Jasmine Bill (left), Charles Chief, Jacquie Shorty, and Alexander Gatensby receive Whitehorse Motors’ August contribution to the KDFN Youth Advisory Council from Tina Woodland
In the old days, it was just carburetors. Now, 50 years later, everything has changed, according to Tina Woodland, owner of Whitehorse Motors. Cars are computerized, the dealership has moved locations and doubled in size, and there are 50 employees rather than the 30-something there used to be.
“We even have electric charging stations and are getting ready for electric vehicles,” she said.
To celebrate, Woodland said the dealership started working on plans for its anniversary almost two years ago.
“It’s a big budget item so we had to kind of get ready for it,” said Woodland.
“It” is a plan to donate $50,000 to local charities, non-profits and community initiatives in 2019. So far this year, Whitehorse Motors has donated $5,000 per month to recipients whose needs the dealership had been made aware of by staff, customers, organizations themselves and word on the street.
This August, the recipient was the Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) Youth Advisory Council. Woodland said the money was used to hold a Community Fun Day in Whitehorse’s McIntyre subdivision. There were games including baseball and hand games, live performers, activities for children and youth, and storytelling.
“KDFN has had a lot of tragedies and losses recently and needed something to perk themselves up,” she said, adding that the day was well-attended.
Over the course of the year, donations have also been made to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Challenge Disability Resource Group, Blood Ties Four Directions, and food banks in Inuvik, including the Arctic Food Bank and the Inuvik Food Bank. Woodland said this was something the dealership wanted to do because it feels a connection to the community and wanted to give back.
When the store opened up for Yukoner Appreciation Day, she said it really drove home to her the role Whitehorse Motors has played for people in the years since 1969, when Rolf Hougen bought the dealership from the Northern Commercial Company. Northern had been operational in the Yukon since the 20s, even before the Yukon was connected by road like it is now with the Alaska Highway.
“On Yukoner Appreciation Day, we saw people whose parents bought their first vehicle here and it’s generational. and now they’re coming in with their grandkids, or their son, or an auntie, or an uncle.
“It’s really fun being able to realize that you’re part of something that’s been around for so long.”
Whitehorse Motors will make three more donations this year.