Municipal Historic Sites are an integral part of Dawson's Heritage Management Program. These sites include the built and natural heritage features of the Klondike Valley Cultural Landscape and tell the stories of the entire human history of the Klondike Valley, with a particular emphasis on the Gold Rush era of 1896-1910.
Please use the drop down menu below to explore the current Municipal Historic Sites below, and refer to the Designate a Historic Resource to learn more about how to designate a site.
The Paul Denhardt Cabin was registered as a Municipal Historic Site in 2012. The site consists of a one-storey cabin, a frame outhouse and a shed, situated in the North End Heritage Character Area.
The construction consists of good craftsmanship with horizontal round log construction with square-notched corners and a gable roof clad with corrugated sheet metal that overhangs the entrance way. The shed and outhouse illustrate the practice of re-using materials that was common in the town. The outbuilding materials consist of irregularly clad lumber, flattened fuel cans, sheet metal, and corrugated metal pieces.
The building may have been constructed by Paul Denhardt, a miner, in 1900. The site is representative of the many residences that dotted the landscape during the Klondike Gold Rush. The Denhardt Cabin is one of the only remaining properties of a similar age and style in Dawson City, set within one of Dawson's oldest neighbourhoods. Today, the site is overgrown with trees, willows and shrubs, and is unique in that it remains undeveloped and protected from modern intrusion.
The Canadian Bank of Commerce is located on the riverfront as is a National Historic Site of Canada. It is a two-storey wood structure, decorated with ornamental pressed metal fronts sanded and painted to resemble sandstone. Despite its small size, the building is an ambitious demonstration of classical architecture, featuring a cornice, pilasters, elaborate mouldings and artificial rustication.
The Canadian Bank of Commerce was designated as a Municipal Historic Site in 2013, as it has a longstanding role in Yukon history, as well as the excellence of its design and composition. The bank's presence symbolizes the image of stability and permanence in the context of a gold rush town. Originally housed in a tent, the Canadian Bank of Commerce relocated several times before finally settling in the current building designed and built by W.P. Skillings and Robert Moncrief in 1901. Important services were performed by the bank, such as the buying and melting of gold into bricks and the brokering of gold on world markets. It ceased operations in 1989.
Work is currently underway to conserve and stabilize the Canadian Bank of Commerce. To read more about this project, please refer to the Projects & Council Initiatives page.
Minto Park was designated a Municipal Historic Site in 2013. It is a formal landscape located on Parcel L, Government Reserve. It is the Yukon's first formal park and a landmark within the community. It is comprised of the Victory Garden north of the Old Territorial Administration Building, the baseball playing field, lawn and playground.
The Victory Gardens is a central Victorian style garden, planted with indigenous species. It is bordered by a 19-sided picket fence. It is a Geometric design containing the garden, as well as a circular gravel path. It contains the Cenotaph, flanked by trees and field guns to the east side. The baseball diamond includes bleachers and a refreshment building to the south side.
Minto Park was developed in cooperation with the Dawson Horticultural Society to provide a formal green space and recreation area that showcased a strong federal presence. Beginning in 1903, the drainage, leveling and landscaping of the area was completed, and the construction of a grandstand, ball park and tennis courts was completed in 1904. The Park was named after Governor General, Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, the 4th Earl of Minto (1898-1904), the first Governor General to visit the Yukon. J.H. Sutton was awarded the contract for grading and leveling. William Horkan, who arrived in the Klondike in 1897, was awarded the initial landscaping contract. In 1904, the Horticultural Society passed a resolution to form a small park.
In the summer, baseball tournaments were historically held and are still held today. The museum often holds interpretive programs and plays host to the annual and highly attended Canada Day celebrations on July 1st. A Remembrance Day ceremony is partially held at the cenotaph each year by the Royal Canadian Legion. This tradition acknowledges Yukoners' courage and contributions to Canadian military efforts. Minto Park contributes to the heritage character of the Government Reserve Area and continues to play an important role within the community.
The Arctic Brotherhood hall was designated as a Municipal Historic Site in 2014. The Arctic Brotherhood was a fraternal social organization established in February 1899, for men residing in the northwest section of North America. Camp No. 4 of the Arctic Brotherhood was established in Dawson City in November 1899 and rapidly grew in membership to necessitate the construction of a new Arctic Brotherhood Fraternity Hall. Completed in October 1901, the Hall was constructed in three weeks using financial contributions from its members. At its opening, the hall was touted as the largest and grandest building not only in Dawson but in the entire northwest. In 1925, after the Arctic Brotherhood ceased to exist, the building served as a community hall. The Fraternal Order of the Eagles moved into the building in 1929 after their building burned and stayed until 1943, when the Dawson aerie was disbanded.
The Arctic Brotherhood Hall is one of few remaining buildings from the early 1900s in the Downtown Transitional Heritage Area. Its vernacular architecture is typical of Dawson for this time period and consists of a two storey frame building with coved siding and a metal gable roof with decorative brackets supporting a wide eave on the front façade and a small vented cupola along the ridgeline. The primary façade’s asymmetrical fenestration of the original building is punctuated with a second storey open balcony with a pedimented gable roof, square pilasters and posts, and geometric railings. By the 1920s, two small windows were added on either side of the pediment, more recently they were converted to vents with a third one added above the apex of the gable of the pediment. By the 1920s, a shed roofed addition was added on the south wall. It was enlarged in the 1930s, and again in the early 1980s and in the mid-1990s, providing additional space and housing the main access to the building. Another small addition was added to the north wall by 2010.
The social values of the site are demonstrated through the building’s continued use for community events and celebrations. In 1967, it was renovated and renamed the Centennial Hall. In 1973, it was re-purposed as Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall, Canada’s first legal gambling hall. Its present use reflects on the wilder social life in Dawson in the early 1900s and continues to serve as a community gathering space during the winter months.
Moosehide Slide (Ëdhä dädhëchą), is a natural and cultural landscape located in Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Traditional Territory and on un-surveyed Commissioners land in the north end of Dawson City, Yukon. The site was designated in 2018. The designated area includes the entire extent of the slide and the talus apron discharge down the hill. The site is bound on the west by the Yukon River bluffs and to the east by a knoll at the furthest extent of the slide activity. The upper extent borders the crest of the hilltop while the lower extent borders the green space at the base of the slide.
For the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in it signified the arrival to their fishing grounds and a coming together of families following winter travels; for gold seekers it signified their arrival into the Klondike; and today it signifies a connection to place for all residents of the region.
The story of the creation of the Moosehide slide is a “long-ago” story demonstrating Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s enduring relationship with their landscape. This story relates to other important stories which describe the creation of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s physical world in the Yukon and further relates to other Athabascan stories both in the Yukon and Alaska. The Moosehide Trail, which crosses the slide and provides an overland route between Moosehide and Tr’ochëk, is one of the few Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditional routes still used today.
The site contains artifacts from Dawson City’s gold rush era: The Acklen Ditch, built in the early 1900s to transport water for hydraulic mining operations, is still visible across the Moosehide Slide. As well, at the base of the slide there are remains of historic residences, including stone foundations, a tin midden, and a number of in situ artifacts.
Presently, Moosehide Slide provides a backdrop to the City of Dawson’s North End green space. It includes a trail loop which connects to the ninth avenue trail and community park space with some of the most varied vegetation within the city limit. Viewpoints from the Moosehide trail provide vistas overlooking the City of Dawson, Tr’ochëk and the Yukon River.