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Facts about The Yukon for Kids


  • The territory was created from the rump of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s North-Western Territory in 1898 as “the Yukon”.
  • Receiving royal assent on March 27, 2002, the federal government modernized the Yukon Act to confirm “Yukon”, rather than “Yukon Territory”, as the current usage standard.
  • Though officially bilingual, the Yukon Government also recognizes First Nations languages.
  • The territory’s climate is Arctic in the north, subarctic in the central region, between north of Whitehorse and Old Crow, and has a humid continental climate in the far south, south of Whitehorse and in areas close to the BC border.
  • The word Yukon means “Great River” in Gwich’in.
  • The territory is the approximate shape of a right triangle, bordering the U.S. state of Alaska to the west for 1,210 km (752 mi) mostly along longitude 141° W, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south.
  • The larger lakes include Teslin Lake, Atlin Lake, Tagish Lake, Marsh Lake, Lake Laberge, Kusawa Lake and Kluane Lake.
  • Mount Logan and a large part of the Yukon’s southwest are in Kluane National Park and Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The two main Yukon rivers flowing into the Mackenzie in the Northwest Territories are the Liard River in the southeast and the Peel River and its tributaries in the northeast.
  • The volcanic eruption of Mount Churchill near the Alaska border blanketed southern Yukon with a layer of ash which can still be seen along the Klondike Highway.
  • Coastal and inland First Nations already had extensive trading networks and European incursions into the area only began early in the 19th century with the fur trade, followed by missionaries and the Western Union Telegraph Expedition.
  • This drove a population increase that justified the establishment of a police force, just in time for the start of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897.
  • The 2006 Canadian census examined Canadians’ ethnicity and ancestry.
  • This percentage might be a little higher if the ‘Canadian’ origin includes both First Nations people and European descendents.
  • The categories for other origins are confounding and therefore a further breakdown is not realistic.
  • According the Statistics Canada 2006 Community Profiles page, Yukoners of aboriginal identity population represent 25% of the population.
  • Of the 29,940 singular responses to the census question concerning ‘mother tongue’ the most commonly reported languages were: There were also 150 responses of both English and a ‘non-official language’; 10 of both French and a ‘non-official language’; 110 of both English and French; and about 175 people who either did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official languages, or else gave another unenumerated response.
  • Ten largest communities by population: Part of “Metro” Whitehorse Census Agglomeration Yukon’s historical major industry has been mining (lead, zinc, silver, gold, asbestos and copper).
  • The memory of this period and the early days of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as the territory’s scenic wonders and outdoor recreation opportunities, makes tourism the second most important industry.
  • Prior to 1979, the territory was administered by the commissioner who was appointed by the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
  • The commissioner used to chair and had a role in appointing the territory’s Executive Council and had a day to day role in governing the territory.
  • In 1979, a significant degree of power was devolved from the federal government and commissioner to the territorial legislature which, in that year, adopted a party system of responsible government.
  • The Yukon Act, passed on April 1, 2003, formalized the powers of the Yukon government and devolved additional powers to the territorial government.
  • Today the role of commissioner is analogous to that of a provincial lieutenant governor; however, unlike lieutenant-governors, commissioners are not formal representatives of the Queen but are employees of the federal government.
  • Before modern forms of transportation, the rivers and mountain passes were the main transportation routes for the coastal Tlingit people trading with the Athabascans of which the Chilkoot Pass and Dalton Trail, as well as the first Europeans.
  • From the Gold Rush until the 1950s, riverboats plied the Yukon River, mostly between Whitehorse and Dawson City, with some making their way further to Alaska and over to the Bering Sea, and other tributaries of Yukon River such as the Stewart River.