The Yukon is a Canadian federal territory in the extreme northwest of Canada. It has an area of 482,443 square kilometers and a population of around 33,000. It is bordered on the west by the U.S. state of Alaska, the north by the Beaufort Sea, the east by the Northwest Territories, and the south by British Columbia. Approximately 25% of the Yukon Territory lies above the Arctic Circle. The climate is Sub-Arctic in the south, to Arctic in the north. On average, the temperatures for most of the year remain at, or below freezing for around 58% of the time. For several weeks in winter, for all practical purposes, the sun never comes all the way up, and for several weeks in summer, the sun never completely sets. The terrain is rugged, mountainous, and very remote. Two major river systems, the Yukon, and Mackenzie Rivers run through the territory. The name, “Yukon” is an aboriginal word meaning, “Big Stream”.
75% of the population lives in the capital city of Whitehorse. The rest is scattered among the dozen or so communities across the territory. A full 25% of the population is aboriginal. The remaining 75% is mostly English and French. The dominant religion is No Religion (37%), with the rest being almost evenly split between Catholic and Protestant. The official languages are English and French, although many aboriginal languages are also recognized and spoken.
The Yukon Territory’s economy is dominated by the mining of lead, zinc, copper and gold. The largest single employer in the territory is the government. There are interesting job opportunities in the field of mining, and the job is relatively secure, due to the fact that it is run by the government. Because most of the Yukon is still unspoiled wilderness, tourism is an important part of the economy.
Their tourism motto is ‘larger than life’ and the natural beauty of the landscape in the Yukon is the biggest reason why tourism continues to thrive. Sporting enthusiasts can paddle through lakes and rivers with canoes and kayaks, ride and walk trails, ski, and snowboard around the smaller mountains and try some interesting ice climbing. The Yukon International Storytelling Festival is one of the popular annual festivals in held in the province attracting a good number of international audience.
The Yukon has a primary and secondary education system similar to the rest of Canada, though most of the schools are in Whitehorse. There is one small college, Yukon College, located in Whitehorse, which offers education in arts and sciences. At any given time, it has around 1000 full-time and 3000 part-time students.
The main attractions to the Yukon are its remote location and unspoiled lands. The Yukon has some of the most breath-taking scenery in North America. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, wildlife viewing, dog-sledding, and other wilderness experiences are the main leisure activities.
There are numerous guide services available. The skies are painted in winter with the eerie and ethereal Aurora Borealis. Standing at 19,551 ft, the Yukon’s Mount Logan in Kluane National Park and Reserve is the highest mountain in Canada and overall is the second largest in North America. Other attractions include the Yukon Storytelling Festival, Dawson Music Festival, the Frostbite Music Festival, and the Sourdough Rendezvous.
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