The story of the gold canoe
The end of June 2009 saw me behind my workbench at Gold Trail Jewellers on Front Street in Dawson City.
Through the open door I had a view of the mighty Yukon River, and this month was unlike all the others that year – the racers were arriving! One of the toughest kayak and canoe races in the world, the Yukon River Quest has it’s finish here in this small town in the far north of Canada.
The race is no mean feat – a 715 kilometre paddle from Whitehorse under the midnight sun with just a few rest stops along the way and many of the competitors have completed it in under 50 hours. With little or no sleep, the treacherous waters of Lake Laberge and a constant push to beat the others, it takes a great amount of stamina, perseverance and training to endure it.
So, as I waited for the winner to arrive, I envisioned a young Arnold Schwarzenegger type jumping out of his boat. However, as the winner appeared, my jaw dropped! Here she was – Ingrid Wilcox, a petite lady in her fifties, a far cry from what I had anticipated! She was certainly fit, and I was amazed at how she had beat all of the other, many much younger, competitors.
Others arrived after Ingrid, exhausted almost sleepwalking but clearly elated from the race. I began thinking about these fantastic participants, and wanted to create something special for them. It was then that I pledged that for as many years I as I lived, I would provide the first, second and third place prizes for the solo competitors. First place would receive a solid gold canoe on a gold chain, second place winners would have silver canoes embellished with gold nuggets and third prize would be silver canoes.
It has already been seven years since Gold Trail Jewellers began this tradition and it will last for years to come. I have been asked if these canoes are for sale and my answer is always the same – you can’t buy them. If you want to have one, WIN IT!!!
If you would like to see the canoes being made drop by Gold Trail Jewellers on Front Street in Dawson City, right across from the Keno stern wheeler. We are open from the end of April until the end of September.