Culture Days in Whitehorse

As a word, culture encompasses a wide variety of concepts.

That’s why anything goes this fall, as Whitehorse hops on the Canada-wide Culture Days bandwagon.

Facilitated by the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) and the Yukon Historical Museums Association (YHMA), Whitehorse will join cities across the country as they explore and celebrate their cultures from September 30 to October 2.

Michele Emslie, one of the YAC organizers, explains the origins of the project.

“Culture Days started in Quebec a few years ago,” she says, “The idea is to bring the arts communities and general communities together.”

The only stipulation, Emslie explains, is that the events must be free.

“This year, the Yukon Arts Centre wants to spearhead a campaign along with the YMHA to celebrate Culture Days in Whitehorse.”

The concept is to have open doors in offices and studios throughout the city so that people can freely explore and experience all the different kinds of culture that people have to offer.

Often museums will open their doors in May, Emslie says, and so they hope to combine the two events, in a “Culture Day Celebrates Doors Open” vein.

“We’re trying to organize Doors Open, as well as some events at the Old Fire Hall,” she says. “But we’re hoping that anyone who has an office or just anyone that wants to be involved will throw their doors open.

“For the Fire Hall, we’re hoping to have people come down and mingle, like theatre groups and things like that. The Fire Hall will be a hub, and we’re going to make some maps for people that are walking. We’ll be publishing more information on the maps as we get them organized.”

So what can we expect to see on this culture-crazy weekend? Emslie isn’t quite sure yet, but she knows it’ll be exciting.

“Artists’ studios will be open, there will be surprises and just a general air of excitement in the downtown core, and hopefully outside in the communities as well. The idea is just to celebrate everything that’s culture in our community.”

There are a number of people at both the YAC and YHMA organizing and coordinating the project, and they will keep the public updated as the events of the weekend evolve.

“Look for posters and notices about what’s going on,” Emslie encourages, “Come and celebrate culture in your community. Everyone is welcome. Also, if you have an event, contact us. We want to give the Yukon a good showing.”

Anyone interested in setting up an event can contact the organizers through the YAC website, and is also encouraged to post it in on the Culture Days website at

The site contains information on the Culture Days concept, as well as updates and features on the various events happening across Canada.

Willow Gamberg is a former What’s Up Yukon intern who writes about music and other arts-related topics.

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