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Whitehorse, Yukon Territory (Canada)

Last modified: 2012-09-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: whitehorse | yukon | plane | horse | steamboat |
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[Whitehorse, Yukon Territory] image by Blas Delgado

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Description of the flag

Description: Blue with the city seal in the center.
Chris Pinette, 07 October 1999

The seal of Whitehorse is explained as follows:
"The white horse in the centre of the seal, the city’s namesake, came from the Klondike Gold Rush era. Stampeders heading along the river towards Dawson City compared the white-capped waves of the rapids near Miles Canyon to the manes of white horses galloping by. The steam locomotive to the left marks the importance of Whitehorse as the last stop for the narrow gauge Whitepass and Yukon Route Railway built at the beginning of 1900 to carry miners and equipment towards the Klondike gold fields. The sternwheeler at the bottom represents one of over 250 steam paddleboats that made their way up the Yukon River between Whitehorse and the mine fields of Dawson and Mayo. The airplane overhead reminds us of the days of the bush pilots who helped open up vast areas of the territory and provided an important link to the “outside”. Whitehorse served as a base for such men as Grant McConachie whose fledgling airline in the north grew into Canadian Pacific Airlines, now simply Canadian Airlines. The vehicle on the right is travelling one of the many twists and turns of the famed Alaska Highway built by the American Army to serve as a supply line to the state of Alaska during the early stages of the Second World War and which today brings trucked goods and visitors in ever increasing numbers."
Ivan Sache, 3 August 2012

The city

Originally a First Nation campsite, Whitehorse was named after the rapids south of the city which were said to resemble the manes of charging white horses.

In 1897, the difficulty of traversing the White Horse Rapids in Miles Canyon led to the creation of a horse-drawn tramway serving those on their way to the Klondike to seek gold. This became known as Canyon City.

White Horse became a major transportation hub and in 1942 was a focal point when the U.S. Army constructed the Alaska Highway. White Horse continued to be a transportation and communication hub afterwards, being incorporated as a city in 1950. In 1953, the capital of the Yukon was transferred from Dawson to White Horse and on March 21, 1957 the name was changed by the Geographic Board of Canada to Whitehorse.

Phil Nelson, 12 May 2005