Want to learn how to paint with plasticine? Interested in meditating to satire in the outdoors? Curious to go on a mystery tour in Whitehorse and see where you end up? If you answered yes to any or all of these, then you are ready for Culture Days.
The Canada-wide event will be entering its fifth year (second in the Yukon), with celebrations taking part across the country. From September 26-28, Yukoners can enjoy many free cultural activities that are being offered in Whitehorse, Teslin, and Watson Lake. The Yukon Arts Centre, the Yukon Film Society, and the Yukon Historical and Museum Society are all gearing up to present many of the events.
Last year, over 700 people turned out for Culture Days. This year, Michele Emslie and Jessica Vellenga are the lead brainnstormers of Yukon Culture Days, and are keenly anticipating the festivities.
“We have more interactive artists and arts projects this year due to some increase in funding — these include more open studios, paleo-chalk drawings, interactive guided river walks and EMBRACE, an interactive dinner with the Filipino community,” says Emslie.
Activities are available for all ages, and aim to be both entertaining and informative.
Some highlighted events include: free admission to Yukon Beringa on September 28, Yukon artist Jim Robb’s catalogue launch and musical presentation, and Yukon Archive viewings.
“The fact that Yukon is taking part in this national initiative ensures Yukon’s art, culture, and heritage are seen on a national level,” adds Vellenga. “The events in Yukon are reflective of our Yukon culture and the community organizers who are presenting and creating events to celebrate.”
Culture Days would not be complete for Yukoners without an honorable mention to poet Robert Service.
September 26 will mark an extra special event as Whitehorse will be hosting dual celebrations with its sister city Lancieux (France).
“I’m excited that the city is working with l’AFY on the Whitehorse-Lancieux Sister City Celebration. It’s going to be a wonderful event. I hope lots of Whitehorse residents will be able to join us for this celebration,” says Lindsay Agar, the corporate events coordinator for the City of Whitehorse.
Robert Service described Lancieux as his adoptive home, and spent his last years there.
“This event marks the friendship between the two adoptive homes of Roberts W. Service, the poet of the Klondike,” she continues. “Each year by both cities fly one another’s flag in honor of our friendship.”
A flag raising ceremony followed by a food reception will take place in front of City Hall. In the days to follow, festivalgoers can take a crack at creating their own poems in the style of Service.
With so much to see and do, it will be challenging to take in all Culture Days has to offer; you may just wish Culture Days were available all month long.
“There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons, and I want to go back — and I will.”
Spell of the Yukon, Robert Service