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Gold panning in Dawson City.
Gold panning in Dawson City.
Downtown Dawson City.
Inside Sourdough Saloon.

Dawson City

Thursday, November 9, 2000
In the wilderness at the top of the world is a mountain range where Canada's Yukon meets Alaska. That's where you'll find Dawson City, frozen in time.

In the wilderness at the top of the world is a mountain range where Canada's Yukon meets Alaska. That is where you will find Dawson City, frozen in the land of permafrost and the midnight sun. In the 1890s 40,000 people headed there in the hope of finding gold. It attracted miners, gamblers and adventurers and there was plenty to tempt them: saloons, dance halls, whisky and scarlet women. Now, during summer, it is a popular tourist town with real character.

A man named Buffalo runs Gold City Tours. With the help of his guides he takes tours in one of four vans, two buses or his old yellow car. After a tour of Dawson City, you will be taken to Bonanza Creek to do some gold panning. This was the site of the first gold strike back in August 1896. It is estimated that about $28 million worth of gold has been taken from the ground since the first strike, and the dredge that helped rip the gold from the ground is still there. It is eight storeys high and weighs about 300 tonnes. It's no longer in operation but you can get into it for a look.

Bombay Peggy was the madam of a brothel in the 1950s but her business was closed, and the building is now an inn and lounge called Bombay Peggy's. The tall, narrow Victorian building has three storeys and a most unusual roofline.

The 10 guestrooms differ from each other. There are two deluxe rooms, an attic room and the lipstick room — red and black, with velvet bedding and a splash of leopard print. In the guest parlour your hosts hold a sherry hour once a week so you can meet other residents for a chat and singalong around the piano.

Canada's first casino and the only one in the Yukon is Diamond Tooth Gerties. Diamond Gertie was a dance hall girl during the gold rush. One night a gambler wagered a $10,000 diamond and lost. Gertie kept the diamond and had it imbedded in her teeth. Diamond Tooth Gerties is run by the Klondike Visitors Association and is a non-profit casino. Money raised by the casino goes to the town.

There are three shows a night, with Gertie making an appearance in all of them, and lots of cancan, banjo playing, tap dancing and jazz.

The Palace Grand Theatre is possibly the most beautiful building in Dawson City, and there are two Gaslight Follies vaudeville shows each night. The jokes are corny but the audience gets into the mood and it is a fun night out.

The Downtown Hotel has an attraction between 9pm and 11pm, but it's not the thing for everyone. It's called the Sour Toe Cocktail. During prohibition in the US, two brothers were running rum from Dawson to Alaska. One brother suffered frostbite on his toes and the other brother chopped the frozen toes off with a hatchet. In 1973 a man who bought their cabin found a toe in a masonry jar and, to cut a rather grisly story short, it somehow became popular to drink a cocktail containing the toe.


Canada's Yukon territory.


Adventure World has eight-day floatplane packages, including two days in Dawson City, starting from $3667 per person twin-share. Trips run from June to September. The eight-day trips depart from Whitehorse, cruise the Llewellyn Fjord, Conolly Lake, and land on a MacKenzie Mountain glacier. You spend two nights in Dawson City.
Bombay Peggy's has rooms starting at around $96 per person per night.Br>Qantas flies four times a week to Vancouver with connections to Whitehorse. Return economy airfares start from $2319 from the east coast, $2639 from Adelaide and $3119 from Perth.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Adventure World: Ph: (02) 9956 7766, or
Bombay Peggy's: Ph: (0011 1 867) 993 6969
Qantas: Ph: 13 1313

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