Discovery Day

Discovery Day Quick Facts

AKA NameYukon Day
HashtagsCompiled on#YukonDay
2024 DateAugust 19, 2024
2025 DateAugust 18, 2025

Discovery Day (YT)

Discovery Day is a public holiday in Yukon, a territory in the far northwest of Canada. This day commemorates the discovery of gold in the region, which initiated the famed Klondike Gold Rush and led to significant historical and economic developments in the area. The Observance aims to honor the pioneers who made their way into the uncharted territory, pursuing better fortunes and leaving behind a lasting legacy that shaped modern-day Yukon.

The Klondike Gold Rush, which took place between 1896 and 1899, attracted approximately 100,000 prospectors to Yukon, transforming the once-uninhabited region into a bustling frontier of opportunity. The gold discovery took place on August 16, 1896, when American prospector George Carmack, along with his Tagish wife, Kate Carmack, her brother Skookum Jim, and their nephew, Dawson Charlie, stumbled upon the precious metal in Bonanza Creek. Discovery Day is essential for Canadians as it not only represents an integral part of the country's history but also symbolizes the enduring spirit of adventure, determination, and hope that continues to define the nation today.

During Discovery Day, various events and activities take place across Yukon to celebrate the Observance, mostly in the city of Dawson and the community of Whitehorse. These activities include historical reenactments, musical performances, parades, and picnics, allowing residents and visitors to immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of the territory. Discovery Day is celebrated on the third Monday of August every year.

Discovery Day Facts & Quotes

  • Gold miners in the Yukon faced several challenges, including harsh weather conditions, food shortages, limited supplies and equipment, and diseases like scurvy.
  • It is estimated that over $7 billion worth of gold was extracted during the Klondike Gold Rush.
  • There were three main access routes that led to Dawson City. The first, called the All Canada Route, ran through the Canadian Prairies and into Yukon. The second route, the Skagway/Dyea Route ran up the Western coast of the US and Canada then into the Yukon River. The last route, the All Water Route, ran from Vancouver/Seattle around the Alaskan state and into the Yukon River in Western Alaska.
  • Should I not find fortune, this trip will make a man of me, and should I get through this trip I shall be able to undertake anything in the world - Stanley Pearce (one of the first and most well-known miners in the Klondike)
  • It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver - Mahatma Gandhi

Top things to do for Discovery Day

  • Visit Dawson City, Yukon's Discovery Days Festival. The festival, held in the old boomtown of Dawson, includes crafts, face painting, dancing shows, competitions, arts and a golf tournament.
  • Read Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure by Meissner and Richardson. The story follows the journals and letters of two young men through their treasure hunt in the Klondike.
  • Visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park in Stagway, Alaska near the Yukon border. The park offers free tours and there are Junior Ranger Activities for children. Families can also enjoy hiking trails and campsites.
  • Watch one of the many series or movies that showcase the Klondike Gold Rush. Our favourites: Klondike (2014), Gold Rush: Alaska (2010), 10 Things You Don't Know About: The Gold Rush (2014), The Gold Rush (1925), the Klondike Gold Rush (2015), PBS' the Klondike Gold Rush (2015) and Discovery Channel's Klondike (2015).
  • Enjoy typical Yukon foods such as moose meat, mountain goat, buffalo burgers, musk o chops, caribou, porcupine burgers, or wild seafood. These foods are readily available throughout most of the territory.

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