Story & Photo by Dan Davidson
It’s been 100 years since Harriet Edna Osborn started the first Girl Guides group in the Yukon and since that happened in Dawson City in 1914, the Yukon Guides organization decided that there needed to be a Dawson event to celebrate the fact.
They had hoped to have 100 delegates to mark the event, but in the end there were 42, spanning several generations from women in their early 20s to the oldest, an 82 year old Lena Emma Tzya, who had travelled to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 when she was a Guide.
The group began arriving in Dawson on Friday, May 23, and after their registration were off for a Guiding Display and Scavenger Hunt at the Dawson City Museum.
Dancing Moose Gifts held a reception on Front Street early that evening.
Saturday was a big day, with a Walk on the 9th Avenue Trail, more events at the Museum, Parks Canada’s Strange Things Done Tour and a production of the Greatest Klondiker at the Palace Grand Theatre.
There was a banquet that evening at the Odd Fellows Hall, with a dinner cooked by the Dawson Firefighters and a presentation by former Dawson Girls Guide and former Commissioner Geraldine Van Bibber.
Sunday morning was free, but a sizable number of the delegates came to church at St. Paul’s before heading over to the Commissioner’s Residence for a group photo and a tour before hitting the road for Whitehorse.
Sarah Usher, one of the organizers, said that Parks and the Museum bent over backwards to make the event a success for the group.
“We had a great weekend, touring Dawson, going on hikes. We’ve just had the best hospitality ever from this community and everybody appreciated it. It’s been a fantastic weekend getting together with old friends and meeting new and celebrating 100 years of Guiding in the Yukon.”
All of the women had been Guides in the Yukon. Some came back for this event from as far away as Arkansas, and Kansas.
“I was a Guide in Dawson City,” said Van Bibber, “ and I had to honour of being invited to be the guest speaker for the anniversary, and it was my pleasure to come and say a few words at the dinner.”
The only complaints heard from any of the participants had to do with the condition of the Klondike Highway. Several people insisted that their reaction to that had to be mentioned in any article about this event.