Today, tourists can tour his cabin, complete with moose antlers over the door, and hear Parks Canada staff recite his poems, such as Dangerous Dan McGrew, The Cremation of Sam McGee and other classics.
Tourists come too to meet the “Goodtime Girls” at Diamond Tooth Gerties, where they can gamble and watch costumed characters dance the can-can. They come to pan for gold, and take in many Parks Canada attractions including the Palace Grand Theatre and Dredge #4, a huge gold dredge.
Dawson’s seen boom. And bust. And now boom again.
“We call it the second gold rush,” says Kobayashsi. “The price of gold has gone through the roof.”
With it have come a slew of modern mining companies, working the land.
Over at the Dawson City Museum, we meet Jim Archibald, a champion gold panner and veteran gold miner, who has been working a claim since the 1960s. Between panning demonstrations, he lets visitors hold a little poke — a small bag of gold that fits nicely in the palm of my hand, and rings in at $24,000. “There’s no point in stealing it in this town,” he says. “There’s nowhere to run to.”
For historical perspective, drive to the Midnight Dome, a look-out point atop to the northeast of Dawson, to see where it all began.
The 360-degree vista takes in surrounding mountain ranges, the confluence of the Klondike and the Yukon rivers, and Dawson proper below. You see Alaska, and to the left, Bonanza Creek.
“There isn’t one definitive story of how the gold rush started,” Anna says “It involved quite a cast of characters.”
Carmac, working with Skookum Jim and Dawson Charlie, relatives of his First Nations wife Kate, had been prospecting with Robert Henderson when they apparently had a falling out. The trio parted company with Henderson, and not long after found the gold that started it all.
It’s said that Skookum Jim may have shouted “Bonanza!”