Michael Gates

History is on the move this summer

It has been a busy week. In fact, I have been practically run off my feet and still can’t keep up with every historical event that is being offered in Whitehorse.

An early trip on the Overland Trail

“We dashed through virgin forests, climbed mountains, flew around dizzying curves, and skidded along narrow cliffs until my heart was in my throat and my soul was full of thrills.”

The story of Chicken Billy Anstett

William Horkan had the prestigious job of gardener at the Commissioner’s Residence, but the horticulturist whose name stands out was William Anstett, but was widely known as Chicken Billy.

In Dawson, I saw wonderful things

When I visited the old courthouse in Dawson City this past weekend, where I had an office for 18 years as curator for Parks Canada, it was like seeing the place for the first time, and yes, I saw wonderful things.

This was Yukon life 100 years ago

One hundred years ago, war was the dominant topic in the minds of Yukoners as the “Great War” dragged on into its third year. Human life became an expendable commodity stalemate in the battlefields of France and Belgium.

Students dive into history at annual heritage fair

My wife Kathy and I went on an amazing journey of discovery Thursday of last week. One minute, I was retracing the steps of a man collecting botanical specimens en route to Alaska over the Chilkoot Pass, thanks to the vivid account of Kalie Bennett of Golden Horn School. The next minute Kathy was learning about Faith Fenton, the Gold Rush journalist, from Marie Mabilog of Christ the King Elementary School.

The day the United States bombed Dawson City

Every year about this time, people start speculating on the break-up of the Yukon. Ice pool tickets are purchased with hopes of selecting the winning time for the ice to move in front of Dawson City.

Management plan will preserve Lansing heritage site

I attended a meeting on Tuesday this week at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre where the First Nation of the Nacho Nyak Dun and the Government of Yukon hosted a public meeting.

Rare newspapers reveal political satire of cartoonist Arthur Buel

In a recent column (Feb. 10), I wrote about the artistic genius of political cartoonist Arthur Buel.

Awards night in ‘Hollywood North’

When asked if the Yukon is becoming Hollywood North, New York filmmaker Bill Morrison turned the question on its head by stating that Hollywood is “Yukon South.”

  • Apr 21, 2017

Book launch evokes Alaska Highway memories

The launch of the new book Beyond Mile Zero took place at the Baked Café April 7. More than 100 people crowded into the tiny space to hear author Lily Gontard and photographer Mark Kelly share their experiences.

Beyond Mile Zero chronicles Alaska Highway’s vanishing lodges

When I ask somebody about how they arrived in the Yukon, they will often give me a colourful account of travelling the Alaska Highway. The long drive through northern boreal forest and the Rocky Mountains has often served as a transition between an old life and a new one.

Yukoners fought in the battle for Vimy Ridge

On April 9, thousands of Canadians, including a number of people from the Yukon, will converge at the site of the Canadian memorial atop Vimy Ridge in France.

Yukon soldiers experienced the horrors of trench warfare first hand

By the end of 1916, the men of Joe Boyle’s Yukon Battery had become veterans in the field, having experienced battle and the extreme conditions on the Western Front.

Yukon machine gunners thrust into the cauldron of battle

The men recruited by Joe Boyle in the Yukon in 1914 finally entered the field of battle in Belgium in August of 1916. Now renamed the Yukon Machine Gun Battery, they were designated “E” Battery of the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade.

Exploring the old Kluane wagon road

It’s the itch you have to scratch, the urge to which you must submit. It’s the compulsion to get out on the land and touch history where it happened. It is historitis, and Gord Allison of Haines Junction has a powerful case of it.

How Klondike Joe saved the crown jewels of Romania

By 1914, Joe Boyle had made a fortune running a gold dredging company in the Klondike. During World War I, he went to in search of adventure; he found it. In the summer of 1917, he was thrust into the chaos of revolutionary Russia.

Yukoners honoured with heritage awards

The annual heritage awards were handed out Feb. 20 to an impressive and deserving line-up of recipients.

Alaska Highway dreams started long before the Second World War

The bombing of Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941 heralded the formal entry of the United States into the Second World War. That and the subsequent invasion of the Aleutian Islands by the Japanese are viewed as the reasons for the building of the Alaska Highway. But the inspiration for a road link with Alaska and the Yukon reaches back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Arthur Buel: Klondike cartoonist

During his 45 years in the newspaper business, Arthur Buel’s cartoons covered everything from politics, to boxing matches, social events and murder trials. He made his name in Dawson City.