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Whitehorse this week: Japan Fest, smashing pumpkins, Remembrance Day

A look at happenings around Whitehorse.
Signs along the North Klondike Highway show the City of Whitehorse’ sister city relationships with Ushiku, Japan; Juneau, Alaska; and Lancieux, France. The Japan Fest event on Nov. 5 will celebrate Whitehorse’ relationship with Ushiku. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

A look at happenings around Whitehorse.

Japan Fest

The City of Whitehorse is inviting residents to celebrate its Japanese sister city program on Nov. 5 as it hosts Japan Fest with the Japanese Canadian Association of Yukon at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre.

Doors will open at noon for an afternoon of activities celebrating the relationship Whitehorse has with Ushiku, its sister city in Japan. The event will run until 3 p.m.

The event will open with a Yukon taiko (Japanese drumming) performance. Over the course of the afternoon there will also be Japanese music performed on violin and piano, Aikido and Iaido martial arts demonstrations, Bon-odori folk dancing and presentations about anime and manga and Whitehorse’s sister city exchange program with Ushiku.

The exchange program, which has been cancelled the last three years (first due to the Olympics that were set for 2020, then due to the COVID-19 pandemic), has typically alternated each year between an Ushiku group of youth coming to Whitehorse and a Whitehorse group going to Ushiku. The visiting group stays with local families in the host city.

The exchange was last held in 2019 when Whitehorse hosted 13 youth between the ages of 13 and 18 and their chaperones from Ushiku.

Youth from families that are billeting exchange students also get to take in the activities offered by the host community.

Whitehorse has continued to raise Ushiku’s flag on the fourth Monday in June to recognize the relationship. It’s anticipated the exchange program will be held in 2023 in addition to the Nov. 5 event that will also celebrate the relationship between the two cities.

Along with the performances, demonstrations and presentations happening during Japan Fest, there will be displays and activities focused on anime, manga, origami, calligraphy, haiku, washi, as well as face paining and a fish pond.

A bento lunch will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to 150 people.

Smashing pumpkins

With Halloween now over and compost collection scheduled for next week in the City of Whitehorse, officials are reminding residents to get their Jack-o-Lantern creations to their green carts, preferably broken down into smaller pieces that can come by smashing the pumpkin.

“The smaller pieces will rot quicker than large chunks,” the city said. “Make sure to remove any non-compostable ingredients before composting.”

Remembrance Day hours

The City of Whitehorse is reminding residents that many city facilities and services will be closed on Nov. 11 to observe Remembrance Day.

Weekend service will be in effect for transit, while the Canada Games Centre will operate on reduced hours from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Waste Management Facility will operate at its regular hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Before the Canada Games Centre opens for operations, the annual Remembrance Day ceremony will be held beginning at 10:20 a.m.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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