Our walk in the historic streets of downtown Whitehorse concludes as we tour the seven streets north of Strickland - a part of the city which came into being with expansion in the late '40s and early '50s.
The Governor General of Canada and his wife visited Whitehorse in 1947. A new subdivision was just being created in the growing town. To honour their visit, the new street north of Strickland was named Alexander after Field Marshall Viscount Alexander, who was the Canada's Governor General from 1945 to 1952.
Two politicians, both Yukoners, were honoured the same year when Black Street was named for George and Martha Black. Both had served as Yukon MPs in the House of Commons. George was Speaker of the House from 1930-1935. They had moved from Dawson to Whitehorse in 1946 and left their mark on both communities.
Wheeler, as we saw earlier in the series, was a White Pass street named for Herb Wheeler, president of the company in the '30s.
Cook Street has a special place in the memories of Yukon bush pilots and the American military. Les Cook was a bush pilot and fur trader. He once operated a trading post on Sheldon Lake. When the American military began surveying the route for the Alaska Highway, Les Cook was hired to conduct aerial reconnaissance. In the fall of 1942, as Cook took off from the Whitehorse airport, the engine of his small plane stalled. The plane plunged to the ground on Front Street near the Yukon river. Les Cook was killed. In 1944, the American military awarded him the U.S. Air Medal for several mercy flights he had made for them.
The Yukon's first commissioner was William Ogilvie. He had first come to the Yukon in 1887 as a Dominion Land Surveyor. In 1896, he surveyed the new townsite called Dawson City. Ogilvie Street is named for this Yukon pioneer.
Ray Street is named for Irwin Ray, a long time Yukon prospector who mined around the Mayo district in the '30s and '40s. With the expansion of Whitehorse, Ray, and his mining partner Ed Barker, bought a piece of land and started Tourist Services, which included a bar, motel rooms, a garage and a restaurant. On a Friday night, after the dance at the YPA Hall, many of the Yukon teenagers of the 50s gathered at Tourist Services for the best toasted western in the Northwest.
Our tour of the streets of Whitehorse ends at Baxter. The land here was owned by Charlie Baxter, an American who came north in the '20s and built a place called Baxter's ranch. He rented horses for hunting parties, surveyors, and sometimes for us young riders in the '50s who, if we could scrape up the money, would rent a horse and ride past the old pond to the Yukon River and back. When I think of this short, almost forgotten Whitehorse street, I still think of Baxter's horses and the pleasure they gave us on a still summer Saturday afternoon in Whitehorse.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin