The Klondike Visitors’ Association (originally the Klondike Travel Bureau) pre-dates the formation of the Yukon’s Department of Tourism (originally the Yukon Tourist Bureau) by over a decade.
It’s been doing its darndest to keep the Klondike on the top of traveler’s minds ever since.
Over the past winter, the KVA organized the annual Trek Over the Top snowmobile rally from Tok, Alaska, and was at the center of arranging Thaw di Gras, our spring carnival.
During these events, Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Casino, the KVA’s main moneymaker, was open for business, and will be all summer. Profits have been lower than usual in recent years, but the KVA still turned over $277,841.00 to the Yukon Government as payment for its slot machine concession last year.
The KVA helps operate the Berton House Writers’ Retreat, which it co-founded, along with the Dawson Community Library, and the Yukon Arts Council. The Writers’ Trust of Canada does most of the work and fundraising now, but local partners are still involved.
Jack London Square is down the street from Berton House. Here, a portion of London’s original cabin and the interpretive centre are a major literary attraction.
During Discovery Days in August, these two iconic tourist sites join with Parks Canada’s Robert Service Cabin for an Authors on Eighth tour.
The KVA is calling this Writer’s Block; I made that up.
The walking tour concludes with the awarding of prizes in the writing contest that runs through the summer. At least one former winner, David Thompson, has gone on to have a book published containing the stories he submitted.
In June, the KVA helps the Commissioner organize the annual ball at the Palace Grand Theatre to mark the anniversary of Yukon’s inclusion in Confederation.
Those who would like a feel for what drove miners to the Yukon can get one at the free panning at Claim #6 on the Bonanza Creek Road, right next to the Discovery Claim Historic Site and walking trail.
Miners are still staking most of the creeks, so you can’t just dip a pan in anywhere, but the KVA owns this one.
Another taste of panning fever can be found on July 1, after the annual parade, when the Yukon Gold Panning Championships are held on Front Street.
The KVA wraps up the summer on Labour Day weekend with the Great Klondike International Outhouse Race, an event just as crazy as it sounds.
The KVA assists other organizations in town through its online booking service, and has recently launched the third update (KVA 3.0, if you will) of its website at http://dawsoncity.ca/.
The revised website is full of information about everyone’s events in Dawson, and is a great place to stop if you’re planning a trip here.
As the Girl Guides centennial tour learned here in late May, there’s lots to do in Dawson, and the locals will go out of their way to make your stay memorable.