Whitehorse is named after the rapids on the Yukon River which resembled the flowing manes of white horses. On the Trail of ’98, stampeders had to bypass the treacherous water of Miles Canyon and White Horse Rapids, south of the present city. The Rapids became known as the greatest peril on the trail of ’98. The construction of the Whitehorse hydro-electric dam in 1958 tamed miles of canyon and replaced the once foaming White Horse Rapids with the Schwatka Lake reservoir. Our River may have calmed down since 1898, but our city sure got lively with many centennial events and attractions. Enjoy!
In 1897, two entrepreneurs capitalized on the obstacles presented by the Canyon and the Rapids by building tramways on either side of the river. For a fee, their horse-drawn tram cars carried goods and small boats around the rapids on log rails. A tent town called Canyon City appeared at the head of the tramway on the east bank and became a roadhouse, saloon lodging and refreshments to the tens of thousands of gold seekers on their way to the Klondike.
Before the gold Rush, this area was a First Nations’ campsite. Be sure to visit Canyon City today and take a tour of Miles Canyon where you can easily imagine the gold-filled excitement of the past as you enjoy natures’ treasures of today.