My great great grandparents, Alexander Fraser and Jane Hastings Fraser left Dumfrieshire, Scotland in 1795. They settled in the Ottawa Valley with many Scottish immigrants. I have visited the cemetery near Renfrew, Ontario where they rest. In 2010, my sister, my husband and I traveled to Dumfrieshire, Scotland to walk in their footsteps.

I love history. Fascinating stories, people and places come alive when one researches the past.

Yukon students in Grades 4 to 7 are able to make history come alive for themselves when they participate in heritage fairs at the local school level. Teachers, parents and mentors celebrate research and history by encouraging the students with their projects.

Heritage fairs showcase quality research and presentations. Fairs give students the opportunity to present projects to judges and the Yukon public. After participating in the local school fair, students may then be chosen to participate in the Yukon Stikine Regional Heritage Fair.

This year the Yukon Stikine Regional Heritage Fair will be held at the Yukon Transportation Museum on Thursday, May 5.

Chief Judge Cathy Hines, who has been involved with the fair for two years, loves the enthusiasm shown by students. Student excitement is inspiring and contagious.

Past projects include research into oral history and family genealogy, Yukon personalities, Canadian heroes, First Nations culture and archaeology. Projects have dealt with buildings, artifacts, events, family members, street names, ships, cities and battles.

These young historians and researchers are passionate about Yukon and Canadian heritage. Hines’ hope is that some students will continue their love of history by becoming historians in the future.

This year’s opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Speakers representing First Nations, the City of Whitehorse, the Department of Education, the Commissioner’s Office as well as our Member of Parliament will welcome participants and encourage their continued passion.

After the opening ceremonies students are divided into two groups. One group remains at the Transportation Museum for project judging. The other group heads to the Beringia Interpretive Centre for activities. After a morning snack the groups switch places about 10:30 a.m.  

The Award Ceremony begins at 2 p.m. This year’s Master of Ceremonies is Kate Alexander from Parks Canada. The public is invited to view the projects between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Many Yukon schools participate in this exciting fair. Schools are allowed to send up to six projects to the Stikine Regional Heritage Fair. Schools participating in the regional fair this year include Old Crow, Atlin, Mayo, Haines Junction, Dawson City, Jack Hulland, Takhini Elementary, Selkirk Elementary and Whitehorse Elementary.

Thirty two judges will view the projects and speak to young historians about their research. The judges represent the Yukon Historical and Museums Association,

the Yukon Archives, the Yukon Heritage Resources Board, the Heritage Resources Board, Parks Canada, Ta án Kwachán council, Yukon government departments, historians, retired educators and other interested volunteers.

There are 50 projects at the fair this year. Bruce Barrett, a former head judge is the official photographer for the event.

If you are interested in young people, their interests and studies, their passion for history, you will not want to miss this heritage fair on Thursday, May 5.

PHOTOS: Bruce Barrett

A Past Yukon Stikine Regional Heritage Fair

A Past Yukon Stikine Regional Heritage Fair

The Poster from the 2016 Yukon Stikine Regional Heritage Fair

Picture from YHMA’s website taken by Bruce Barrett

PHOTO: courtesy of Nellie Dale

Caption: Alexander Fraser and Jane Hastings Fraser, my great, great grandparents.