Immigration

From the Punjab to the Yukon

Gurdeep Pandher was one of the first people I met when I moved to the Yukon. I walked into a Scottish country barn dance at the Old Fire Hall, in Whitehorse, and here was a guy in the remote North in his pagri, at an event, sitting and absorbing the dances and people.

The Deli

Fifty years of meat, sausage and community

The Deli, as it is fondly nicknamed by so many, is a local icon to most Yukoners (not just those in Whitehorse), as well as to many travellers from around the world. (This tribute was written to help celebrate its 50th Anniversary on December 14, 2018.)

An author’s dream …

Yukon-based writer Joanna Lilley has published her first novel, Worry Stones, after 17 years of working on it. “I wasn´t working on it every day, during that time. There were periods when I put it aside.” She wrote poems and short stories instead. During the past years, she published two collections of poetry and one …

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The sun never sets on the Whitehorse Rapids

The 2018–19 Whitehorse Rapids over-35 soccer season kicks off at the end of September, bringing together a collection of expats and non-hockey-playing Canadians in one homogenous mix.

The Perpetual Immigrant

Since I was 18 years old, I have been an immigrant 12 times. My entire adult life has been spent as a foreigner to those I live and work with. Always being different. Never quite fitting in.

Coming to the Yukon as a refugee

Fiona Azizaj and her parents fled Kosovo to Germany when she was months old. They later settled in Whitehorse in 2003. She will provide details and answer questions about what her family went through to get here at this year’s Yukon Cares Annual General Meeting.

From passion to success

It’s been 20 years since Thomas de Jager first discovered the Yukon. Today, he runs his successful business Yukon Wide Adventures that gives locals and tourists the opportunity to enjoy the Yukon’s outdoors. Thomas, originally from Monheim, Germany first came as a tourist through Alaska and the Yukon in 1996. His parents were avid kayakers …

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A Bumpy Road to Citizenship

November, 1972. California-born musician Mike Stockstill and two friends packed their instruments into the car and headed for Alaska. The car was a 1942 Dodge truck that had six months earlier been a chicken coop. Mike, a mechanic, and his friends turned it back into a truck. “It broke down every 300 miles so we …

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Northern Lights

Already Six Weeks

Forty-five days ago, I placed my feet on Canadian soil, with the goal of changing my life completely. Things are going pretty well!

All Her Roads Lead to Poetry

Yukon based writer Joanna Lilley has just published her second collection of poetry If there Were Roads by Turnstone Press; she says that there are no roads to the past. “You can never go back.” Inspired by a childhood memory, she wrote “The Devonian Period,” her first poem in her newest book. Lilley says that …

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A New Daily Routine

The quietness is however short lived, the silence broke as soon as I approached the harnesses… It was their way of showing their will to go; their desire to work. They were 50, and yet only 14 would be taken for the first round. And they knew it very well! As soon as I put …

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Welcome to Alayuk Adventures

Marcelle arrived shortly before 7:30 pm and I was on my way to Alayuk Adventures! My luggage loaded into the trunk, we get into the warm car and drive on the South Alaska Highway. Two strangers meeting for the first time – despite a few exchanges of emails, we knew nothing about each other. Yet …

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An Accidental Alien

With the world’s longest undefended border it’s not difficult to become an accidental illegal alien, especially between the Yukon and Alaska. After all, the last time there was a serious passport control on the Chilkoot Trail was during the gold rush. And not so long ago, a person could float down the Yukon River from …

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The Long-Awaited Day

I sit on the 10K seat. For the first time in my life, I travelled middle class and it’s pretty cool, I have to admit! Tons of space for my legs, despite the big bag at my feet, and even more attentive hostesses. This was Condor’s last flight of the summer, the plane was half …

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The Long-Awaited Day

This day, I woke up at 6:45 a.m. I must say I was surprised to have such a good night’s sleep. No stress, no sadness. But the anxieties arrived as we get closer to the airport. My fear of the plane finally bit the euphoria of departure. We quickly found a parking space, tested the …

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Syrian Sourdough

Now he is upgrading his education and learning English at the Yukon College in preparation to study pharmacy. He concentrates to force his hand write left to right, which is opposite to Arabic, as he writes out the names of his family. At school, it’s impossible to overlook Hasan’s notoriety. “We’re famous now.” He shifts …

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Trying Something New

Ploytida Samanachangphunk had one sister living in Whitehorse before she immigrated to Canada. Now she has three sisters and an extended family here. Ploytida’s sister would return for family visits to their hometown of Nan, in northern Thailand, and tell her about life in the Yukon. Ploytida became intrigued. “I love my country. Thailand is …

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Harvey Burian: Growing up Multicultural on the Stewart River

Life on the river was isolated, especially in winter when the steamboats were not running. Sometimes visitors did stop in to catch up on the news. Harvey remembers: “We had radios…and we got mostly Alaskan stations…KFRB in Fairbanks…[and] in the last few years…we had a Ham radio…and the RCMP office in Mayo had one and …

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About arrivals and departures

The epic saga of immigration is brought to human scale in Brooklyn, a critically acclaimed film based on the novel by Irish writer Colm Tóibín, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Released in 2015 and available on DVD at the Whitehorse Public Library, Brooklyn follows a young woman who finds herself part of the Irish …

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Interview at the Embassy

The status of one’s permanent residency quickly becomes the crux of conversation among the Yukon’s new Canadians. And it’s the crux of this column. No two people have the same story to tell. Not only are there various ways to immigrate, each person’s reason to immigrate is different. Some are poignant, others humorous, like this …

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My Dad, the Outlaw

Gabriola Islander Bob Bossin brings his one-man musical Davy the Punk to The Old Fire Hall next Thursday, Sept. 22 and to Dawson City the following week. The show is based on Bossin’s 2014 book of the same title. They tell the story of his father’s life in Canada’s gambling underworld of the 1930s. Both …

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A Love Affair with Photography

Priska Wettstein’s love affair with photography began in 2008 when husband Paul presented her with a camera. “I don’t know why he did that,” she says, “but ever since then, I’m just hooked. So whenever I go for a walk, or drive out of town, or just need some time to myself, I grab my …

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An Enterprising Adventurer

The lure of the Yukon brought many enterprising people north.  Togo Takamatsu was one of them. He was born in Chojumura, Japan on February 10, 1875 and immigrated to Vancouver in 1907. In the spring of 1920 he arrived in Carcross becoming one of 20 Asian people living in the Yukon according to the census. He …

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Venturing North

Born in 1950 in the Philippines, Socorro Alfonso travelled halfway around the world to live in the Yukon. Socorro was born on the tiny tropical island of Bacacay Albay southeast of Manila. Her mother named her for the Spanish word meaning “help” and throughout her life she has been a caring helper for people of …

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Perogy Blessings

Perogies have always been a part of my life. Every meal that includes homemade perogies is a special occasion. Learning the best way to make them has been a lifelong process. I am the child of first generation Canadians. My mother’s family emigrated from Finland; my father’s from the Ukraine and Poland. My father, who …

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From East to North

“Never heard of it!” That was my first thought when my aunt said Yukon Territory. Other than knowing it was part of Canada and that I had family there, I was clueless about my possible new address. So I did my homework; I Googled. Since then, “more or less two hours away from Alaska” has …

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How To Love The Yukon Without Ditching Your First Love

Yukoners know the following conversational elements all too well: “So, what brought you to the Yukon?” “Oh, I came up here for work/to visit friends/as a tourist a few years ago and never ended up leaving.” The frequent follow up question is…

Fun with math

Emil Imrith laughs easily when he is asked about the stereotype we have for physicists: nerdy types in lab coats standing in front of a blackboard full of numbers and equations. “Nowadays, we have computers that help us to model and simulate,” he says. “But we do need a whiteboard 50 per cent of the …

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Passion for Detail

Masamichi Nakatsuka has a painting, a watercolour on paper called “Passion”, that he completed in one sitting. The painting is of a skull with paint dripping down its side. Nakatsuka, who goes by Michi, says he couldn’t stop working until it was finished. It took five to six hours. Michi ended up in Whitehorse because …

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Yukon: No Star-Whackers Here

Has my gast ever been flabbered! Trolling through Randy Quaid’s IMDB (Internet Movie Database) listing, I was shocked to discover that someone already had the incredible foresight to green light “Christmas Vacation 2.” And I had had high hopes we were going to make that sequel here in Canada. For those of you who have …

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The Garden That Love Made

Have you seen the flowerbeds outside the Subaru/Kia dealership? They are, in a word, immaculate. Nestled together in concrete planters, the Geraniums, Petunias and Marigolds burst forth in almost psychedelic technicolour. It all leaves one to ruminate about the tender loving care that has been invested in the garden. The gardener’s name is Joginder Grewal …

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We wanted a community we could call our own

“We were in Pakistan — as ever, saving children,” Martin Crill says at the Baked Café, where the sun has finally come inside. “We believed Canada had forgotten about us.” He worked for Save the Children UK, an independent children’s charity, often intervening in war situations to help displaced children find families. Martin’s Canadian journey …

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