Behind the Scenes

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The Klondike National Historic Sites are stewards to hundreds of thousands of gold rush artifacts! How would you like to get your hands on a few of them? In this tour, we take you into the back rooms, the storage areas and the places we store and care for this collection. Find out how Parks Canada takes care of Canadian’s heritage and learn the very special stories that some of these pieces share with us.


Parks Canada: Commissioner’s Residence

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The Maid, the Mountie and the Miner is a provocative new program this season will challenge you … history was messy! Human beings with their quirks, power struggles and dreams are brought to life in this program, illustrating how tough situations get when societies and economies and lives change. The Klondike gold rush was a time of immense change and challenge for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, and for the hand miners who first dug up these creeks. Take a peek behind the curtain of history and see the REAL story, told by those who were there.

Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC)

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The Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture (KIAC) is a community-based arts centre offering a rotating schedule of workshops, screenings, festivals, exhibitions, and creative courses.  Come and explore our broad range of programming and experience the artistic side of Dawson.

KIAC is also responsible for organizing signature events, such as Dawson City’s International Short Film Festival (Easter weekend) and the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival (mid-August; Discovery Day Weekend).  As well, we help to facilitate our seasonal Arts Market, which occurs weekly at Waterfront Park from June until August.

Please also check out the listing for KIAC’s ODD Gallery; Dawson’s contemporary art centre.

Parks Canada: Harrington’s Store Photo Exhibit

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The photographs displayed at Harrington’s store offer incredible images of Dawson City. From the tent town of the early days to mature territorial capital and throughout the years that followed, these photographs help paint the picture of Dawson’s past. This free exhibit is open daily, so take some time to drop in!

Klondike National Historic Sites Walking Tours

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Dawson Then and Now

Join two of our informative guides on this popular walking tour that compares the Dawson of 1898 to the Dawson of today.

Trek through back alleys, historic buildings and see Dawson City the way locals do… and did. Hear incredible tales about the people that roamed the streets during the Gold Rush, and don’t be surprised when you bump into a few colourful characters along the way.

This tour leaves from the Visitor Information Centre every morning, so whether you’re here for a day, week, month or more, ‘Dawson Then and Now’ is a definite must-do!

Strange Things Done

Whatever stories you’ve heard about the Klondike Gold Rush? The truth is stranger and more wonderful, guaranteed! On this popular walking tour, a costumed guide will take you through buildings which have been meticulously refurbished to the Klondike era, and let you in on the most bizarre and unexpected happenings of the period.

How do you suppose criminals were punished? What kinds of jobs did women do? (No, they weren’t all prostitutes!) How did you get your mail in a “city” of 30,000 with no government services and no shipping in-or-out for 8 months of the year?  Get the answer to all these questions and more!

Self-Guided Walking Tour

This hour and half tour through the core of Dawson City offers a wealth of information about how Dawson grew from a moose pasture to a boom town and beyond. Hear stories about the people who came to here as well as the historic buildings that still line the streets of Dawson. This tour can be rented from the Visitor Information Centre and is offered in English, Français and Deutsch.

Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall

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For a “whooping good time,” visit us at Canada’s first (and friendliest) licensed gambling hall and experience a night at the saloon just like the original stampeders!

Complete with casino games, nostalgic tunes, and three different cancan-inspired shows, it will be a night on the town that you won’t soon forget!  Lucky summer visitors will be hosted by Diamond Tooth Gertie herself, who will blow you away with her powerhouse vocals and cheeky conversation.  If that’s not enough, the high-kicking antics of her “Gold Rush Girls” will have you dancing in your seats.

Open 7-days a week, from May to September and selected weekends throughout the year.  You must be nineteen years of age to enter and have valid ID.

Hike Through History with the Klondike National Historic Sites

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The history of this region is far older than the Klondike gold rush! In fact people’s relationship with the land has changed drastically before, during and after the heyday of the gold rush. This delightful guided hike takes you up the hill behind the town, and provides a fun historical perspective of the changes in the land and the people’s relationship to it. Enjoy a hike, and be rewarded with the spectacular viewpoint at the end!

Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre

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Welcome to the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre offers visitors the opportunity to discover the history and culture of the first people of the Klondike.

Take a guided tour of the Hammerstone Gallery or stroll through the Gathering Room and learn of the achievements of our community. Take part in a wide variety of hands-on programs, films, and cultural events. We are proud of our history and want to share it with new comers.

Our Gift Shop carries the largest selection of hand-made beaded footwear in the Yukon and a wide variety of northern and First Nation inspired gifts. Many of our artists are exclusive to our shop. This is the gift shop you have been looking for!

Dänojà Zho is open in the summer season, Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Winter season by appointment.  Our tickets are valid for two day admission… come and go as you like to fit your busy Dawson schedule.

Come to know our vibrant First Nation. Our story will be one you will always remember.

Sourtoe Cocktail Club

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Established in 1973, the Sourtoe Cocktail has become a time-honoured tradition in Dawson City.  To date, the club has over 100,000 members, hailing from every corner of the world.

How Do I Become a Member?

Step 1 – Come down to the Sourdough Saloon
Step 2 – Purchase a shot (most club members prefer Yukon Jack)
Step 3 – Pledge the ‘Sourtoe Oath’
Step 4 – Watch as a (genuine) dehydrated toe is dropped in your drink
Step 5 – Drink your Sourtoe Cocktail

Be sure to remember the most important rule: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe”

Sourtoe Cocktail Recipe:

  • 1 ounce (minimum) of alcohol
  • 1 dehydrated toe
  • garnish with courage


The legend of the first “sourtoe” dates back to the 1920’s and features a feisty rum-runner named Louie Linken and his brother Otto.  During one of their cross-border deliveries, they ran into an awful blizzard.  In an effort to help direct his dog team, Louie stepped off the sled and into some icy overflow—soaking his foot thoroughly.

Fearing that the police were on their trail, they continued on their journey. Unfortunately, the prolonged exposure to the cold caused Louie’s big toe to be frozen solid.  To prevent gangrene, the faithful Otto performed the amputation using a woodcutting axe (and some overproof rum for anesthesia).  To commemorate this moment, the brothers preserved the toe in a jar of alcohol.

Years later, while cleaning out an abandoned cabin, the toe was discovered by Captain Dick Stevenson.  After conferring with friends, the Sourtoe Cocktail Club was established and the rules developed.  Since its inception, the club has acquired (by donation) over 10 toes.

Only available from 9-11pm during summer hours. 

Parks Canada: Doors Open Dawson

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Ever wonder what is would like to explore Dawson’s most historic buildings?  Well, now’s your chance!

All summer long, you can wander through a selection of our beloved Gold Rush era buildings.

Each day, one building will open its doors and invite you to step back in time.  Imagine yourself having a drink at the Red Feather Saloon or stopping by the Post Office to send mail by dog team.  And with staff on hand to answer all your questions, you’ll be privy to the secrets of each of these amazing buildings.

Drop by the Visitor Information Centre to find out which doors are open today!