Yukon Nuggets

  • The swearing in of the first Whitehorse City Council. L to R: Bill Hamilton (who worked for White Pass); George Ryder (who owned wood, water and sanitation company); Mayor Gordon Armstrong (manager, Burns Meat Market), Judge Gibben (former commissioner);

1950 Yukon Nuggets

The First Whitehorse City Council


The first city council to serve Whitehorse had its work cut out. There was no city hall, hardly any money in the budget….

On August 4th, 1950, Whitehorse elected its first mayor and four aldermen. Mayor Gordon Armstrong presided over the first meeting in a makeshift office on the second floor of the Northern Commercial Building on the corner of First and Steele Street. The aldermen included James Norrington, William Hamilton, George Ryder and Sam McClimon.

A new sewer and water system was desperately needed in the growing town. The age of the 'honey bucket' was coming to an end. The town’s dirt streets were rough, pot-holed trails. The age of paved roads, however, was a long way off. Wooden sidewalks were falling apart, but concrete sidewalks would have to wait while more-pressing matters were addressed.

The school population was growing, but school buildings, apart from the Lambert Street School, were rundown, old, clap board military buildings. Plans were underway to build a new elementary - high school at Fourth and Alexander.

As for the city council itself, there were no plans to build a city hall. Instead, the councilors met in various places over the years. First, at the Northern Commercial Building, then in a building owned by Jack Humme at Second and Main, then in small, cramped office quarters behind the old liquor store at Second and Steele.

In the mid-'60s, as Canada’s centennial year approached, a proposal was made to create city hall complex which would include City Hall, a fire hall and a museum. The plan was passed by a city plebiscite. City councilors and staff finally moved into the present city hall building in May of 1967.


A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.

Les McLaughlin

Les McLaughlin

As storyteller, radio man, and music producer, Les proved a passionate preserver of Yukon heritage throughout his life — nowhere more evident than as the author and voice of CKRW’s “Yukon Nuggets,” from its inception until his passing in 2011.