Canada's Tentative List
Tr’ondëk Klondike, Yukon
Proposed Justification of "Outstanding Universal Value":
Tr’ondek–Klondike is an outstanding example of an evolving gold rush landscape that illustrates the iconic gold rushes of the nineteenth century, which were a significant stage in human history. It offers a superlative representation of an Indigenous people’s continuing relationship with their lands, which was maintained despite the impacts of the Gold Rush. It also offers an intact mining landscape that reveals the magnitude of the event and the ongoing evolution of placer gold mining.
Tr’ondek–Klondike is iconic in its direct and tangible association with frontier culture. In Tr’ondek–Klondike, the expression of frontier culture has evolved to describe a space where Indigenous culture thrives and interacts with newcomer culture that is heavily influenced by the spirit of adventure and self-reliance that characterized the Gold Rush.
Centred on the Yukon and Klondike rivers in northwestern Canada, Tr’ondëk–Klondike is an exceptional living cultural landscape that reflects the enduring coexistence of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and newcomer populations, which were brought and bound together by an iconic nineteenth-century gold rush. The Klondike Gold Rush took place between 1896 and 1898 and saw approximately 30 000 people from all over the world travel north to the Klondike in search of gold. Located in a rugged subarctic environment, the nominated property includes a wide variety of heritage attributes found along an 85-kilometre stretch of the Yukon River, in the historic Gold Rush-era town of Dawson City and in the Klondike goldfields. The attributes include Indigenous sites, camps, and settlements such as Tr’ochëk and Moosehide; the layout, streetscapes, and extensive vernacular building stock of Dawson City; and the landforms, infrastructure, machinery, and compounds associated with over a century of continuous placer gold mining in the goldfields.
The fundamentally different relationships with the land for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and newcomer populations continue to shape the cultural landscape today. Traditional Indigenous culture and values coexist with active placer mining in an area that has long been associated with a frontier meeting place of Indigenous peoples and newcomers in search of land and resources. This context and the enormous impact of the Gold Rush and its aftermath are legible in the material heritage of the landscape. They are also evocatively portrayed in a rich body of literature and photography as well as narrated in the stories of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Ultimately, the site is a distinctive, intact, and comprehensive example of a nineteenth-century gold rush whose legacy has shaped the region and its inhabitants for the past 120 years.