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This article is about Yukon Territory in Canada. See Yukon (disambiguation) for other uses.

(In Detail) (In Detail)
Motto: none
Largest CityWhitehorse

 - Total
 - % fresh water
9th largest
(3rd lgst terr.)

482 443 km²
 - Total (2001)
 - Density
Ranked 12th
29 900
Admittance into Confederation
 - Date
 - Order
Split off
from NWT

13 June 1898
Time zone UTC -8
Postal information
Postal abbreviation
Postal code prefix
ISO 3166-2CA-YT

 House seats
 Senate seats

PremierDennis Fentie
(Yukon Party)
CommissionerJack Cable
Government of Yukon

Yukon is one of Canada's northern territories, in the country's extreme northwest. Its capital is Whitehorse.

The territory is the approximate shape of a right triangle, bordering the American state of Alaska to the west, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south. Its northern coast is on the Beaufort Sea. Canada's highest point, Mount Logan (5959 m), is found in the territory's southwest. Most of the territory is in the watershed of its namesake, the Yukon River, and most of its few settlements are on riverbanks. Its ragged eastern boundary follows the watershed between the Yukon Basin and the Mackenzie River watershed to the east.

Its population is 29 900 (Yukoners).

The capital, Whitehorse, is also the largest city; the second largest is Dawson City, which was the capital until 1952.

The very sparsely populated territory abounds with natural scenic beauty, with snowmelt lakes and perennial whitecapped mountains. Although the climate is arctic and subarctic, with bitter winters, the short summer allows hardy crops and vegetables, along with a profusion of flowers, to blossom and fruit.

The territory's major industry is mining, including lead, zinc, silver, gold, and copper. Indeed, the territory owes its existence to the famous Klondike gold rush of the 1890s. Having acquired the land from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1870, the Canadian government divided the territory off of the Northwest Territories in 1898 to fill the need for local government created by the influx of prospectors.

Thousands of these prospectors, led by the chance at gold, flooded the area, creating a colourful period recorded by authors such as Robert Service and Jack London. (See also RCMP.) The memory of this period, as well as the territory's scenic wonders and outdoor recreation opportunities, makes tourism the second most important industry.

Manufacturing, including furniture, clothing, and handicrafts, follows in importance, along with hydroelectricity. The traditional industries of trapping and fishing have declined.

In the past, the major transportation artery was the Yukon River system. Today, major transportation routes include the Alaska Highway, which passes through Whitehorse, and the Whitehorse International Airport. Southern communities are all accessible by road, but air travel is the only way to reach the few remote communities in the Far North.

Like the provinces, and unlike the other two territories, the Yukon's unicameral legislature has a party system. Prior to 1979 the territory was administered by the Commissioner who is appointed by the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The Commissioner used to chair and had a role in appointing the territory's Executive Council and used to have a day to day role in governing the territory. However, a significant degree of power was devolved in 1979 from the federal government and Commissioner to the territorial legislature which, in that year, adopted a party system of responsible government. Today the role of Commissioner is analogous to that of a provincial lieutenant-governor however, unlike lieutenant-governors, Commissioners are not formal representatives of the Queen.

In preparation for responsible government, political parties were organized and ran candidates to the territorial legislature for the first time in 1978. The Progressive Conservatives won these elections and formed the first party government of Yukon in January 1979.

The NDP formed the government from 1985 to 1992 under Tony Penikett and again from 1996 under Piers McDonald until being defeated in 2000. The Liberal government of Pat Duncan was razed in elections in November 2002, with Dennis Fentie of the Yukon Party forming the government as Premier. The territory's head of state is a federally appointed Commissioner, a role roughly equivalent to that of a provincial lieutenant governor. The territory has one senator and one member in the Parliament of Canada.

Much of the population of the territory is First Nations. A land claim representing 7000 members of the Yukon tribe was signed with the federal government in 1991.

Yukon is one of four jurisdictions in Canada to offer same-sex marriage, along with Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. See Same-sex marriage in Yukon.

External Link: The 1898 Yukon Act

See also

Provinces and territories of Canada
Provinces: British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario | Quebec | New Brunswick | Prince Edward Island | Nova Scotia | Newfoundland and Labrador
Territories: Yukon | Northwest Territories | Nunavut