Hougen Group

Territories at Brier

As the country prepares for the Tim Hortons Brier, emblematic of men’s curling supremacy in Canada, we are all applauding the NWT-Yukon Representative, from the Yellowknife curling club. The hope is this team can proudly carry the territories banner to victory, but it’s a longshot, just as it was when the territories first entered the national men’s championship in 1975. Back then it was the MacDonald Brier, but today tobacco is out of favour. Thus, the coffee giant Tim Horton’s is the main sponsor.

For years prior to 1975, curling enthusiasts in the North had been clamouring for a direct entry into the national play-downs, but to no avail. The competition was not good enough in the North, said the masters who ran the show. Finally, in 1975 they relented, and for the first time the Northern Territories had their own entry to be decided in a pan-northern play-down. Don Twa and his rink from Whitehorse emerged as the first direct northern entry. Not to worry said the powers that be, the northerners will fail, and then maybe we’ll just go back to our original plan of provincial representation only at the Brier. Don Twa and his rink made up of third Chuck Haines, second Kip Boyd, and lead Lionel Stokes had other ideas. That year the briar was held in Fredericton New Brunswick, and I was lucky enough to be sent to cover this historic event for radio, along with my pal Terry Delaney.

No one gave the Yukon rink a chance against the best in Canada, but on the day of the final draw the nation had taken notice. Don Twa had curled with grace and skill as never before. His rink, not only the oldest foursome at the event but also the most gracious, needed to win their final game to make their overall record 8 wins and 3 losses, and then hope that Bob Cole and his rink from Newfoundland would defeat Alberta. Cole did just that with a spectacular shot for a deuce in the 12th end. I recall more excitement on that shot than when Cole was calling the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Alberta and the Yukon now tied at 8 and 3, Northern Ontario still led the pack with an 8 and 2 record. They had to lose their final game in the round robin to force a three way tie. Alas Bill Tetley and his Northern Ontario rink won their last game on an almost impossible draw through a post of the button to win the Macdonald Brier Tankard. In those days there were no playoffs, so the team with the best winning record over the entire week was declared the winner. However the Yukon entry led by Don Twa came ever so close to winning the Briar that year, but more importantly they showed that the north belonged in the national final. As icing on the cake, Don Twa was elected by sports reporters, including Terry Delaney and me, as the all-star skip. It was indeed a memorable week for sports in the Yukon.

A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin


Flashback: Whitehorse from Hill.

Northwest Mounted Police

In the foreground in this 1906 Hamacher photo is the Northwest Mounted Police Barracks and compound. In the centre, you can view a softball game in progress and the Catholic Church to the left.

The ladies of Hougen's dressed for the Rendezvous, 1975.

Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous

Every year the Hougen staff participated in the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous by dressing in "turn of the century" clothing. In addition there were displays throughout the store, music, photographs and sponsorship of a queen candidate.

Left to Right : Paul Lucier (1974-75), Bert Wybrew (1969-73), Ed Jacobs (1962-65), Gordon Armstrong (1950-57) & Howard Firth (1966-68).

Past Whitehorse Mayors

5 mayors are gathered in the Elks Hall for a banquet to celebrate the 25th year since Whitehorse was incorporated. It is actually over 75 years since a Whitehorse land survey established Whitehorse. Not here former mayors Gorden Cameron (1958-59) and NVK "Vic" Wylie (1960-61).

Gordie Tapp making a presentation to Rolf Hougen, 1975.

Gordie Tapp

Gordie Tapp, famed Canadian entertainer, came to Whitehorse as a spokeman for Yamaha music. Hougen's was a dealer for pianos, organs & other instruments. His most recent TV appearance is in the show "Hee Haw".

Rolf Hougen showing Joe Clark how to catch arctic grayling with a fly rod & dry fly, 1975.

Joe Clarke, PC

Joe Clarke, as leader of the Progressive Conservative opposition visited the Yukon and spent some time at Quiet Lake as guest of Erik Nielsen. He fished, had a sauna & ate well.

The Whitehorse Star Reports in 1975

January 3, 1975 Montague (Monty) Alford is named to the Order of Canada. He receives the award for his pioneer work in hydrometric surveying in the North and as a pioneer in Yukon mountaineering.
January 13, 1975
 → February 7, 1975
 → May 2, 1975
 → May 9, 1975
 → May 16,1975
 →  November 5, 1975
The territorial council is one of the dominant news topics in 1975. On January 13, 1975, Ken McKinnon, minister of local government, Gordon McIntyre, minister of education, and Hilda Watson, minister of health, welfare and rehabilitation are sworn in by Commissioner James Smith. (see also December 13, 1974) Former territorial councillor John Livesey defies the election of Hilda Watson. Livesey's application states that at least 26 people voted unlawfully in the Kluane riding. February 7, 1975, local Government Minister Ken McKinnon resigns from his job as station manager for WHTV to avoid conflict charges. He is followed by Hilda Watson who resigns her post as Kluane MLA and minister May 2, 1975 following the allegations. On May 8, 1975, Whitehorse West MLA Flo Whyard is chosen by the Legislature to tbe the new minister of health, welfare and rehabilitation. On May 16, 1975, Gordon McIntyre resigns from the Executive Committee and his job as minister for personal reasons. Dan Lang appointed Education Minister is appointed to replace him. Finally, in the November 3 by-election, Hilda Watson (defeating John Livesey) and Walt Lengerke (defeating Don Branigan) are elected Kluane and Riverdale MLA by an unquestionable majority.
January 13, 1975 Zinc dethrones gold as the number one mineral in the Yukon with respect to the highest total value.
January 15, 1975 Gordon "Cam" Cameron and his wife Martha are selected Mr. and Mrs. Yukon 1975.
January 22, 1975 Federal Health and Welfare Minister Marc Lalonde and the Yukon government agree on the transfer of all federal health services to the territory.
February 14, 1975 Former northern affairs minister Arthur Laing dies February 12, 1975 in Vancouver.
February 14, 1975 Dave Cummins is appointed manager of CKRW, following Sandy Brown.
February 19, 1975 An American Broadcasting film crew comes to Whitehorse and Watson Lake for a film on the airplane crash and the successful 49-day search of Ralph Flores and Helen Klaben that occurred in 1963.
February 21, 1975 The '98 Hotel and the Whitehorse Inn lose their liquor licenses due to serious infractions of the liquor ordinance, particularly those dealing with minors and intoxicated persons.
March 5, 1975 Father Brian Kearns is named "citizen of the year" by the Kiwanis club of Whitehorse.
March 14, 1975 Dawson's Black Mick celebrates his 105th birthday.
March 31, 1975 As of April 1, 1975, all temperatures issued by the Atmospheric Environment Service (weather forecast) are given in Celsius degrees rather than Fahrenheit degrees. (see also March 19 1976)
April 8, 1975 The territorial government announces that the rural TV program for community with less than 500 people is planned to start soon. The territorial's budget allows for $96,000 to be spent on installing the Anik signal receiver.
April 23, 1975 The unemployment rate hits 19% in the Yukon.
May 28, 1975 The historic gold mining centre of Bear Creek, seven miles from Dawson City, is developed into a major tourist attraction. The Historic Sites branch of Parks Canada bought the property from a private owner.
June 13, 1975 The election of Willard Phelps is declared void, following the petition of Don Branigan. (see also December 30, 1974)
June 25, 1975 Rolf Hougen, representing nine local volunteer and community craft groups, plans to take over the T.C. Richards building and turn it into a craft centre. The Richards building is a log house at Steele and Third. It was built in 1946 as a home for T.C. Richards.
July 7, 1975 The Dawson City post office, built in 1901, is restored and opened for the first time since 1934. It's open for public use, but only stamps can be bought there.
July 16, 1975 The people of Old Crow express their disapproval of the planned Berger pipeline.
July 25, 1975 The Engineering Mine near Atlin is re-opened by a Vancouver company, due to consistently high gold prices.
August 6, 1975 City Manager Walter Lengerke has resigned his position after one and a half years.
August 20, 1975
 → November 26, 1975
The Yukon's Women's Mini-Bus Society submits to the city council a proposal for minibus system in Whitehorse. In November, January 26, 1976 is announced as the target date for the start-up of the Whitehorse Mini-bus transit system.
August 22, 1975 Whitehorse airport goes bilingual with the installation of its new signs.
August 27, 1975 The territorial department of education begins teaching of the metric system with the start of the 1975/76 school year in Yukon schools, beginning in Grades 1 and 2.
September 8, 1975 Northern Affairs Minister Judd Buchanan is seeking a replacement for Commissioner James Smith as smith announces he would like to resign from his job after nine years in this position.
September 8, 1975 Northern Affairs Minister Judd Buchanan opens the controversial 30-megawatt Aishihik hydro power project.
September 22, 1975 The Whitehorse Star celebrates with a special issues its 75th anniversary.
October 24, 1975 At age 45, Mayor Paul Lucier is appointed the North's first senator.
October 31, 1975 Historic Five Finger Rapids is ruled out as a possible dam site by Commissioner James Smith, chairman of the Northern Canada Power Commission.
November 21, 1975 The B.C. government intends to stretch its railway from Dease Lake north to Lower Post near Watson Lake, according to an agreement reached with the federal government.
November 21, 1975 Whitehorse's number of theatres is cut in half with the demolition of the Capitol Theatre on Main Street announced for January 1976.
December 5, 1975
 → December 10, 1975
Televison arrives in Teslin with the installation of a Telesat earth station. A few days later, TV in Teslin is shut off pending the approval for an interim licence.
December 12, 1975 Ione Christensen is elected mayor of Whitehorse.
December 17, 1975 The Atmospheric Environment Service (weather forecast) announces the introduction of a new windchill measurement system, starting January 1, 1976.
December 19, 1975 For the first time in its 28-year-old history, the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce has an executive manager: David Morrison.
January 7, 1976 The wedding of Grafton Njootli and Nancy Barnett on December 27, 1976, is the first Old Crow wedding before a Justice of the Peace, Charlie Abel.

Other News From 1975

  • During the week of November 1-8th, Marg and Rolf Hougen are guests of Panasonic spending one week in Mazatlan, Mexico at the Playa Del Rey hotel.
  • Among those on the trip was Bill Bennett, a hardware appliance dealer from Kelowna.
  • April 4-12. A visit to the Eastern Arctic saw Marg and Rolf Hougen, Dr. Aubrey Tanner and wife Peg travel to Rankin Inlet, Coral Harbour, Frobisher Bay, Lake Harbour and Cape Dorset - the pilot was Bob Engle. The weather was so extremely cold, that Rolf's 16mm Bolex camera froze up.
  • May 19-30. As guests of Yamaha music, Marg and Rolf visited Tokyo. From there, they travelled by bullet train and motorcoach to Tsumagui, Yamaha's head office. In Hamamatsu, a luncheon was hosted by Mr. & Mrs. Kawakami, President of Yamaha. Factory visits, mikimoto pearl diving, a stay at a Japanese style resort, sleeping on floor mats, geisha's, three days in Kyoto, fabulous food was all part of the ten days of hospitality.
  • October 9-12. Rolf Hougen joined a group of Yukoners in Viking, Alberta for an annual duck shoot. Among those attending were Edge King, Gordon Cameron , Maj. Fred Kay, Bob Choate, John Phelps, Insp. Joe Vachon, Gol. Keith Besley and Gorden Crawford.
  • Past and present Mayors, Gordon Armstrong, Bert Wybrew, Ed Jacobs, Howard Firth and Paul Lucier gathered with Whitehorse citizens in the Elks Hall to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Whitehorse.
  • Federal Industries of Winnipeg has offered cash for the remaining 49.8% of White Pass shares it does not own.
  • On Jan 6th, a record low of 55.6 below F. was recorded in Whitehorse. The record low in January was 61.7 degrees on Jan. 31, 1947.
  • NCPC's Aishihik Hydro Project will start delivering power in June.
  • The Minister of Northern Development, Judd Buchanan announces that Yukon Commissioner James Smith will be Chairman of the Northern Canada Power Commission (NCPC).
  • In August, Hougen's celebrated with a grand opening the addition of a Radio Shack store on the 2nd floor of the Hougen Centre.
  • Ron Hurry, the Goldsmith in Hougen's jewellery department, fashions a "turn of the century" gold nugget vest chain.
  • Joe Clark, leader of the Progressive Conservative official opposition, spends time at Quiet Lake. The picture of him taking an arctic grayling caught on a fly made the front page of newspapers across Canada.
  • Judd Buchanan, Minister of Northern Development, in a letter to Al Lueck, lawyer for C.Y.I., said he is hopeful all land claims will be concluded by November 1976.
  • The YTG Executive Committee members will now be called "ministers". Three M.L.A.s named Ministers are Ken McKinnon, Hilda Watson and Gorden McIntyre.
  • Whitehorse West M.L.A. Flo Whyard is appointed to the Executive Committee of the Yukon Territorial Government as Minister of Health and Welfare replacing Hilda Watson, who resigned.
  • Federal Health Minister Marc Lalonde writes Flo Whyard, the Yukon's Health Minister, saying that she can attend a conference of Canada's Health Ministers "as an observer" but will have no vote.
  • Northern Resources Conference called "Yukon on the Move" expects 350 delegates says Chairman Dutch Van Tassell.
  • Erik Nielsen M.P. proposed in a private members bill in the House of Commons that a senator be appointed from the both the Yukon and the NWT. The Liberal Government supported the bill but the N.D.P. opposed. It passed.
  • Digby Hunt is appointed the Federal Government's Chief Land Claims Negotiator.
  • Local Government Director Walter Bilawich announces one hundred and forty residential lots will go on sale. 86 are in Porter Creek, 19 in McRae and 55 in Riverdale.
  • Judd Buchanan Minister of Northern Development announced the removal of lake front lot restrictions imposed when hydro development was proposed for the Yukon -
  • Taiya (Yukon Taku) dam. Long term leases are now available.
  • Justice Thomas Berger visits Old Crow as part of the McKenzie Valley Pipeline Project. Chief John Joe Kay said "My people are not in favour of the pipeline."
  • The George Johnson Museum opened in Teslin. George Johnson, who died in 1973, was a strong supporter of the museum.
  • Bert Boyd is named chairman of the Yukon Water Board.
  • The Yukon Indian Women's Association complained to Peter Gillespie, YTG Executive committee member responsible for Tourism, that signs pointing to Indian Cemeteries should be removed. He agreed.
  • The Yukon’s minimum wage is set at $2.70 an hour.
  • Jill Tanner and Kelly Hougen graduated from F.H. Collins High School.
  • Leo Van Vugt, who tried to repair the Riverdale Road, during the civic strike was charged with dangerous driving when driving a front end loader.
  • The White Pass and Yukon Route railway celebrates seventy-five years of service to the Yukon.
  • Alderman Peter Patrick, manager of Canada Packers, resigned from City Council because of a transfer to Edmonton.
  • Pierre Juneau is appointed Chairman Canadian Radio Television Commission replacing Gerard Pelletier.
  • Teslin Wood Products, builder of freighter canoes, has closed down.
  • Dr. Lloyd Barber, Canada's Land Claims Commissioner holds an information meeting on "the basis of land claims in Canada". The meeting was sponsored by the University of Canada North.
  • Thirty-four dog teams participate in the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous races.
  • Bill Thompson announces that twenty dog teams will participate in the Carcross to Atlin commemorative mail run.