a possible identification of cabin and dog team

Ian R. Church, of Whitehorse, has an interesting comment on the possible identification of the beautiful dog team and its owner.

Ian R. Church, of Whitehorse, has an interesting comment on the possible identification of the beautiful dog team and its owner.

Also, the person Church was thinking about, that owned a similar dog team was also a builder of impressive log buildings like the one in the photograph above.

This is very interesting. Thank you very much, Ian Church.

His letter follows:


The photo and article caught our eye. There was a Karl (or Carl) Hoffman in Fort Smith, NWT, who drove dogs that looked very much like the Siberian husky/malemute-looking dogs illustrated. He used double trace with collars, much like what was shown in the photo, when in the bush, though he also used a single-trace rig when racing.

Karl was a master carpenter and built, amongst other things, freighting toboggans (similar to the one in the photo) and also racing sleds (we have one of both). He also trapped and had lines somewhere up on the barrens in the vicinity of the Lady Grey Lake, northeast of the Talston. He accessed it by dog team from Ft. Smith at that time, though there is a rumour that he now uses an airplane.

The last comment – he used his skill to build impressive log buildings. The landscape behind the cabin could be consistent with the terrain in the shield region near Talston Lake.

Two other people in the Whitehorse area who may know more are Steve Cooper (the taxidermist) and Bob Lewis (previously with Parks Canada here in Whitehorse). We were all with Wood Buffalo National Park in the mid-1970s.

I called Steve to draw his attention to the photo.

Karl’s wife was Viana Champaign, who manufactured the “wrapper” (the canvas basket) like the one visible on the toboggan.

Ian R. Church


Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook – Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or email through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.

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