Play Makers: Hobbit Homes and Garage Dwellers Aplenty

I want to begin by saying that I don’t think Whitehorsians are hobbits.

I feel obliged to clarify that.

I will tell you, though, that the downtown core of this fine city is littered with what can be aptly described as “hobbit homes”.

You know … the ones made famous in The Lord of the Rings.

It’s nothing new, as any Jim Robb print will show you.

I guess the tiny Whitehorse houses were something I had just grown accustomed to over the years … that is, until a recent evening when I was walking along the clay cliffs.

As I gazed out at the vast beauty of the Yukon River, the deep-blue sky and the majestic snow-capped peaks, my eyes eventually glanced down over the downtown portion of the city and brought to mind two notions:

One being that, years ago, there must have been a clearance sale on green siding and green roofing materials, and two, that the majority of homes located downtown are abnormally tiny.

My “hobbit home” epiphany really came to fruition last month when a close friend of mine began renting one of these Lord of the Rings-esque dwellings.

Helping them move (cram) their belongings into their new resting place, I was reminded of my first lodging experience in the territory some years ago.

I was living downtown on the mean street of Wheeler.

Of course, being a Cheechako, I didn’t know better at the time and simply looked at it as a convenience when those unique “Colourful Five Percenters” would scrounge through my recyclables on a weekly basis.

What an innovative bottle-removal program this city has, I thought.

There was a garage in the back of the place, but I didn’t give it much thought until one afternoon while I was taking out the trash and I noticed an abundance of animal droppings littered throughout the back lawn.

Not that unusual, except that no one in the house had a pet.

Turns out, unbeknownst to us, there was a man living in our garage.

Long story short – he didn’t have a bathroom.

Growing up in Victoria, you would never hear of people living in garages. Mike Seaver, on TV’s Growing Pains did it, sure, but no real folks actually called it home.

But here in Whitehorse, garage dwellers are a dime a dozen.

If you are bored one evening, after you have checked out the green-siding phenomenon from atop the cliffs, saunter through some of the alleys downtown.

For the most part, those are not just garages you’ll see, full of shoddy lawnmowers and old exercise equipment. They are Yukoners’ homes.

Some folks living in the tiny hobbit houses might even consider garage living, luxurious – people living in houses such as the purple one at the end of Hanson or the tiny abode on Strickland and Sixth, to name just a couple.

Tiny homes, garage dwellers and green siding; it’s just some of the fascinating aspects of the downtown core.

My only hope is that, like when you walk your dog, if warranted, you remove your waste.

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