When he was transferred to Whitehorse in 1955, the 37-year-old Canadian Army Captain was sure he had arrived in the right place at the right time. Thus, Roy Minter began his lifelong career as a publicist and a public relations man such as the Yukon had seldom seen.
Roy was born in London, England in 1917. As a kid, he moved with his parents to Vancouver. When he was old enough, he joined the Army. He spent some years with the Army in Whitehorse and then left the service to join the White Pass and Yukon Route as a special assistant to the President. He spent the rest of his life promoting the company and the territory.
In 1960, he was a member of the board of directors when the Dawson City festival foundation was formed to stage the rebirth of Dawson as a tourist destination. Roy had played a key role in getting the federal government to invest a large amount of time and money into the project.
Roy became an author, historian, photographer and film producer. He won international awards for two films, "Brave New North" and "Take Four Giant Steps. He also produced the 1967 centennial film called "It’s the Land, Have You Seen It?" as one of the White Pass company’s contributions to Canada’s centennial year.
Roy Minter rarely took a back seat when the Yukon’s name and honour were at stake. In 1966, he helped spearhead the movement called the Klondike Defense Force. It was formed to do battle with the city of Edmonton when they decided to use the Klondike as the theme for their annual city celebrations. It was Roy who convinced Yukon politicians that Edmonton was stealing the Yukon ’s birthright and should be stopped.
In 1965, an attempt by Crown Assets to sell the riverboats’, the Casca and Whitehorse was stopped, largely through the efforts of Roy Minter. In 1974, when those same boats went up in flames, he cried as he watched the raging inferno and said that the Yukon had just lost part of its soul.
Roy was as much attached to the White Pass company as he was to the Yukon. So it is no surprize that he is the author of the most authoritative book on the historic railroad. Published in 1987, "Gateway to the Klondike" is the title of his award-winning tome.
The Roy Minter Fund within the Yukon Foundation, is dedicated to fund those who write about Yukon history.
He was a founding member of the Yukon Foundation and a one hundred thousand-dollar donation is dedicated to recipients who write about the Yukon ’s history.
When he was awarded the Order of Canada in 1991, the citation read, in part:
"He has dedicated himself, since the 1950s, to promoting an appreciation of the Yukon. He has contributed to heritage preservation and tourism in the territory through his involvement in the rail industry, the development of Klondike International Park, the recovery of archival material and the recording of pioneer stories."
Roy Minter died in 1996 at the age of 79.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin