Robert Service

Authors on Eighth celebrates Klondike literature

Each summer the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA), honours the memory of four writers who have meant a great deal to Dawson City and the Klondike: Jack London, Robert W. Service, Pierre Berton and Dick North.

Celebrating the Klondike’s Literary Legends

During the week that leads to the Discovery Days weekend, the Klondike Visitors Association, Parks Canada and the Writers’ Trust of Canada celebrate the writers who have made Dawson City world famous. Part of this event, called Authors on Eighth, is a writing contest that began in June and ended in July, in time for …

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Filling the Gaps in Our History

“Everyone talks about the Goldrush. I’m interested in the gaps in history. The points in between,” says Yukon writer Michael Gates, author of From the Klondike to Berlin. Published last month, this book is, perhaps surprisingly, the first to offer an in depth account of the Yukon’s contribution to World War I. Gates says that …

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Home for a Yukon Spell

When my parents drove the Canadian Shield to Whitehorse 34 years ago in a rusted, steel blue Pontiac, they were unaware of the lifelong curse they were casting upon me. No, my parents are not wiccan worshippers, or practitioners of the Craft, just a couple of Ontario born kids who had a dream of carving …

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Yukon / Utopia

In “Spell of the Yukon,” Bobby Service suggests, The realm’s Utopia—snock snarls of forests; Avalanches that out-grumble politicos; Gold that outweighs paper dollars backed by zeroes; Where the cussedest blizzard outlasts even August; And extra white comes snow, pure as a virgin’s Lust; Where dew fanatically lavishes each grass blade; Damned good is muck where …

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Dawson in a Fictional Sense

About the same time as I was reading Elle Wild’s very entertaining mystery novel, Strange Things Done, I happened to watch a discussion between best selling novelists Stephen King and Lee Child. Part of the discussion was about settings, and Child noted that he had set one of his novels in New York, a city …

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The Trail of 98 Shows Another Side of Robert W. Service

Though best known for his 15 collections of verse (a term he preferred to poetry in reference to his own work) Robert Service also wrote novels. Between 1909 and 1927, he produced some genre material: adventure, mystery, science fiction and horror. The first of these was The Trail of 98: a Northland Romance, written in his …

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Stories for Gold

Each year the Klondike Visitors Association works with the Writers’ Trust of Canada, Parks Canada, and the Dawson Community Library to put on the Authors on Eighth Walking Tour during the week before Discovery Days. Connected to that event is the annual Authors on Eighth Writing Contest, which challenges would-be authors to emulate the work …

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Flat Feet and Brave Hearts: The Yukon at War

Canada was part of the British Empire, so when war was declared by Great Britain on August 4, 1914, Canada, too, joined the the conflict. There was a tremendous upswing of patriotic fervour. The vast American influx during of the Klondike gold rush had been largely replaced by a more settled British population, eager to …

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Germans love Jack London

Why is Robert Service so much better known here than Jack London? This question comes from Wolfgang Robert Greiner, one of five German journalists I was invited to meet for breakfast at the Aurora Inn in late February. Their primary literary interest is in Jack London, whose Yukon themed short stories were standard fare in …

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Crazy ’bout a Mercury

Local musician Ryan McNally really does have himself a Mercury, which he definitely does cruise up and down the road.

Northern Gifts

Some gifts take time sinking in; others stare you in the face. We, our family of four in a VW Beetle, arrived late in Watson Lake on October 1, 1957, and awoke in a strange house, beside the lake. Outside, in brilliant sun, and “a silence you most could hear,” as Robert Service described it, …

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The Klondike Echoes Down through the Literary Years

The Klondike has been the inspiration for a great deal of fiction since the Gold Rush, beginning with Jack London, who came with the Stampeders and left with a mother-lode of inspiration that would make him the wealthiest name-brand author of his generation. A decade later, the same inspiration seized a quasi-hobo and reluctant bank …

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Yukoners Are Different

“There are strange things done in the land of the midnight sun…”  -Robert Service Truer words may have never been written by that famous Bard of the North. There were plenty of strange things done back in the days of the Gold Rush and there are plenty more still being done today in the Yukon. …

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Roy, The Kindred Spirit

“How’d you get here? Why’d you stay?” Ubiquitous phrases heard in the Yukon indeed. With the sheer number of transients coming through the territory, it’s a natural inclination to pose these questions to the ever-increasing population of the North. The getting there. Some people have long stories, grand tales of wanderlust adventuring, where they suddenly, …

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George McConkey Breathes Life Into the Harmonica

George McConkey has a new album out that displays his song writing ability and features some great classic tunes. More on that later, first, a digression. I’m a humble little bit of tin and horn/I’m a byword, I’m a plaything, I’m a jest; The virtuoso looks on me with scorn/But there’s times when I am …

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World of Words: Modern-Day Mythology on 8th

Celebrate Northern literature on August 13 during Authors on 8th, a literary walking tour through the lives of Klondike authors Jack London, Robert Service and the Bertons, Laura and Pierre. “There’s a huge mythology about the North that both Jack London and Robert Service created,” says Rachel Wiegers, the marketing and special events co-ordinator for …

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Sam McGee “at home”

Looking Back: The real Sam McGee

Sam McGee was a real person, but nothing like Service’s character. He stole the name off of a deposit slip.The two men never knew each other.

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