By Katherine McIntyre
DAWSON CITY, YT—Dawson City, with a whiff of gold, fast living, and dancing girls, sleeps all winter. Come May it wakes up. Doors open, shutters come off storefront windows, and hotels put out their welcome signs. The town is ready for business.
Klondike Kate’s Cabins fits into Dawson’s scene. Located in the heart of this small city, right beside Klondike Kate’s Restaurant, the cabins are within walking distance of everything that matters.
Log cabins, each with a large pot of scarlet petunias on its verandah in summer, are rustic in appearance, but up-to-date in equipment. Wood-lined rooms come with eco friendly Yukon-made organic soaps and shampoos, cotton towels, allergy-free memory foam beds, quality sheets and an in-room coffee maker. Even in Canada’s far north, cable TV, telephone with voice mail, Internet access and free WiFi are available. A microwave and fridge are supplied in all queen bed cabins, and there is plenty of free parking on site.
Adjacent to the cabins, Klondike Kate’s Restaurant, in a building that dates back to 1904, serves up quality meals daily from 11:00 a.m. A birch bark canoe dangles from the ceiling of the wood-lined dining room and old pictures of the “men that moiled for gold” line the walls. An adjacent latticed open-air patio fills up quickly.
Known for his generous servings, Chef Joseph Savard is famous for his home made soups and his own special corn bread. He is a deft hand at turning locally sourced products into his own brand of Canadian cuisine. From the adjacent Yukon River, salmon caught in season by people from the local First Nation are alder smoked and flavoured with birch syrup to provide a totally unique taste. Green vegetables and local berries are grown in nearby farms. Fresh edible flowers, that include nasturtiums and pansies, local mushrooms and herbs, add zip to meals.
Local does not stop here. Coffee is from locally roasted coffee beans, beer is from the Yukon Brewery and martinis are made from vodka using fresh local berries distilled in West Dawson.
But the aura of gold hovers near Klondike Kate’s Cabins. Right across the road, jewelry designer, Leslie Chapman and owner of Forty Mile Gold Workshop, crafts her unique one-of-a-kind pieces from gold mined from her family’s gold mine on the Forty Mile River.
Then at night, by the eerie glow of the midnight sun, the roulette tables and can can girls at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall beckon. Named after a dance hall queen, who distinguished herself with a sparkling diamond wedged between her two front teeth, the hall rocks with the jangle of slot machines, and the pounding honky-tonk beat of the musical extravaganza.
But no show can compete with the Northern Lights. By late August, when the sun drops below the horizon, they ripple into the night sky in shimmering greens, reds, purples and blues. Then, in their mystical ghostly glow, Dawson City reverts to its mystical ghostly past.
Klondike Kate’s Restaurant and Cabins, 3rd Avenue and King Street, Dawson City, YT.