay any unintended offense. Angela named the Yukon College Whitehorse campus “Ayamdigut” meaning “she got up and went”. At the campus’ official opening in 1988 she sang a traditional Tlingit song associated with the story of Kaax’achgóok who had trouble reintegrating into his society because of the changes that had taken place in his absence. Angela was co-founder of the Yukon International Storytelling Festival and the co-author of Tagish Tlaagú: Tagish Stories (1982) and Life Lived Like a Story (1990). The Yukon Native Languages Projects published two more booklets by Angela, Place Names of the Tagish Region, Southern Yukon (1980) and Haa Shagóon: Our Family History (1983), and they applauded her efforts to save the Tagish language. Angela received the Order of Canada in 1984; the first Yukon First Nation woman honoured in this way.

Larry Barr & Fred Dorward: In the early 1980s, Larry Barr’s mining company, Territorial Gold Placers, commissioned artist Jim Robb to do a series of paintings of the old cabins and mining sites in the Yukon’s Black Hills. Black Hills Creek was named for a famous southern gold mining area in the 1880s when a syndicate of Scandinavian miners from Minnesota arrived to prospect in the Yukon. Claims were staked and expired over the years until the area was developed as a mining district in 1908. The miners didn’t get the police detachment they asked for but construction began on a diversion of the Overland Trail into the Black Hills and Scroggie Creek districts in 1912. The road moved north to connect with a road to the Mayo area silver mines in the 1920s and the Black Hills district was virtually abandoned until 1980 when the rising price of gold brought miners like Larry Barr back into the region.  In mid-September 1981 Fred Dorwood, vice-president of Territorial Gold, Jim Robb and Yukon photographer Richard Hartmier travelled by helicopter, truck and by foot to 124 sites on a dozen or so creeks. They saw roadhouses, cemeteries, clusters of buildings, old mines, water-carrying systems, solitary cabins, machinery and mined landscapes. There were almost 40 separate sites on Black Hills Creek where 65 people resided in 1923. Many were accessible for close-up study and a large number were photographed from the air. Territorial Gold Placers has ensured that these rustic places of enduring charm and historic value are preserved in Jim’s art. 


Dr. William Nathaniel Irving (1927-1987) (Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award): Bill Irving was an internationally-recognized arctic archaeologist and professor of anthropology. In 1965 Irving was an archaeologist with the National Museum of Man in Ottawa, conducting surveys and excavations in the Yukon and teaching at Carleton University. He then took a teaching position at the University of Toronto where he became the director of the multi-disciplinary Northern Yukon Research Program. He focused the last two decades of his career on looking for clues about when humans entered North America.  Irving was excavating a location near Old Crow in 1966 when he became interested in the Old Crow River and Bluefish cave sites. Irving’s first paper about the Yukon appeared in 1968 and it was followed by a steady flow of publications about Yukon Beringia as he spent 17 consecutive field seasons in the Old Crow region. He always involved Old Crow residents in his work and gave them full credit for their assistance, discoveries and insights.

Murray and Donna Swales: Murray and Donna Swales came to the Yukon in 1973 and operated many businesses over the years.  They most famously spent more than three decades serving travellers along the Alaska Highway at their Trails North motel/restaurant/convenience store/gas station.  It was a seven-day-a-week, 16-hours-a-day job and they operated with a staff of 15 people.

Council for Yukon Indians and YTG Department of Education: The Council for Yukon Indians (CYI) is now the Council for Yukon First Nations (CYFN). CYI was the negotiating body for Yukon First Nations in the land claim process and gradually widened their concern for the preservation of First Nation heritage.  In June 1986, the first 13 students graduated from Yukon College’s native language instructor course. YG Education and the CYFN staff are dedicated to extensive changes in the curriculum of Yukon schools and informing Yukon students about our important aboriginal history and culture.


Roy Minter (d. 1996): Roy Minter came to the Yukon in 1955 as a Canadian army captain with the Northwest Highway System. He left the service and joined the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) company as a publicist and special assistant to the president.  He was on the Board of Directors of the Dawson City Festival in 1960 and played a key role in encouraging the federal government to invest time and money in the project. He was a tireless booster of the Yukon and believed that Yukon history should be told accurately and defended. He formed the Klondike Defence Force in 1966 when Edmonton choose “Klondike Days” as the name for their annual festival. He was acclaimed for his TV and radio programs. His films “Brave New World” and “Take Four Giant Steps” won international awards. He produced a 1967 film called “It’s the land, Have You Seen It?” as a WP&YR contribution to Canada’s centennial.  His authoritative book The White Pass: Gateway to the Klondike (1987) was exhaustively researched.  He became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1991 for his dedication to promoting the Yukon and his contribution to heritage preservation and Yukon tourism through the recovery of archival material and the recoding of pioneer stories. Roy was a founding member of the Yukon Foundation and his estate donated $100,000 to the Roy Minter Fund to help historians research and publish their work.

Klondike Visitors Association:  The Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) is a non-profit organization that began as a small group of volunteers in the early 1950s. The Association is a long-time supporter and marketer of tourism in the Dawson area. The organization provides year-round tourist information services and runs Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Casino which for years was the only legalized gambling casino in Canada. Early profits from the games went to support the Dawson City Museum and Historical Society. KVA also offers unsupervised experiences at a free mining claim to visitors who want to try their hand at panning for gold in historic Bonanza Creek. KVA has provided seasonal employment to a great number of people in Dawson who came for the summer and stayed for life.

Father Pierre Veyrat OMI: Father Veyrat was a French Oblate priest who came to the Yukon as a young man. He was posted to the Ross River mission that he ran for 40 years. He had a love for the outdoors and liked to build boats so the area suited him well. Father Veyrat retired in 2007 at age 86 and moved to the Oblate retirement centre in Whitehorse. The Oblates have a calling to be of service to the poor and abandoned and to create a society where justice, peace, love, forgiveness and hope are common. They have a long history of service in the Yukon. Father Gascon was briefly in the Watson Lake area around 1861 and Father Seguin crossed into the northern Yukon a year later. The Jesuit’s Father Judge built the first Catholic Church in Dawson during the Klondike Gold Rush, Father C. Lefebve OMI arrived in Dawson in June 1898 and three other Oblates hiked over the Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike Stampede. Fathers Desmaris and Gendreau and brother Dumas travelled to Fort Selkirk in 1898 and built the second Yukon Catholic Church.


Annie Ned (d. 1995): Respected Champagne and Aishihik First Nations elder Annie Ned spent a lifetime maintaining and promoting the culture and language of her people. Her stories and active participation in cultural events linked past and present generations. She worked with the Annie Ned dancers and was co-author with Julie Cruikshank, Angela Sidney and Kitty Smith of Life Lived like a Story (1991). Annie Ned Creek was the first feature the Yukon Government named after the federal government transferred the responsibility for naming geographical features to the territory. She became a member of the Order of Canada in 1989.

Vic Tubman and Lake Laberge Lions Club: Vic Tubma and the Lake Laberge Lions Club Vic Tubman received recognition from the City of Whitehorse in 1994 when he received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Vic continues to serve as a Director on the Board of the Lake Laberge Lions Club (2014).


James M. Smith: In the mid-1960s Jimmy Smith was the efficient manager of the Whitehorse Tourist Services, a business complex that included a motel, restaurant, gas station, cocktail bar and grocery store. He was also President of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce and had served two years on Whitehorse city council and three on the territorial council. Smith was chosen by the federal government to be the Commissioner of the Yukon from 1966 to 1976 and was instrumental in creating Kluane National Park and Reserve and the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site of Canada. He was aware of the frustrations Yukoners felt being governed by faraway Ottawa but was assured that Ottawa and Yukon shared a goal of more autonomy for the Yukon. Smith devoted much of his life to the political evolution of the territory. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada (1976).

Annie and Joe Henry: Joe Henry was born in 1898 in the Blackstone River drainage. He married Annie Mitchell in 1921 in an arranged marriage and the couple lived the rest of their long lives together, raising 11 children and knowing more than 100 direct descendants. Joe and Annie had traditional skills and were well known for their strong and elegant snowshoes; Joe made the frame and Annie wove the babiche mesh. They also had all the modern skills and over his long life Joe held many jobs. He learned English as he worked on the sternwheelers running freight from St. Michael to Dawson. He ran the mail to Eagle, worked for the RCMP, guided the cat trains that traced out the first route of the Dempster Highway and piloted the Brain Storm up the Porcupine River to Old Crow. Joe built three cabins for his family, two on the Dempster where he trapped and one at Moosehide Village where he and Annie moved in the 1930s so their children could go to school. When the school moved to Dawson, do did the Henrys but they returned to their beloved Dempster country after the children were grown and stayed there until Joe was in his 80s. In 1978, Ye SaTo, a forerunner to Northern Native Broadcasting, produced their first film, a twenty minute documentary profiling Joe and Annie Henry.  In 1989, the Henrys worked with Louise Profeit-Leblanc to record First Nation history along the Dempster Highway. Joe and Annie have always shared their lives and their knowledge with family and friends and the Yukon has greatly benefited from their generosity.

Carcross Tagish Dancers: The Carcross Tagish Dancers group was co-founded by Carcross/Tagish elder Angela Sidney and Clara Schinkel in 1973. The women used dance as a vehicle for the preservation of first nation culture. They taught traditional songs and exposed the dance group to their culture’s history, stories and language. The Carcross Tagish Dancers started with just a handful of children but now includes more than 40 dancers ranging in age from babies to elders. Family members in the dance group span four generations. There were many challenges but the creation of the group changed attitudes and fostered community pride.


Dr. Ken S. Coates: Ken Coates was raised in Whitehorse, has worked at universities across Canada and in New Zealand and was the founding vice-president of the University of Northern British Columbia. His co-authored Arctic Front won the Donner prize in 2009 and he was recognized by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering for his work on the Alaska Highway construction era. Ken is often called to speak in the Yukon or comment on historical and modern issues that arise and he is always generous with his time and knowledge. He has assisted in land claims research and with documentaries produced by Northern Native Broadcasting. His research is focussed on Aboriginal rights, science and technology policy and northern development. He has written extensively on aboriginal history including Best Left as Indians: Native-White Relations in the Yukon Territory, 1840-1973 (1991) and A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival (2004).

Mayo Historical Society: The Mayo Historical Society was inaugurated in 1981 when eleven people came together to discuss the declining state of some historic dwellings in Mayo. Restoration of the buildings was beyond the budget of the group but they starting writing family stories to keep Mayo’s heritage alive. A few stories turned into a history of Mayo and the development of the region from 1850 to 1960 and took eight years of research; soliciting stories and photographs from families and scouring archival records. Linda MacDonald, the Society’s first Secretary, did most of the writing and associated research. Lyn Bleiler acquired the photographs and transferred typed material to computer text. Gold & Galena: a History of the Mayo District was published in 1990. It is highly valued by those reading about their friends and relatives and by historians wanting to study the development of this important northern region.

Nora Garside (1910-1993): Nora Garside was born in England and retired to Whitehorse in 1965 after she and her husband worked at the Choutla Indian Residential School for more than 10 years. Nora was a founding member of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and the Anglican Church Heritage Society, and helped establish the Old Log Church Museum with Flo Whyard. She was a member of the International Order of the Daughters of the Empire and the Yukon Order of Pioneers Auxiliary and her work with the Girl Guides won her a Medal of Merit and a honorary life membership in 1980. Nora had a deep interest in Yukon history and her collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, articles and newsletters is held at the Yukon Archives.


Al Oster: Al Oster took a trip north on a whim in 1957. He was so impressed by the Alaska Highway that he wrote a song about it and persuaded his family to move to Whitehorse.  He wrote “Midnight Sun Rock” and recorded it on his first album Yukon Gold with ten other compositions about Yukon folklore. That version of “Midnight Sun Rock” was inducted into the Nashville Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2002. The Al Oster Show, a half hour weekly television program, ran for two years on the local WHTV cable service and Al also worked five evenings a week at WHTV as their first announcer/operator. In 1961 CBC offered him a 15-minute radio show called “Northland Echoes” and it aired for three years. After the release of his first album he was invited to tour northern Alberta on the Yukon Gold Show.  Al sold over 2,000 Yukon Gold albums on the 3.5 month tour and wrote most of his famous “Paddlewheeler” song while driving between bookings.  On the way home the band did a show at every Alaska Highway maintenance camp. In the mid-1960s, Al was a headliner on the first pan-north radio show out of Whitehorse called “Northern Jamboree” hosted by Les McLaughlin and the album Echo of the Yukon was released in 1966. In 1967, Al performed with Hand Karr and his group at the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. The CBC recorded an LP there featuring Hank and Al called The Yukon Stars. In 1968, his ballad “Irena Cheyenne” earned the first songwriter award ever presented in Canada by BMI. Al’s classic “My Book of Yukon Memories” was written from the heart and reached number 30 on the Billboard Charts. Al was invited into the Order of Canada in 2000 for his role in recording Yukon stories in a musical format and received the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 2006.

Dick North: Dick North has been a talented interpreter of northern history and he started out in 1936 when he was a reporter with the Alaska Empire in Juneau. He was commissioned by White Pass & Yukon Route to locate Jack London’s cabin and as a result of that successful search with Joe and Victor Henry the cabin was moved from Henderson Creek. Half of the cabin went to Seattle and half remained in Dawson to commemorate Jack London’s life in the north. The cabin became the Jack London Interpretive Centre under the aegis of the Klondike Visitor’s Association and Dick was the knowledgeable interpreter in residence. London’s cabin was a welcome addition to Dawson’s “Writer’s Block” which includes the home of a young Pierre Burton and Robert Service’s cabin. Dick has written four books about Yukon history:  The Mad Trapper of Rat River (1972)The Lost Patrol (1978), Trackdown: the search for the mad trapper (1989) and Arctic Exodus: the last great trail drive (1991). Dick won the Commissioner’s Public Volunteer Service Award in 2003 and “Dick North Street” joined the other writers honoured by Dawson in 2004.


Sam Holloway: Before he became a working electrician, Sam Holloway was the writer, publisher and editor of the The Yukoner Magazine. Sam’s company description was “Welcome to the history of the Yukon, as told by the people who have lived it”. Sam has also published booklets including The Bushman: A Saga of the Yukon (1992), Collected Stories Volume 1 (1998) and To Seek for Eldorado: How to Hunt for Gold in the Yukon (200). Many of these stories first appeared in serialized versions in the Yukon News, Whitehorse Star and The Yukoner Magazine. Sam’s stories and his magazine showcased the lives of ordinary and extraordinary northerners and is an amazing tribute to the Yukon spirit and lifestyle.

Edith Josie: Edith Josie’s parents were from Fort McPherson and moved to Eagle in the days when no one travelling on the land noticed the Alaska/Yukon border. Edith and her four brothers were born in Eagle and the family moved to Old Crow in the early 1940s when Edith was 19. She remembers the community as extremely remote and isolated. In 1962 Edith started writing for the Whitehorse Star and her “Here are the News” column was so popular that it ran for 30 years and newspapers in Edmonton and Toronto picked it up. Her articles have been translated into German, Italian, Spanish and Finnish and published in a book with the same name as her column. Edith documented the changes occurring in the north during her lifetime and helped to keep the history and culture of her people alive for future generations. She received the Canadian Centennial Award in 1967, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Edith was named a Member of the Order of Canada  in 1995 for her contributions to her community and the nation.


Violet Storer and May Hume: Violet Storer (d. 2007) was born somewhere along the Teslin River to parents Jenny and Bill Laberge. She was raised as a Tagish Kwan hunter and gatherer with traditional values and was fluent in Tagish, Tlingit, Southern Tutchone, Northern Tutchone and English. She participated in life-long learning and contributed to many cultural research projects on languages, land use, travel and cultural traditions. In 1993 Violet was involved in the Kwanlin Dun First Nation History Project and she and Ray Marnoch and Diane Smith interviewed six elders including May Hume. Violet translated the recordings which were in Southern Tutchone. The tapes and transcripts of these valuable studies are held by the Yukon Archives for reference and research purposes. The fonds include photographs of Violet Storer and May Hume.

Bonar Cooley: Bonar Cooley was a founding member of the Teslin Historical and Museum Society (THMS) in 1972. The founding pieces of the George Johnston Museum collection were donated by Bonar and a group of five others. First Nation and non-First Nation, especially the elders, gave generously and the museum opened its doors in July 1975. Bonar has been active at every level in museum activities for nearly 40 years and was president of the THMS for nearly three decades. Bonar and his wife Bessie have been very active in their community, collecting and preserving artifacts illustrative of Teslin and Inland Tlingit heritage. They researched and recorded the genealogical history of the Tlingit and produced a monumental genealogy chart that is referenced by Yukon’s first nation people and the Tlingit and Haida of Southeast Alaska. The THMS thanked both Bonar and Bessie for their many contributions to the museum and the preservation of community heritage with a Lifetime Achievement Award  in 2009.


City of Whitehorse: In 1982-83 the City of Whitehorse worked with the Yukon Historical and Museums Association on heritage developments. The city purchased three lots on Third Avenue with the help of Rolf Hougen and the area became LePage Park, named for the last family to live in one of the historic houses on the lots. The park has become an important summer venue for the Arts in the Park program. The 1994 City of Whitehorse Official Community Plan proclaimed the city`s intent to foster and promote positive communications with the Kwanlin Dun and Ta`an Kwach`an to achieve a satisfactory resolution to land claims within the City. This was an acknowledgement that future development would benefit from the City and the First Nations working together to enhance the lives of all residents. The Plan declared the Downtown as an essential and unique component of the Whitehorse urban environment and declared that the historic character would be recognized and protected. It also committed to protect the essential character of ‘Old Town` as the city`s oldest existing neighbourhood. Whitehorse identified the waterfront along the Yukon River as an important scenic and historic area of the city. The Whitehorse heritage program was created after the Yukon Government proclaimed the Yukon Historic Resources Act in 1996. The City was the first Yukon municipality to adopt a heritage bylaw in 1997.

Joanne Meehan: MacBride Museum opened its doors in 1952 as Yukon’s first museum. Joanne Meehan was the Director of MacBride Museum for many years. Her commitment to interpreting Yukon`s history was matched by her personal and professional connections with long-time Whitehorse residents and like-minded organizations in the community.  Her dedication and work ethic shone through all of the projects that MacBride Museum took on under her direction.

Laurent Cyr: Laurent Cyr was born in Whitehorse and held a variety of uniquely Yukon jobs over the years. In 1933 he started three summer seasons of work on the sternwheelers WhitehorseTutshi and Aksala. He was working for Taylor and Drury when the company’s trader in Champagne had to leave his post so Laurent took over for the year in 1937-38 and learned the skills of a fur trader. In the 1940s he and a friend built a dredge in Whitehorse and floated it down the Yukon River where it can still be seem by today’s river travellers. The friends recovered 72 ounces of fine gold from the bars but never returned after the first year.  In the 1940s he worked hard at a Yukon River wood camp only to have his whole stockpile of wood disappear in a spring flood. He worked for White Pass & Yukon Route three times in three different positions and quit them all due to chaos on the job and low financial return. He was employed at the Post Office in 1942 and received a quick promotion to post master after his supervisor had a stroke. That was the first year the U.S. Army was in town and the military soon established their own post office to Laurent’s relief.  Laurent was a founding member of MacBride Museum and the official historian of the Yukon Order of Pioneers in Whitehorse. The stories of his experiences are Yukon heritage treasures.


Cal Waddington: When the Royal Corps of Signals closed their Dawson office in 1959 the Corp members started a community radio. CBC took over the station in 1958 and Cal Waddington was the first announcer, assisted by Terry Delany. Cal worked as a dedicated radio announcer for CBC Radio for 15 years and ended that portion of his career as a producer at the Whitehorse station. He and his wife Norma bought her father`s Dezadeash Lodge on the Haines Highway in 1967 and operated it until 1971 when Cal decided to try making documentaries and working as a photographer. He returned to CBC and started a business called AVAction. Cal`s calm, bass voice is easily identifiable to those familiar with the many projects and productions he was involved with. His interviews with famous elders like Jimmy Kane are a treasure trove to modern researchers.

Les McLaughlin (d. 2011) (Lifetime Achievement Award):  Les McLaughlin started his long broadcasting career as a youth volunteering at the military radio station CFWH in the late 1950s. Later he worked for CBC radio and recorded over 200 hours of interviews now housed at the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre in Yellowknife and at the Yukon Archives. He founded the True North Concert series and produced hour-long recordings including “Colourful Characters of the Klondike”, “North to Alaska on the Trail of ’42”, “The Northwest Mounted Police in the Klondike”, and “The Robert Service Story”.  He was well-known as the CKRW author and host of “Yukon Nuggets”, a series of shorts about the most interesting Yukon people and places. Les made it his life’s work to record and interpret the history of Canada’s northwest. Les won the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 2005. After his death, friends established a Yukon Foundation fund to assist students who wish to pursue a career in journalism or history.

Majorie E. Almstrom: Marjorie Almstrom received her B.A. and a B.Ed. from the University of British Columbia and was a teacher in Port Moody and Chilliwack before she and husband Ed moved to Whitehorse in 1948. Marjorie returned to teaching after Ed died in 1960. She received her M.A. from UBC in 1968 and retired from teaching in 1982. Marjorie was involved with the Yukon Teachers Association and her love of education and appreciation of the Canadian educational system led her to publish A Century of Schooling: Education in the Yukon 1861-1961 in 1991 and “We’ve come a long way” in 1980.  Marjorie belonged to the Whitehorse Anglican Church Women and wrote an article about Reverent V. C. Sim and the donation of his records to the Yukon Archives and this can be found in the Rev. V.C. Sim fonds.

Denise Lafontaine and Christ the King Secondary School: The future preservation of our heritage rests in the hands of our youth. We congratulate Denise Lafontaine and her class on their project to research the value of our built heritage.


Florence Whyard (1917-2012): Flo Whyard moved to Whitehorse in 1954 and wrote for the Whitehorse Star becoming its first and only female editor. At that time the Star was the source of northern news for the Canadian Press. She was the Canadian editor of Alaska Magazine from the mid-1960s to 1970 and of the Milepost Travel Guide from 1970 to 1974. She was the elected MLA for Whitehorse West from 1974 to 1978 and was elected Mayor of Whitehorse in 1981 for a three-year term. Flo was a founding member of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association, the Old Log Church Heritage Society and the Yukon Transportation Museum Society. She led a campaign to save the historic Old Log Church building when some thought it was only good for firewood. She was a member of the Yukon Heritage Resources Board and the Geographical Place Names Board. Flo received a Honourary Doctorate from the University of Western Ontario in 1979, a Honourary Diploma of Northern Studies from Yukon College in 1999 and the Yukon’s legislative press gallery is named for her. Flo received the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 2001, is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and she is a Member of the Order of Canada (1984). She wrote more than a dozen books on northern subjects including Martha Black: her Story from the Dawson Gold Fields to the Halls of Parliament (1998). Martha Black was Flo’s favourite northern character.

Father Henk Huijbers OMI: Father Huijbers was born and raised in Holland. He took his religious vows in 1937 and then studied philosophy in Belgium. During the Second World War he drove a Red Cross ambulance and became a chaplain in the Dutch Resistance and the White Brigade where he helped hundreds of soldiers, airmen and civilians. After the war he was chaplain for the Dutch troops attached to the American Army in Germany. He came to Mayo in 1948 to assist Bishop Jean-Louis Coudert for one year and remained in the Mayo-Elsa area for the rest of his career. He built St. Henry’s church in Elsa and another church in Calumet. Father Huijbers was presented with the Silver Resistance Remembrance Cross for his work during the war by the Dutch Consul General in 1982, was awarded the Queen’s Meritorious Service Decoration and received the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 1986.


Gordon and Howard Ryder (Annual Award): George and Edith Ryder had five children including Gordon and Howard. The Ryder family owned the majority of wood camps in the Whitehorse area until 1965 and Gordon and Howard joined the business in the mid-1950s. In 1960 Edith Ryder and Gordon started construction of the Stratford Motel and they ran it until it was sold in 1991. Gordon started his current business, Builders Supplyland, in the mid-1960s. In 1997 the owner of the historic Mast House wanted it removed from his lot on Elliot Street and he had permission from the City of Whitehorse to demolish it. Gordon and Howard stepped in and moved the building to a new location on Wood Street. They planned to use the house to serve the community but renovations were never completed. The Mast House was built in 1901-02 and was originally owned by Dr. F. J. Nicholsen, the superintendent of Whitehorse’s first hospital. Several other doctors owned the house before the Mast family purchased it in 1961. The Mast House failed to make a City of Whitehorse list of heritage buildings during the city’s heritage inventory review and so there were no municipal restrictions against destroying the heritage structure. The Mast House was demolished in February 2008.

The Frantic Follies (Lifetime Achievement Award): The Frantic Follies Company produced its first professional show in 1970 in an elementary school gym. The audience was slim but it grew and mid-season the show moved to the Ballroom at the Whitehorse Inn. In 1973 they moved to their permanent home in the Whitehorse Travelodge and by 1975 they were putting on two shows a night. The show toured across Canada in 1975 and 1977 including two trips to Alert in Canada’s arctic. From 1976 to 1980 the Follies produced entertainment at Whitehorse and for Dawson’s Palace Grand Theatre and Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Casino. Jim Murdoch, Whitehorse humorist, writer, entertainer and founder of the Frantic Follies drowned in Atlin Lake in August 1980. The company retired from Dawson in 1980 and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida for a four-month run in January 1981 before returning to Whitehorse. In 1990 they went on a two-week tour to ten Canadian and American cities.  The Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service was awarded to Lyall and Marilyn Murdoch in 1984 for their work with the Frantic Follies. The Yukon Historical and Museums Association honoured the company for their long-standing contribution to the awareness and interpretation of Yukon history.


Percy Henry (Lifetime Achievement Award): Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in elder Percy Henry has made many contributions to Yukon heritage preservation and promotion. He is one of the last fluent speakers of Hän and Tukudh Gwich’in and acts tirelessly as a resource for many language programs. Percy was chief of the Dawson Indian Band from 1969 to 1984 and was active in the land claim process from 1969 until the signing of the Umbrella Final Agreement.  He sits on the Geographical Place Names Board, on the Elder Council of the Assembly of First Nations, on the Heritage Steering Committee for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Tr’o Ju Wech’in (site at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon rivers) and is the chair of the Executive Elder’s Council for the Council of Yukon First Nations. Percy continues to pass on the traditional knowledge he learned from his parents Joe and Annie Henry and is a powerful role model for his community and the Yukon. Percy won the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 2002.


Ed and Star Jones (Annual Heritage Award): Ed and Star Jones donated their research collection to the Dawson City Museum in 1998. It included over 150 books, hundreds of postcards, rare newspapers, over 200 photographs and 300 slides, brochures and menus and a cheque signed by Robert W. Service. The collection serves as the basis for the newly-established Klondike History Library in memory of Alan Innes-Taylor. This generous donation to the museum, and the community, is a valuable resource for all researchers of Yukon history and heritage.

The Whitehorse Star (Lifetime Achievement Award): The Whitehorse Star has published continuously since 1900. Past issues are available on microfilm at the Yukon Archives and this collection of material is a unique source of information for researchers. In July, August and October 2000, the Whitehorse Star published a three-volume Centennial edition containing reproductions from the original newspapers, new articles and many photographs. The centennial edition provides an excellent overview of the stories that made the headlines through a hundred years of Yukon history. Neither the micro-film nor the Centennial editions made money for the newspaper and the Centennial edition was, at best, a breakeven endeavour as many hours of overtime went into the production. The Whitehorse Star has made a valuable contribution to preserving and interpreting Yukon history, not just this year but through its publishing history.


Dr. Brent Slobodin (Annual Heritage Award): Brent Slobodin taught at Yukon College for 14 years, developing and then delivering the College’s first courses in Yukon and Northern History. He was the longest serving president of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association (YHMA) from 1991-1998 and again from 2000 to 2002. During those years Brent worked hard on advocacy issues regarding Yukon heritage. He lobbied Whitehorse for a Heritage Bylaw and spoke for the preservation of other historic Whitehorse structures as YHMA’s representative on the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee. He lobbied for territorial heritage legislation and encouraged the Yukon government to save the Taylor House, a significant heritage house.  He was Yukon’s representative on the Heritage Canada Foundation board from 1992 to 1998 and served one year as vice president before retiring. Being a strong Yukon booster, Brent persuaded the entire Board of Governors to visit twice, once to Whitehorse and again to Dawson. He was instrumental in bringing the Heritage Fair to the Yukon and is proud that that event has gotten better every year. YHMA is stronger and better as well for Brent’s years of dedication and hard work.

Joyce Sandra Hayden (Lifetime Achievement Award): Joyce Hayden believes that one person can make a difference in our community and in our world. Joyce’s passion for Yukon history began in 1953 when she first arrived and fell in love with our magnificent landscape, a history that goes back thousands of years and the larger-than-life stories of the region.  Joyce is fascinated with the ways that Yukon motivates and shapes its people and she is an author and publisher of Yukon history books.  Seventy-Five Summers (1988) is a chronological and pictorial history of Yukon Girl Guides from 1914 to the mid-1980s. Yukon’s Women of Power: Political Pioneers in a Northern Canadian Colony (1999) is a collection of political biographies. Victoria Falkner, Lady of the Golden North (2002) is about a powerful woman who worked in the office of the Yukon Commissioner for 44 years from 1918 to 1962. She has received many awards for volunteerism, including the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 1999 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and was inducted into the Yukon Transportation Hall of Fame in 1999 for initiating the Yukon Women’s Mini-Bus Society that brought public transit to Whitehorse.

Dr. C. Richard Harrington (Lifetime Achievement): Richard Harrington had a distinguished career of more than 35 years as a vertebrate paleontologist with the Canadian Museum of Nature. He has collected extensive remains of Ice Age vertebrates from unglaciated Yukon near Dawson and Old Crow. The Dawson placer miners always looked forward to his visits and kept their recovered ice age mammal bones for him to identify. While in the Yukon he visited museums at Burwash Landing, Whitehorse and Dawson and spent his own time organizing, classifying and identifying fossils in the museums’ collections. Dr. Harrington was generous in helping the Yukon government start a new paleontology program and in return he was presented with a Beringia Research Award in 1998. He has made valuable contributions to paleontology in the Yukon and is responsible for the worldwide fame of mammal fossils from the Klondike and Old Crow. 


Paul Thistle (Annual Heritage award):  Paul Thistle started in his position as Executive Director/Curator of the Dawson City Museum in 1999. During his tenure in the Yukon Paul was a champion of small museums, speaking about their contributions to their communities and their financial plights. His comments during the development of a Museums Strategy were insightful and he was always ready to participate in projects concerning the preservation, promotion and protection of Yukon’s heritage. Paul has worked very hard over the last year on behalf of YHMA as the board secretary and chair of both the Training Committee and the Museum Committee. Paul left the Yukon in 2002 to accept a position with the Logan Museum of Anthropology in Wisconsin.

Linda Johnson (Lifetime Achievement Award):  Linda Johnson has made the Yukon her home since 1974. She served as the Yukon Archivist for 20 years and was later the College Archivist at Yukon College. She was a founding member of the Association of Canadian Archivists, sat on the first Yukon Geographical Place Names Board, has been a long-time member of the Yukon Council of Archives and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Linda was instrumental in founding the Yukon Historical and Museums Association in 1977 and was president for many years. She lobbied the Yukon government for heritage legislation and the City of Whitehorse for the purchase of LePage Park.  She produced the first Whitehorse Heritage Walking Tour booklet and started the YHMA walking tours of Whitehorse. She has been involved in organizing many important YHMA heritage conferences including “Kwaday Kwadan” (an oral history conference), the “Sa Gwitsi Di Du Gu Ta” conference which brought the original Kohklux and Kandik maps to the Yukon, the Borderlands conference, the Rupertsland conference and “Governing Under the Midnight Sun”.  Her books include With the people who Live Here: The history of the Yukon Legislature, 1909-1961 (2009), The Kandik Map (2009) and she was a writer and editor on the Whitehorse History Book (2013) project. “Archival Explorer: Linda Johnson’s Yukon Adventures” (YCA Newsletter, June 2002. Volume 8, Number 1, pages 4-6.)

Helen Couch (Volunteer of the year Award): Helen Couch was a pioneer of the Yukon and a tireless volunteer for heritage organizations. She was a trustee on the board of MacBride Museum from 1988 to 2001, attended most if not all of the events and supplied home baking for most of them. Helen was also on the Board of Director of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association (YHMA) from 1991 to 1992 and from 2003 through 2008. She was instrumental in providing a venue for an annual YHMA fundraising event that allowed the newly formed association to become financially stable. She worked hard for many years on behalf of the association, recruiting board members, doing the elections at the annual general meetings, assisting at fund-raising events, making baked goods for the meetings and doing whatever was required. The Yukon heritage community is grateful to Helen for her long and distinguished service as a volunteer. In 2004 YHMA’s volunteer award was renamed the Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award.


Marc Johnston (Annual Heritage Award): Marc Johnston has a special place in his heart for boats and his restoration and rehabilitation of the historic Yukon Rose has been an enormous labour of love. The Yukon Rose was brought into the Yukon by Charlie Taylor in 1929 to replace Taylor and Drury’s Thistle which sank the year before in Lake Laberge.  “The Rose” travelled the territory’s lakes and river for fifty years. It served in the waters around Carcross, took goods up the Pelly River to Ross River and carried freight and passengers up the Stewart River to Mayo. Ownership changed to the British Yukon Navigation Company and Rudy Burian before it was retired behind Stewart Island. It was purchased by a Dawson City consortium and sat dry-docked in town for many years before Marc saw it in 1988 and purchased it in 2000. He looked across North America for parts, finding an engine in Florida and replacing all 160 ribs with white oak from Missouri. The ribs were shaped in a steam box built by Marc and installed by a crew that included local carpenter Andrew Robinson who just happened to have shipwright training in Nova Scotia. Marc has big plans for his Yukon Rose and the heritage community welcomes the return of this historic boat to Yukon waters.

Sarah Gaunt (d. 2003) (Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award): Sarah Gaunt’s award was presented to her adoptive mother, Wolf Clan elder Marge Jackson of Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN). Sarah went to the arctic as a member of an archaeological field project and remained on Quiqiqtqrjak (Broughton Island) in the eastern arctic for most of the 1970s. After moving to Whitehorse in the 1980s she worked for the Council for Yukon Indians (now Council of Yukon First Nations) assisting them with land claims’ research and travelling frequently between Whitehorse and Ottawa. She worked as a researcher and land claim, heritage and protected areas advisor and a land-use planner for CAFN from 1988 to 2003. Her accomplishments include making co-management a fundamental operating principle in Yukon land claim agreements. She established the CAFN heritage office and the Tatshenshini-Alsek Foundation where she was instrumental in getting the Yukon portion of the Tatshenshini River recognized for its spectacular landscape, its recreational opportunities and its important human history. Sarah photographed all aspects of community life and left a rich heritage of current images. She was widely influential through her professional network and friendship circles. Link to a testimonial in

Melanie Needham (Volunteer of the Year Award): Melanie Needham has worked on many projects for Yukon museums starting in the late 1980s. She has skills in registration and cataloguing of artifacts, exhibit preparation and conservation. When she is not working for a wage, she is volunteering. Over the years she has stepped up many times during emergencies and whenever needed with a cheerful smile and a “can do” attitude. The Dawson City Museum, MacBride Museum, Old Log Church and the Keno Mining Museum have all benefited from her significant contributions to their operations. She is rumoured to have received the informal Rosebud award in Keno, given to those who “become so consumed with heritage that they lose sight of everything and have nothing else to talk about except work.” (“Association salutes volunteer’s efforts”, Whitehorse Star, February 20, 2004.)She has worked and volunteered at YHMA, produced the YHMA newsletter, sat on the Board of Directors, been a long-time member of the Heritage Training Fund Committee and worked as YHMA’s Executive Director during a time of high stress. We all benefit greatly by having Melanie as an enthusiastic member of Yukon’s heritage community.


Chris Sorg (Annual Heritage Award): Chris Sorg was first involved in Yukon heritage when he was asked to join the board of the Dawson City Museum in the late 1980s. He brought his significant business acumen to the position and helped the museum at a time of financial difficulties. He went on to become chair of the Dawson City Museum and Historical Society and was soon highly involved in a successful community effort to revive the Victory Garden on a corner property next to the museum. Chris’s passion for Yukon heritage survived his move to Whitehorse and he is a member of Main Street Yukon, a group of downtown business owners dedicated to preserving and recreating historic Whitehorse. The neon sign on Murdock’s Jewellery store is evidence of Chris’ strength of purpose and Mac’s Fireweed’s colourful appearance is evidence of Main Street Yukon’s work with the City of Whitehorse to implement a historic façade program.

Clara Schinkel (d. 2006) (Lifetime Achievement Award): Clara Schinkel (Satlenduų/Dèsādlì) has worked in the fields of education and cultural awareness on behalf of Yukon’s First Nations since the late 1960s. From 1983 to 1995 she was the First Nations Researcher for Curriculum Development of First Nation History.  She was a negotiator during the land claims process and helped to identity traditional territories and the heritage trails on Montana Mountain. A well-respected elder of the Carcross/Tagish First Nations, Clara had an intimate knowledge of the Tagish people and their historic merger with the Tlingit and provided good leadership and guidance in the Elder’s Council. She was an expert on the past but could see that setting historic wrongs aside would work to create better cross-cultural relationships for the future, saying “the people all have to work together.”  In 1981 Clara was a key organizer of the Kwada Kwadan conference which saw 200 people register for the three-day First Nation-focussed event and Yukon children viewing First Nation artifacts displayed in the territory’s schools and museums. Clara was on the Board of Directors of YHMA for several years and was the chair for three years. She was the first aboriginal person and the first northerner to be appointed as a governor of the Heritage Canada Foundation, served on the Board of Governors of Yukon College and was an elder advisor to the College’s Yukon Native Teacher Education Program. She was appointed to the Yukon Heritage Resources Board in 1998, became vice-chair in 1998 and chair from 2001 to 2004. Clara loved to dance and she might have considered her greatest accomplishment the creation of the Tagish Nation Dancers who grew to be so accomplished that they were able to tour across Canada, through Alaska and into Mexico and Japan.

Jennie Howie (d. 2005) (Lifetime Achievement Award): Jennie Howie conceived of the Yukon Transportation Hall of Fame and founded it in 1996. She brought the Yukon Transportation Museum, the Yukon Transportation Association and the Yukon Government together to honour the men and women who worked in the face of endless hardship to maintain Yukon’s widespread transportation network. The Yukon Transportation Hall of Fame annually recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Yukon transportation industry. Jennie has been president of the Yukon Transportation Museum for the last five years of her life and was on the Board of Directors before that. She worked wholeheartedly to support and assist the growth and development of the society and had an ability to understand differing points of view and support those in the museum’s best interests. She was the first to sign up for whatever project was underway and made it fun for everyone.  

Carroll Cawley (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): It runs in the family. Carroll Cawley (d. 2006) won this award newly renamed named for her mother, Helen Couch, both being recognized for their volunteer efforts in the preservation and promotion of Yukon’s heritage. Carroll was first elected to the board of the Yukon Church Heritage Society in 1987 and served as Treasurer until 2003. She kept the society in excellent financial shape, doing all the required reports and accounting before a staff position was established. She volunteered at numerous fundraising events for the Yukon Church Heritage Society (Old Log Church) and YHMA and graciously provided her time, knowledge and skills in the preservation of Yukon heritage.


Bette Colyer (d. 2006) (Posthumous Heritage Award): The Yukon government hired Bette Colyer in 1961 as the first Regional Librarian and she established Yukon’s public library system. She travelled to the communities to encourage local people to become volunteer community librarians and started a book mobile. When the Whitehorse library was built in 1966, she established the Martha Louise Black Reading Room with a collection of rare northern books. Her plans led to the development of the Yukon Archives in 1971. After retirement, Bette remained a supporter of libraries and a lively storyteller.

Marjorie Copp (Lifetime Achievement Award): Marjorie Copp was the Executive Director of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association (YHMA) for approximately 14 years over three decades. She has been YHMA’s backbone, working with many different Boards and serving each of them well. She is recognized for her hard work and dedication to the heritage cause and is well respected for her ability to work with people from all backgrounds. Marjorie’s extensive contacts across the territory helped YHMA reach out to supporters of Yukon’s heritage. Marjorie has also been on the boards of the Old Log Church and the Yukon Transportation Museum. She has been a strong supporter of better employee wages and benefits and has volunteered for almost every function on behalf of the museums.  

Dawson City Planning Board (Volunteer of the year Award): There have been many members of the Planning Board over the years and sitting on the 2005 Board is Kathy Webster, Kenneth Smith, Shirley Pennell, Paula Hassard, Stephan Johnson and Rob Watt. The Planning Board is appointed by the City of Dawson and acts as an advisory group to the City. They make recommendations on zoning and also review any project in the historic control zone (downtown) to ensure it is compatible with the historic guidelines.  The Board does not hesitate to enter into public and controversial discussions such as the recent ones surrounding construction of a downtown bridge over the Yukon River. All of the Planning Board members live in the community and do their sometimes thankless volunteer work out of concern for preserving the historic integrity of Dawson’s character and colour.

Father Tim Coonan (Conservation Project of the Year Award): Father Tim Coonan was the pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Dawson during the renovation of the church and, in the summer of 2005, a small workshop just behind the church. This is the first year for this award that acknowledges the rehabilitation of a historic property best reflecting the practices outlined in the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The workshop project was completed this year and it was made easier by the care and concern that Father Tim exhibited throughout the lengthy and extensive rehabilitation of the historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church buildings in Dawson.


Lynn Bleiler (Lifetime Achievement Award): Lynn Bleiler was a founding member of the Mayo Historical Society and served as president for most of the last 20 years. She was instrumental in developing the Binet House as an Interpretive Centre and helping to complete its history display. Lynn was a major author of the book Gold & Galena (1990) and collected photographs for the book by touring southern Canada and northwestern United States during the 1980s to re-photograph private collections. In 2003 she joined forces with geographer Chris Burn and biologist Mark O’Donaghue to produce Heart of the Yukon (2006). She has been on the Vancouver Yukoners Association Board of Directors and continues to collect photographs and the recollections of those who lived in the Mayo district. Her willingness to share the wealth of her information with other researchers has made her a valuable asset to the historic information community across North America.  Lyn is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).

Linda Thistle (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Linda Thistle was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Yukon Church Heritage Society/Old Log Church Museum and has held the position of president for the last 14 years – the longest-serving president since its reception. Linda took responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the Old Log Church Museum and was instrumental in the completion of a number of projects. Linda worked with the Diocese of Yukon Women’s Auxiliary to raise funds for the museum and to co-publish books relating to the history of the Anglican Church in the Yukon. Under her leadership and personal commitment, the Yukon Church Heritage Society /Old Log Church Museum has evolved into a strong, vibrant, professional organization. Linda also served on the Board of Directors of YHMA during the 1990s and took an active role in many of its subcommittees.

Frostbite Music Festival (Conservation Project of the Year Award): The Frostbite Music Festival undertook the preservation and restoration of the historic Chambers House which now sits in the Whitehorse Shipyards park area. The steps they took in this process reflect nationally accepted practices outlined in the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. They encountered many logistical and bureaucratic challenges along the way, including a full environmental assessment, but the volunteers’ enthusiasm for the project was unflagging.  The long list of chores included gutting the non-historic parts of the interior, removing non-historic siding, reinforcing the structure, replacing the log chinking and preparing a foundation at Shipyards Park. The Frostbite Society was the first community organization to move into Shipyards Park, a significant milestone in the development of the area.

Historic Sites Unit, Government of Yukon (Special 30th Anniversary Award of Appreciation): The Yukon Historic Sites Unit has contributed enormously to the preservation and understanding of Yukon’s Heritage. Past and present members of the Unit have contributed unstintingly of their time and energy, volunteering with other members of the heritage community on numerous projects and works; repairing buildings, painting, planning, organizing and presenting at conferences and symposia. They generously assist children with research projects, judge at heritage fairs and wholeheartedly support colleagues in the heritage sector. The Unit consistently goes beyond the call of duty when assisting the public with heritage issues and concerns.  


Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Heritage Committee (Annual Heritage Award): The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Heritage Committee is comprised of Jane Montgomery, Robert Bruce, Marion Schafer and Mary Jane Moses plus advisors Megan Williams (Heritage Manager, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation) and Shirleen Smith (Anthropologist and Vuntut Gwitchin Research Coordinator). The information they gather is a blueprint for future generations and a great tool for connecting young people of today and tomorrow with their past. The collected information has been developed into interpretive material including a book, documentaries, the Online Atlas and educational materials for the school. Projects include the Vuntut Gwich’in Oral history Project (1999-2003), Vuntut Gwich’in Cultural Geography Project (2004-2007) and the Van Tat Gwich’in Cultural Technology Project (2007-2011). Jane Montgomery has produced curriculum materials, translated text for interpretation, interpreted for elders and transcribed in Gwich’in. She teaches Gwich’in for adult learners and interpreters and has published books on the Gwich’in language. Robert Bruce is a fluent Gwich’in speaker who interprets for the elders at meetings and workshops. He has an extensive knowledge of the Gwich’in culture and the political background of the Vuntut Gwitchin government and has been extensively involved in the Oral History Project.  Mary Jane Moses is responsible for the majority of the 300 plus interview transcriptions in the Oral History Project. Ms. Moses is also a filmmaker and has produced two documentaries on the culture and language of the Vuntut Gwitchin. Marion Schafer is a fluent Gwich’in speaker, knowledgeable about her culture and very effective in communicating with the elders. She has a special relationship with Old Crow people as the Anglican Deacon for St. Luke’s Anglican Church. Shirleen Smith has designed an ambitious cultural education and research program and coordinated with the Van Tat Gwich’in Heritage Committee and Heritage Department to prepare detailed research plans, train and coordinate personnel, produce reports and an online atlas and is the author of a monograph on Van Tat Gwich’in oral history (2008). Megan William has an anthropology background and works with a community-based research team. As Heritage Manager she has developed a Visitor Reception Centre, worked with researchers and media, developed local film making, historical reconstruction and conducted language programs.

Michael Gates (Lifetime Achievement in Heritage Award): Michael Gates’s first experience in Yukon was archaeological survey work along the Haines and South Klondike highway routes. His research material continues to inform heritage management in the area. His career with Parks Canada spanned three decades as Curator of Collections, Klondike National Historic Sites in Dawson and as a Cultural Integrity Specialist for the Yukon field unit out of Whitehorse. He was the first to bring professional conservation expertise to Parks Canada’s Dawson collection of artifacts; the second largest in Canada. He developed a massive collections management project pioneering many successful ways of preserving artifacts in very challenging circumstances. He was involved in the preservation and presentation of dozens of Dawson buildings as well as the SS Keno and Dredge #4 and cultural resources on the Chilkoot trail and he managed an eight-year project to restore and interpret the Commissioner’s Residence. He spent numerous volunteer hours helping the Masonic Lodge in Dawson with their restoration of the Carnegie Library and Father Tim with the restoration of St. Mary’s Church. He worked with Kluane First Nation (KFN) elders and citizens in their efforts to nominate Kama Zea as a National Historic Site and establish a KFN archives and a cold storage facility for cultural resources. He supported projects that brought the Lu’an Man Ku Dan back into their homelands in Kluane National Park and Reserve in the Healing Broken Connections project and has advocated for the preservation of intangible cultural resources such as language, stories and the sense of place related to landscapes. Some of Michael’s articles are integral components of the University of Victoria’s Cultural Resource management program. After retirement, Michael continued his ethno-archaeological pursuits in southern Yukon and is a columnist, book author and lecturer. Michael is widely known through his Yukon News articles and work as the “History Hunter”. He generously supports all those who share his love of Yukon history and culture. He has been an active member of the Dawson City Museum and the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and has contributed to heritage projects and conferences over the years in a variety of ways.  His books include Gold at Fortymile Creek (1994), History Hunting in the Yukon (2010) and Dalton’s gold rush trail: exploring the route of the Klondike cattle drives. (2012)

Teslin Historical & Museum Society (Conservation project of the year Award): The Teslin Radio Repeater Station building was rescued by the Teslin Historical and Museum Society who moved it into the yard of the George Johnston Museum and carefully restored the exterior. This small log building represents an important era in Yukon’s transportation history when the United States was ferrying aircraft to Russia via Yukon and Alaska during WWII.  This annual award is sponsored by the Yukon Historic Sites Unit and given to those who most successfully rehabilitate a historic property using the practices outlined in the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The Teslin Radio Repeater Station houses the “WW2 1942 Aeradio Navigation Range” exhibit which interprets the equipment and impacts of World War II on Teslin, 1940-1955.


Gudrun Sparling and “Babe” Richards (Lifetime Heritage Awards):  Gudrun Sparling and Babe Richards received a joint Lifetime Achievement Award. Life-long residents of Whitehorse, they have generously shared their valuable knowledge, experience and history of the area with the general public and the media. The two friends watched Whitehorse change from a town of about 300 to the city it is today. Evelyn Mae `Babe` Richards is the epitome of a strong Yukon woman, working in her father`s Whitehorse Inn and raising 10 children. She grew up in Whitehorse and returned in 1942 to find a town full of soldiers. Her spirit is exemplified by the story of the time she borrowed a bulldozer from a highway maintenance crew and briefly took a few lessons before building a road to a lake site where her family eventually built a cabin. Babe has volunteered for many charities, sat on many boards and remains true to her life’s work of creating a healthy community by supporting its children. She was a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.  Gudrun Sparling lived in Whitehorse from 1926 to 1948 and returned to permanently reside here in 1978. She managed the Regina Hotel which was owned by her family between 1925 and 1997. Gudrun has been involved in many local organizations and on the Boards of the MacBride Museum, Yukon Transportation Museum and YHMA.  She is recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. The Gudrun Sparling collection is held at the Yukon Archives.

Greg Skuce (Annual Heritage Award): Greg Skuce came to the Yukon in the early 1970s and has spent many years working with Yukon museums and YG Historic Sites. Greg has preserved thousands of photographs in Yukon museum collections and provided exceptional exhibit prints. He has stabilized and maintained vehicles, trains, motors and other mechanical artifacts in the collections of the MacBride, Yukon Transportation, George Johnson, Keno City and Dawson City museums.  Greg is the only Yukon person qualified to move large artifacts and has put this skill to great use around the territory. He has an extensive knowledge of Yukon’s museum collections and the use of some of the more obscure or industrial artifacts. He has fostered the careers of Yukon’s young heritage workers by providing them with training in the areas of photography, scanning and industrial conservation. His work ethic and commitment to the quality of his work have resulted in the preservation and promotion of Yukon’s heritage.

Conrad Lattin (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Con Lattin has been a long-time member of the MacBride Museum and a reliable source of information on Whitehorse and Yukon history. He dedicated many hours of extra volunteer time to MacBride Museum during their recent renovation project and has performed such diverse chores as painting walls and dressing up as Santa Claus. Con is a strong supporter of MacBride Museum as an institution that preserves history and believes we can speculate on the future by knowing how things were done in the past.  His many years of dedication have been marked by his willingness to share his time and resources with others in order to interpret the history of the area. Con was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012.

Matthias Bindig and Lauren Blackburn (Conservation Project of the year Award):  The precarious state of the Werneke Mine Manager`s House in an abandoned mining camp near Keno City caught the attention of Matthias Bindig and Lauren Blackburn. Livingston Wernecke was a mining engineer, Keno Mine superintendent and Yukon exploration pioneer. The long abandoned community of Wernecke was the first mine site on Keno Hill and Livingston Werneke lived in the Mine Manager’s House at the site.  Mathias and Lauren worked tirelessly and over many volunteer hours to apply for grants and stabilize this important historic building. In the process they replaced most of the foundation using the practices outlined in the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.


Doug Davidge (Annual Heritage Award): Doug Davidge has worked in the field of underwater archaeology for over twenty years and participated in the Yukon Diving Association’s Underwater Heritage Resources Inventory from 1986 through 1989. From 1990 onwards he contributed regular documentation on Yukon shipwrecks.  Doug has also reported the discovery of 13 new prehistoric archaeological sites to the Yukon Archaeologist and described the condition of many more. He has served on the Yukon Transportation Museum Board for eight years and has been the president since 2008. His discovery of the underwater wreck of the steamer A. J. Goddard in Lake Laberge was a result of his long-term and determined research, mostly self-funded as an individual effort. This high-profile discovery brought Yukon heritage to international attention. The discovery of the first steam-driven vessel to travel the upper Yukon River to Dawson City in 1898 is considered to be one of the most significant historic Yukon finds in the past twenty years. The National Geographic Society named the discovery as the most important archaeological discovery of 2009.

Ed and Star Jones (Lifetime Achievement Award):  Ed and Star Jones came to Dawson as teachers in 1962 and soon gained a passion for collecting Yukon reference material and preserving Yukon’s built heritage. They organised their students to give guided tours during the Dawson City Festival in 1962 and also started work on rehabilitating the Dawson City cemeteries.  Their restoration work on the cemeteries continued long after they had moved from Dawson and had to travel from the southern United Sates for a brief summer of labour under the hot Dawson sun. Their database of every historic Dawson area burial is a valuable resource for Yukon researchers and genealogists. Their interest in early Yukon history led them to write All That Glitters: The life and times of Joseph Ladue (2005) and raise funds to build the Joseph Ladue and Jack McQuesten cairns installed on the Dawson waterfront. To quote one testimonial, “these two people have given a greater part of their lives to the preservation of Yukon’s history for future generations of Yukoners.”

Gordon McIntyre (History Maker Award): (1910 -2011) Gordon Alexander McIntyre was born in Dawson City and taught school in Mayo from 1932 to 1941. He served in WWI and returned to Mayo in 1946. He worked for the Yukon government and then the federal government as the Mining Recorder and Crown Timberland Agent. Gordon was secretary of the hospital board, the Juvenile Court Judge in the Mayo District, a Justice of the Peace, marriage commissioner, notary public, coroner and a Lieutenant in the Mayo Company of the Canadian Rangers. He was one of the few people in Mayo with a camera and was able to capture mining activities and ordinary life in the Old Village and the Mayo community from 1932 to 1941 and 1946 to 1965. He purchased a movie camera in 1956 and added films of Mayo residents, gold mining on Haggard Creek, Discovery Day activities and other events to his collection. His photographs became the backbone for the Mayo Historical Society’s book Gold & Galena and his best-known photograph shows the thermometer registering minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit on February 3, 1947. His assistance in editing the Gold & Galena text was invaluable as he had intimate knowledge of the community.  Many of Gordon’s photographs and an explanatory audio recording are at the Yukon Archives.

Charlotte Hrenchuk (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Charlotte Hrenchuk is the Coordinator of the Yukon Status of Women Council and has become an active volunteer member of the Hidden Histories group teaching Black and Asian history, women`s history and the history of those Yukon people whose stories are not currently well known. Charlotte`s three children are from Sierra Leone and she recognized the need to connect them with their African heritage and to involve the school in the process.  She started teaching African mask making, puppetry and drama at Hidden Valley School during Black History month and on other occasions. During subsequent Black History months she has undertaken talks at Vanier and Hidden Valley schools and MacBride Museum and done radio and newspaper interviews to increase awareness of the contributions of African Canadians. She has organized and set up displays around Whitehorse and presented a workshop at a Yukon Teacher`s Association conference. She has a strong commitment to making sure that the stories of our ethno-cultural communities are reflected in the telling of Yukon history.

Anne Morgan and Jamie Toole (Conservation Project of the Year Award): Anne Morgan and Jamie Toole own the Caribou Hotel in Carcross and have invested their life-savings in the rehabilitation and restoration of the building. They have maintained excellent communicators with YG Historic Sites Unit, consulting on issues that involved the integrity of the historic fabric ad appearance of the building. The Caribou Hotel is a Yukon Historic Site, designated for its architectural, historical and social history values. It is one of the oldest buildings in the Southern Lakes Region and one of Yukon’s last three-story frame commercial buildings dating from the early 20th century. The structure stands in its original location and is an important and recognizable Carcross landmark. 


Lorraine Joe (Lifetime Achievement Award): Lorraine Joe has owned and operated the Indian Craft Shop for 37 years, selling art and crafts handmade by First Nation citizens. Her store is a retailer to the community, keeps traditional skills alive, and acts as a lifeline to families needing help and as a social network for makers and customers. Her success came when the business world was dominated by men and low-level discrimination was the norm. She encourages her staff to seek more education, teaches them to respect the traditions of all First Nations people and ensures they learn to sew and be creative. Lorraine is a founding member of the Yukon Foundation to promote the cultural heritage of Yukon. She is active on the Board and supports development in the First Nation community and the preservation of traditional skills and knowledge. She sits, or sat, on other aboriginal community boards and supports Native Graduation, potlatches and native fashion shows among others. Lorraine Joe is respected for her continued sharing, teaching and gifting and has made it her life’s work to ensure that First Nation craft is preserved and encouraged.

Rolf Hougen (Lifetime Achievement Award) Rolf Hougen has undertaken many projects to document and preserve Yukon’s history. He created the Hougen Heritage Gallery for Arts Underground and dedicated a portion of it to showcase Yukon Archives and MacBride Museum exhibits of historical interest. He has shared his knowledge and insights in the Hougen Group of Companies’ comprehensive Yukon History website. The website is a work in progress as Rolf has hired researchers over many years to review Whitehorse Star articles and index relevant Yukon historical facts and figures. The website features Les McLaughlin’s “Yukon Nuggets”, a series containing interesting historical information commissioned by Rolf. A recent photograph exhibit presented a small selection of Rolf’s photos taken from 1946 to 1969 which captures life in Whitehorse during that time. The photographs were selected from the thousands he has donated to the Yukon Archives. Rolf’s project to commemorate historical figures with a bronze bust and a plague now includes the head and shoulders of Sam Steele, Jack London, Robert Service and Angela Sidney. All of these projects testify to Rolf’s passion for preserving and promoting Yukon’s history.  Rolf received the Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service in 1994 and is a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to his community and the nation.

Jim Robb (History Maker Award): Jim Robb continues to preserve and interpret Yukon history and culture through his art, newspaper columns and conversations. His many publications showcase his love of Yukon characters and stories and his collection of artwork and photographs are a richly detailed record of Yukon adventures. Jim continues to promote the protection of Yukon heritage and for that work he has received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee (2002) and Diamond Jubilee (2012) medals and is a Member of the Order of Canada (2003).

Ida Calmegane (Volunteer of the Year Award):  Ida Calmegane is a Deisheetaan of the Crow Clan and a respected elder of the Tlingit and Tagish (Athabaskan) ancestry. She spends tireless hours teaching her First Nation culture and language. Three of the four people associated with the discovery of the Klondike Gold Rush were her close relatives and she shares stories of those times.  She works with schools, daycares, women’s groups and summer camps and is on several boards including the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre. She shares her knowledge of the traditional use of herbs and medicines generously and teaches that traditional healing keeps us in touch with our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental self. Ida’s work has helped reclaim a heritage all but lost to western civilization. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).


Art and Ione Christensen (Annual Heritage Award): Art and Ione received this award for their work in the publication of Whitehorse: An Illustrated History. This literary and historical benchmark fills a large gap in Yukon historiography, provides an important legacy for the city and its citizens of all ages and backgrounds and celebrates the history of Yukon’s capital city. Art Christensen conceived of the idea and became a supportive board member of the Whitehorse History Book Society during the two and a half years it took to complete. Art and Ione started the project by approaching the Mayor and Council of the City of Whitehorse and gathering their enthusiastic support. Ione Christensen managed the project by forming the non-profit Whitehorse History Book Society of long-time Yukoners to accept donations and guide the creation of the book. The society Board included members from all sectors including First Nations, francophone, business, pioneers and journalists to ensure the resulting publication would be inclusive and respectful of all eras and cultures. Ione was a tireless fundraiser, approaching business and individuals and completing funding applications, and was diligent in documenting every action and transaction. She took the lead in selecting and dealing with the publishers.

Ione recruited a team of writers and she and Art contributed personal memories and ideas on themes and focus pieces. The text is drawn from archaeological research, government records, newspapers, personal diaries and letters and oral history. Ione and the writers, with input from the society Board, created a series of “Did you Know?” columns in the Whitehorse Star in anticipation of the book’s publication. Many of the photographs in the articles and book came from Art and Ione’s personal collection.

Whitehorse: An Illustrated History commemorates the rich heritage of modern Whitehorse, is an important discourse on the city’s diverse interests and will inspire future generations to continue this work of community building. It was made possible largely through the donated time and efforts of Art and Ione Christensen.

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department (Lifetime Achievement Award): The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department received this award for their years of meritorious service in the preservation and interpretation of the unique and rich history of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. They have organized projects to record the memories, languages and knowledge of their Elders and prepared displays and projects to disseminate that knowledge. They have researched, acquired and continue to add to material culture collections as well as archival documentation to enrich Yukoner’s appreciation of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditions, lands and resources.  Their publications are wide ranging, beautifully crafted and fill many voids in previously released literature.The Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre is a model of public programming delivery with year-round displays, workshops and events.  The Moosehide Gathering welcomes Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in families and visitors to Moosehide. The Myth and Medium conferences have offered an opportunity for heritage workers and others to gather, celebrate and learn together.

The First Hunt and First Fish projects combine traditional harvesting knowledge and skills with celebration and the recognition of knowledgeable, responsible citizens.  Heritage Department members continue to work with and learn from the Elders who are vital members of the team. These programs are accredited courses at Robert Service School.The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department practices an integrated, respectful approach to all peoples regardless of their origins or cultural background. Staff members work with other Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in departments and employees to foster matters relating to language, culture and education. Their events and projects are inclusive and welcoming in a warm Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in tradition.  For all of these reasons and many more we wholeheartedly acknowledge these extraordinary people and their achievements.  This dedicated and talented group is a model for how heritage should be interpreted and managed and their collective work is an outstanding contribution to Yukon heritage.

Mary Bradshaw (Volunteer of the Year Award): Mary Bradshaw received this award for her demonstrated extensive volunteerism for a heritage event in the coordination of the 2013 Canadian Museums Association Conference and to the Yukon Historical & Museums Association (YHMA) in her capacity as Treasurer on the YHMA Board of Directors. The 2013 Canadian Museums Association Conference was held in May in Whitehorse and attracted over 250 museum professionals from across Canada and internationally. It provided an opportunity to showcase the Yukon’s heritage sector and contributed over $430,000 to the Yukon economy. The event won the Yukon Convention Bureau’s 2013 Bravo Award. Mary was the Committee Chair for representatives from over a dozen heritage organizations who collaborated in the planning and implementation of the conference events. Cross-sector collaboration was key to the success of the conference and resulted in the forging of  important, continuing relationships. Mary’s calm grace under fire, friendly nature and diplomacy ensured that visitors received a true northern welcome. Mary joined the YHMA Board of Directors in July 2010 and took an active role in the management of the organization during a difficult transitional phase in 2012. She was a positive and energetic addition to the YHMA Board table, drawing from her considerable experience and understanding of cultural organization management. Mary has been a strong proponent of building connections between the Yukon arts, culture and heritage sectors. YHMA is grateful for the immense contributions Mary has made to the organization over the past three years as a passionate and engaged team player.

Kwänlin Dün First Nation (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year): In 2013, the Kwänlin Dün First Nation finished restoring two Whitehorse area cemeteries. Whitehorse is inside the traditional territory of the Kwänlin Dün at the headwaters of the Yukon River, called Chu Nínkwän in the Southern Tutchone language. The river is lined with the sites of historic and modern fish camps, lookout points, hunting grounds, burial sites and meeting places.The Kwänlin Dün cemetery at the bottom of Two Mile Hill, Äsì Khìa Tth’ǟn K’è (My Grandparents’ Gravesite), is closed to further burials. The spirit houses, grave fencing and grave markers were repaired and repainted and an inventory was completed to identify the graves. The Kwänlin Dün cemetery behind the Whitehorse Hospital, Kwäday Näts’älè Tth’ǟn K’è (Long Ago People Resting Place), includes several marked graves and two spirit houses. Restoration work and the repainting of the spirit houses was completed over the last two summers. All of the work was conducted with respect and concern for the historic value of the heritage cemeteries. This conservation project illustrates the continuing connection between the Kwänlin Dün and the Whitehorse waterfront and protects this heritage for all Yukoners. This Award is presented in conjunction with the Yukon Government Tourism and Culture Department, Historic Sites Unit.


Kitty Sperling and the Friends of the Ross River Footbridge Society (Annual Heritage Award): Originally constructed by the US military in 1942, the bridge is widely acknowledged as an engineering marvel, and has served as an important connection across the Pelly River for locals and visitors alike. After the Yukon Government declared their intention to demolish and remove the bridge entirely in 2012, the local community, the Ross River Dena Council and other concerned Yukoners formed the Friends of the Ross River Bridge Society. Through a combination of passion, engagement, and organization, the Friends galvanized public support for their cause, garnering national media attention. Despite numerous setbacks and uncertainties along the way, the Friends and their supporters have remained unflaggingly positive and constructive.  When demolition seemed imminent, the Friends organized and sustained non-confrontational protests, with a little fun, a little curling, and a lot of community participation and solidarity along the way.  Their approach ensured maintenance of goodwill and dialogue, and was ultimately successful; demolition was first postponed, then deferred, then cancelled. While protecting Yukon’s heritage will never be an easy task, the approaches and success of the Friends of the Ross River Foot Bridge serves as inspiration and guidance for the Territory’s heritage community. 

Casey McLaughlin (Lifetime Archivement in Heritage Award): Casey has demonstrated meritorious service to Yukon heritage and YHMA over a period of many years. A born-and-raised Yukoner, Casey McLaughlin studied art history and anthropology at Simon Fraser University before beginning a career in heritage. During her tenure as Executive Director at the Yukon Transportation Museum from 2004-2014, Casey created a fun, safe and creative environment while directing the museum through its rebranding and actively encouraging young Yukoners to develop their heritage skills. In addition to her professional work, Casey has a long volunteer service record with the YHMA, including serving as its President. Casey’s professional accomplishments, extensive volunteerism, and personal dedication to the Yukon heritage field are an inspiration for all Yukoners with a passion for heritage.

Watson Lake Historical Society (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): The Watson Historical Society has been active in ongoing efforts to protect, conserve and share the history of Watson Lake. The Society has become an active volunteer organization over the past few years, working to successfully designate the Watson Lake Signpost Forest as a Yukon Historic Site, repairing displays at the Watson Lake Airport, conducting inventories and research in support of the Alaska Highway National Historic Site nomination, and successfully saving a 1940s era building from demolition. The enthusiasm and dedication of the Watson Lake Historical Society to protecting, conserving and celebrating the region’s history serves as a model of volunteerism for the Territory.

Leo and Marc Martel (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year): For the restoration of the Keno City Hotel. In 2014, Leo and Marc Martel defied all the odds when they opened the Keno City Hotel for business after a multi-year hiatus. After acquiring the building around 2008, Leo and Marc have been putting their heart and soul, blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of money, into the rambling, very historic hotel. Geordie Dobson purchased the hotel in 1963, and constructed rear and side additions during this time. The hotel was sold to Leo in 2006. Since then, Leo and Marc have replaced the heating system, reinsulated the shell and levelled the building. The foundation was replaced over the course of a few years, and window repair work is currently underway. Historic Properties Assistance Program funding has been provided over the years for the reconstruction of the roof, as well as repair to the siding, foundation and windows. The continued hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of Leo and Marc remind us that there’s no such thing as impossible!


Pat Ellis (Annual Heritage Award): Over the years Pat has been tireless in preserving, documenting, and presenting the stories of Yukon’s history, especially the lesser-known stories. Throughout the past five years Pat has made outstanding contributions to the preservation of Yukon’s heritage. Most recently in 2015, Pat published a book on The Squatters of Downtown Whitehorse. It was the culmination of years of research and hard work.

Pat recognized that this was a forgotten period in the development of Whitehorse. There was little written about the people who lived in those communities, other than passing references in other publications. Pat also recognized that many of the squatters are now in their 70s and 80s, and if their stories were going to be told it would have to be done soon. Over two years she scoured the Yukon Archives, City of Whitehorse Archives and the Lands Branch Archives, drew from her own memories, and collected anecdotes and photographs from former squatters and their families. In November 2015, she self-published a book entitled The Squatters of Downtown Whitehorse. The 60-page paperback outlines the political and social events leading up to the squatter settlements and it tells of the personal struggles of the people who lived in Whitehorse at the time.

Pat’s book brought these and other lesser-known stories to the forefront. People who lived in the squatter areas are able to see their stories in print, and newcomers who did not know about that part of the history now have a valuable resource. The book was launched at MacBride Museum in November 2015, and more than 140 people came out to share their stories and show their support. The Squatters of Downtown Whitehorse has since become a local favourite and a MacBride Museum bestseller. More than 500 of the books have been sold to date.

The Diocese of Yukon (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year): Sponsored by the Yukon Government Tourism and Culture Department, Historic Sites Unit. The award is presented to the Diocese of Yukon for the continued conservation and restoration of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Dawson City. Built in 1902, St. Paul’s Anglican Church is a significant example of frontier mission architecture in the Gothic Revival StyleDesignated a National Historic Site in 1989, the Church’s prominent location on Front Street in Dawson and its impressive architecture have made the church an important component of the Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site. St. Paul’s, which took the place of an earlier log building on the same site, is a symbol of the long-standing presence of the Anglican Church in Canada’s north. It has been in continuous use as a church since its construction.

The Diocese has shown tremendous commitment to the preservation of this important landmark through years of conservation and maintenance. Over the past year the Diocese of Yukon undertook extensive repairs to the roof, eavestrough and exterior sidings as well as restoration of the historic wood windows while abiding by the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada to ensure the heritage value of St. Paul’s Church is maintained for present and future generations.

Bryan Clayson (d. 2016) (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Bryan was an integral part of the Miles Canyon Historical Railway Society for many years, and his love for streetcars and his mechanical skills lovingly kept the 90 year old Whitehorse Waterfront Trolley functioning for over 15 years. Although Bryan lived out on the Carcross Road, on many occasions and on any day of the week he drove into town to service the trolley. Every summer, he mentored young staff in the mechanics of the diesel generator and general maintenance and operations in the Roundhouse.

Although the trolley is not originally from the Yukon, its route along the waterfront on the old White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge rails contributes greatly to the education of thousands of tourists and locals alike. Riding the trolley provides an opportunity to learn about the history of downtown Whitehorse from Whiskey Flats to Shipyards Park to Spook Creek. This attraction continues to bring smiles to everyone who sees it. And thanks to the tireless work of Mr. Clayson, it is one that we will enjoy for years to come.

The Hidden Histories Society Yukon (Innovation, Education and Community Engagement Award): Through a series of projects that span 15 years, HHSY has brought to light aspects of the Yukon’s rich social cultural communities through exhibits and special events. It has reached out to the corners of the community to engage and involve them in celebrating the Yukon’s rich heritage together.

HHSY sponsors research, displays and events mainly in Yukon communities.  HHSY aims to enlarge the representation of Asian, Black and other ethno-cultural people in the documentation and interpretation of Yukon history.  They strive to bring forward the stories and life experiences of these individuals and groups so that they see themselves reflected appropriately in the telling of Yukon’s history.  The results they believe will enrich Yukon’s social, cultural and economic foundations.

This work has included producing and circulating portable display panels and online exhibits on Black and Asian Yukon history, offering oral history workshops, coordinating CBC book discussions, speakers and films for Black and Asian history months, along with school presentations and cemetery visits to respect Yukon Black and Asian pioneers. They have also worked with a broad group of community partners to undertake these activities, from the Yukon Human Rights Commission to the National Association of Japanese Canadians.


Dr. Ruth Gotthardt (History Maker Award): Recently retired Yukon Archaeologist Dr. Gotthardt has authored and co-authored many significant studies that have put Yukon at the forefront of important northern research. Yukon archaeological sites contain some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in America and Ruth has played a huge part in exploring, documenting, and protecting these sites and artifacts.

Sid van der Meer (History Maker Award): Sid van der Meer is a local historian, owner of the Border Town Garage and Museum in Beaver Creek, and an entertaining and knowledgeable story-teller. Sid and his Upper Tanana wife raised their four children at Mountain View Lodge at Mile 1128 on the Alaska Highway. He is a treasure house of tales related to his collection of vintage and highway memorabilia, which he shares with visitors and Yukoners throughout the summer.. It was the culmination of years of research and hard work.

Village of Mayo (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year): The award was presented to the Village of Mayo in recognition of their conservation and restoration of the Mabel McIntyre House, also known as the Mayo Mining Recorder’s Office. Mabel McIntyre, a local First Nation woman, lived in the house between 1946 and 1981 and gave it much of its most recent significance. The award is presented annually to the person or group whose conservation work on a historic property best exemplifies the practices outlined in the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. This award is sponsored by the Yukon Department of Tourism and Culture’s Historic Sites Unit.

The North and the First World War Conference Committee (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Made up of Dr. Ken Coates, Dr. Brent Slobodin (co-chairs), Michael Gates, Max Fraser, Piers McDonald, Dan Davidson, Joanne Lewis, and Marius Curteanu, the committee’s goal was to produce an entertaining and informative conference to illuminate a previously little-known and not well-understood era of Yukon History. The committee put in two years of hard work, much appreciated by the participants and YHMA, and their efforts prove, yet again, how Yukoners are wonderful and sharing hosts.

Peter Long (Innovation, Education and Community Engagement Award): Peter Long’s recent research and website publication, Forgotten Trails: Walking the Hepburn Tramway, demonstrates leadership and an outstanding contribution to Yukon heritage preservation. Peter’s work on the Hepburn Trail is fueled by his desire to have aspects of our local history valued, protected, and developed.


Leda Jules (Annual Heritage Award): For over the last five decades, Leda Jules has worked tirelessly to promote and protect the Kaska language, culture, and heritage. She has spent her life both sharing and passing on her ancestors’ ways to generations of Kaska and non-Kaska alike. This “passing on” includes keeping Kaska stories and the Kaska language alive, as well as generously sharing the knowledge she has accumulated by listening to and living on the land. A fluent speaker of the Pelly dialect, Leda has worked with numerous organizations, institutions, linguists, and academics to document and develop resources for the Kaska language. She also translates audio and video recordings, contributing to the preservation not only of the Kaska language but also of the knowledge and cultural traditions expressed in the recordings.

Peggy D’Orsay (History Maker Award): Peggy D’Orsay held the position of Archives Librarian at the Yukon Archives from 1990 to her retirement in January 2017. Peggy’s innumerable accomplishments during her tenure at the Archives, among many others, include advocating for and producing many special topic bibliographies, leading the Yukon Archives digital books project, and developing the Yukon Genealogy website. Peggy was also instrumental in the formation of Hidden Histories Society Yukon, coining the phrase “hidden histories” herself. She continues to be involved in the Society to this day, helping to enlarge the representation of Asian, Black, and other ethno-cultural individuals and groups in the documentation and interpretation of Yukon history.

Alice Cyr (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Alice Cyr started volunteering at the Yukon Transportation Museum (YTM) in 2016, taking on the immense job of cataloguing a large collection of photographs and objects that she had donated earlier in the year. During this process, Alice worked with YTM Executive Director Janna Swales to create a dedicated collections and research work area and to pilot a new accessioning system designed to facilitate community involvement. Alice has also created a virtual exhibit entitled Paul Cyr Loved Cats using materials she donated, available on the YTM website, which also opened as a physical exhibit at YTM in February 2018.

Lily Gontard & Mark Kelly (Innovation, Education, and Community Engagement Award): In their 2017 publication Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community, writer Lily Gontard and photographer Mark Kelly deftly combine personal stories from current and former lodge owners and their families with stunning archival and contemporary photographs to tell the story of the Alaska Highway lodges and lodge communities. Compiled after countless hours of interviews and travels along the highway, Beyond Mile Zero captures the spirit those who live and have lived at the lodges, and documents both the tangible and intangible elements a disappearing highway lodge lifestyle.

Teslin Tlingit Council (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year Award): The Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) receives this award for the conservation and restoration of the Freddie and Nina Johnston House. A TTC building in the Wolf Clan built in the late 1920s or early 1930s, the Freddie and Nina Johnston House is the last remaining frame house of its style and age in Teslin. Over the past six years, TTC has shown dedication and care in the restoration of the house. Consultations with Elders and historic photos and documents helped to inform the restoration work and ensure that the heritage value of the house was maintained. Work on this well-known historic building has often prompted members of the community to share their memories of the house and its relationship within the community. TTC plans to continue restoration of the building in 2018. This award is sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon.


Murray Lundberg (Annual Heritage Award): Murray Lundberg has traveled far and wide throughout the territory, always with camera in hand, visiting the sites of many historical features, taking pictures, and documenting them, then sharing the information with the public through a variety of resources. Murray is the author of three books featuring Yukon history, including Fractured Veins and Broken Dreams, a highly coveted history of mining in the Windy Arm region, The Alaska Highway: the Road to North America’s Last Frontier, a series of historical vignettes, and Murray’s Guide to the South Klondike Highway, which makes historic and other sites along the highway accessible to visitors. He is also the creator of the ExploreNorth website, launched in 1997 and now consisting of almost 7,000 pages of information and more than 40,000 files on Yukon and Alaska History that are regularly used by countless researchers and interested people, as well as the immensely popular Yukon History and Abandoned Places Facebook group. A dynamic forum for people interested in Yukon history to exchange information and share experiences, this Facebook group saw dramatic growth in 2018, closing the year with over 10,000 members. Murray has also made his photographs available through several donations to the Yukon Archives. His work continues to preserve and promote Yukon heritage for the enjoyment of all.

Gordon Mervin Toole (Posthumous History Maker Award): Gordon Mervin Toole was a long-time Yukoner who helped make the Yukon what it is today through his outstanding contributions to meteorology, aviation, wilderness tourism, big game outfitting, trapping, and farming. Gordon became a weather observation specialist with the Canadian Department of Transport and was posted to Snag, Yukon in 1943. There, he was responsible for delivering coded weather information to pilots, and after WWII became world-famous for recording the lowest official temperature ever measured in North America, -81.4˚F (-63˚C), on February 3, 1947. Later, Gordon became a founding partner and pilot for the Watson Lake Flying Service; the owner and operator of Thunderbird Fishing camp, then the only registered fly-fishing camp in the Yukon; a big game outfitter for Yukon Hunting Unlimited; the owner/operator of White River and Ridge Lake Traplines near Watson Lake; and Justice of the Peace and Coroner for Watson Lake. He also started a farm just outside Watson Lake in 1965, which produced vegetables and eggs for nearby communities for nearly three decades. However, it was on the trapline that Gordon said that life, with his wife Rose as his assistant, was the best. While he passed away on November 9, 2018, Gordon’s legacy as a History Maker remains.

Bruce Barrett (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Bruce Barrett has dedicated many years of his life to the heritage community in Yukon, both throughout his career, including three decades as Historic Sites Project Officer with the Government of Yukon, and by graciously and generously giving of his time in a volunteer capacity, whether as a photographer, advocate, or even actor. He has acted as the unofficially official photographer for YHMA, chronicling many of the organization’s special events over the years, in particular the Yukon/Stikine Regional Heritage Fair, for which he has also acted as a judge and Head Judge. You can find his wonderful photos on the YHMA and Yukon/Stikine Regional Heritage Fair Flickr account, set up by Bruce. In addition, Bruce spent time volunteering with ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) Canada, sharing northern perspectives with the national heritage community. Bruce has also been an avid participant in the Yukon music and theatrical scenes, and in 2017 loaned his acting talents to an interactive performance fundraiser for the Old Log Church Museum. He is a constant presence at many events around the territory, donating his time as a photographer to document Yukon arts, culture, and recreation, creating valuable records for the future. He continues to volunteer for a variety of organizations.

Association franco-yukonnaise (Innovation, Education, and Community Engagement Award): With its innovative project De fil en histoires: les personnages d’un territoireStitches in Time: Yukon History Makers, Association franco-yukonnaise (AFY) has paid tribute to the Francophones who helped shape the Yukon, reconnecting participants and the public with both the territory’s Francophone history and the traditional craft of dollmaking. Led by local artist Cécile Girard, 19 community members, many of whom were first-time dollmakers, created a total of 21 handcrafted dolls representing real French-speaking Yukoners, past and present. The creators chose their characters for a variety of reasons: some were inspired by their characters’ personality, story or contributions to Yukon’s history, others were curious to learn more about a significant historical figure, and still others made their choice based on common passions or ancestry. The dolls, the stories of those they represent, and the stories of their creation were then highlighted through three bilingual exhibitions in Dawson City, Haines Junction, and Whitehorse, each of which was accompanied by a different cultural experience. A bilingual website, video, and printed catalogue continue to share these stories with the public. AFY is currently working to adapt the project for use in schools. De fil en histoires highlights the diversity of Yukon’s history and culture, and demonstrates AFY’s commitment to raising awareness about Yukon’s Francophone heritage.

Yukon Church Heritage Society (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year Award): This award is presented to the YCHS for the conservation of the Old Log Church and Rectory in Whitehorse. Constructed in 1900 and 1901 respectively, these buildings are among the oldest in Whitehorse and are landmarks in the community. The Old Log Church served as a place of worship in Whitehorse for 60 years before being repurposed as a museum in 1962. In 1978, the Old Log Church was commemorated as a historic site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Yukon. In 2014, the Old Log Church and Rectory were designated a Yukon Historic Site and municipal historic site. YCHS was formed in 1982 to restore and preserve the buildings and to operate the Old Log Church Museum. They have shown great stewardship of the buildings through respectful use, care, and maintenance, and through various conservation projects. In 2018, work focused on the Rectory; upgrading the heating system and replacing the roofs cedar shingles. The YCHS undertook a similar re-roofing project in 2006 for the Old Log Church. Work completed by the YCHS has followed the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada and will ensure that the historic value and architectural integrity of the Old Log Church and Rectory are preserved. This award is sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon.


John Firth (Annual Heritage Award):  A long-time Yukoner and born storyteller, John combines his passions for writing and Yukon history by capturing stories of interesting people, places, and events and sharing them in an entertaining style that is easy to read and enjoy. He is the sole author of a number of books relating to Yukon heritage and has contributed to others, including the well-known Whitehorse: An Illustrated History and Yukon Sport: An Illustrated History. John’s first book, released in 1990, was Yukon Challenge: the story of the Yukon Quest, later republished as Yukon Quest: The 1000-mile dog sled race through the Yukon and Alaska; in 1999, he was awarded the Yukon Commissioner’s Award in recognition of his work to preserve Yukon dog mushing history and heritage. In his 2004 book, River Time: Racing the Ghosts of the Klondike Gold Rush, John deftly weaves the past with the present, telling his own story of following in the footsteps of his stampeder grandfather via the 1997 Dyea to Dawson Race, which birthed the Yukon River Quest. His most recent book, The Caribou Hotel: Hauntings, hospitality, a hunter, and the parrot, published in 2019, profiles the history of the eponymous designated Yukon historic site. In addition to documenting Yukon heritage in his written works, John has also served as a member of the Yukon Heritage Resources Board.

Helene Dobrowolsky and Rob Ingram (History Makers Award): Both Helene and Rob have been key contributors to the field of Yukon heritage since their arrival in the territory in the 1970s. Rob became the Government of Yukon’s first Historic Sites employee in 1979, while Helene became the first Yukon Archives researcher in its present location at Yukon Place. Rob conducted the first historic sites inventory for the Yukon, and helped to develop the policy and procedures for nominating Yukon historic sites, later conducting the researching and writing the nominations for several sites. As an oral history specialist, Helene has trained hundreds of people in the techniques and ethics of managing and carrying out oral history projects during numerous workshops and as a guest speaker at Yukon College. Since 1988, Helene and Rob have worked in partnership as cultural and heritage resource consultants under their business name, Midnight Arts. Their clients have included all levels of government – federal, territorial, municipal, and First Nation – as well as non-profit societies. Their work can be found in management and interpretive plans for Yukon historic sites, interpretative pamphlets and flyers for heritage places across the territory, online exhibitions, numerous books on Yukon heritage, and many other places. Helene and Rob’s contributions continue to grow the collective knowledge and understanding of our territory’s history.

Lillian Nakamura Maguire (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): As a founding member of Hidden Histories Society Yukon, Lillian has, to date, dedicated eighteen years to the organization and its mandate to foster and increase the understanding of ethno-cultural history in the Yukon. Through the contributions of Lillian and others, Hidden Histories conducts research, produces displays, and coordinates events that enlarge the representation of diverse individuals and communities in the documentation and interpretation of Yukon history. Lillian has also served as Vice President of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, a board member of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and a founding member of the Japanese-Canadian Association of the Yukon, and a member of Seniors Action Yukon, Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association, and Nikkei National Museum. In her career, she has worked as  an adult educator, facilitator, and community activist. She is a talented playwright, writer, and poet in her own right, exploring themes such as human rights, intercultural relations, and her own family history. Lillian’s dedication to documenting, exploring, and sharing diverse stories has enriched both Hidden Histories Society Yukon, and the field of Yukon heritage as a whole.

Gwaandak Theatre and Vuntut Gwitchin Government (Innovation, Education, and Community Engagement Award): Gwaandak Theatre and Vuntut Gwitchin Government’s (VGG) multi-year, community-based project, Ndoo Tr’eedyaa Gogwaandak (Forward Together): Vuntut Gwitchin Stories, celebrates Gwich’in storytelling tradition and Indigenous language revitalization through the production of a series of radio plays. The plays are based on long-ago and contemporary Gwich’in stories from Old Crow, which speak to the vital relationship between people and land. A total of seven radio plays, three in Gwich’in and four in English, were developed with the active involvement of community members at all stages, from scriptwriting and translation to performance and production. The plays are available as podcasts and illustrated script booklets online at and are free to download for the general public. In early 2019, play excerpts were shared through live readings in Old Crow and Whitehorse. Gwaandak Theatre and VGG have also worked to distribute the plays to radio, schools, and First Nations. This unique project represents an innovative, captivating way of sharing these stories with a wider audience. Using oral traditions with a contemporary twist, the radio plays not only entertain, educate, and enrich, but also help to preserve and revitalize the Gwich’in language.


Valerie Graham (History Maker Award): Valerie (Val) Graham was an active, committed, and influential contributor in the Yukon heritage community for many years from the 1970s through the 1990s, a period of dynamic development. Val was at the forefront of this development, quietly and steadily working first as a volunteer and later as YHMA Executive Director to envision much needed changes, shaping and implementing activities to support the preservation and celebration of Yukon heritage. Serving as a board member of MacBride Museum, Val saw first-hand the many needs confronting Yukon museums. This led her to play a key role in the formation of the Yukon Historical and Museums Association (YHMA) and to join its first board. During her time with YHMA, she managed the successful restoration of the Donnenworth, Smith, and Captain Martin Houses; applied her superb accounting skills to the YHMA budget; helped to organize multiple conferences in various Yukon communities; produced the hugely popular annual Heritage Teas in LePage park; and much more. Her unique ability to build bridges across generations meant that YHMA events included Elders, long time seniors, and younger newcomers to the territory. Val’s dedication supported crucial transitions from the primarily volunteer heritage community of earlier years, when there were very few federal or territorial government heritage programs, to the robust and expanded community and programs that exist today. She now lives in British Columbia.

David Neufeld (Posthumous History Maker Award):  David Neufeld came to the Yukon as the Yukon and Western Arctic Historian with Parks Canada in January 1986, a position that included protected area planning, commemorations, historical research and writing, and partnership projects with Yukon First Nations. David’s particular interests were in environmental history and the intersection of knowledge and practice in Indigenous and settler ways of life. He was instrumental in the designation of several Indigenous national historic sites in the Yukon. After retiring from Parks Canada in 2012, David formed a consulting business and, with continued enthusiasm, followed his interests in archival research and community oral histories. In 2019, he was chosen as the Yukon representative to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. David was also a talented and inspired teacher, known for his patience and good humour. He taught northern history and protected area management at Yukon College, and acted as a cultural interpretation guide for hiking and canoe groups in southern Yukon. In 2004, David was a member of a team awarded the National Council of Public History’s Robert Kelly Memorial Award, which honours significant achievements in making history relevant to people outside of academia. David’s enthusiasm for Yukon heritage inspired many, and his passing was a great loss for our community.

Carolyn Harris (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award):  As an ongoing, active Director of the Yukon Council of Archives (YCA), Carolyn Harris cultivates a strong and supported Yukon archives and record management community. She has served terms as both Vice President and President and continues to participate in several YCA committees, assisting in the successful Community Archivist Project and Professional Development and Education Committee activities. As President of YCA, Carolyn led the highly acclaimed Yukon Summit on Archives in 2018, which gathered representatives from First Nations and other heritage organizations throughout the Yukon to discuss issues, develop future goals, and launch initiatives for preserving and making available Yukon’s diverse and dispersed documentary heritage. She also helped to organize a First Nations Records Management conference in the Yukon, in association with ARMA Vancouver. Carolyn’s commitment to recorded information management as Records Manager for Kwanlin Dün First Nation ensures that vital records will be available for all present and future generations. She generously shares her knowledge and experience on archives and records management issues as part of a collaborative project with the Teslin Tlingit Council to assist other First Nations with their programs. Her steady, welcoming, and kind leadership has encouraged many newcomers to join the YCA and to serve on its board and committees. 

Kwanlin Dün First Nation and KDFN Elders (Innovation, Education, and Community Engagement Award): Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s (KDFN) recent publication, Kwanlin Dün Dǎ kwǎndur ghày ghakwadîndur: Our Stories in Our Words, is a superb addition to the literature available to citizens, schools, and the public on the history, language, and culture of KDFN. It provides an essential foundation of knowledge for KDFN’s ongoing self-determination, 15 years after the First Nation’s final and self-government agreements came into effect. The content was formed by KDFN Citizens under the guidance of Elders and is organized in a seasonal round, beginning with a long-ago springtime when the world began, moving through a full year cycle, and ending in the late summer of today where KDFN continues to realize the vision of its agreements. The book is a treasure trove of Elders’ stories told in their languages, sharing their worldviews and personal reflections on the land, the resources that help them survive, and the values they cherish to make a good life for their families now and for all generations to come. Their accounts of events before, during, and after the arrival of newcomers, along with the tremendous efforts made to reclaim their lands and lives through the negotiation of KDFN’s agreements, are truly inspiring. KDFN has provided a free copy of the publication to every citizen over the age of 16, ensuring that the wisdom, courage, and resiliency of their ancestors are shared throughout the community. The book can also be purchased though local booksellers and the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

Derek Crowe and Jane Koepke (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year Award): This award is presented to Derek Crowe and Jane Keopke for the conservation of the Blacksmith Shop in Carcross, Yukon. While the history of this unassuming building is not fully known, its design and materials give an idea of its role within the development of the community and its connection to the history of the region. Built with full dimension rough sawn joists, the wide rough sawn plank subfloor and blackened interior provide clues to the buildings age and use. Retired RCMP member Bill Pringle acquired the Blacksmith Shop during the 1960s. The Pringles used the Blacksmith Shop as a residence while they constructed their new home on an adjacent lot. For years afterwards, the Blacksmith Shop was used for storage, and a meat-hanging shed and greenhouse were added to the structure. Bill called the building the Conrad Blacksmith Shop, as he believed it had been transported to Carcross over the ice from Conrad. However, it may also have served as the White Pass and Yukon Route blacksmith shop in Carcross. Since the building was partially constructed with lumber from other buildings, it is also possible that the Blacksmith Shop was built in Carcross from whatever materials were readily at hand. Derek Crowe and Jane Keopke recently acquired the Blacksmith Shop and undertook a project to rehabilitate the building for use as a part-time residence. Derek and Jane followed the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, while completing structural upgrades such as a new foundation and reinforcement of gable end walls, the removal of non-historic additions and roof replacement. This project will help ensure the longevity of the building by giving it a new use and appreciation within the community of Carcross. This award is sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon.


Art Johns (Posthumous Annual Heritage Award): Art called the mountains of the Carcross/Tagish traditional territory his home, and was extremely generous with his knowledge of its geography and resources. He provided immeasurable assistance to the Yukon Archaeology and Historic Sites programs, leading them to outstanding discoveries that will endure as monuments to Yukon First Nation land use and culture, including a number of ice patches. Art believed in maintaining the integrity of his territory, and he understood that required being responsible not only at camp, but in the decisions made in the board room as well. He was an enthusiastic contributor to many management initiatives on behalf of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, most recently serving as the designated Elder to the Conrad Historic Site Steering Committee. Art helped Yukon’s archaeologists and historic sites staff understand and interpret the places and artifacts they study. He was proud of his people’s history and he shared his sense of place with all Yukoners.

Beth Hunt and Bruce Mitford (History Makers Award): The Lansing Post Historic Site, situated at the confluence of the Stewart and Lansing Rivers, has a rich heritage that reflects the culture and history of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun as well as the economic history of fur trading in the Yukon. Since 1979, Bruce and Beth have trapped in the area and for the most part lived at the heritage site while raising their two daughters. Respecting the integrity of this remote site, they have cared for the historic structures, kept the area clear, and added new structures that do not detract from the site’s heritage character. The Lansing Post Heritage Management Plan was approved by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and Government of Yukon in 2018. Bruce and Beth were active participants in the management planning process, sharing their understanding of the site and providing information about their time there. These two remarkable individuals have been diligent stewards of this historic site, while writing their own chapter and generously welcoming all who venture there.

Kaitlin Normandin (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Kaitlin’s dedication to Yukon heritage is clear from her ongoing volunteerism. After joining YHMA in 2016, Kaitlin stood for election to the board in 2017 and upon her success accepted the role of Treasurer. The following year she moved into the role of President and remained in that position for two years. Not only did she take on these important offices, but Kaitlin also joined the Yukon Heritage Training Fund Adjudication Committee and served as the YHMA representative on the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon board, for which she filled the roles of Secretary and Chair, Human Resources Committee as well. Following her terms as Treasurer and President, Kaitlin remained on the YHMA board as a director until early 2022. She continues to volunteer with a variety of other local heritage organizations, including the Yukon Council of Archives and Hidden Histories Society of Yukon. Most recently, Kaitlin has extended her volunteer work to the national stage, becoming Secretary of the Association of Canadian Archivists in 2021.

Yukon Transportation Museum (YTM) and Janna Swales for Yukon Spin (Innovation, Education, and Community Engagement Award): Yukon Spin is a digital wellness offering that combines the history of Yukon biking, at home exercise, and interactive digital tourism. The pandemic had a significant impact on YTM, which closed for large swathes of time. YTM’s Executive Director Janna Swales, who had videotaped her bike rides in previous years for personal use, recognized the potential for a digital offering for YTM’s local and global audience during the pandemic, and beyond. Over the summer of 2020, Janna recorded several high-quality, first-person point-of-view cycling videos on routes all over the territory. With the help of Strategic Moves’ Inga Petri and local video editor Heather Von Steinhagen, the museum used these recordings to produce six videos and made them available through the Canadian streaming platform PPN. Each 45-minute video includes a timer, elevation and route maps, and facts about Yukon history. The project demonstrates great creativity in response to the challenging circumstances of the last two years, opening up a new revenue stream for the museum as well as a new, accessible way for the public to engage with Yukon heritage.

Anne Morgan and Jamie Toole for the MV Sibilla (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year Award ): The MV Sibilla is one of the few largely intact British Yukon Navigation Company (BYN) vessels remaining in the territory. It was built in 1932 and was in BYN service until 1955, when it became a private yacht. The vessel had been hidden from view and set on an inadequate rotting trailer beside the Carcross Barracks since 1998, but through diligently following the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, Jamie and Anne have successfully relocated the Sibilla to a prominent site on Tagish Avenue. Before the vessel was moved, extensive documentation occurred to ensure that the heritage character and value of the Sibilla were not harmed during its relocation. In addition to now being visible to the public, the vessel’s hull has been stabilized, arresting deterioration. Further conservation measures are being evaluated. This project took a key element of Yukon’s navigation history, made it visible once more, and secured a future for it. This award is sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon.


Colleen James (Annual Heritage Award): The Carcross/Tagish Traditional Territory is home to Colleen James, or Wolf Mother, Ghoóch Tlâ in Tlingit. Colleen has shown outstanding service to the protection, conservation, promotion, and development of Tséi Zhéłe / Sinwaa Éex’i Yé / Conrad Historic Site, from 2014 to the present. Among other roles in her community and First Nation, Colleen acted as a representative on the Tséi Zhéłe / Sinwaa Éex’i Yé / Conrad Historic Site Steering Committee. Her traditional knowledge and enthusiasm to conserve the site were a catalyst to finalizing the management plan, signed in July 2022 by Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) and the Government of Yukon (YG). She conducted research to identify traditional use areas and practices of the C/TFN people at the site and in the surrounding area and brought guidance and traditional knowledge that helped build a solid and trusting partnership between C/TFN and YG. Colleen is also involved in a C/TFN project to revitalize the Tagish and Tlingit languages by remembering and using Tagish and Tlingit place names. She researched the Tagish and Tlingit names for Tséi Zhéłe / Sinwaa Éex’i Yé / Conrad Historic Site and named the new walking trail, Łèiłú Déi (Butterfly Trail), that was developed in summer of 2022 at the Conrad Campground, adjacent to the historic site, for Yukon Parks. Colleen will continue with the Tséi Zhéłe / Sinwaa Éex’i Yé / Conrad Historic Site Working Group to ensure the site endures as a living cultural landscape.

Yann Herry (History Maker Award): Yann has been a key contributor to the development of the Yukon francophone community and its heritage since his arrival to the territory in 1981. As a French immersion and second language teacher (1986-2006), Yann organized numerous student exchanges and outdoors camps focusing on Yukon francophone history and Yukon historical connections with places like France and the Netherlands. As a researcher and historian, he has taken part in many projects, including the Alaska Highway Heritage Project, Whitehorse: An Illustrated History, Linda Johnson’s research project on François-Xavier Mercier and The Kandik Map, an exhibition on Yukon francophone aviation history for the Yukon Transportation Museum, multiple projects for l’Association franco-yukonnaise, and many more. In 2006, Yann completed his master’s thesis on francophones’ contribution to Yukon heritage, leading him to publish La francophonie, Northern Portraits in collaboration with Ruth Armson. His expertise has established him as a popular reference on Yukon and francophone history for media requests across Canada. Also a dedicated volunteer, Yann has served on the Board of YHMA and currently sits on the Board of the Yukon Council of Archives as well as the Société d’histoire francophone du Yukon, which he helped found in 2021 and now chairs. In 2002 Yann’s contributions to his community were recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. His work continues to grow our understanding and appreciation of Yukon francophone history and heritage.

Paul Gowdie (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Paul’s involvement on the Board of the Hidden Histories Society Yukon (HHSY) and in their various activities has made him an invaluable member of the Yukon heritage community. For over a decade, he has generously offered his impressive design and photography skills whenever needed, worked tirelessly behind the scenes on a wide variety of projects, and publicly represented HHSY with deep knowledge and passion. Paul has increased the profile of HHSY by providing professionally designed displays and promotional materials that have captured the interest of the public because of their visual appeal and content. He has also been a passionate speaker and coordinator of activities about the importance of telling stories and the history of Black and Asian Yukoners, especially their historical contributions to the cultural, social, and economic development of our communities. Notable projects for HHSY include the development of the organization’s first website, the design of HHSY’s visual identity, setting up Black History and Asian Heritage Month displays, coordinating the launch of HHSY’s oral history guidebook, the nomination of Black soldiers on the Alaska Highway as a National Historic Event, and numerous speaking engagements. Through countless volunteer hours devoted to the activities of HHSY, Paul has made, and continues to make, an outstanding contribution to the awareness and inclusion of Black and Asian histories in the Yukon.

Cole Pauls (Education, Innovation, and Community Engagement Award): Cole is a Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Citizen and Tahltan comic artist, illustrator, and printmaker hailing from Haines Junction.Cole’s 2022 graphic novel, Kwändǖr (“story” in Southern Tutchone), is a creative, captivating celebration of the language, culture, and heritage of Dene and Arctic peoples. Kwändǖr features a collection of short stories told in the form of comics, ranging personal experiences, to narratives featuring traditional activities and stories, to documentary-like profiles, and more. The rich illustrations, variety of stories, and use of Southern Tutchone and Tahltan languages come together in a unique publication that engages new audiences with Yukon heritage and provides existing audiences with a new perspective. In addition, through the inclusion of personal stories and discussions on topics such as Indigenous representation in pop culture, this work offers insights into the lived experiences of the creator as an Indigenous person and furthers discourse on Indigenous allyship, a vital part of work in heritage. Like its predecessor, Kwändǖr also contributes to language revitalization; Cole’s previous graphic novel, Dakwäkãda Warriors (2019), is a bilingual collection of three short comics in Southern Tutchone and English and was created as a language revitalization project. Cole holds a BFA in illustration from Emily Carr University and is a multi-award winner, having previously received the Indigenous Voices Award for Dakwäkãda Warriors, and Broken Pencil Magazine’s Best Comic and Best Zine of the Year Awards for Dakwäkãda Warriors II. He now resides in Vancouver.

Karen Murray (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year Award): Built in 1902 by its namesake, the Melanie Morico House remains a contributing element to the historic residential character of the east slope area in Dawson City. Karen is being recognized for the conservation of this property and specifically the foundation repair. The slope of the property and the adjacent street produced drainage issues that caused pressure on the basement walls.  If the problems had not been addressed the building would have become increasingly unstable. To repair the foundation and deal with the drainage problems the house was moved away from its original foundation, the basement filled, and the house returned to its original position on a new foundation. Throughout the project Karen showed a passion for maintaining the historic features of the house such as its prominent bay window and its position on the lot. This conservation project was successful in following the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada through the evaluation of structural systems, planning, and thorough documentation of each project stage. The critical foundation repairs will ensure the Melanie Morico house will remain part of Dawson City’s heritage fabric well into the future. This award is sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon.


Ruth Armson (History Maker Award): Throughout her 56 years in the Yukon to date, Ruth has been a champion for Yukon heritage, including the personal histories of Yukoners. Following a successful, thirty-plus year career as a teacher who passionately shared history with her students, Ruth set up a memoir-writing group for seniors called “Writing from the Soul” through which she encouraged and supported participants to write and share short vignettes drawn from their own experiences. This writing group lasted for over ten years and led multiple members to produce published works about their family histories. Ruth herself has published an autobiography and two biographies for Yukon seniors, conducting extensive primary source research. So often, when people are writing about Yukoners, past and present, Ruth is quietly working in the background, helping to fine tune the result. In 2004 she co-authored, with Yann Herry, the book La francophonie : une richesse nordique = Northern Portraits which features 20 portraits of francophones who played an important role in Yukon history and society. As Chair of the History Committee of the Pioneer Women of the Yukon Society, Lodge #2, she has also edited and formatted the written biographies of over one hundred Yukon women, a project that is ongoing today. Many of these biographies can be viewed in the Change-Makers and Trail Blazers online exhibit produced in partnership with MacBride Museum. Ruth has also helped produce the Pioneer Women of the Yukon Society’s two published booklets, North to New Horizons, Volume 1 (2022) and Volume 2 (2023). A third volume is in the works.

John Layman (Posthumous History Maker Award): John Layman, a resident of the Yukon for over 35 years, left an indelible mark on the territory through his extensive involvement in various artistic endeavours. His recent passing on January 9, 2024, has left a void in the creative community, but his legacy lives on through the numerous projects he undertook.
John’s remarkable calligraphy and signs can be seen throughout the Yukon and have become part of our communities’ identities. From calligraphy to intricately sandblasted cedar signs, John’s craftsmanship graces neighbourhoods, parks, municipalities, and other significant heritage landmarks. Residents and visitors alike encounter his contributions every day.
Where music is a cornerstone of Yukon heritage and culture, John Layman’s contributions in both official and unofficial capacities are invaluable. For example, he was on the board and played a core role in organising and promoting the Frostbite Music Festival. John left deep and meaningful impressions on countless musicians from the Yukon and beyond.
John’s impact extends beyond his artistic achievements. He was a proud Yukoner who warmly welcomed many newcomers to the North, fostering a sense of community and connection, teaching a respect for Northern heritage, and helping to make the Yukon what it is today.

Harris Cox (Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award): Harris Cox has volunteered at, and donated artifacts to, the Yukon Transportation Museum periodically over the past decade with an intensifying of his volunteering over the past year. In 2023, he donated a tote full of slides to the YTM, which the museum then scanned. The collection represents a treasure trove of images of the Yukon from the 1950s to the 1990s, and includes photos of, among other things, Yukon roads, the airport, Hillcrest in the 1960s, and Harris’ time hunting with his Renault convertible. Harris has been working with museum staff weekly, reviewing the scans and identifying the places, people, and events they represent. He often arrives with additional images and gruffly says, “The history would die if it wasn’t for people like me that takes pictures and share them. Otherwise, they’d end up in the dump. How else are people supposed to know history?” Harris moved to Whitehorse as a teenager during the building of the Alaska Highway and lived in the Air Force housing in Hillcrest. Throughout his career, his work was closely connected with transportation in the territory. In 2016 he received the Governor General’s award for decades of volunteer work. His extensive experience and dedication make Harris a volunteer advocate for the Yukon and a community memory reservoir worthy of recognition.

Shot in the Dark Productions (Innovation, Education, and Community Engagement Award): Shot in the Dark Production’s 2023 documentary Signal Fire takes its themes and ideas from an academic paper called “Toward Reconciliation: 10 calls to Action to Natural Scientists Working in Canada.” The paper and film focus on restoring balance in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Shot in the Dark worked with the authors of the paper and others to illustrate how the relationship between researchers and Indigenous communities must be on a path of mutual respect. This is not the first documentary that Shot in the Dark has produced with a healthy community reference. Shift, produced in 2016, tells the story of Carcross youth who converted 60 km of historic trails on Montana Mountain to a well-known mountain-bikers’ destination. Through Signal Fire, Shot in the Dark Productions is helping to spread the word to researchers in all disciplines that developing and sustaining healthy, vibrant communities means embracing many forms of wisdom and dialogue, and that how research is conducted, and with whom, matters as much as the focus of the research.

Yukon Film Society (Heritage Conservation Project of the Year Award): The Yukon Film Society was recognized for the conservation of the Yukon Theatre’s historic neon sign. Built in 1954, the Yukon Theatre first opened its doors on December 4th. Over the years, the Yukon Theatre’s early modernist façade has undergone a number of phases of repainting in various colours schemes. However, the theatre’s neon signs have remained more or less unchanged since the building’s construction. When the Yukon Film Society leased the theatre in 2021, the neon signs had already been in a state of disrepair for some time. Throughout the project the Yukon Film Society has shown a passion for restoring this cherished landmark of downtown Whitehorse. The goal of the Society’s conservation project was to repaint the Yukon Theatre signage in its original 1954 colours and repair the sign’s neon lettering. This restoration project was successful in following the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada though the historical research, planning, and documentation of the project. This project has helped to preserve this iconic mid-century movie house and one of the last remaining neon façades in Whitehorse. Through their efforts, the Yukon Film Society has helped to preserve a cherished icon of downtown Whitehorse so that it can continue to be a gathering place for arts, culture, and community for the next 70 years. This award is sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Culture, Historic Sites Unit.