World War Two

The military history of Canada during the Second World War[1] begins with the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939. While the Canadian Armed Forces were eventually active in nearly every theatre of war, most combat was centred in Italy,

Rations and cookbooks

Late May brought sun and warmth to the bordertown of Beaver Creek, Yukon. Sid was already back working hard at the Visitor Information Centre. He could feel the season was going to be a good one. Sid had come a long way from his childhood in northern Netherlands during the end of the Second World …

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Searching for a way out

Genevieve Fleming is counting on Whitehorse audiences to take in the upcoming Guild Theatre production, even if just to indulge in some cold-weather Schadenfreude. In one sense, the Vancouver-based director suggested in an interview, staging French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 play, No Exit, is like holding a mirror up to our own society. “We, the …

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What would you do?

Wren Brian was just 10 years old when the first X-Men movie came out in 2000. The film’s opening scene, set in the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, triggered a fascination with the Nazi Holocaust that remains with her today. Until a single one-hour history lesson in Grade 12, however, the Whitehorse-born playwright had …

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High Adventure

At the age of 82, Peter Steele says he has very little memory of his own parents. That’s partly why he decided a few years ago to write his autobiography. “I didn’t want my own kids to able to say the same,” he explains. “I thought I had enough interesting stories that I’d like them …

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When the Land Has a Character

Bestselling Canadian author Lawrence Hill pursues a lifelong interest in African diaspora narratives. As a part of the research for a book he’s writing about the contribution of African American soldiers to the construction of the Alaska Highway, Hill is travelling the Highway from northern B.C. through the Yukon. His first Yukon stop was in …

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Engaging Historical Fiction

I am not one who likes to read dry historical tomes. I like to absorb my history through the sugar coated pill of historical fiction, written by an author whose research is meticulous. And in this genre, Louis de Bernieres is a master. His works include books such as Birds Without Wings and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. …

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A Big Yellow Truck with a Past

“It’s a 1942 International,” Sid tells me as we are standing by a truck whose yellow paint is slowly chipping away with age. The truck’s original grey colour has been exposed underneath the bright yellow. Its large body and tires tell us it was a truck built for working in rough terrain. “It’s a six …

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Yukon Hidden History: Extraordinary Endurance

Lucile Hunter was an intrepid Yukon pioneer. Just 35 years after slavery was abolished in 1863 in the United States, she and her husband, Charles, joined the stampede to the Klondike from the US in 1897. As black Americans, they hoped to trade the cruelties of their homeland for a frontier that promised equality and …

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Keeping the Memory Alive

In 1943 Operation Husky was put into motion. Canadian Soldiers travelled deep into the Sicilian countryside to fight against the Nazi presence that had been established there. More than 500 Canadian Soldiers lost their lives during the campaign in Sicily. The cemetery in Agira, Sicily is not a well-known place to be visited in the …

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The Survivor Tree

Germany: a land of farms and old cities, and the destination of my travels every two years. It is a land with a past. Most towns here still hold scars of war in the form of bunkers that are sprawled throughout the country. A reminder of what once was. One such reminder is a tree. …

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A Northern Diary

I have been in the wilderness of the Mackenzie Mountains for six weeks, and have decided to begin a diary. It’s maybe not the right time to start one, but now that I’m not quite as busy and not nearly as tired at the end of the day, I’ll begin one anyway so that I …

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Love and War

How do you relate to someone after you discover they’ve committed monstrous acts? The generation born in Germany after World War II – who Berthold Brecht called “those who came after” (Nachgeborenen) – faced that question every day. The 2008 German-American film The Reader, available on DVD at Whitehorse Public Library, explores the effect of …

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