S.S. Keno National Historic Site of Canada
Dawson, Yukon Territory
© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, P. McCloskey, 1977.
Dawson, Yukon Territory
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1922 to 1922
1953 to 1953
1937 to 1937
Located in Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditional territory, this sternwheeler represents the importance of lake and river steamers in opening the territory to newcomers. From the 1890s to the 1950s, riverboats provided vital transport along the Yukon River and its tributaries. In 1922, the British Yukon Navigation Company built S.S. Keno to ship silver lead ore on the Stewart River from the mines in the Mayo District, returning with vital supplies. For 29 years, this wood-burning, steam-powered vessel navigated Yukon waterways, connecting Northerners to the outside world until modern roads extended into the interior.
Description of Historic Place
S.S. Keno National Historic Site of Canada is a steam powered sternwheeler river vessel which rests on the bank of the Yukon River beside Front Street in Dawson, Yukon Territory.
The S.S. Keno was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is representative of Yukon lake and river sternwheeler steamers.
The heritage value of the S.S. Keno resides in its completeness and legibility as a fast water shallow drafter sternwheeler steamer representative of the type of vessel built for Yukon water transportation. The S.S. Keno was built in Whitehorse in 1922 to move ore from Mayo Landing on the Stewart River to Stewart Island on the Yukon River. In 1937 it was cut in half to permit three meters to be added to its length, increasing its freight capacity. She was retired at the close of river navigation in 1953, re-furbished in 1960 and sailed downriver to Dawson where it is managed as a historic site open to the public.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, 1961, Minutes; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 7 July 1997.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: the completeness of its hull, superstructure, propulsion and auxiliary systems; the physical integrity of the vessel as defined by its original massing, hull construction and design; the quality of its construction and its components, in particular its structural framing, mechanical systems and its well-executed carved planking; the surviving unity of the original vessel and its equipment, in particular its original surface materials and the details of its appearance as defined by its original colour and exterior elements (lifeboats, lines and spars); the surviving original functional organization of its interior and exterior space; its siting beside the Yukon River; the visual link between its resting place and the Yukon River; the viewplane from the vessel to Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada.