I have an idea that would really put the Yukon on the world map: let’s build a True North Queen School. Tourists and Yukon students could spend few weeks at the Queen School, named after the wealth of history Rendezvous Queens study in order to be ambassadors to the Yukon.
If we built a True North Queen School, tourists and students could learn about such nuggets of history as the story of the Alaska Highway construction; the heart-wrenching stories of friendships between the American and Canadian soldiers during wartime; the radio transmission tower in Hillcrest during World War II and even the living reminders of wartime, such as the pre/post war duplexes – most without a garage.
Since the Yukon was formed in 1898 – during Queen Victoria’s reign – such a school would take us back in time and classes would offer a wealth of knowledge.
It is fascinating to learn some extra facts that we don’t normally have the opportunity to learn. We could offer basic history of such topics as lifestyle and clothing during that period. That will be just magical.
When I was running for the 2015 Rendezvous Queen title, I discovered a few facts from my research. Velvet was for the rich and famous. Silk was in fashion and women followed specific fashion guidelines for what to wear before sunrise and sunset. Men also had a set dress code.
Etiquette was an art and there were specific rules around such things as dinner, including where to put your purse and gloves, which cutlery to use and when, and more rules for playing host to a dinner and the seating arrangements.
It would be ideal to offer extra lessons for pageant contestants vying for the Rendezvous Queen title. They could learn basic make up, public speaking, walking with elegance, time management – and strategies for selling Rendezvous event tickets.
That would add a magical experience for tourists who come here to see the beautiful Yukon scenery and the fascinating history of the First Nations and the Gold Rush.
We have the talent pool and the experience. It could be a collaboration between the Yukon College and Tourism Yukon to start a part-time Queen School. We could take some cues from the successful business model of the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, which is 50-plus years and going strong.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. What do you say, Yukon?