Beaver Creek is just a few kilometres from the Alaska border on the Alaska Highway.
As the most westerly settlement in all of Canada, this picturesque little community is used primarily as a border post and a service centre for the Alaska Highway.
With a population of between 85 to 90 people, it may also be one of the friendliest places in all of the Yukon.
Sid Vandermeer Sr. is retired but still continues to spend his summers working at the Beaver Creek Visitor Information Centre (VIC). He and his wife also collect memorabilia and have recently opened a small “museum” out of their house. Sid spends his days putting smiles on the faces of anyone who passes through the VIC.
“I have such a great time talking with people. I absolutely love it! Sometimes I feel that I am travelling myself and getting to visit other places just through talking to people,” he says.
“I also enjoy promoting the Yukon and all that it has to offer from its colourful history to its natural beauty.”
Vandermeer Sr. has worked at the Beaver Creek VIC for seven years. He loves meeting and interacting with people from all over the world and sharing his love and knowledge of the Yukon with them.
Beaver Creek has had a Visitor Information Centre since 1967. Previously it consisted of an older smaller building, but was replaced by a larger more modern facility in 2000.
Not to worry though, the old building was moved a little further down the road and now houses Buckshot Betty’s Café, a very popular little coffee shop in town.
Four staff work at the Centre and between them they offer services in English, French and Dutch.
During the summer, the Centre is open seven days a week. While visitors arrive from all over the world, the majority of individuals travel up from the lower 48 states, headed to Alaska. At the peak of summer, between 200 to 300 people pass through the Centre’s doors on a daily basis.
“Time flies by, it is so busy here,” commented Vandermeer Sr. “I don’t pay attention to the time at all. I am having such a great time talking to the people. It does not even seem like work.”
The Beaver Creek VIC has much information about the area to share with tourists. At the point where construction on the Alaska Highway from the South and the North came together, this is the point on the map where the gap was closed.
The history of the construction of the Alaska Highway along with the history of the White River First Nation makes the area extremely rich in history and culture.
As well, the recent archaeological activity and finds in the area add a new element to capture tourists’ interests. A site 12 miles north of Beaver Creek has provided findings of the oldest people in Canada. This is quite significant and archaeological work in the area will continue this summer.
In town, there is a nice walking trail, complete with interpretive panels and statues. The Westmark Hotel produces a nightly dinner and a show. And, there is that museum run out of Vandermeer Sr.’s home that is open seven days a week.
“In the winter months I work on old cars and my collection of Alaska Highway and other memorabilia that I have been acquiring for over 40 years,” commented Vandermeer Sr.
“I encourage everyone to stop by my house and take a look at everything in the yard and in the house. We are open whenever we are home. Folks can visit the yard anytime.”
Beaver Creek is a small, friendly community where everyone knows everyone else and community spirit is high. The residents work closely with their American neighbours and have a great relationship.
If you are going to be in the Beaver Creek area in the next while, be sure to stick around for Archie’s Horseshoe Tournament. This popular annual event is taking place June 21 and is open to the travelling public as well as the locals.
A community barbecue and a day of playing horseshoes on the summer solstice is a sure way to make some new friends and enjoy community camaraderie.