One of the first things you notice when walking the streets of Whitehorse (pop. 26,500) is how friendly the locals are. With the winter chill giving way to spring, my recent visit saw the mercury inching towards 0, with brilliant blue skies. The dry air and sunshine is a complete change to Vancouver’s wetter season(s).

Former White Pass and Yukon Route railway station

The compact, easily walkable downtown core offers several restaurants, tourist shops, a few cafés and banks. It’s also where you’ll come across the MacBride Museum of Yukon History and the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway station.

Whitehorse-2 1,175 kg of native copper

On one of the city’s corners, you’ll find an 1,175 kg (2,590 pound) slab of native copper, undeniably the largest nugget in Yukon. In 1958, it took the endurance and strength of six men to bring the prized copper to town through the wilderness, around two canyons, across a river and over a blazed trail to the highway, a five-day adventure in the making.

Whitehorse-4 Whitehorse-6

It’s these tales that draw the pioneering spirit to Whitehorse and the Yukon. Watching a short film inside the Yukon Visitor Information Centre, visitors are acquainted with that northern spirit that brings people up this way to settle into a quieter, friendlier lifestyle with natural beauty at its doorstep.

Downtown Whitehorse with Westmark Whitehorse Hotel in background

There are several hotels clustered downtown. I stayed at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel and Conference Centre, a comfortable business class hotel owned by the Holland America Line.

Frantic Follies, a seasonal show at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel

Meals can be had in the attached restaurant, Steele Street, and in high season, the Frantic Follies put on a vaudeville act inside one of the hotel’s ballrooms.

Whitehorse/Cork & Bull Restaurant Whitehorse/Cork & Bull Restaurant
[Open-flame grilled Coho salmon, herb quinoa, seasonal vegetables, cranberry beurre blanc]

Cork & Bull is a casual Main Street eatery specializing in steaks, seafood, and pasta dishes. Owners Katja and Christine have recently opened a public house next door, the Dirty Northern Bastard, a modern spot for pub fare and drinks that reminds me of Brown’s Social House in Vancouver. Then again, I don’t recall Brown’s featuring wild boar tenderloin and elk.

Whitehorse-12 Whitehorse/Supper at Giorgio's Mediterranean Restaurant
[Hearty comfort fare at Giorgio’s: tarragon chicken, herbed rice, and mixed seasonal vegetables]

Giorgio’s is anchored on the other side of town. A family-owned and family-friendly restaurant, we were seated on the upper of two levels, soon packed with a hockey club from Alaska. This Mediterranean restaurant has been a fixture on the Whitehorse dining scene for about 20 years. It’s apparently one of the few eateries open on Sundays. I enjoyed a tarragon chicken dish with a glass of Merlot, with a slice of carrot cake for dessert. Portions are filling and it’s easy to see why it gets packed in here. A good variety of dishes and friendly hospitality keep them coming back.

Whitehorse/fave hangout

A good place for tea, coffee, and pastries is Baked. This became a hangout during my stay in town. Big steamy cups of coffee and biscotti by the sun-soaked window with indie music and laptops: a home away from home. Their organic whole wheat scones are marvelous.

Whitehorse weathervane

Curious about the decommissioned Canadian Pacific DC-3 plane by the airport? It’s the World’s Largest Weather Vane. Located at the Yukon Transportation Museum, it moves with the wind. Donated to the Yukon Flying Club in 1977, the group restored this beautiful plane to its former glory. Four years later, the CF-CPY was raised onto a pedestal, later receiving another renovation in 1998 to the tune of 1,500 hours of volunteer time and $20,000 in materials.

Log Skyscrapers-1 Log Skyscrapers-2

Another unique find here are the Log Skyscrapers, consisting of two multistoried log buildings on Lambert Street, close to CBC North. They’re both historical landmarks dating to WWII and are the only two of their kind in Canada. I wanted to walk along the driveway to the back, but there was that pesky no trespassing sign to deal with. The two skyscrapers are still standing on their original site, the smaller currently operating as a nail studio.


My travels to Whitehorse, meals, and stay at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel were provided by Tourism Yukon.


  • Comment by Lenora — April 24, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    Thanks for recalling such picturesque memories of a previous trip of mine to White Horse. Everyone should take advantage of a quick get-away on Air North, where they actually offer a hot meal and excellent coffee!!!
    Lenora H.hernits troops

  • Comment by arianec — April 24, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    Yes indeed! Shows the diversity of our scenery and people, just a short trip north. And yes to a hot meal onboard without the price tag!

  • Pingback by My Top Five Travel Spots in 2013 | Vancouverscape — December 17, 2013 @ 11:20 am

    […] to behold. I was lucky to capture nature’s majestic and mysterious show close to home in Whitehorse, […]

  • Pingback by Five Reasons to Fall for The Yukon  | Vancouverscape — August 20, 2015 @ 10:01 am

    […] America-owned Hotel Westmark was a familiar sight. I stayed here a couple of years back on my northern lights expedition. The Westmark offers a […]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.