Whitehorse – The lifestlye capital of Canada


Whitehorse is the hidden gem on the Canadian crown, but that is changing. Today’s Whitehorse is a vibrant and modern city, attracting tourists who wish to experience the city’s year-round recreation opportunities.

Be it for the northern lights or the midnight sun, tourists are coming to Whitehorse to experience the earth’s majesty in its greatest splendour. Two local airlines and The Erik Nielson International airport make the trip to Whitehorse a breeze, with the International airport offering two international flights from Frankfurt and Zürich. Europeans and Asian travelers have known what fellow Canadians are starting to discover: that Whitehorse is a premiere lifestyle destination.

A gem the city remains, but a hidden gem no more. The past few years have seen the capital city’s population double. Mayor Bev Buckway is preparing Whitehorse for its increasing popularity and credits the population doubling in the past few years to the wonderful lifestyle Whitehorse offers. “We are looking 50 years down the line with the town’s sustainability plan. The recent housing and population boom can be traced to the extraordinary lifestyle Whitehorse offers. Our fabulous new hospitals, public safety building and recreation opportunities are going to make the city even better.”

With a city layout akin to “pearls on a string”, the city’s residential, industrial, and service subdivisions are located along the main thoroughfares that carry traffic within city limits, with nodes of undeveloped (often hilly) land between them.

A major focus of the mayoral team has been to decease the distance between these nodes which will reduce the cost of infrastructure reaching to the outer perimeters of the town. Buckway is finalising a new neighbourhood called Whistle Bend, a subdivision that will link other residential areas along the along the city’s 45 kilometre run along the Yukon river, all part of the city’s efforts over the past 10 years to make a more compact design. And for the record, the neighbourhood has been designed with considerable input from residents. “Council has gone through the process for planning our next subdivions where we started from scratch. Residents came in and said what they would like to see in the area and even came up with the name. And they also named the street after some of the former sternwheelers that were on the river.”

Buckway illustrates the idyllic lifestyle of Whitehorse by her usual routine of “walking a half block from my office to the cross country ski trail.” In the midst of a real life snow globe, the surrounding mountains, lakes and thick boreal forest offer pristine downhill skiing, mountain biking, fishing, boating, hiking and breathtaking sightseeing.

This year, the Arctic Winter games will come to Whitehorse to take advantage of the town’s recreation facilities. The $45-million Canada Games Centre, built in 2005, has the best swimming, skating, soccer, volleyball, and wellness amenities found anywhere in the country. And this winter, the country’s greatest ambassadors for sport will give the ultimate endorsement.

Whitehorse scores Hockey Day in Canada

On February 12, 2011, Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada is heading to the Yukon. More than 13 hours of coverage are planned for the annual tradition, now in its 11th year. All six Canadian-based teams will play each other with the network airing the triple header, with hosts Don Cherry and Ron MacLean hosting from Whitehorse. It’s a chance for all Canadians to see the exquisite backdrop for the games, and the exposure will no doubt entice more visitors to head north.

No stranger to hosting big events, Whitehorse hosted the Canada Summer Games in 2007 and the ISF Junior Men’s World Fast pitch Championship in 2008. In 2012, it will host its sixth Arctic Winter Games and its first ISF XIII Women’s World Fastpitch Championship the same year.

“The event will be a three-day long affair, starting on the Thursday and leading up to the Saturday crescendo.  There are a number of initiatives coming forward,” says Denis Shewfelt, City Manager. One such initiative will see the Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants face off in a regular-season game at the Canada Games Centre as part of Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada, an event that will bring with it national media coverage.

The city of Whitehorse has it all. Some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world, let alone the country, and some of the most modern conveniences and amenities of the big cities to the south.

Whitehorse welcomes international and domestic visitors year round. Whether visitors are coming for the long days of the summer, the spectacular northern lights of the winter or anything in between, those who have visited will always leave a piece of their heart in this northern capital.