Robert Service Cabin
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Dawson City’s Literary Northern Lights
Given the current population of tiny Dawson City (1,300 year-round, with a healthy summertime bump from tourism workers), it’s hard to fathom that three writers of significance lived here on the same still-unpaved block on 8th Avenue. Just two houses separate the log cabins of poet Robert Service and writer Jack London. Across the street is the small house where Pierre Berton, journalist and author, lived as a child. Admittedly, their residencies didn’t overlap but these men each came here because of the Klondike Gold Rush: London to participate and hit it rich, Service to work for the bank, and Berton, who was born to a father who came to mine. From their time in Yukon Territory, and their encounters with the characters and plights of the people drawn here by gold fever, each contributed indelible characters to the canon, hewn by hardship and brutal winters and unexpected beauty. Berton’s house serves as a writers’ retreat but the cabins of both London and Service should be visited for a peek into their inspiration. Parks Canada guides, in costume, give a brief history of Service’s time in Dawson City and readings of a few of his poems. (Pictured: the log food cache outside Jack London's cabin.)
Ann Shields traveled to Alaska and the Yukon with Holland America Line as part of AFAR’s partnership with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more on Ann’s journey, visit the USTOA blog.
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