Urban Fold

Yukon Ho! The New Rush North

It's Gold Rush days long since passed, Canada's Yukon Territory was until recently a wild, myth-bound place. But now oil and gas revenues are fueling new construction and population growth.

"It won't be long, realtors here say, before [the] Whitehorse subdivision of Copper Ridge routinely sees homes going for a million dollars or more. Many of the château-style estates wouldn't be out of place in the upscale suburbs of Vancouver or Toronto. Or Whistler, for that matter.

As the financial and political epicentre of the [Yukon] territory, there is no question Whitehorse is undergoing a radical change. It is reflected in subdivisions such as Copper Ridge and big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart that have moved in downtown. There are gleaming new multimillion-dollar complexes such as the Canada Games Centre that would be the envy of any city.

In the downtown core, it is becoming harder to find the quaint, authentic, Gold Rush-era facades that have always been the hallmark of Whitehorse. But is destroying these myths all a good thing? For everything that Whitehorse is gaining in the modernization process, is it losing just as much? Does it need Pizza Huts and Real Canadian Superstores to not only attract new residents but keep those it has?

Good luck finding a prevailing wisdom to any of those questions."

Full Story: Progress is bittersweet in Gold Rush country

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