kids encyclopedia robot

Yukon facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Yukon

Ųųg Han  (Gwichʼin)
Chu Nìikwän  (Southern Tutchone)
Flag of Yukon
Flag
Coat of arms of Yukon
Coat of arms
YT
Canadian Provinces and Territories
Country Canada
Confederation June 13, 1898 (9th)
Capital Whitehorse
Largest city Whitehorse
Largest metro Whitehorse
Area
 • Total 482,443 km2 (186,272 sq mi)
 • Land 474,391 km2 (183,163 sq mi)
 • Water 8,052 km2 (3,109 sq mi)  1.7%
Area rank Ranked 9th
  4.8% of Canada
Population
 (2021)
 • Total 40,232
 • Estimate 
(Q1 2022)
42,982
 • Rank Ranked 12th
 • Density 0.08/km2 (0.2/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Yukoner
FR: Yukonnais(e)
Official languages
  • English
  • French
GDP
 • Rank 13th
 • Total (2017) C$3.089 billion
 • Per capita C$75,141 (3rd)
HDI
 • HDI (2018) 0.908 — Very high (5th)
Time zone UTC−07:00
Postal abbr.
YT
Postal code prefix
Y
ISO 3166 code CA-YT
Flower Fireweed
Tree Subalpine fir
Bird Common raven
Rankings include all provinces and territories

Yukon ( YOO-kon; formerly called Yukon Territory and sometimes referred to as The Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the second-least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 40,232 people as of the 2021 Census. Whitehorse, the territorial capital, is the largest settlement in any of the three territories.

Yukon was split from the North-West Territories in 1898 as the Yukon Territory. The federal government's Yukon Act, which received royal assent on March 27, 2002, established Yukon as the territory's official name, though Yukon Territory is also still popular in usage and Canada Post continues to use the territory's internationally approved postal abbreviation of YT. In 2021, territorial government policy was changed so that “The Yukon” would be recommended for use in official territorial government materials.

Though officially bilingual (English and French), the Yukon government also recognizes First Nations languages.

At 5,959 m (19,551 ft), Yukon's Mount Logan, in Kluane National Park and Reserve, is the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest on the North American continent (after Denali in the U.S. state of Alaska). Most of the Yukon has a subarctic climate, characterized by long, cold winters and brief, warm summers. The Arctic Ocean coast has a tundra climate.

Notable rivers include the Yukon River as well as the Pelly, Stewart, Peel, White, Liard, and Tatshenshini rivers.

History

Long before the arrival of Europeans, central and southern Yukon was populated by First Nations people, and the area escaped glaciation. Sites of archeological significance in Yukon hold some of the earliest evidence of the presence of human occupation in North America. The sites safeguard the history of the first people and the earliest First Nations of the Yukon.

The volcanic eruption of Mount Churchill in approximately 800 AD in what is now the U.S. state of Alaska blanketed southern Yukon with a layer of ash which can still be seen along the Klondike Highway, and which forms part of the oral tradition of First Nations peoples in Yukon and further south in Canada.

Coastal and inland First Nations had extensive trading networks. European incursions into the area only began early in the 19th century with the fur trade, followed by missionaries. By the 1870s and 1880s gold miners began to arrive. 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 increased population coming with the gold rush led to the separation of the Yukon district from the Northwest Territories and the formation of the separate Yukon Territory in 1898.


Geography

Yukonwikimap
Map of Yukon

The territory is the approximate shape of a right triangle, bordering the U.S. state of Alaska to the west and northwest for 1,210 km (752 mi) mostly along longitude 141° W, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south. Its northern coast is on the Beaufort Sea. Its ragged eastern boundary mostly follows the divide between the Yukon Basin and the Mackenzie River drainage basin to the east in the Mackenzie mountains.

Most of the territory is in the watershed of its namesake, the Yukon River. The southern Yukon is dotted with a large number of large, long and narrow glacier-fed alpine lakes, most of which flow into the Yukon River system. The larger lakes include Teslin Lake, Atlin Lake, Tagish Lake, Marsh Lake, Lake Laberge, Kusawa Lake and Kluane Lake. Bennett Lake on the Klondike Gold Rush trail is a lake flowing into Nares Lake, with the greater part of its area within Yukon.

Canada's highest point, Mount Logan (5,959 m or 19,551 ft), is in the territory's southwest. Mount Logan and a large part of the Yukon's southwest are in Kluane National Park and Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other national parks include Ivvavik National Park and Vuntut National Park in the north.

Mount Logan
Mount Logan from the southeast

Other watersheds include the Mackenzie River, the Peel Watershed and the AlsekTatshenshini, and a number of rivers flowing directly into the Beaufort Sea. 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.

Notable widespread tree species within Yukon are the black spruce and white spruce. Many trees are stunted because of the short growing season and severe climate.

The capital, Whitehorse, is also the largest city, with about three-quarters of the population; the second largest is Dawson City (pop. 2,016), which was the capital until 1952.

Climate

Yukon koppen
Köppen climate types in Yukon

While the average winter temperature in the Yukon is mild by Canadian arctic standards, no other place in North America gets as cold as the Yukon during extreme cold snaps. The temperature has dropped down to −60 °C (−76 °F) three times, 1947, 1954, and 1968. The most extreme cold snap occurred in February 1947 when the abandoned town of Snag dropped down to −63.0 °C (−81.4 °F).

Unlike most of Canada where the most extreme heat waves occur in July, August, and even September, The Yukon's extreme heat tends to occur in June and even May. The Yukon has recorded 36 °C (97 °F) three times. The first time was in June 1969 when Mayo recorded a temperature of 36.1 °C (97 °F). 14 years later this record was almost beaten when Forty Mile recorded 36 °C (97 °F) in May 1983. The old record was finally broken 21 years later in June 2004 when the Mayo Road weather station, located just northwest of Whitehorse, recorded a temperature of 36.5 °C (97.7 °F).

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected locations in Yukon
City July (°C) July (°F) January (°C) January (°F)
Whitehorse 21/8 70/46 −11/−19 12/−2
Dawson City 23/8 73/46 −22/−30 −8/−22
Old Crow 20/9 68/48 −25/−34 −13/−29

Demographics

The 2016 census reported a Yukon population of 35,874, an increase of 5.8% from 2011. With a land area of 474,712.64 km2 (183,287.57 sq mi), it had a population density of 0.1/km2 (0.26/sq mi) in 2011, the highest among all the Canadian territories. Statistics Canada has estimated Yukon's 2021 Q3 population to be 43,095, an increase of 17.5% from the 2016 census. This is the largest percentage increase for any Canadian province or territory.

Unlike in other Canadian provinces and territories, Statistics Canada uses the entire territory as a single at-large census division.


Ethnicity

According to the 2016 Canada Census the majority of the territory's population was of European descent, although it has a significant population of First Nations communities across the territory. The 2011 National Household Survey examined the Yukon's ethnocultural diversity and immigration. At that time, 87.7% of residents were Canadian-born and 24.2% were of Indigenous origin. The most common countries of birth for immigrants were the United Kingdom (15.9%), the Philippines (15.0%), and the United States (13.2%). Among very recent immigrants (between 2006 and 2011) living in the Yukon, 63.5% were born in Asia.



Circle frame-1.svg

Visible minority and indigenous identity (2016):      European Canadian (68.1%)     Visible minority (8.5%)     First Nations (19.1%)     Métis (2.9%)     Inuit (0.6%)     Other Indigenous responses (0.8%)

As of the 2016 census, the top ten ancestries in the Yukon were:

Rank Ethnic group Population (2016) Percentage
1 English 9,680 27.57%
2 Aboriginal 8,665 24.68%
3 Canadian 8,640 24.61%
4 Scottish 8,295 23.63%
5 Irish 6,930 19.74%
6 German 5,575 15.88%
7 French 5,040 14.35%
8 Ukrainian 2,200 6.27%
9 Dutch (Netherlands) 1,760 5.01%
10 Norwegian 1,380 3.93%

Language

The most commonly reported mother tongue among the 33,145 single responses to the 2011 Canadian census was English at 28,065 (85%). The second-most common was 1,455 (4%) for French. Among 510 multiple respondents, 140 of them (27%) reported a mother tongue of both English and French, while 335 (66%) reported English and a "non-official language" and 20 (4%) reported French and a "non-official language".

The Yukon’s Language Act "recognises the significance" of the territory’s aboriginal languages in the Yukon, and permits their use in Legislative Assembly proceedings, although only English and French are available for laws and court proceedings.

Religion

The 2011 National Household Survey reported that 49.9% of Yukoners reported having no religious affiliation, the highest percentage in Canada. The most frequently reported religious affiliation was Christianity, reported by 46.2% of residents. Of these, the most common denominations were the Catholic Church (39.6%), the Anglican Church of Canada (17.8%) and the United Church of Canada (9.6%).

Religious beliefs in Yukon (2011 census)
Religion Adherents  % of the population
Irreligious 16,635 49.92%
Christianity 15,375 46.14%
Traditional (Aboriginal) Spirituality 395 1.19%
Buddhism 290 0.87%
Hinduism 165 0.5%
Sikhism 90 0.27%
Islam 40 0.12%
Judaism 20 0.06%
Other religions 300 0.9%
Total 33,320 100%

Arts and culture

Although English is the main language used in the territory, as evidenced by the census, the Government of Yukon recognizes several aboriginal languages as part of the cultural heritage of the territory: the Tlingit, and the less common Tahltan, as well as seven Athapaskan languages, Upper Tanana, Gwitchin, Hän, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Kaska and Tagish, some of which are rare. As noted above, the "aboriginal identity population" makes up a relatively small part of the total population, accounting for about 25 percent. Notwithstanding, the aboriginal culture is strongly reflected in such areas as winter sports, as in the Yukon Quest sled dog race. The modern comic-book character Yukon Jack depicts a heroic aboriginal persona. By far the strongest cultural and tourism aspect of Yukon, however, is the legacy of the Klondike Gold Rush (1897–1899), which inspired such contemporary writers at the time as Robert W. Service, Jack London and Jules Verne and which continues to inspire films and games from Mae West's Klondike Annie to The Yukon Trail (see Cultural legacy of the Klondike Gold Rush). Notable residents have included Leslie Nielsen, Erik Nielsen and Pierre Berton.

Events and festivals

Yukon also has a wide array of cultural and sporting events and infrastructures that attract artists, participants and tourists from all parts of the world; Yukon International Storytelling Festival, Dawson City Music Festival, Yukon Quest, Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, the Adäka Cultural Festival, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Northern Lights Centre, Klondike Gold Rush memorials and activities, Takhini Hot Springs, and the Whitehorse fish ladder.

Economy

Hopper and Cart (15671202387)
A conveyor belt and cart outside of a mine tunnel in the Yukon. The economy of the territory has historically been centred around mining.

The Yukon's major industry is mining (lead, zinc, silver, gold, asbestos and copper). The government acquired the land from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1870 and split it from the Northwest Territories in 1898 to fill the need for local government created by the population influx of the gold rush. Thousands of these prospectors moved to the territory, ushering a period of Yukon history recorded by authors such as Robert W. Service and Jack London. 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 in the territory.

Manufacturing, including furniture, clothing, and handicrafts, follows in importance, along with hydroelectricity. The traditional industries of trapping and fishing have declined. As of 2012, the government sector directly employs approximately 6,300 out of a labour force of 20,800, on a population of 27,500.

On May 1, 2015, the Yukon modified its Business Corporations Act, in an effort to attract more benefits and participants to its economy. One amendment to the BCA lets a proxy be given for voting purposes. Another change will allow directors to pursue business opportunities declined by the corporation, a practice off-limits in most other jurisdictions due to the inherent potential for conflicts of interest. One of the changes will allow a corporation to serve as a director of a subsidiary registered in Yukon. The legislation also allows companies to add provisions in their articles of incorporation giving directors blanket approval to sell off all of the company's assets without requiring a shareholder vote. If provided for by a unanimous shareholders agreement, a corporation is not required to have directors at all. There is increased flexibility regarding the location of corporate records offices, including the ability to maintain a records office outside of Yukon so long as it is accessible by electronic means.

Tourism

Sheep Slot Rapids, Firth River, Ivvavik National Park, YT
Ivvavik National Park is one of three national parks located in Yukon.

The Yukon's tourism motto is "Larger than life". The Yukon's tourism relies heavily on its natural environment, and there are many organized outfitters and guides available for activities such as but not limited to hunting, angling, canoeing/kayaking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, and dog sledding. These activities are offered both in an organized setting or in the backcountry, which is accessible by air or snowmobile. The Yukon's festivals and sporting events include the Adäka Cultural Festival, Yukon International Storytelling Festival, and the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. The Yukon's latitude enables the view of aurora borealis.

The Yukon Government maintains a series of territorial parks including, parks such as Herschel Island Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park, Tombstone Territorial Park, and Fishing Branch Ni'iinlii'njik Park. Coal River Springs Territorial Park) Parks Canada, a federal agency of the Government of Canada, also maintains three national parks and reserves within the territory, Kluane National Park and Reserve, Ivvavik National Park, and Vuntut National Park.

Whitehorse entrance Yukon Beringia
The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre is an interpretive centre with a focus on the Beringia land bridge.

The Yukon is also home to 12 National Historic Sites of Canada. The sites are also administered by Parks Canada, with five of the 12 sites being located within national parks. The territory is host to a number of museums, including the Copperbelt Railway & Mining Museum, the SS Klondike boat museum, the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre in Whitehorse; as well as the Keno City Mining Museum in Keno City. The territory also holds a number of enterprises that allows tourists to experience pre-colonial and modern cultures of Yukon's First Nations and Inuit peoples.

Transportation

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.

Air

Whitehorse Airport, Yukon Territory
Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport serves as the air transport hub for Yukon.

Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport serves as the air transport infrastructure hub, with scheduled direct flights to Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Inuvik, Ottawa, Dawson City, Old Crow, Juneau and Frankfurt (pre-COVID). Whitehorse International Airport is also the headquarters and primary hub for Air North, Yukon's Airline. Every Yukon community is served by an airport or community aerodrome. The communities of Dawson City and Old Crow have regularly scheduled service through Air North. Air charter businesses exist primarily to serve the tourism and mining exploration industries.

Rail

The railway ceased operation in the 1980s with the first closure of the Faro mine. It is now run during the summer months for the tourism season, with operations between Carcross and Skagway, Alaska.

The Alaska-Alberta Railway Development Corporation (A2A) is planning to construct a new railway line that would cross the Yukon, connecting Watson Lake and possibly Carmacks but not Whitehorse.

Roads

Yukon Highway
The Klondike Highway is one of several territorial highways in Yukon.

Today, major land routes include the Alaska Highway, the Klondike Highway (between Skagway and Dawson City), the Haines Highway (between Haines, Alaska, and Haines Junction), and the Dempster Highway (linking Inuvik, Northwest Territories to the Klondike Highway, and the only road access route to the Arctic Ocean, in Canada), all paved except for the Dempster. Other highways with less traffic include the Robert Campbell Highway linking Carmacks (on the Klondike Highway) to Watson Lake (Alaska Highway) via Faro and Ross River, and the Silver Trail linking the old silver mining communities of Mayo, Elsa and Keno City to the Klondike Highway at the Stewart River bridge. Air travel is the only way to reach the far-north community of Old Crow.

Waterways

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 the Yukon River such as the Stewart River. Most of the riverboats were owned by the British-Yukon Navigation Company, an arm of the White Pass and Yukon Route, which also operated a narrow gauge railway between Skagway, Alaska, and Whitehorse.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Yukón para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Artists:
Delilah Pierce
Gordon Parks
Augusta Savage
Charles Ethan Porter
kids search engine
Yukon Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.