Residents respond to the city’s branding exercise

Whitehorse has announced its branding survey has proven popular. More popular than officials may know. While the online survey received more than 600 responses, debate erupted on ArtsNet, a Yukon e-mail discussion list.

Whitehorse has announced its branding survey has proven popular.

More popular than officials may know.

While the online survey received more than 600 responses, debate erupted on ArtsNet, a Yukon e-mail discussion list.

But most of the comments were not positive, except one from a city official.

“I was concerned when I saw the survey,” wrote Laura Hutchinson. “Defining our priorities is a good idea, but I don’t think a change of logo will solve our pressing issues, like creating affordable housing for a broader segment of our demographic and drawing more doctors who will want to stay here.”

Hutchinson has lived in Whitehorse since 2005. The arts community and the town’s terrific people have kept her here, she said.

She is not alone – on both what she likes and dislikes with Whitehorse.

The sense of community and demand for social responsibility has been overwhelming, said Saj Jamal, managing director of the Ontario-based firm tasked with re-branding Whitehorse.

Jamal drafted the survey and will read all the responses and use them to fashion the brand.

“It’s more than a logo,” he said. “That’s just the packaging to what the promise is. It helps guide actions.”

However, Hutchinson has a much more literal understanding of what branding is.

“My understanding of branding is that it functions to help sell something,” she writes.

It’s a fair perception when everyone outside of deep jungles and deserts are inundated each day with logos and slogans convincing us to buy.

“I think if the city wants to sell Whitehorse, it should be imperative to solve its issues first,” Hutchinson continued.

The branding process is not putting the cart before the horse, said Jamal.

“You have to know who you are before you can fix it,” he said.

Two questions on the survey lend themselves to garnering feedback on Whitehorse woes, he says.

One asks to “name three items Whitehorse should improve on.”

The other asks, “what is your vision of Whitehorse,” both five and 20 years from now.

This is where opinions like Hutchinson’s have really come through, said Jamal.

“Inclusive, socially dynamic and innovative,” said one responder.

“Sustainable, but still with room to grow,” said another.

“Incrementally better than it is today,” was another Jamal read out, laughing.

He’s heard more literal things as well, like having a better transit system.

“ But it’s an aspirational thing, a brand,” said Jamal. “I’m not trying to talk about specific issues, because that’s going to happen anyway.”

The survey closes Sunday, but it won’t be the last chance to speak up. Workshops and open houses will ensue.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

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

Just Posted

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

Several people enter the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 26. The Yukon government announced on Jan. 25 that residents of Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne areas 65 and older can now receive their vaccines. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Vaccine appointments available in Whitehorse for residents 65+

Yukoners 65 and older living in Whitehorse are now eligible to receive… Continue reading

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read