The epitome of character building is reflected in the faces and personalities of the Carcross Visitor Information Centre (VIC) team as they meet the needs of the travelling public.
The flooding that took place through much of the Southern Lakes region last year also left its mark on the Carcross VIC housed in the historic White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) Railway Depot built in 1910.
The grand old building experienced minor flooding in the basement area which meant that the staff had to move into temporary lodgings on the property near the S.S. Tutshi. A change in location however, didn’t mean a change in providing visitor services to the 80,000 folks who visit the area each summer season.
By the middle of June it was goodbye to the temporary lodgings and a return hello to the WP&YR Railway Depot that has been their base of operations since 1990.
The ladies who work at the Centre explain that the close proximity to the deep water port of Skagway means that cruise ship passengers who venture north to the Yukon arrive in Carcross eager to discover all there is to see and do.
For instance, the local beach was named one of the Top 25 in Canada by Canadian Geographic, right up there with beaches found at neighbouring Kluane Lake. One of the Yukon’s best-kept secrets, Bennett Beach boasts towering dunes and two kilometres of white sand.
The Carcross VIC team consists of seven seasonal staff and two on-call members who bring a combined total of 95 years of experience to the table. Everyone enjoys serving the public and sharing a host of visitor services with them.
Then there’s the challenge that the historic Carcross Post Office has adopted this year with the theme, the Year of the Rat. As the ladies of the Centre state — doesn’t that have your ears twitching wanting to know more.
But embracing a challenge doesn’t just happen for those living and working in the community. Case in point is the couple from Fairbanks driving South, only to realize they had made a wrong turn somewhere when they arrived at the US/Canada Border Crossing headed for Skagway.
As chance would have it, they had turned right at Jakes Corner, after driving all night, and really got themselves confused. The staff at the Centre turned them around and headed them in the right direction, sending them safely on their way to the Lower 48.
Whether by chance or choice, the Carcross Visitor Information Centre team happily welcomes all travellers to their community. Be sure to check them out before the end of the 2008 tourist season. Their doors officially close at 6 p.m. Friday, September 26.
Alicia Debreceni and Karen Keeley are communication officers with the Department of Tourism and Culture. This summer series will introduce readers to the Visitor Information Centres throughout the Yukon.
PHOTOS: YUKON GOVERNMENT