we made it through

The steamer Clifford Sifton had been running on Lake Bennett and the other waters leading to the head of Whitehorse Rapids.

The steamer Clifford Sifton had been running on Lake Bennett and the other waters leading to the head of Whitehorse Rapids.

It ran through, shooting through both canyon and rapids, in July 1900.

Thank you very much to Michael Steffens of Dawson City and Samson Hartland of Whitehorse for the following letters…

Dear Mr. Robb:

I would like to give you some details about the sternwheeler shown in the issue of July 30.

According to Stan Cohen’s book, Yukon River Steamboats, the boat shown is the Clifford Sifton shooting down Miles Canyon on July 24, 1900.

The boat was built on Lake Bennett in 1898, and later joined the fleet of sternwheelers operating between Whitehorse and Dawson. The C. Sifton was later converted into a barge.

In 1916, she was damaged by ice in Sunnydale Slough, just above Dawson City.

Another boat, the Pauline, was damaged there as well. (See Mike Rourke’s Yukon River: Marsh Lake to Dawson City, Houston, BC, 2006 (Revised edition) Rourke also confirms that the Clifford Sifton was navigated safely through Miles Canyon and the Whitehorse Rapids in 1900 (by Hill and Sydney Barrington).

Apparently, several steamboats made it safely through the rapids, especially after the completion of the White Pass & Yukon Route, in 1900 — when the presence of sternwheelers on the Southern Lakes became, more or less, obsolete.

Yours Truly,

Michael Steffens

Dawson City

Hello Jim,

Here is some info I found about the steamer Clifford Sifton from Murray Lundberg in Carcross. “The Clifford Sifton, a 120-foot- long sternwheeler, was built at Bennett in 1898-1899. On July 24, 1900, she was run through Miles Canyon.

“She worked between Whitehorse and Dawson until 1904 when she was destroyed by ice during spring breakup in Dawson.”

I would then garner that this was her maiden voyage on July 24, 1900.

Hope this helps.

Samson Hartland


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