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.

Just Posted

WCC did not have authority to create secure living unit, judge finds

Justice Ron Veale’s decision on petition from former WCC inmate Darryl Sheepway was released Sept. 19

Bagnell concedes Trudeau’s past decisions to wear brown and blackface were racist

‘When we do things, we might not think at first blush that it’s going to offend someone’

UPDATED: B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in 2017 Ibex Valley homicide

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Updated: The Ibex Valley murder trial: what the jury didn’t hear

Some legal arguments were made without the jury present. Those details couldn’t be published until now

Commentary: How Yukon’s federal election candidates would tackle the opioid crisis

Esther Armstrong The overdose crisis continues to have a devastating impact on… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Election 2019: Almost as fun as a hockey pool

The federal election has officially kicked off, and just in time. The… Continue reading

Yukon skateboarders compete at Skate Comp 2019

The event featured nearly two dozen skaters from across the territory and beyond

VeloNorth hosts annual YXY Cross cyclocross race

The race included 92 riders — nearly triple last year’s turnout

Court news, briefly

Some recent news coming out of Yukon courts

City council news, briefly

Some of the decisions made by Whitehorse city council Sept. 9

Runners test their mettle at 37th annual Klondike Road Relay

This year’s relay included 197 teams and 1,877 runners

Yukonomist: How the Yukon saved the economy

During the Klondike gold rush, the prospect of free gold drew more… Continue reading

Most Read