The Yukon Territory


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Origin of the name, Yukon

Yukon Territory takes its name from the Loucheux Native name Yu-kun-ah for the "great river" which drains most of its area. Lying in the northwest corner of Canada's continental mainland, isolated by rugged mountains, it shares a common border and many characteristics with its American neighbor, Alaska. Historically, it is indelibly associated with the great Klondike gold rush.  The Yukon Territory entered the Federation on June 13, 1898

Territorial Symbols 


Click on each link below to learn what the Territory's symbols are and how they came to be.
  • Yukon Bird - Common Raven
  • Yukon Coat of Arms - The Yukon Coat of Arms is a red, blue, gold and white shield surmounted by a malamute (or husky) standing on a mound of snow.
  • Yukon Flag - The Yukon flag consists of three vertical panels: a central panel of white flanked by a green panel on the inner edge and a blue panel on the outer edge. The Yukon Coat of Arms appears on the central panel framed by two stems of fireweed, the territory's floral emblem. The blue represents the Yukon's rivers and lakes, the green symbolizes the forests and white signifies snow.
  • Yukon Flower - Fireweed
  • Yukon Gem - Lazulite
  • Tartan - stripes of green, dark blue, magenta, yellow and white in varying widths on a light blue background.


Mining and mineral exploration have been the mainstays of the Yukon economy since the turn of the century. However, a reliance on world prices and finite mineral deposits has led the territory through a series of booms and busts.

The tourism industry has been important since the early years of this century when adventurers came north to visit the Klondike. Many wrote about their Yukon treks, and enticed others to follow.

The fur trade is the oldest industry in the Yukon. It dates back to the early 1800s when Tlingit natives, acting as middlemen for Russian traders, began trading with interior Athapaskans.

Fishing, forestry and agriculture are all small but important industries.


The Yukon territory covers 483,450 square kilometres in the far northwestern part of mainland Canada. The Yukon is large enough to hold the states of California, Arizona, Delaware and West Virginia.  Its borders lie with British Columbia on the south (latitude 60 N), Northwest Territories on the east, and the U.S. state of Alaska on the west (longitude 141 W). In the north is the Beaufort Sea.

Yukon has a population of just over 32,000 people today, almost identical to that of 1900.  More than 22,000 people reside in Whitehorse, the capital.

This is the home to fourteen First Nations, speaking eight different languages. Gwich'in, Han, Upper Tanana, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Tlingit, Tagish and Kaska.  For more information on these languages, go to Yukon Native Language Centre

The Yukon has a sub-arctic climate with average temperatures rising above 10 C for no more than four months a year. Winters are cold with long dark nights. Summers are mild with long sunny days. Above the Arctic Circle (66 30' N. latitude), the sun does not set on June 21st and does not rise on December 21st.

The Yukon River is 2,200 miles (3,520 km) long. You can canoe 2,050 miles from Whitehorse to the Bering Strait.

The central part of Yukon receives 6.5 inches (165 mm) of rain per year, less than Arizona.

The Whitehorse Fish Hatchery and associated fish ladder were constructed to maintain the annual return of the world's longest migration of chinook salmon.

Check out the Virtual Tour of Fort Selkirk, once a First Nation's meeting and trading place, later the center for transportation and communication for the region.

Yukon Links

Chilkoot Trail Nat'l Historic Site 
Chilkoot Trail Supplies
The Chilkoot Trail

Educators Resource Guide to the Klondike Gold Rush
Gold Rush Photos

Gold Rush Nat'l Historical Park

Klondike Ho!
Kluane National Park & Reserve
Tour Yukon

Virtual Guidebooks
Yukon Historical Sites

Yukon Info: Panorama & Photos

Yukon Info

Yukon at a Glance

Yukon Weather
Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Yukon Native Language Centre

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Source: and Yukon at a Glance

Kim and Don Greene, Authors; publication date April 20, 2002