Common menu bar links

Dredge No. 4 National Historic Site of Canada

Fact Sheet

Printable version (PDF, 1.12 Mb)

Symbolizes the importance of dredging operations in the Yukon from 1899 to 1966.

Historic photo of Dredge No. 4
Historic Photo of Dredge No 4. - Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada
© Parks Canada / George Hunter Collection / 40/147

Background

During the early years of the Klondike Gold Rush, more than 30,000 miners hand mined for gold on the rich placer creeks. Much of the gold was simply too difficult and expensive to remove using hand mining techniques. While hand miners were working hard, promoters and investors were looking for long-term mining possibilities in the Yukon.

In September 1898, the first dredge began working the Yukon River. Promotion of the Klondike fields brought in two large companies, the Canadian Klondike Mining Company in 1905 and the Yukon Gold Company a few years later.

Large land holdings, called concessions had to be available to the corporations. Through negotiations with the Federal Government, the first concession was granted in 1900 to Joe Boyle. The corporations constructed hydroelectric power stations to supply a reliable and consistent supply of power to run the dredges. They constructed a system of dams and ditches to provide an adequate supply of water for the dredges.

Dawson City was the key to the success of the efforts of the large corporations. It could provide government administration and banking services. The transportation network, of rail and steamship, that ended in Dawson City, ensured that the companies could receive the supplies of machinery that were needed to operate. Dawson City also provided a large labour force and suppliers and services to meet the corporate mining needs.

Dredge No. 4 built in 1912 for the Canadian Klondike Mining Company, was the largest wooden hulled bucket lined dredge in North America. It worked in the Klondike Valley on the "Boyle Concession" until 1940 and then was relocated to Bonanza Creek and worked this valley until 1959.

At the peak of corporate mining, a dozen dredges, churned through the creeks. Dredging continued in the Klondike until 1966, when the last of the Yukon Consolidated Gold Company's dredges shut down. Dredge No. 4 represents the many decades of corporate mining in the Canadian mid-north through the 20th century.

Reasons for National Historic Significance

Dredge No. 4 is commemorated because it represents the importance of dredging operations in the Yukon between 1899 and 1966. Dredges were brought to the Yukon in 1899 as a very efficient means of mining for Klondike gold. Corporate mining played a major role in the viability of the community of Dawson City and the Yukon Territory.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, 1997

Diagram of a dredge
© Parks Canada

Milestones

1898
The first dredge began operating in the Yukon.

1899
Promoters negotiated with the Canadian government for large tracts of land

1900
Joe Boyle from Woodstock Ontario, was granted 40 square miles of land.

1905
Canadian Klondike Mining Company managed by Joe Boyle, built their first dredge.

1906-1925
The Yukon Gold Corporation operated nine dredges.

1909
Yukon Gold built the Twelve Mile ditch to provide water for hydraulic mining.

1911
North Fork Hydro Power Plant was in operation and supplying electricity to run all of the dredges.

1912
CKM Co. Dredge No. 4 was built.

1921
Canadian Klondike Mining Company went bankrupt.

1923
The Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation was formed and they were the only company until 1966.

1940
Dredge No. 4 was relocated to Bonanza Creek.

1959
Trapped by increasing labour costs, shrinking gravel reserves and the fixed price of gold, YCGC shuts Dredge No. 4 down.

1966
The last of the four operating dredges are shut down, ending YCGS's mining operations in the Klondike.

1970
Parks Canada acquired Dredge No. 4

1997
Dredge No. 4 was designated a national historic site

Location


© Parks Canada

Dredge No. 4 is located 12.3 km from the Klondike Highway on Bonanza Creek Road.

For more information:

Klondike Natinal Historic Sites
Box 390
Dawson City, Yukon Territory
Y0B 1G0
Telephone: (867) 993-7200
Fax: (867) 993-7203
Email: dawson.info@pc.gc.ca


Note: To read the PDF version you need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.

If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Acrobat Reader from an accessible page.

If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.