On this day we ventured out to the Parks Canada visitor center where we took a walking tour of the town’s historic sites as well as a tour of the sternwheel paddle wheeler called the Keno and a tour of the Palace Grande Theatre. The weather was cool and cloudy on and off but we managed to avoid any rain.
The tour of the downtown area was given by a woman named Faye who had lived in the town and area since 1976. She was extremely knowledgeable about everything around the city including some of the characters who lived there past and present. The Parks Canada similar to our National Parks organization owns 33 buildings in the town and has restored or is hopeful to restore them in the future. We were able to go inside a historic bank building, a historic post office building and a historic hotel. They had all been beautifully restored and appointed to reflect the goldrush times.
We may have had some delicious ice cream for lunch along the waterfront at the Klondyke Cream and Candy shop. They serve up 32 flavors of ice cream, soft serve, waffle cones and more.
After our lunch we toured the paddle wheeler Keno that is now being preserved in dry dock on Front Street at the river’s edge. The vessel was launched in 1922 and is celebrating its 100th year this year. She transported silver, zinc and lead ore down the Stewart River from mines in the Mayo district to the confluence of the Yukon and Stewart Rivers until the years after World War II. It was retired from service in 1951 due to the extension of the Klondike Highway. The Keno has been a tourist attraction in Dawson City since 1960.
Onboard the vessel we were able to see where the steam was created by burning extensive amounts of wood to turn the large paddle wheel at the rear. They would be making stops along the voyage to pick up more and more wood as its hull was not large enough to carry the ore and enough wood to get it to its destination. The upper level carried some passengers in a dozen or so very small cabins, each equipped with bunk beds and a ceramic basin. There was a fairly large kitchen to feed not only the passengers but also the crew. They continue to maintain the vessel and it is in excellent looking condition.
The Palace Grand Theatre is a fully restored, gold rush era theater originally built by Arizona Charlie. Most of the building was in such poor condition at restoration that little of the original structure exists today. The theater has a large lobby with a dance floor and seating on the first floor, two upper floors with box seats and some dressing rooms and apartment for the owner. In its heyday miners would attend shows and then dance the night away with percentage girls who received a quarter on every dollar they got for a dance. Miners also would spend large amounts of money on drinks. Percentage girls made as much as $750 a night. That was a lot of money at that time. The theater is still used extensively today for community theater groups, comedy events, civic events and fundraisers.
After returning to our hotel Kent was still feeling like he had a cold and was feeling tired. I suggested that we use a Covid rapid test to see if it was a cold or something else. Unfortunately, the test came back positive so I decided to take one as well. My test came back negative. We contacted the program manager and a nurse was immediately sent to our room to test us again. Her tests showed the same results that ours did. She informed us that the Yukon requires a 7-day isolation period, plus another three days after isolation before you are permitted to travel. The nurse suggested that we isolate separately in hopes that I would remain negative. If we were to stay together and I tested positive later, the clock would start all over again for my isolation.
I was promptly taken to another building for isolation where nearly every room was filled with people who were also in isolation.