dawson city yukon

Dawson City in the Yukon used to be bigger than Vancouver but is now a tourist destination

If you've ever wanted to explore somewhere frozen in time, then Dawson City is for you. This colourful gold rush town was once the bustling heart of Canada.

Located in the Yukon, Dawson City is a collection of dusty streets and saloon-style buildings. Its unique, derelict beauty is only complemented by the sparse surroundings.

In 1898, Dawson City reached an estimated population of 30,000 people  — 5,000 more residents than Vancouver had at the time. Eager gold panners flocked to the city and hastily built accommodation, some of which you can still stay in today.

By 1912, however, only 2,000 people remained in the city. Today, the population hovers around 1,400.

Dawson City is a five-hour bus ride from the nearest airport, which makes the town difficult to reach — a blessing, for visitors seeking tranquil isolation. Cell reception is spotty at best.

Take a peaceful stroll following the footsteps of early miners along Ridge Road Trail, or try your hand at panning for gold.

You won't find any Starbucks or chain cafes in Dawson City — all of the shops are one-of-a-kind.

Stop by CheeChako's Bakeshop for a freshly-made cinnamon bun, or pop by the weekly farmers' market in the summer for handmade jewelery.

Just be careful not to order the town's signature Sourtoe Cocktail unless you're prepared for a unique surprise.

In the summer, Dawson City is drenched in permanent sun. The Yukon experiences 24-hours of daylight from June to September, so the city becomes a hub of activity.

Every evening, residents flock to Diamond Tooth Gertie's for the legendary can-can shows, which run three times a night.

The shows become more risqué as the night progresses, so choose your time wisely.

Lead photo by

Andrea Magee

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