Hougen Group

whyard

Commissioner Jack Cable presenting the Commissioner's (Yukon) Award to "A Community Icon", Flo Whyard - 2001 at the Yukon Transportation Museum.

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Florence Whyard at Herschel Island. Yukon Archives. Richard Harrington fonds, #445.

Flo Whyard

Flo Whyard is a journalist - always has been - and a good one at that. She comes by the trade honestly. One of her first memories is the sound of an old typewriter banging away on the other side of the wall beside her crib, in the London, Ontario home of her father.

W.E. Elliott was then a reporter with The London Free Press.

At home, there were always books to read with a newsman's point of view on the world. In her teens, the public library, an excellent resource for Flo, was just across the street from her family's home.

In the Thirties, Flo Elliott went to the University of Western Ontario as a general arts student. But the depression made paying for college impossible so she left Western and signed up for credit courses by correspondence, and worked three jobs, graduating from Western with a Bachelor of Arts in 1938.

When World War II began, Flo's father moved to Ottawa to help run the newsroom in the Information Branch of The Wartime Prices and Trade Board.

Flo followed and learned there was an opening for an information officer with the navy. So she enlisted in the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service and wrote about Canadian Wrens serving in Canada.

In Ottawa she met, and in 1944, married, James Whyard, a graduate engineer who had worked on surveys in the north and taught map-reading to his reserve army unit.

A year later, he was transferred to Yellowknife to help create order out of the staking boom in the Northwest Territories. It was an exciting time to be in the settlement on the rocks, as Flo discovered after her discharge in 1945 to join him there.

Ten years later, they were off to Whitehorse, where James was to provide mapping and claim services.

In 1955, the Whitehorse Star editor, Harry Boyle, hired Flo to write about social items, women's organizations, church activities, and, when her three kids were in school, police court, city and territorial council.

Later, Flo became the editor of the Star and in the mid-sixties provided daily news copy for the fledgling news service of CBC Radio. I clearly recall reading the nightly news that Flo hand-delivered to the station on yellow news copy sheets, neatly typed and ready to be mangled by this rookie radio news reader.

In 1974, politics beckoned. Flo won the Whitehorse West seat on Yukon Territorial Council, and assumed cabinet posts for Health, Welfare and Corrections.

After a four-year term, she went back into journalism and community life, but politics soon called again, and she became Mayor of The City of Whitehorse in 1981.

Shortly after putting on chain of office, Flo was faced with a major flood, the closure of the largest producing mine, and the shutdown of The White Pass Railroad. It wasn't a happy time.

 

 

But Flo was gaining recognition for her years of service. In 1979, she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Ontario, where she had graduated forty years earlier.

 

 

In 1984, she was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Of all her accomplishments, she is perhaps proudest of her role in promoting Martha Louise Black's Yukon legacy. Flo authored an updated version of Martha's biography called My Ninety Years, and is tireless in promoting her role in Yukon history.

Flo continues to write, and participate in community life as well as being an active volunteer with the Transportation Museum - all the while researching the Yukon's colourful history of which she has become a very integral part.

A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin

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L to R: Rolf Hougen, Marg Hougen, Alex van Bibber and Sue van Bibber.

Alex Van Bibber

Alex’s introduction to trapping began early in life growing up alongside the Pelly River, under the McArthur Mountains. He honed his skills under the tutelage of his parents and developed a wealth of experience trapping with his brothers at home, as well as in the more remote regions of the territory where they relished exploring.

In 1972, Ted Geddes, founder and then president of the Yukon Trappers Association (YTA), sent Alex to Prince George, B.C. to take a trappers training course. Hoping to start a trapper education program in the Yukon, Ted probably did not realize at the time, just how successful his idea would become, nor how instrumental his choice of instructor would be in determining that success.

In 1976, the “Game Branch” recruited Alex to help demonstrate trapping techniques in the first series of what became known as “trapper education workshops” in the territory. He continued as chief instructor when the program was turned over to the YTA to deliver. Over the years Alex continued to teach as well as take on the added responsibility of program co-ordination.

Alex has provided instruction to trappers all across the north including the Yukon, Alaska, B.C. and N.W.T. He has taught in classrooms, community centres, band halls, garages, trappers cabins and out on the land. He has put many miles on his truck driving to the communities and has on more than one occasion reached remote trappers by either snowmachine or bush plane. Always willing to share his knowledge and an occasional story or two, Alex was a welcome guest in many homes in every Yukon community. People signing up for a workshop today still ask if Alex will be the instructor.

A believer of the adage “you are never too old to learn”, Alex loved to share ideas he got from the trappers he instructed both young and old. He attended courses in Alberta, B.C. and Yukon. Alex practices what he preaches every time he is able to escape from his busy schedule to his trapline and his “Mansion in the Sky”.

Alex’s knowledge and skills are recognized not only at home but all across this country. He has participated in national discussions on setting minimum standards for trapper education. He has promoted trapping and the fur trade at every opportunity including expositions in Canada and Europe.


He has received many awards in recognition of his commitment including the Order of Canada (1992), the Ted Geddes (YTA 1984), Leo Heisz (YTA 1989 and 1994), Lloyd Cook (FIC 1993), Sportsman of the Year (YFGA 1995 and CWF 1996), and Jim Bourque (FIC 1998) awards.

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Marg and Rolf’s Christmas card in 2001 – there are 18 grandchildren in the photo, all of whom live in Whitehorse.

Christmas Greetings