It is the May long weekend here in Canada. The epic “May 2-4”. The first weekend were hibernation ends and if you’re super hardy, the hiking/camping/swimming begins.
However I’ve caught some sort of plague on my trip to San Diego and I’m terribly polluted with a chest full of green goo, so the weekend has been pretty tame for me.
There are a few things I just couldn’t miss though!
First, I woke up early on Saturday to attend another public information meeting for the bid to make this town and its surroundings a UNESCO World Heritage site. I’m fundamentally opposed to this bid and was happy to see so many more people out to this meeting who are also opposed.
Then, it was Doors Open Dawson! Remember this event from last year? It is the one time a year where historical buildings that aren’t part of the Parks Canada tourist program are open for people to visit.
This year, only two buildings were open. Which was disappointing, yet probably all I could handle in my sickly state, and it leaves more for me to long to explore next year!
The first building was the Masonic Temple. It was originally the Carnegie library, built with a grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1903. It is just a wooden building, but has a pressed tin exterior, just like the old CIBC building on Front Street. I was surprised that the inside of the building is all all decorative pressed tin!
The library moved to the school in 1920 and the building remained empty until 1934 when it was sold to the Masonic Yukon Lodge No. 45. This is also the building that stored all those nitrate silent film canisters in the basement before they were used to backfill the old pool.
Parks Canada guides, like Freddie above, were on scene to answer any questions, and there were a few Masons there to also answer any questions. The photography was a little tricky inside, with closed curtains or huge windows, so I’ll put my shots in a gallery here. Just click on one to view in a larger format, and you can scroll through them like a slide show.
I don’t know that much about the Masons, but the few things I did know where confirmed. It seems like a place with a lot of tradition, symbolism, loyalty, rituals, brotherhood, and ceremonies. You’ll notice names on several chairs, which was part of a fundraising phase in the past, where they sold name plates on the chairs. The lodge is still active here, and host members from another lodges when they visit.
International Gold Show
Friday and Saturday was the Gold Show, which is a big trade show for our gold industry. The arena was full of booths and outside the arena had bigger exhibit areas.
The Old Courthouse
While there is an active court house on the top floor of the old Administrative building that houses the Dawson City Museum, the first court house is on Front Street.
This historic building was built in 1901 and was designed by Thomas W. Fuller, the same architect who designed the Territorial Administrative building, the old Post Office, the Commissioner’s House and the Telegram Office. He also designed the old public school that was lost years ago to fire.
While Fuller’s buildings are huge and glorious, they were .. well huge, which made them very difficult to heat. Like the post office that was only used a short time, the courthouse moved out of this building. Since then, this building has been many things. After the old hospital burned down, this building was a hospital. In more recent decades, it has been leased out for various offices, and even was the site for the Yukon College for awhile. It’s been empty for the last few years while they replaced its foundation, and have stripped the inside back to the original woodwork, where possible.
The building actually had two court rooms, both on the top floor, one at either end. You’ll recognize them for their fancy ceilings in the gallery below: