Michael Gates

Building the Dempster Highway: an engineering challenge

When Yukon Highway No. 5 was built, it penetrated some of the most challenging and enigmatic wilderness in Canada.

Black pioneer speaks at exhibit launch

An appreciative crowd came out to the Whitehorse Public Library on Tuesday evening to celebrate the diversity of Yukon's past as part of Black History Month. 

Let’s celebrate our heritage champions

A large crowd helped kick off the celebration of Heritage Day on Monday evening by attending the Yukon Historical and Museums Association 31st Annual Heritage Awards ceremony at the Yukon Archives.

Book reveals heartbreak in Dawson City

Little did Betty Matteson Rhodes know when she and her husband Chuck purchased their first computer in 1996 that it would unlock the secrets of a long past and help her discover a distant relative, Nelson A. Soggs.

Joe Boyle was one of the Yukon’s most heroic figures

As I sit in my office amidst books and articles, trying to get a clear picture of Joe Boyle's accomplishments during World War I, one thing is clear: he was Yukon's most heroic figure.

Aircraft being restored at Yukon Transportation Museum

The Yukon Transportation Museum had an open house last Friday afternoon, and Bob Cameron and his airplane restoration projects were the featured attraction of the event.

A day in the life of Dawson City, 1899

For Christmas, my wife Kathy gave me an unusual gift that I have only just been able to examine in detail. It was an issue of the Dawson Daily News from December 27, 1899.

Robert Service, Country Joe and the Great War

When Robert Service arrived in the Yukon in 1905, he was a lowly bank clerk. When he left in 1912 on the last boat of the season, he was a celebrated author. In between, he penned three books of verse and a best-selling novel.

The story of the riverboat Brainstorm

The most notable of the riverboats that plied the waters of the Yukon after the age of sternwheel steamboats ended was the Brainstorm, which regularly hauled supplies from Dawson City down the Yukon River.

Some Yukon history books for Christmas

This Christmas we have a good selection of new northern history books to choose from. I have already reported on the new history of sports in the Yukon. Here are three more that you might be interested in.

New book chronicles Yukon Sports

Did you know that the first documented competitive sport in the Yukon took place the winter of 1882-83? It was at Fort Reliance, Jack McQuesten's trading post on the Yukon River. It consisted of a snow shovelling contest and a foot race.

WWI letters detail lives of Yukon recruits

During my recent visit to Vancouver, I was introduced to a man who has a collection of World War I letters. They were written by Norton Townsend of Dawson City.

Yukon’s World War I soldiers are not forgotten

Many people asked me for a copy of the speech I gave at the Remembrance Day service on Tuesday at the Canada Games Centre. What follows is that speech in its entirety. 

Remembering the CANOL at the MacBride Museum

Michael Gates Special for the News Whitehorse residents crammed into the MacBride Museum last Thursday night to discuss CANOL, the secret pipeline and refinery project undertaken in Whitehorse during World War II.

The sinking of the Sophia marked the end of an era

The end of 1918 was approaching when a disaster struck the North a blow from which it took a generation to recover. The sinking of the Princess Sophia in the Lynn Canal south of Skagway, which resulted in the loss of 343 lives, is almost forgotten today.

Pearl Keenan remembers the Alaska Highway

In a recent column, I asked if any readers had memories to share regarding the Alaska Highway. I am told that the Alaska Highway Heritage Society Yukon received an excellent response.

How I spent my vacation

While most people dream about a holiday with palm trees, sandy beaches and surf, my wife Kathy and I think of musty old books and faded photographs. We spent the Thanksgiving Day in Langley, B.C.

The amazing story of ‘Grizzly Bear’ Christie

Accounts of the First World War often evoke images of the horrid conditions in the trenches along the Western Front in France, or the gas attacks and needless slaughter.

Wanted: memories of the Alaska Highway

I came to the Yukon on an impulse while working my way through university. I had a good-paying but unsatisfying job working at the Calgary Brewery when graduate student Jim Bennett telephoned me.

The story behind the tramlines of Windy Arm

Michael Gates As you travel the Skagway Road south of Carcross along Windy Arm toward British Columbia, you will pass by an old tramway tower standing on the hill beside the road.