Dawson City’s new hostel is The Cat’s Pyjamas

Dawson City has always seen a wide variety of summer visitors, from well-heeled RV drivers to young hitchhikers travelling on a shoestring budget.

Dawson City has always seen a wide variety of summer visitors, from well-heeled RV drivers to young hitchhikers travelling on a shoestring budget.

Now, those budget-minded travellers have a new option.

The Cat’s Pyjamas Traveller’s Hostel opened earlier this year spearheaded by Dawson resident Greg Dumka, who believed a hostel in the downtown core was something the town needed.

“I had the idea probably about 10 years ago,” said Dumka. “I thought the town really needed a hostel. I was just planning for the future and then this building became available and I jumped at the opportunity.

“There is definitely a need for budget rentals for travellers here. Something in town, something closer for visitors.”

Located on the intersection of Third Avenue and King Street, the Cat’s Pyjamas is surrounded on all sides by historic buildings: the Palace Grand Theatre, Madame Tremblay’s, Klondike Kate’s and the old post office.

The hostel building itself appears in records dating back to 1902, when it was operated by a local grocer. Since then, the building has gone through many different incarnations. In recent years it has hosted a variety of different stores, and was once operated by the Yukon Telephone Syndicate. The building is recognizable and widely photographed with a painting on the side that features a verse from Robert Service’s famous poem, “The Spell of the Yukon”.

Like most older structures in Dawson, the shifting permafrost has left its mark on the building and walking through is like a stroll downhill, a sensation common for most Yukoners, but one that will surely pique the interest of people visiting from afar.

“It’s definitely a challenge to work on, especially the doors,” said Dumka.

Currently leasing from Griffith’s Heating and Services, Dumka has his sights set on the future of the building, which requires a considerable amount of maintenance due to the uneven and often changing condition of the structure.

“This year is more of a trial run, but down the road I would like to buy the building and rebuild the back portion,” said Dumka. “The main structure is historic so it has to stay, but the back was built sometime in the ’50s or ’60s. I would like to winterize it and have a year-round hostel.”

The hostel features two common areas, a kitchen, a reception area, two bathrooms, paid laundry, and 16 bunk beds which go for $35 per night. There’s also a single private room for $80 per night. The main common room features a pool table, shuffle board, a big-screen television and chessboard with the secondary room featuring comfortable furniture and a coffee table.

“I would like to get more private rooms,” said Dumka. “That’s something a lot of people are asking for. If things go well I might plan for a couple of little cabins or wall tents outside.”

Security measures are always a concern for people travelling on a budget, and Dumka says he has not overlooked that. The hostel features a keypad entry, security cameras, and soon lockers will become available for guests.

The Cat’s Pyjamas is still working on establishing its online presence in order to get information to travellers around the world. In the future, Dumka plans to seek affiliation with Hostelling International, a network of hostels worldwide that works to ensure that everyone’s hostelling experience is safe and comfortable. Dumka said that affiliation will help make the Cat’s Pyjamas hostel in Dawson City more visible on an international level.

The Cat’s Pyjamas can be reached at (867) 993-5715 and can be found on Facebook at The Cat’s Pyjamas Traveller’s Hostel.

Holly Culp is a freelance writer living in Dawson City.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon artist’s work featured in national exhibit

Nicole Favron named as Yukon winner for 2020 BMO Art! competition

Higher camping fees, new campground, reconciliation efforts feature in Yukon parks 10-year strategy

Creating a new campground within two hours of Whitehorse, introducing higher camping… Continue reading

UPDATED: Driver in alleged Whitehorse gun-pointing incident arrested

Christopher Dick, 24, charged with obstructing a peace officer, failing to comply with release order

YG and pharmacies preparing for flu vaccine distribution

The Yukon government is preparing for flu season and encouraging people to… Continue reading

Non-resident tests positive for COVID-19

The individual has been hospitalized in Whitehorse

Hot Hounds bikejor race serves as lone summer competition

Held in Mount Lorne, the race was organized by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon

Whitehorse operations building officially open

Staff are taking phased approach to moving in

North of Ordinary Experience Centre shutting down

COVID-19 has caused bookings for the space to become almost non-existent, owner says

Canada Games Centre could get new playground

Council to vote on contract award

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Harescramble brings out motorcycle community

This year’s event included 67 riders

YG seeks members for youth climate change panel

“Yukon youth deserve to have their voices heard”

Yukon NDP hold AGM

This year’s meeting was held virtually

Most Read