A quarter century is a long time; however, 25 years ago the building the Yukon Transportation Museum (YTM) calls home was already old.
The structure was originally built during World War II as a recreation centre for the Royal Canadian Air Force. After the war it was turned over to the territorial government. From the 60s to the late 80s it served numerous purposes — a daycare, a floor hockey space, a dance hall, and a community theatre.
It’s nickname “The Ice Palace” referred to a six-foot glacier that formed one winter in the leaky basement. With the Yukon’s gloomy economic slump of the 80s, the operating costs and necessary repairs were an expense the government couldn’t meet; the Ice Palace was set for demolition.
The Yukon Transportation Museum Society was established in 1986. The society convinced the government to let them set up shop in the dilapidated building. They opened with much hoopla on July 1, 1990. Watch the museum’s Facebook page for more pictures of these early days.
Nineteen-ninety was the year following the fall of the Berlin Wall; Annie Ned received the Order of Canada; Maxine Lindsay was Miss Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous; Arthur and Muriel Privett were Mr. & Mrs. Yukon; and Carl Baynes was the Sourdough Sam. The Yukon Hospital Corporation was founded and some extremely rare, frozen silver was found at Keno, which made its way, via guarded escort, to the Canadian Museum of Nature. “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette was the number two song of the year.
It must have been love. Over the past 25 years, the YTM has grown from a derelict building to a premier Yukon attraction and we’ve decided the whole year is fair game for celebratory events and parties.
Starting on March 6, at 7:30 p.m. we are bringing back the Ice Palace with “Ice Palace Blues: Brandon Isaak”. I consider Brandon (Isaak) to be a national treasure,” says Jack Lavin, known as a member of the Powder Blues Band.
Anniversaries are a mark in time when we are reminded where we began, and where we also turn our heads 180° to see where we are going next. This year, drop by the YTM and share your memories of the past 25 and your hopes for the next.