… have a drink of lemonade on August 7

Two Yukon organizations are making lemonade centre stage this summer. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yukon is hosting the second annual Big Squeeze Lemonade Stand Competition and the Yukon Transportation Museum is sharing Klondike Gold Rush history with a lemony twist. The museum has taken to referring to the time before and after the completion of the White Pass & Yukon Route railway as “Before Lemons” and “After Lemons.”

Prior to completion of the route, it could take months for lemons (which generally keep for less than a few weeks) to reach Dawson City. The railroad was completed on July 29, 1900: this marked the first opportunity to deliver fresh lemons to the Yukon. The first fresh lemonade in Dawson City was advertised 117 years ago by McDonalds’ Saloon in 1902. Take a moment and compare that feat of transportation—including shipping by rail, trail and ship—with the simplicity of being able to pluck a lemon off the grocery store shelf today.

Dawson City was a fancy city in the early 1900s and it had the latest in just about everything. Those with the means revelled in it all, sometimes blowing their money as quickly as they made it, including on fresh lemonade. Imagine yourself in Dawson City on a soporific afternoon 117 years ago, with mosquitoes buzzing, alders shimmering and that sweet, icy lemonade waiting for the next lucky strike miner.

Join the Yukon Transportation Museum on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3 p.m. on the Lemonade Tour, a look at the economic, social and medical context and supply chain of this early moment of “After Lemons.” You will be horrified at the details around the suffering involved with scurvy. But you’ll relax as you find out about the many indigenous Yukon plants that offer an abundance of vitamin C, including rosehips, spruce and pine needles, cloudberries, dandelions and chickweed. And afterwards, visitors will join in squeezing a few lemons and enjoying a delightfully icy tart lemonade.

A partner of the Yukon Transportation Museum, BBBSY,is also having a lemon-themed event again this year with The Big Squeeze lemonade stand competition happening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 7. Local businesses and organizations who register a team make their own lemonade recipe and set up a stand outside (or inside) their workplace where they sell their lemonade to the public by donation to BBBSY.

The 2018 Big Squeeze winner was Lumel Studios. Additional lemonade stands were located at BMO, Well-Read Books, Seasons, Paradise Alley, Challenge Disability Resource Group, BYTE, RE/MAX Action Realty (last year’s top fundraisers) and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yukon office next to LePage Park. Save-On-Foods is helping out again this year by donating lemons for competitors to make their lemonades from scratch. With nine teams participating last year, Yukoners donated $4,000 to support youth mentoring programs. To set up a stand, let Big Brothers Big Sisters know by Aug. 5 by calling 668-7911 or emailing bbbsyukon@gmail.com, and get yourself registered. 

Mayor Dan Curtis and members of the BBBSY team awarding the 2019 Big Squeeze Trophy to Lumel Studios

Big Squeeze Lemonade Stand Locations as of July 18

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yukon and Volunteer Yukon office, 305 Wood Street (next to Arts in the Park)
  • RE/MAX Action Realty office, 49 Waterfront Place
  • Lumel Studios, 101 Keish Street
  • Paradise Alley Gifts, 206 Main Street
  • Seasons Galleria, 301 Main Street
  • Well-Read Books, 4137 4th Avenue
  • Bank of Montreal, 111 Main Street
  • Challenge Disability Resource Group – 1148 Front Street
  • Canadian Mental Health Association – Yukon, Waterfront Wharf on Front Street
  • Yukon College, Main Campus
  • Yukon Transportation Museum, 30 Electra Crescent
  • Solvest, 110 Titanium Way in Industrial area
  • The Wish Factory, 3169 3rd Avenue
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Youth Programs, Dawson City