On the morning of October 25, 1927, residents of Whitehorse heard a sound which would set the stage for a revolution in northern travel. High over-head, a single-engine monoplane, carrying five aviation pioneers, headed for a clearing in Cyr's wood lot above the clay bluffs overlooking the town. The Queen of the Yukon had arrived.
Clyde Wann was a visionary, a Yukoner whose many business endeavours were geared to the future - none more-so than in 1927, when he established the Yukon Airways and Exploration company. He and pilot Andy Cruikshank had travelled to San Diego that year to take delivery of Ryan Brougham 1, a 5-seater aircraft. While in San Diego waiting for their plane to come off the busy assembly line, they met Charles Lindbergh who was there to buy the sister ship he called the Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh would fly his Spirit to Paris. Clyde and Andy would fly their 'Queen to Vancouver, dismantle the wings, ship it to Skagway - then fly it to Whitehorse.
When they took off from the beaches at Skagway, the weather was overcast. They had to circle upward through the cloud banks while trying to avoid the mountains all around them. They finally reached clear skies at 12,000 feet. The flight to Whitehorse took one hour and ten minutes. The next day, Wednesday October 26, Clyde and Andy left for Mayo and Keno, a trip which took two hours, and became the first commercial aircraft flight in the Yukon. The Queen of the Yukon operated for two years, carrying mail and passengers from Whitehorse to Mayo and Dawson, and to Carcross.
In 1929, the plane crash-landed at the Whitehorse airport and was damaged beyond repair. The Queen of the Yukon No. 2, a Ryan Brougham 5 monoplane was ordered to replace the first Queen. However, it had a more deadly fate, crashing in Mayo in 1932 with the death of the pilot and the end of the Yukon Airways. But, Clyde Wann had proven that air passenger and freight service would be an integral part of the Yukon's transportation system.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin
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Back in 1959, my last year in high school, I and three of my school chums played in the Whitehorse Senior men’s hockey league. We were all fresh out of Juvenile hockey, barely old enough to drive and had the good fortune of playing for one of the best hockey coaches ever to hit the Yukon.
Roy Reber was from the old time hockey school of hard knocks. He scheduled so many practices that our school work began to suffer, but the late night practices in the cold Civic Centre (later Jim Light) arena were making men out of us boys in a hurry.
He was yelling "hurry-hard" long before Russ Howard made the admonition famous at various curling championships. He taught us to keep our heads up and watch out for the other guy. For Roy, in hockey, defense was everything. Any player who didn’t like to back check would spend a lot of time on the bench. What kind of men did Roy Reber make out of us teenagers?
Well, the town Merchants team that year beat the older, tougher Army, Air force and Dawson&Hall teams to win the Whitehorse Senior men’s hockey title. Final score in the final game was 6-2, Merchants over Dawson&Hall. I still have the boisterous team photo to prove it.
Roy Reber was born in Lethbridge, Alberta in 1923. He moved to Whitehorse in 1948 and became very active in the sporting community. Sports were Roy’s life. He played hockey, basketball, fastball, badminton, golf. In 1967 he coached the men’s hockey team at the first Canada Games in Quebec City. In 1971 he coached the women's team at the Canada Games in Saskatoon.
Roy was an invaluable worker during the early years of the Arctic Winter Games. He attended the first games in 1970 as a basketball player. In 1972, he was the General Manager when the games were held in Whitehorse. In 1974 the Arctic Winter Games Corporation appointed him to the Steering Committee. He remained a member of the Board of Directors until 1978.
He served on the National Advisory Council for Fitness and Amateur Sports. In 1983, Roy Reber was inducted into the Sport Yukon Hall of Fame for his life-long commitment to coaching and promoting many sports.
I can still hear the sound of his voice echoing through the crisp air of the Civic Centre arena on any given cold winter night.
"Hurry-hard and keep your head up."
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin
One thing is certain about Yukon Quest mushers: they respect their dogs. We all love our dogs, of course, but respect in a race like the Quest is key to success. When this respect is returned, the team of musher and dogs is complete. A sage once said that money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail. If American humourist of the 1930s Will Rogers had been covering the Yukon Quest, he would quickly notice the bond between musher and dog. Rogers once accurately observed that if you are thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering someone else’s dog around.
The Yukon quest is as much about human-animal teamwork as it is about winning. Mark Twain, a colourblind humanitarian who wrote so eloquently about people of different racial backgrounds, was wise enough to note that if you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, his will not bite you. That is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Yes, the Yukon Quest is really a dog show. It began in 1983, as a dream of mushers and a Fairbanks saloon called The Bulllseye, and was dedicated to the vision of gold seekers, mail carriers, trappers and traders, all who knew the value of a good dog team. In the early days of the far off land good dogs were the difference between a life fulfilled, and a wasted youth. In the early days, Northerners learned quickly that dogs were their best friends – they learned it, or they failed. American President Woodrow Wilson said with much wisdom if a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.
The first Yukon Quest in 1984 tested both race, logistics and talent, as 26 teams left Fairbanks. At the races end, 1600km later, 20 teams crossed the finish line in Whitehorse. Sonny Linder became the first Quest champion, completing the race in 12 days and 5 minutes, and winning the $15,000 prize money. The purse soon grew to $25,000, as the race began to attract big-name sponsors and worldwide attention. Today, $30,000 goes to the winner, but most mushers will tell you they’re not in it for the money. The first Canadian to win the race was Bruce Johnson of Atlin in 1986. In 1984 Lorrina Mitchell was the first woman to finish the race. The fastest race was run in 1995 with Frank Turner’s winning time of 10 days, 16 hours, and 18 minutes. The longest time to finish and win was Bruce Johnson’s run of 14 days, 9 hours, and 17 minutes. But in a race of this magnitude records don’t mean much because conditions differ greatly from year to year. What doesn’t change is one the Quest’s main objectives, and that is commemorate the historic dependence of man and sled dog for mutual survival in extreme conditions, and to perpetrate mankind’s concern for his canine companion’s continued health, welfare, and development.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin
Regarding the Cancom service, the Hon. Francis Fox, Minister of Communications said, "I am pleased to see the further equalization of television service for Canadians living in remote and underserved areas coming onstream in accord with the National Broadcast Policy." Mr. Fox also said he hoped for early additions and significant development of new Canadian programming from broadcasting entrepreneurs. The Minister concluded the brief interview, "We wish Cancom well in the distribution of their improved package to individuals, community broadcasters and cable companies wherever licensed distribution of this fine entertainment and news package is granted."
|January 17, 1983
→ April 20, 1983
→ June 6, 1983
|The economy continues to be the dominant concern in 1983. However, media is able to report improving trends. White Pass railways announces January 17, 1983 it will remain shut through 1983 as a result of the continued closure of the Cyprus Anvil mine. April 20, 1983 a $50 million aid package (split half and half by government and the mine) is announced for the Cyprus Anvil Mining Corporation. It puts a third of the work force back on the job. June 6, 1983 a majority of the laid-off workers at the United Keno Hills silver mine in Elsa accept new contracts, which is an important step towards re-opening. The mine re-opens in August.|
|January 5, 1983
→ March 31, 1983
→ April 6, 1983
|Land claim talks are another important issue in 1983. January 5, 1983 the public learns that the Yukon government has walked away from land claim talks in mid-December. The boycott is blamed by the Yukon government on the federal government's reluctance to deal with a number of issues: The cost of land-claims to the Yukon government, land for non-native Yukoners, and constitutional and legal issues. Later, federal and Yukon government reached agreement on major issues (March 31, 1983). The Old Crow Indian band is the first band to ratify the proposed land claim agreement (April 6, 1983).|
|January 14, 1983||Alan Innes-Taylor, an expert on arctic survival techniques and one of the last great men of the North, dies at the age of 82.|
|January 17, 1983||Massive copper and cobalt deposits are discovered south of the Yukon border, in northern B.C. near the Haines Road.|
|January 21, 1983||The Tungsten mine (NWT) shuts down for at least 6 months.|
|January 21, 1983||Laurent Cyr and Corinne Cyr are selected as Mr. and Mrs. Yukon 1983.|
|February 2, 1983
→ June 10, 1983
→ June 13, 1983
→ September 2, 1983
|Yukon MP Erik Nielsen is chosen as the interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and Canada's new Opposition Leader (February 2, 1983). Nielsen's temporary post as Opposition leader comes to an end June 10, 1983. September 2, 1983 Erik Nielsen is officially named deputy national leader of the Progressive Conservatives following Brian Mulroney's election as party leader June 12, 1983.|
|February 7, 1983||B.C. Placer Development Ltd. gives up its development plans for a $140 million mine near Atlin due to low prices for molybdenium.|
|March 2, 1983||Downtown businesses plan to turn downtown stores into mini shopping centre by building doors that connect the Taku Hotel, McFarlane Trading Co., Plantation Flower Shop, Hougen's Radio Shack and People's Drug Mart.|
|March 2, 1983
→ October 14, 1983
|The federal government gives final approval to a Yukon route for the Alaska Highway gas pipeline, including the controversial Ibex Pass area (March 2, 1983). October 14, 1983 the University of Alaska releases study results according to which the Alaska Highway gas pipeline will probably never be built.|
|March 9, 1983||The local cable station WHTV announces it will increase the number of American TV channels in the second half of 1983.|
|March 11, 1983||Dome Petroleum Ltd. plans to spend $960 million Beaufort Sea exploration.|
|March 11, 1983
→ June 27, 1983
|After delays in 1982, the federal government gives final approval to a $40.3 million funding for native broadcasting in the North (March 11, 1983). Native radio stations in the Yukon get their first programming from the Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon Society in June 1983 (June 27, 1983).|
|March 21, 1983
→ December 7, 1983
|Anglican deaconess Dr. Hilda Hellaby receives the Commissioner Award for her missionary work in the Yukon (March 21, 1983). She dies December 7, 1983 at the age of 85.|
|March 25, 1983||The Whitehorse Indian Band Kwanlin Dun chooses Hillcrest for relocation.|
|March 25, 1983||Yukon Vocational and Technical Training Centre and Yukon campus are merged to form Yukon College.|
|April 13, 1983||"Just Kidding", a children's show produced by Whitehorse youngsters and shown on WHTV wins a national award from the Children's Broadcast Institute in Toronto.|
|April 15, 1983||Dawson City loses another historic landmark as fire destroys the Midnight Sun Restaurant.|
|May 6, 1983||Jim Quong, a former Yukoner with almost 40 years of community service, receives the Commissioner's Award.|
|May 9, 1983||The Yukon and the federal government sign a long-sought heritage rivers agreement that enables the Yukon government to decide the future use of the territory's rivers.|
|May 11, 1983||Jimmy Kane, the veteran Yukon trapper who saw Jack Dalton arrive in Dalton Post in 1894, dies in Whitehorse. He is believed to be at least 110 years old.|
|May 18, 1983||Dawson City's first private radio station - CFYT-FM - is launched.|
|May 18, 1983||A $700,000 4 year-project to restore the building of Dawson's city daily news is started.|
|May 30, 1983||Dawson City's Diamond Tooth Gertie's gambling casino is re-opened after a $900,000 renovation.|
|June 1, 1983||The federal Treasury Board approves a 3 year $15million project to build a new airport terminal building in Whitehorse. The official kick-off of the construction project is July 15th, 1983.|
|June 3, 1983||The federal government approves $4 million to build a road into Kluane National Park so tourists can visit the Kaskawulsh Glacier.|
|June 3, 1983||Yukon food stores have until Dec. 31 to start selling their goods in metric units. Only the NWT and parts of British Columbia haven't introduced the metric system yet.|
|June 6, 1983||The Tungsten mine (NWT) extends its closure for an undetermined amount of time.|
|June 20, 1983||The Taku Hotel in Whitehorse is hit by a $40,000 fire.|
|June 29, 1983||After nearly 3 years of dickering, the Yukon government and Dawson City council reach a sewer and water agreement.|
|June 30, 1983||60 years after his death, Klondike Joe Boyle finally gets recognition from his home country as Boyle is given a military funeral including a military salute.|
|July 4, 1983||Yukon Opposition Leader Tony Penikett is acclaimed to serve a second two-year term as president of the federal New Democratic Party.|
|July 15, 1983
→ November 7, 1983
|Two port proposal for the Yukon's Artic coast are filed (July 15, 1983). However, Northern Development Minister John Munro rules out port proposals for the Yukon's northern coast since they would endanger native land claim negotiations (November 7, 1983).|
|July 20, 1983||Whitehorse Kwanlin Dun band quits the Council for Yukon Indians (CYI) because of undisclosed council decision.|
|August 22, 1983||Mayo's Christ the King Church is restored for its 60th anniversary.|
|August 24, 1983||Whitehorse General Hospital - built as a military hospital in 1955 - undergoes a major study to decide about its future.|
|September 7, 1983||Fire damages Grey Mountain Primary School in Riverdale. No one gets hurt. Repairs cost almost $100,000.|
|September 16, 1983||Alaska's time zone will be reduced from four to two October 30, 1983.|
|September 27, 1983||Alaska Governor Bill Sheffield announces another $11 million will be pumped in the Shakwak project in the Yukon.|
|October 7, 1983||The movie "Never Cry Wolf", shot in the Yukon, has its world premier in Ottawa.|
|October 19, 1983||Author, historian, highway engineer Allen Arthur Wright dies in Whitehorse at the age of 67. Wright wrote the book "Prelude to Bonanza".|
|November 4, 1983||Two large ore-bodies are discovered by a Vancouver-based mining company in the southern Yukon.|
|November 4, 1983||CBC celebrates 25 years in the North.|
|December 14, 1983||NorthwesTel announces "new" phones services over the coming 1,5 years including toll-free "800" numbers and direct calling overseas.|
|December 16, 1983||Don Branigan is re-elected as mayor of Whitehorse. He had served in 1980 and 1981, but chose not to run in 1981.|
|December 19, 1983||CanCom (Canadian Satellite Communications Ltd.) goes public. The company makes a public offering of its share to be later publicely traded on the Montreal and Toronto stock exchanges.|
|December 23, 1983||Florence E. Whyard is named a member of the Order of Canada.|