“There are strange things done in the land of the midnight sun…”
Truer words may have never been written by that famous Bard of the North.
There were plenty of strange things done back in the days of the Gold Rush and there are plenty more still being done today in the Yukon.
We spend our summers basking in the sunlight, we spend our winters braving frigid temperatures and long dark days. The end result is a territory full of some unique and vibrant characters.
The “colourful five per cent” some might say.
With this column, Yukonisms, I will attempt to bring to light some of the many traits that make Yukoners some of Canada’s most special people.
From travelling hundreds of kilometres to attend weekend music festivals without even having a ticket, to growing leg hair in the winter (and that’s the females), this new column will attempt to share with tourists, Cheechakos and fellow Yukoners some of our many quirky mannerisms.
Why is it that so many Yukoners know exactly how long they have lived in the Yukon, yet are shy about calling themselves, “Yukoners”?
And how many folks, other than Yukoners, will have no qualms about jumping into a canoe at midnight for a paddle through Miles Canyon?
Yet we tend to be impatient.
“I can’t come to your place! You live way over in Porter Creek and I’m in Riverdale!”
It is a common phrase uttered by many, which seems silly because, let’s face it, we have it pretty good considering most Vancouverites and Torontonians spend a minimum of half an hour commuting to work each day.
How about the lines at the grocery store? Heaven forbid if we can’t grab our goods and be on our way in a matter of minutes.
After all, we have mountains to climb and rivers to paddle.
How about our impromptu crosswalks? I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, sticking out your hand and walking across four lanes of traffic was not exactly abiding by the law.
Yet we all stop.
Sure, some drivers scold areas they would rather not with hot coffee, especially in the winter when they have not properly scraped their windows, but still we slam on the brakes every time.
And only in the Yukon will you see a cyclist pedalling around when it is 40 below outside … and with a smile on to boot.
The list goes on and on.
This new column is not meant to poke fun or offend, rather it is to provide a disclaimer for those new to the territory or those not in the know.
Why do we all say hi to each other on Main Street?
Do we really identify one another by the colour of our toques in the winter?
These questions and more will all be answered — or at least attempted — through this column.
And please feel free to share a Yukonism you might have noticed … we all know there are plenty of them out there.
Don’t be shy, we’ll have a potluck, cook something vegan and talk quirky traits.