Yukon History Maker

In February, Sid Van der Meer received the History Maker Award presented by the Yukon Historical and Museums Association. The History Maker Award is presented to an individual, organization or business for outstanding contributions to Yukon heritage.

Sadly, Sid was unable to attend the ceremony at the Yukon Archives, however, his daughter Janet graciously accepted the award in his honour. Sid had a good chuckle when he heard that the Minister of Tourism had said he was retiring! With no intentions on retiring anytime soon, the 80-year-old (come May 28th) is still going strong as the Supervisor of the Visitor Information Centre in Beaver Creek.

This year the Yukon Historical Museums Association chose two History Makers, Sid and Dr. Ruth Gotthard.

The Helen Couch Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to The North and the First World War Conference Committee. The Innovation, Education, and Community Engagement Award was presented to Peter Long; and the Heritage Conservation Project of the Year Award was presented to the Village of Mayo. Congratulations to all!

I had nominated Grandpa Sid for the History Maker Award because I felt it suiting for him – and for the Yukon to show their appreciation towards his dedication of telling Yukon history.

Sid is by far one of the most entertaining and knowledgeable storytellers there are in the Yukon. He was surprised and honoured to have been recognized by his peers. The award and map now hang as the centre piece in his living room, complemented by a Jim Robb print Sid had received from the artist for his 75th birthday, hanging beside the award.

While in Beaver Creek recently, Grandpa and I were cleaning up his front yard and fence. As we were going through the license plates and buckets that hung on his fence as well as the motors that lay in front, Sid would tell me which pieces went with what and where he originally found them. It’s as if we were re-finding or re-discovering these pieces and giving them new life as we dug them out of the dirt and placed them in the museum.

As we dug further and further Sid said to me, “It’s rusty gold.”

During that same visit Sid started up his 1928 Ford Model A. Before we parked it in front of the museum we took it for a little spin around the block. As Sid makes a few more preparations to the museum, he has already been conducting tours and welcoming visitors.

Join Sid this summer and visit Bordertown Garage and Museum. Keep an eye out for an announcement for a barbecue at the museum in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway.

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