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In order to book an accommodation in Whitehorse enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Whitehorse hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Whitehorse map to estimate the distance from the main Whitehorse attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Whitehorse hotels and see their ratings.

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Hotels of Whitehorse

A hotel in Whitehorse is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Whitehorse hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Whitehorse are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Whitehorse hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Whitehorse hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Whitehorse have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Whitehorse
An upscale full service hotel facility in Whitehorse that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Whitehorse hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Whitehorse
Full service Whitehorse hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Whitehorse
Boutique hotels of Whitehorse are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Whitehorse boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Whitehorse may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Whitehorse
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Whitehorse travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Whitehorse focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Whitehorse
Small to medium-sized Whitehorse hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Whitehorse traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Whitehorse hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Whitehorse
A bed and breakfast in Whitehorse is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Whitehorse bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Whitehorse B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Whitehorse
Whitehorse hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Whitehorse hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Whitehorse
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Whitehorse hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Whitehorse lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Whitehorse
Whitehorse timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Whitehorse often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Whitehorse on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Whitehorse
A Whitehorse motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Whitehorse for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Whitehorse motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Whitehorse

City of Whitehorse
Downtown Whitehorse and Yukon River, August 2008
Downtown Whitehorse and Yukon River, August 2008
Flag of Whitehorse
Nickname(s): "The Wilderness City"
Motto: Our People, Our Strength
Whitehorse is located in Yukon
Whitehorse is located in Canada
Location of Whitehorse in Yukon
Coordinates:  / 60.717; -135.050  / 60.717; -135.050
Country Canada
Territory Yukon
Established 1898
• City Mayor Dan Curtis
• Governing body Whitehorse City Council
• MPs Larry Bagnell
• MLAs Ted Adel
Nils Clarke
Jeanie Dendys
Paolo Gallina
Elizabeth Hanson
Scott Kent
Tracy McPhee
Richard Mostyn
Ranj Pillai
Elaine Taylor
Kate White
• City 416.54 km (160.83 sq mi)
• Metro 8,488.91 km (3,277.59 sq mi)
Elevation 670–1,702 m (2,200–5,584 ft)
Population (2016)
• City 25,085
• Density 60.2/km (156/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Whitehorser
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
• Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
Forward sortation area Y1A
Area code(s) 867
NTS Map 105D11
Website www.city.whitehorse.yk.ca

Whitehorse (French pronunciation: ​[witɔʁs]; total area population 27,889 as of 2013) is the capital, largest, and only city of Yukon and the largest city in northern Canada. It was incorporated in 1950 and is located at kilometre 1426 on the Alaska Highway in southern Yukon. Whitehorse's downtown and Riverdale areas occupy both shores of the Yukon River, which originates in British Columbia and meets the Bering Sea in Alaska. The city was named after the White Horse Rapids for their resemblance to the mane of a white horse, near Miles Canyon, before the river was dammed.

Because of the city's location in the Whitehorse valley, the climate is milder than comparable northern communities such as Yellowknife. At this latitude winter days are short and summer days have up to about 19 hours of daylight. Whitehorse, as reported by Guinness World Records, is the city with the least air pollution in the world.

Whitehorse, Yukon: History

Archeological research south of the downtown area, at a location known as Canyon City, has revealed evidence of use by First Nations for several thousand years. The surrounding area had seasonal fish camps and Frederick Schwatka, in 1883, observed the presence of a portage trail used to bypass Miles Canyon. Before the Gold Rush, several different tribes passed through the area seasonally and their territories overlapped.

The discovery of gold in the Klondike in August, 1896, by Skookum Jim, Tagish Charlie and George Washington Carmack set off a major change in the historical patterns of the region. Early prospectors used the Chilkoot Pass, but by July 1897, crowds of neophyte stampeders had arrived via steamship and were camping at "White Horse". By June 1898, there was a bottleneck of stampeders at Canyon City, many boats had been lost to the rapids as well as five people. Samuel Steele of the North-West Mounted Police said: "why more casualties have not occurred is a mystery to me."

On their way to find gold, stampeders also found copper in the "copper belt" in the hills west of Whitehorse. The first copper claims were staked by Jack McIntyre on July 6, 1898, and Sam McGee on July 16, 1899. Two tram lines were built, one 8 km (5 mi) stretch on the east bank of the Yukon River from Canyon City to the rapids, just across from the present day downtown, the other was built on the west bank of the river. A small settlement was developing at Canyon City but the completion of the railway to Whitehorse in 1900 put a halt to it.

The White Pass and Yukon Route narrow-gauge railway linking Skagway to Whitehorse had begun construction in May 1898, by May 1899 construction had arrived at the south end of Bennett lake. Construction began again at the north end of Bennett lake to Whitehorse. It was only in June–July 1900 that construction finished the difficult Bennett lake section itself, completing the entire route.

By 1901, the Whitehorse Star was already reporting on daily freight volumes. That summer there were four trains per day. Even though traders and prospectors were all calling the city Whitehorse (White Horse), there was an attempt by the railway people to change the name to Closeleigh (British Close brothers provided funding for the railway), this was refused by William Ogilvie, the territory's Commissioner. Whitehorse was booming.

In 1920 the first planes landed in Whitehorse and the first air mail was sent in November 1927. Until 1942, river and air were the only way to get to Whitehorse but in 1942 the US military decided an interior road would be safer to transfer troops and provisions between Alaska and the US mainland and began construction of the Alaska Highway. The entire 2,500 km (1,553 mi) project was accomplished between March and November 1942. The Canadian portion of the highway was only returned to Canadian sovereignty after the war. The Canol pipeline was also constructed to supply oil to the north with a refinery in Whitehorse.

In 1950 the city was incorporated and by 1951, the population had doubled from its 1941 numbers. On April 1, 1953, the city was designated the capital of the Yukon Territory when the seat was moved from Dawson City after the construction of the Klondike Highway. On March 21, 1957, the name was officially changed from White Horse to Whitehorse.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Geography

July 1990 view of Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport and downtown.

Whitehorse is located at kilometre 1,425 (Historic Mile 918) of the Alaska Highway and is framed by three nearby mountains: Grey Mountain to the east, Haeckel Hill to the northwest and Golden Horn Mountain to the south. The rapids which were the namesake of the city have disappeared under Schwatka Lake, formed by the construction of a hydroelectricity dam in 1958. Whitehorse is currently the 79th largest city in Canada by area. The city limits present a near rectangular shape orientated in a NW-SE direction.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Climate and ecology

Like most of Yukon, Whitehorse has a dry subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc). However, because of the city's location in the Whitehorse valley, the climate is milder than other comparable northern communities such as Yellowknife. With an average annual temperature of −0.1 °C (31.8 °F) Whitehorse is the warmest place in the Yukon. This is the airport temperature. The Whitehorse Riverdale weather station situated at a lower elevation than the airport is even warmer at 0.2 °C (32.4 °F). At this latitude winter days are short and summer days have just over 19 hours of daylight. Whitehorse has an average daily high of 20.6 °C (69.1 °F) in July and average daily low of −19.2 °C (−2.6 °F) in January. The highest temperature ever recorded in Whitehorse was 35.6 °C (96 °F) on 14 June 1969. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −56.1 °C (−69 °F) on 21 January 1906.

Whitehorse has little precipitation with an average annual snowfall of 145 cm (57.09 in) and 163 mm (6.4 in) of rainfall. According to Meteorological Service of Canada, Whitehorse has the distinction of being Canada's driest city, mainly because it lies in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains.

Whitehorse is in the Cordilleran climate region, the Complex Soils of Mountain Areas soil region, the Cordilleran vegetation region, and the Boreal Cordillera ecozone.

Climate data for Whitehorse Airport, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1900–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.0
Average high °C (°F) −11.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −15.2
Average low °C (°F) −19.2
Record low °C (°F) −56.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 17.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0.3
Average snowfall cm (inches) 25.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 11.2 8.3 6.4 4.4 8.0 10.9 13.5 12.5 11.9 11.5 11.5 11.2 121.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.2 0.1 0.1 1.1 7.5 10.9 13.5 12.4 11.0 5.1 0.8 0.3 62.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 11.9 9.1 7.0 3.8 1.2 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.5 7.9 12.4 12.2 67.4
Average relative humidity (%) 72.2 64.5 51.8 42.1 38.2 39.9 46.0 47.9 54.5 64.2 75.2 74.7 55.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 43.8 105.5 163.2 238.5 251.1 266.7 247.6 226.5 132.7 84.9 39.8 26.8 1,827.1
Percent possible sunshine 21.4 41.6 44.8 54.4 46.8 46.9 43.8 46.4 34.1 27.0 17.8 14.9 36.7
Source: Environment Canada
Whitehorse, Yukon in autumn of 2008

Whitehorse, Yukon: Subdivisions

Due to Whitehorse's unique urban development objectives and varied topography, neighbourhoods are usually separated from each other by large geographical features. In addition to the city's downtown core on the Yukon River's west bank, two subdivisions sit at the same elevation as the Yukon River (640 m). Crossing the bridge to the east bank of the river leads to Riverdale, one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods. From Riverdale, the road climbing up Grey Mountain leads to Grey Mountain Cemetery and the local FM radio antenna. North of downtown is the Marwell industrial subdivision which used to be separated from the downtown by a large marshland but the first decade of 2000 saw huge commercial transformations and these two neighbourhoods are now contiguous. Prior to 1975, there were squatters' subdivisions along the Yukon River at the current sites of the S.S. Klondike riverboat, Rotary Peace Park, and the waterfront development area from the north end of 1st Avenue to the north end of the waterfront trolley line; these were expropriated and cleared.

The rest of Whitehorse is generally located above 690 metres. Immediately after climbing "Two Mile Hill", looking to the north are the old residential neighbourhoods of Takhini, Takhini North and Takhini East, where many homes actually are originally army barracks and military officers' residences. Yukon College, Yukon Arts Centre and Whitehorse Correctional Centre are situated in Takhini. Situated further north are Porter Creek and Crestview.

West of downtown are Valleyview, Hillcrest (also largely constituted of old military lodgings) and the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport; and beyond the Canada Games Centre along Hamilton Boulevard are the neighbourhoods of McIntyre (designated to replace inferior lands and homes of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation ("The Village") previously located where Marwell adjoins a marshy area), then Ingram, Arkell, Logan, Granger, and rapidly expanding Copper Ridge.

Whitehorse also has subdivisions designated "Country Residential" which are subject to different municipal bylaws and are located farther out from the downtown. They consist of the rural Whitehorse subdivisions of Hidden Valley and MacPherson at Whitehorse's northern limits; to the south: McCrae (also spelt MacRae), Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek North, Mary Lake, Cowley Creek, Spruce Hill, Pineridge and Fox Haven Estates. Also located at the south end of the city is the newly designated Mt. Sima Service Industrial Subdivision.

Construction of Whistle Bend, Whitehorse's newest subdivision, began in 2010 on the "Lower Bench" east of the Porter Creek subdivision.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Urban planning

Whitehorse Bylaw 426 (1975) restricts the operation of motor vehicles to designated roadways in certain "Protected Areas" to ensure maximum conservation of the environmental quality. Most are near the downtown core (downtown and Yukon river escarpments, Mt. Mac ski trails, Riverdale, Valleyview, Hillcrest, Granger, Porter Creek, and Mountainview) and one, Pineridge, is south of downtown.

In 1999, the city approved the Area Development Scheme (ADS) which reallocated the area previously known as "Whitehorse Copper" to the following uses: Country Residential, Commercial, Service Industrial, and Heavy industrial.

Recent demands for growth have reignited urban planning debates in Whitehorse. In 1970 the Metropolitan Whitehorse development plan included park and greenbelt areas that were to be preserved to ensure high quality of life even within city limits.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Demographics

Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1941 754 -
1951 2,594 +244.0%
1961 5,031 +93.9%
1971 11,217 +123.0%
1981 14,814 +32.1%
1991 17,925 +21.0%
1996 19,157 +6.9%
2001 19,058 −0.5%
2006 20,461 +7.4%
2011 23,276 +13.8%
Canada census – Whitehorse, Yukon community profile
2016 2011 2006
Population: 25,085 (7.8% from 2011) 23,276 (+13.8% from 2006) 20,461 (+7.4% from 2001)
Land area: 416.5 km (160.8 sq mi) 416.43 km (160.78 sq mi)
Population density: 60.2/km (156/sq mi) 55.9/km (145/sq mi) 49.1/km (127/sq mi)
Median age: 37.9 (M: 37.2, F: 38.6) 35.1 (M: 34.8, F: 35.3)
Total private dwellings: 10,185 9,649 8,631
Median household income: $60,139
References: 2016 2011 2006 earlier

Christians make up 54% of the population, while 39% has no religious affiliation. There are also 110 Buddhists, 105 Sikhs, 60 Muslims, and 30 Jews.

Whitehorse, Yukon: 2011

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the population of Whitehorse is 23,276. The population density was 55.9 per km². The racial make up of Whitehorse is mostly made up of European (75.5%), but still has a significant amount of Aboriginals (16.5%); First Nations (13.5%) and Metis (2.2%). There is also a moderate visible minority population (7.9%); Southeast Asian (3.4%), Asian Canadian (1.8%) and South Asian (1.6%) were the three largest minority groups. The religious make up of Whitehorse is; Christian (45.3%) and non-religious (51.4%), the remaining 3.3% fall into another religion.

Most of the residents are Canadian citizens (94.1%).

Whitehorse, Yukon: Language

As a federal territory, the Yukon is officially bilingual in English and French. In 2011, 84.3% of the residents of Whitehorse declared English as their only mother tongue, while 4.6% reported French as their only mother tongue, and 9.7% of the population reported a non-official language as their mother tongue. According to the 2011 census the most spoken non-official language in Whitehorse was German, followed by Tagalog, Spanish, Chinese and Dutch.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Culture

Whitehorse, Yukon: Historic sites

  • SS Klondike sternwheeler
  • Whitehorse trolley
  • Copperbelt Railway & Mining Museum
  • Yukon Transportation Museum
  • MacBride Museum of Yukon History
  • Old Log Church Museum
  • Yukon visitor centre
  • "Log Skyscrapers" designated an official municipal historic site in 2000.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Outdoor attractions and natural history

A "Three-storey log skyscraper" in downtown area (July 2006). A national building code limits wood frame building heights to four storeys.
  • Whitehorse Fish ladder and Dam, longest wooden Fish ladder in the world
  • Yukon Gardens
  • Yukon Wildlife Preserve
  • Takhini Hot Springs
  • Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
  • Miles Canyon

Whitehorse, Yukon: Culture

Whitehorse's Yukon Arts Centre offers all varieties of shows and artists and includes an art gallery.

The Frantic Follies Vaudeville Revue was established in 1970 and has been a major tourist draw ever since. Recreating an 1890s style goldrush era vaudeville show, The Frantic Follies includes barbershop quartet, sketches, marching band, banjo and saw orchestral numbers as well as kickline dancing girls. In 1973, the show was moved to the new Bonanza Room at the Whitehorse Travelodge.

By 1975, its popularity had grown to such an extent that it became necessary to present two performances per night. In 1975 and again in 1977, the show embarked on cross-Canada tours, on which they performed everywhere from maximum security prisons to the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. Twice the show travelled to Alert, the Canadian Forces Station five hundred miles from the North Pole.

In 1976, the Company undertook to produce not only the Whitehorse show, but the entertainment in Dawson City's Palace Grand Theatre and Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Casino. At the end of the 1980 season they left Dawson City. In January 1981, the show joined the "Snow Birds" for a season and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, for a four-month run. The fall of 1990 saw the Frantic Follies taking to the road again as ambassadors for the Yukon in a whirlwind tour, performing in ten Canadian and American cities in a little over two weeks. The Frantic Follies currently perform nightly shows in the summer season at the Westmark Hotel in Downtown Whitehorse.

Plays are also performed at the Guild Hall in Porter Creek, and downtown Whitehorse's Wood Street Centre offers smaller local productions. Whitehorse's arts and entertainment schedule is non-stop throughout the year, not only with local events and celebrations but Whitehorse also plays host to several major festivals which attract artists from all over Canada and internationally, including the Sourdough Rendezvous' Ice Sculpture contest, the Frostbite Music Festival, the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, the Adäka Cultural Festival, and the Available Light Film Festival.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Media

Whitehorse, Yukon: Print

Whitehorse's two major English language newspapers are the Whitehorse Daily Star (founded as a weekly in 1900, it now publishes five times per week since 1986) and the Yukon News (founded as a weekly in 1960 by Ken Shortt, published five days a week from 1967 to 1999, and currently prints twice weekly). Other local newspapers include What's Up Yukon (a local free music, arts, culture, events, weekly founded in 2005) and a French language newspaper L'Aurore boréale (founded in 1983, and published bi-weekly).

Whitehorse, Yukon: Radio and television


Frequency Call sign Branding Format Owner Notes
FM 94.5 CFWH-FM CBC Radio One Talk radio, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Part of CBC North
FM 96.1 CKRW-FM The Rush Hot adult contemporary Klondike Broadcasting Also maintains a rebroadcaster on AM 610
FM 98.1 CHON-FM Community radio Northern Native Broadcasting First Nations community radio
FM 100.3 VF2356 Golden Horn Community radio Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce Tourist information radio service
FM 100.7 CIAY-FM Life 100.7 Religious broadcasting New Life FM
FM 102.1 CFWY-FM Ici Radio-Canada Première Talk radio, public radio Association Franco-Yukonnaise Community-owned rebroadcaster of CBUF-FM (Vancouver)
FM 104.5 CBU-FM-8 CBC Radio 2 Assorted music, public radio Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Rebroadcaster of CBU-FM (Vancouver)

Whitehorse is also served by CIY270, a Weatheradio Canada station broadcasting at 162.400 MHz on the weather band.


OTA channel Call sign Network Notes
11 (VHF) CHWT-TV Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

Local cable provider NorthwesTel hosts three local television channels: Community Cable 9, an advertisement slide-show channel and a public service channel.

CBC Television operated an affiliate in Whitehorse, CFWH-TV, from 1968 to 2001. Initially served using the Frontier Coverage Package until Anik satellite broadcasts became available early in 1973; this transmitter was shut down on July 31, 2001 due to budget cuts. Until 2009, there was a low-powered repeater of Edmonton's CITV-TV providing Global Television Network programming to the area..

Whitehorse, Yukon: Sports

Whitehorse's proximity to the wilderness and the northern range of the Rockies allows its residents to enjoy a very active lifestyle. The city has an extensive trail network within its limits, estimated at 850 km (528 mi) in 2007, including sections of the Trans Canada Trail. These trails are used for a variety of non-motorized and/or motorized activities. The Yukon River in and around Whitehorse provides many opportunities for kayaking and canoeing.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Events

The annual 1,000 mile Yukon Quest sled dog race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, Alaska, is considered one of the toughest in the world. The race alternates its starting and finishing points each year.

The city has hosted several large sporting events including the 2007 Canada Winter Games, for which a CA$45 million sport multiplex was built; the Canadian Junior Freestyle Championships in 2006, the Arctic Winter Games (2000, 1992, 1986, 1980, 1972 and the current 2012 games), the annual International Curling Bonspiel, and the Dustball International Slowpitch Tournament.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Facilities

The city is responsible for the maintenance of numerous sports and recreation fields including two dozen grass/sand/soil/ice sports surfaces, 3 ball diamonds, the Canada Games Centre Multiplex (pools, ice rinks, fieldhouse, fitness centre, walking/running track, physiotherapy), the Takhini Arena, and Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre. Private interests run Mount Sima (350 m, downhill skiing), three golf courses, a bowling alley, and three gyms.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Teams

Although there are no territorial junior league teams, the business community sponsors a number of local teams of volleyball, baseball, basketball, broomball, ice hockey, soccer and ultimate disk. High school teams are very active and partake in competitions with schools in neighbouring Alaska, and a few local athletes have flourished on the Canadian sports scene. Whitehorse is also home to the Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimming club.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Government

Whitehorse, Yukon: Municipal

Whitehorse municipal elections occur every three years. In the 2012 election, Dan Curtis was elected as mayor of Whitehorse for a first term. Whitehorse City Council has six councillors: Jocelyn Curteanu (first term), Kirk Cameron (second term), Betty Irwin (second term), John Streicker (first term), Mike Gladish (first term) and Dave Stockdale (eleventh consecutive term). The voter turn out at the 2009 election was 4218 of 11446 (36.85%), which is significantly lower than the 44% at the 2006 election, causing consternation among councillors. Municipal services provided by the city of Whitehorse include: water and sewer systems, road maintenance, snow and ice control, non-recyclable waste and composting, as well as a mosquito control program.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Territorial

Whitehorse was represented by 9 of 18 MLAs in Yukon's Legislative Assembly, as per the 2002 map of Yukon electoral districts. In 2009 Yukon's electoral map was modified to give Whitehorse an extra seat, bringing its total up to 10 out of 19. The Legislative Assembly Building is located in downtown Whitehorse and elections usually take place every three to five years. The last general election was held in 2016. Whitehorse residents have four local political parties from which to choose: Yukon Liberal Party, Yukon New Democratic Party, Yukon Party, as well as the newly constituted Yukon Green Party.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Federal

All of Yukon consists of a single federal electoral district and therefore there is only one MP and 65% of Yukon's voters live in Whitehorse. Residents of the Yukon have been voting federally since a byelection returned the first Yukon MP in January 1903 and, from 1984 onward, have had candidates from at least four federal political parties to choose from. In 2006, 2008 and 2011, the choices have been: Conservative, Green, Liberal, and NDP. Other parties that have contested the riding from 1984 onward include the Libertarian Party, the Rhinoceros Party, the three precursors of the Conservative Party (Reform Party, Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives), the National Party (1993) and the Christian Heritage Party.

Ryan Leef was elected as Yukon's new Conservative MP in 2011. Liberal Larry Bagnell was Yukon's MP from 2000 to 2011, winning the 2006 election with 49% of the vote and voter turnout of 66%, on par with the total Canadian turnout of 65%, with Whitehorse districts turnout lower at 55%.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Judicial

All court matters are handled in Whitehorse at the Andrew Philipsen Law Building which also houses a law library. Yukon's Territorial Court (three judges) handles most adult criminal prosecutions under the criminal code and other federal statutes. The Supreme Court of Yukon has two resident judges and nine judges from NWT and Nunavut. The Court of Appeal, made up of justices from British Columbia, Yukon, NWT and Nunavut, sits in Whitehorse only one week of the year, so most appeals are heard in Vancouver.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Military

Whitehorse Cadet Summer Training Centre opened in July, 1984 at Boyle Barracks, a compound previously occupied by the Wolf Creek Juvenile Corrections Centre, located between the subdivisions of Wolf Creek and Mary Lake.

The Canadian Armed Forces is represented in Whitehorse by Canadian Forces Detachment Yukon located in downtown Whitehorse, Regional Cadet Support Unit (North) was at Boyle Barracks (until a re-organization in 2012 amalgamated the cadet support unit into Regional Cadet Support Unit (NW) based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba) and the Canadian Rangers of the Whitehorse Patrol of 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. 2685 Yukon Regiment Army Cadet Corps and 551 Whitehorse Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets of the Canadian Cadet Organizations also operate in Whitehorse. All units operate as part of Canadian Forces Joint Task Force (North).

440 Transport Squadron, and other units of the Royal Canadian Air Force, including the Snowbirds often operate and train out of Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport, formerly RCAF Station Whitehorse.

Boyle Barracks is located 20 km (12 mi) south of downtown Whitehorse. The facility houses Regional Cadet Support Unit (North), Whitehorse Cadet Summer Training Centre, service support elements of Joint Task Force (North), and is used by 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, the Junior Canadian Rangers, and other units to conduct training. Boyle Barracks is located on the property of the unused Wolf Creek Juvenile Corrections Centre which is leased by the Department of National Defence from the Yukon Government.

Whitehorse Cadet Summer Training Centre offers a variety of courses and activities that focus on general training, leadership, and expedition training up to the instructor level. Courses are two, three, and six weeks long and are offered throughout the summer. Personnel are drawn primarily from the territories, but many come from across Canada. The training centre also hosts members of the United Kingdom's Army Cadet Force and Combined Cadet Force.

Historically, Whitehorse also was the location of units of the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force; the Canadian Army was the last to pull out in 1968, at the same time the armed forces were unified.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Infrastructure

Whitehorse, Yukon: Transportation

Whitehorse, Yukon: Air

Whitehorse is served by the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport and has scheduled service to Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Ottawa (via Yellowknife), Dawson City, Old Crow, Inuvik, as well as Fairbanks, Alaska and Frankfurt, Germany during the summer months. The airport was developed as part of the Northwest Staging Route in 1941–42 and has two long paved runways. A wartime-era hangar served as terminal building from about 1960, and was replaced in December 1985 with a modern terminal. Air North, a scheduled passenger and cargo airline operating Boeing 737 jetliners and Hawker Siddeley 748 turboprops, is based in Whitehorse.

In 1998 work was completed on a 340-metre runway extension and other improvements (concrete turn button, installation of storm and sanitary mains, lighting upgrades, tower access road and blast pad). Expansion of the terminal itself was completed in 2010.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Roads

Surface access to Whitehorse is provided by a network of highways, including the international Alaska Highway connecting the Yukon with Alaska, British Columbia, and Alberta highway networks.

Whitehorse has been described as "pearls on a string", with its residential, industrial, and service subdivisions located along the main thoroughfares that carry traffic within city limits, with large gaps of undeveloped (often hilly) land between them. The Alaska Highway is the primary roadway, with branch roads reaching additional subdivisions. One such branch road, signed as "Highway 1A" and following Two Mile Hill Road, 4th Avenue, 2nd Avenue, and Robert Service Way, is the main access to downtown, Riverdale, and the Marwell Industrial Area. Other branch roads (Range Road, Hamilton Boulevard, Mayo Road) access smaller residential areas and recreational facilities.

The city road network is adequate, although it is congested during rush hours and discussions occasionally occur as to how it might better be managed, such as designating one-way streets.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Water

The Yukon River is essentially navigable from Whitehorse to the Bering Sea. At 640 m (2,100 ft) above sea level, the river at Whitehorse is the highest point on earth that can be reached by watercraft navigating from the sea. Currently, no passenger or freight services use the river at Whitehorse.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Rail

Whitehorse presently has no active railway service. The city is reached by the tracks of the White Pass and Yukon Route, of which only a small portion are currently maintained to run a small trolley service in the summer. The last scheduled service to Whitehorse occurred in October 1982. The White Pass Railway started scheduled service from Skagway, Alaska to Carcross, 72 km (45 mi) south of Whitehorse, in the spring of 2007, but this was disrupted by high lake water levels in August 2007. Speculation of a transcontinental rail link to Alaska includes one possible route option through Whitehorse; a report has recommended a hub at Carmacks, with a spur line to Whitehorse and on to the Inside Passage of Alaska.

Renovated rail-car 2011

Whitehorse, Yukon: Public transit

Whitehorse Transit provides bus service on weekdays from morning until early evening and Saturdays during business hours. There is a waterfront tram, known as the "trolley", which provides transport along a short rail section along the Yukon River; it is chiefly tourist-oriented and is not yet integrated into the municipal transit system. It runs from the Rotary Peace Park, located on the south end of the city centre, up to the north end of the city centre at Spook Creek Station.

Tourist tram 2011

Whitehorse, Yukon: Water and waste disposal

Water disposal is mostly done by draining in a septic tank where the sewage is not that well developed. Waste is disposed mostly in areas requiring reclamation. This includes places like quarries, mined areas etc.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Energy grid

Yukon Energy operates four conventional hydroelectric generating stations: Whitehorse Dam (40 MW), Aishihik Lake (37 MW), Mayo A (5 MW), and Mayo B (10 MW), which provide the bulk of generation for the Yukon Energy grid. An additional 39 MW of diesel generation is maintained for supplemental back-up.

Additionally, Yukon Energy operates two wind turbines near Whitehorse, which are connected to the Whitehorse-Aishihik-Faro grid. The first turbine is a Bonus Energy 150 kW MARK III installed in 1993. The second turbine, a Vestas 660 kW V47 LT II was later installed in 2000. These units need to be specially adapted to deal with icing and the northern environment.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Health care

The first "White Horse General Hospital" (WGH) was built in the downtown area in 1902 with a 10-bed capacity. During WWI beds increased to 30, 10 beds were added in 1943, then 20 beds in 1949, and an operating wing was added in 1951. In 1959 the hospital was rebuilt on the other bank of the Yukon River, across from its previous location, but decision making was still based in Ottawa (National Health and Welfare, Medical Services Branch).

In 1990, the Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC) was created in order to prepare the transfer of powers regarding the hospital from the Federal Government to the Yukon Territorial Government. In April 1993 management of WGH was officially transferred to the YHC following a collaboration with the Yukon government and Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN, then CYI). Construction of the present building lasted from 1994 through 1997. Today Whitehorse General hospital counts 49 in-patient beds, 10 day-surgery beds, an ER department, OR suites and several medical imaging technologies.

The downtown area has several private medical, dental, and optometry clinics.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Police, fire, emergency services

Whitehorse contracts out its police service to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with the main police station on 4th avenue in the city centre.

Whitehorse has its own fire service, known as City of Whitehorse Fire Department (WHFD) with two fire halls. The first in the city centre with only space for two trucks on 2126 Second Avenue near Steele Street, and the second (305 B Range Road) atop "Two Mile Hill" on the west side with room for 3 trucks which was rebuilt in 2010 to become a public safety building. The original fire hall located along on the waterfront has been preserved as a historic building and cultural centre. The Fire Department runs with 30 full-time staff and approximately 10 volunteers. WHFD is equipped and trained to respond to Motor vehicle Accidents, high and low angle rescue, confined space, and static water ice rescue. Haz-mat, swift water and urban search and rescue are not under the departments current capabilities or can only be responded to at awareness levels. All medical emergencies are responded to by Yukon Government Emergency Medical Services. All aircraft emergencies are dealt with by the ENWIA ARFF fire department with mutual aid agreement activities from WHFD. Whitehorse Fire Department is professionally represented by the IAFF and the BCPFFA. Whitehorse Fire Department is the largest municipal fire department in the territory and the only professional one. Though they are 13% of the total population of firefighters in the territory, WHFD protects 82% of the population, and responds to 84% of fire calls within the Yukon. WHFD falls under the authority of the Yukon Fire Marshals Office (FMO) and reports directly to it. All buildings in Whitehorse are subject to FMO building inspections and Fire Safety.

Whitehorse's ambulance service are run by Yukon Government's Emergency Medical Services and is staffed by full-time Primary Care Paramedics (PCP) and Advanced Care Paramedics (ACP)

Whitehorse's Search and Rescue (SAR) is ensured by a partnership between the RCMP, YG's Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and volunteer SAR teams.

All technical rescues are handled by SOMET (Special Operations Medical Extrication Team). All organizations are subject to their authority in rescue situations.

Whitehorse, Yukon: Education

Whitehorse has several schools as part of a Yukon Government operated public school system. Except for École Émilie-Tremblay Yukon does not have school boards, however each school has a council composed of three to seven elected positions for 2-year terms, consisting of (and elected by) citizens residing in the school's assigned area and parents of students attending the school. All teachers are employed directly by the Department of Education and there are no tuition fees to be paid to attend elementary and secondary institutions.

Primary education (K-3):

  • Grey Mountain Primary

Elementary education (K-7):

  • Christ the King Elementary (Catholic)
  • Elijah Smith Elementary
  • Golden Horn Elementary
  • Hidden Valley Elementary
  • Holy Family Elementary (Catholic)
  • Jack Hulland Elementary
  • Selkirk Elementary
  • Takhini Elementary
  • École Whitehorse Elementary (English and French Immersion)

Secondary education:

  • Vanier Catholic Secondary School (Catholic)
  • F.H. Collins Secondary School (English and French Immersion)
  • Porter Creek Secondary School

French First Language school (K-12):

  • École Émilie-Tremblay

Specialized programs:

  • Wood St. School (programs are attended by students drawn from the high schools)
  • Individual Learning Centre (for students who have had trouble in the regular school program and are not attending school)

Post-secondary education:

  • Yukon College, offering mostly college diplomas and some university degrees through ties with various universities (Northern British Columbia, Alaska Southeast, UArctic, Regina, Alberta)

Whitehorse, Yukon: Sister cities

  • United States Juneau, Alaska
  • France Lancieux, France, since 2000.
  • Japan Ushiku, Japan, since 1985.

Historical sister city partnerships:

  • Australia Echuca, Australia, Nov. 1977 – Sept. 2008
  • Brazil Patos de Minas, Brazil

Whitehorse, Yukon: Notable people

  • Byron Baltimore, National Hockey League player
  • Pierre Berton, an author and television host, born in Whitehorse.
  • Ivan E. Coyote, a spoken word performer and writer, born in Whitehorse in 1969.
  • Stephen Kozmeniuk, a musician who created the band Boy (Canadian band), music producer/composer who has worked with Madonna (entertainer), Kendrick Lamar, and others.
  • Audrey McLaughlin, the first woman to lead a represented political party (NDP) in Canadian federal politics, who has resided in Whitehorse since 1979.
  • Tahmoh Penikett of Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse
  • Robert W. Service known as The Bard of the Yukon for his famous poems The Shooting of Dan McGrew, The Cremation of Sam McGee and many other depicting the Gold Rush and the special atmosphere of the Klondike. Whitehorse City Council which paid tribute to Robert Service with several monuments: Robert Service's Road, a Bust near where he lived, a Memorial Desk at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Main Street and various celebrations through the sister city relationship with the town of Lancieux.
  • Amy Sloan who has done many television shows; and Jonas Smith of the band Field Day.
  • Peter Sturgeon, National Hockey League player

Notable athletes are Whitehorse born hockey players Bryon Baltimore, who made it to the Los Angeles Kings in 1974, and Peter Sturgeon who played for the Colorado Rockies in 1974, Whitehorse-born Olympic cyclist Zachary Bell, Whitehorse-raised Olympic weightlifter Jeane Lassen who won medals in several world competitions, Whitehorse born basketball players Aaron Olson, and 1984 Olympics centre for Team Canada Greg Wiltjer.

Notable politicians include the first female mayor of Whitehorse, in 1975, Ione Christensen whose family had moved to Whitehorse in 1949, and Yukon's first senator, in 1975, Paul Lucier, who stayed in office until his death in 1999.

Whitehorse, Yukon: See also

  • List of municipalities in Yukon
  • Bob Smart's Dream, a 1906 poem by Robert Service that speculates about the Whitehorse of the future.
  • This Dollar Saved My Life at Whitehorse, a 2001 album by Lucyfire

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  1. Climate data was recorded in the area of downtown Whitehorse from July 1900 to March 1942 and at Whitehorse Airport from April 1942 to present.
  • Whitehorse travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • City of Whitehorse
  • Yukon Government Fact Page
  • Community Profile
  • Whitehorse, Yukon at DMOZ
  • History Project: NWT and Yukon Radio System, large collection of archival photos
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