A Letter from the ‘King of the Yukon’

10 03 2011

I’ve been poking around at the Yukon Archives lately, mostly looking into the early history of Whitehorse, and last week I came across a fascinating — and nasty — letter. It was written in 1937 by H.G. Wheeler, then the president of the White Pass & Yukon Route, to an outsider named Grant McConachie who was interfering with White Pass’s efforts to control the budding airline industry.

Here’s an excerpt:

You must know, Mr. McConachie, that Whitehorse is a company town; Whitepass and Yukon owns it. They were here before the gold rush a long time ago. They own the railroad to Skagway on the ocean, they run the riverboats to Dawson, they operate the stage line. So they own the town… By ‘they’ I mean H.J. Wheeler. He runs Whitepass. He rules Whitehorse. There’s the Territorial Council, yes, but Wheeler’s the King of the Yukon. He resents your air service barging into his kingdom. So you’re being ignored. You’ll have trouble getting gas. They won’t throw you a rope, tie you up at the dock or even give you the time of day…

An ironic footnote to this bullying letter: White Pass sold its entire aviation division to McConachie less than four years later. Karma, huh?

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Whitehorse=Stuff White People Like?

22 02 2011

Remember Stuff White People Like? It’s the blog-turned-bestselling humor book that pokes gentle fun at the all-too-predictable habits of North America’s white yuppie/hipster/hippie sets.

I like an uncomfortable number of items listed in the book, and, well, I like Whitehorse a lot, too. So I thought I’d see how Whitehorse’s offerings fare in a comparison with the master list.

Here are, by my reckoning, the items interested white folks will have no trouble finding in the ‘Horse. Take note:

#1 Coffee; #3 Film Festivals; #5 Farmer’s Markets; #6 Organic Food; #9 Making you feel bad about not going outside; #12 Non-Profit Organizations; #13 Tea; #15 Yoga; #23 Microbreweries; #27 Marathons [Adventure races and trail running count, right?]; #28 Not having a TV; #31 Snowboarding; #32 Vegan/Vegetarianism; #33 Marijuana; #36 Breakfast Places; #42 Sushi; #43 Plays; #44 Public Radio; #45 Asian Fusion Food; #53 Dogs; #59 Natural Medicine; #61 Bicycles; #63 Expensive Sandwiches; #64 Recycling; #65 Co-Ed Sports; #87 Outdoor Performance Clothes [Boy howdy]; #90 Dinner Parties; #94 Free Healthcare; #100 Bumper Stickers [Sample slogan: “EAT MOOSE: 40,000 Wolves Can’t Be Wrong”]; #103 Sweaters; #110 Frisbee Sports; #112 Hummus; #128 Camping; #132 Picking Their Own Fruit.