Yukon, formerly The Yukon Territory, is Canada’s most northwestern province, bordered on the north by the Beaufort Sea and the west by the state of Alaska.
Visitors to the region will need to be hardy and prepared for the sub-arctic climate. The temperature in the province goes over 50° F (10° C) less than four months of the year. The average winter temperature is between -4° F and -26° F (-20° to -32° C) but, since it is drier than many parts of southern Canada, the cold is considered more bearable than the same temperatures would be further south.
The Yukon is so sparsely populated that it is the only Canadian province not subdivided for the Census. The entire province, all 186, 661 square miles of it (483,450 sq km), is a single Census division with an estimated total population of 31,500.
The Yukon is best known for the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896. The rush to hunt to for gold ended 3 years after it began and by 1902 most of the hopeful miners had left. Gold production peaked in 1911 and the last dredge shut down in 1966.
The Yukon capital of Whitehorse is the logical place to begin exploring the history of Klondike Gold Rush. Be sure to visit the Tourist Information Center before heading down the Klondike Highway to Dawson, ex-fishing village, ex-boomtown on the Yukon River; closest town in Canada to where the gold was found.
Today the main industry in the Yukon is tourism. In the Yukon tourism is a $164 million per year business, a number that has grown steadily since 1996. The recent discovery, in the 1990s, of diamonds in the Northwest Territories has led people to wonder if the precious stones might not be the next big thing in the Yukon, too.