- % fresh water
(3rd lgst terr.)
482 443 km²
- Total (2001)
|Admittance into Confederation
|Time zone||UTC -8|
Postal code prefix
|Premier||Dennis Fentie (Yukon Party)|
|Government of Yukon|
The territory is the approximate shape of a right triangle, bordering the American state of Alaska to the west, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south. Its northern coast is on the Beaufort Sea. Canada's highest point, Mount Logan (6 050 m), is found in the territory's southwest. Most of the territory is in the watershed of its namesake, the Yukon River, and most of its few settlements are on riverbanks.
Its population is 29 900 (Yukoners).
The capital, Whitehorse, is also the largest city; the second largest is Dawson, which was the capital until 1952.
The very sparsely populated territory abounds with natural scenic beauty, with snowmelt lakes and perennial whitecapped mountains. Although the climate is arctic and subarctic, with bitter winters, the short summer allows hardy crops and vegetables, along with a profusion of flowers, to blossom and fruit.
The territory's major industry is mining, including lead, zinc, silver, gold, and copper. Indeed, the territory owes its existence to the famous Klondike gold rush of the 1890s. Having acquired the land from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1870, the Canadian government divided the territory off of the Northwest Territories in 1898 to fill the need for local government created by the influx of prospectors.
Thousands of these prospectors, led by the chance at gold, flooded the area, creating a colourful period recorded by authors such as Robert Service and Jack London. (See also RCMP.) The memory of this period, as well as the territory's scenic wonders and outdoor recreation opportunities, makes tourism the second most important industry.
In the past, the major transportation artery was the Yukon River system. Today, major transportation routes include the Alaska Highway, which passes through Whitehorse, and the Whitehorse International Airport. Southern communities are all accessible by road, but air travel is the only way to reach the few remote communities in the Far North.
Like the provinces, and unlike the other two territories, Yukon's unicameral legislature has a party system. The Liberal government of Pat Duncan was razed in elections in November 2002, with Dennis Fentie of the Yukon Party forming the government as Premier. The territory's head of state is a federally appointed commissioner, the Queen's representative, a role equivalent to that of a provincial lieutenant governor. The territory has one senator and one member in the Parliament of Canada.
External Link: The 1898 Yukon Act