Summer 2012 (V6I2) ~ The Yukon Questionnaire

Jenna Roebuck

Place of Residence:
Dawson City

Producer, Dawson City Music Festival

How long have you lived in the Yukon?
 "I first came to the Yukon in 2004 and, with the exception of some time at school, have lived here ever since."

What brought you here?
"I came for a two-week holiday with friends, and at some point during those two weeks I was compelled to quit my job in the Prairies from the pay phone behind Klondike Kate's. I spent most of that summer sleeping in a test in West Dawson with a book for a pillow, surviving on cracker sandwiches, scavenging for clothes at the dump, and developing a thick skin by being a bad waitress at Dawson's hottest nightspot, the Pit."

What keeps you here?
"Softball games, winter campfires, epic vistas, adult tricycle racing, the Dawson City Music Festival, road hockey, ice hockey, lip-sync, one wire-haired dog, my friends, and all of the other beautiful weirdos who choose to live here. There are many reasons I live here, and whenever I return to the city and get creeped out by people tailing to themselves (only to discover they're using Bluetooth) or struggle to navigate streetlights, I am quickly reminded this is the place for me."

Settle the debate for us: What makes someone a "real" Yukoner?
"It's actually a very sophisticated and complicated ordeal that culminates in a man vs. grizzly bear wrestling match. You have to complete this gruelling initiation before you can call yourself a "real" Yukoner. That or you can lose a tooth in mid-conversation--that also counts."

What's the biggest tall tale you've told friends or family in the South about life in the North?
"I regularly exaggerate in all facets of my life, so it is hard to say. In my first summer here, I did call my mom and dad often and really embellished the hardships I was going through trying to endure this northern wasteland. Like, 'Oh, Mom, I think I have scurvy [pitiful cough.] If you could just send me a little bit more money I could buy one lemon and try and beat this thing.' Once they capitulated, my friend Molly and I would spend whatever they sent on draught beer. The next day it would be Molly's turn to call her parents. It was actually a pretty good racket."

How do you get your friends or family in the South to come visit?
"I have actually been focusing my energy on keeping them away, but they are relentless."

Who is your favourite Yukon character of all time?
"I have had the opportunity to meet many eccentrics during my time here, and it would be hard to single out one favourite. I am, however, a pretty big fan of the nicknames used to distinguish Yukon characters. You really know you've made it into the annals of the Yukon when people use one or more adjectives before (or after) your name to distinguish you from the masses, not unlike old blues musicians or hobos. If people are calling you Squinty Eyes McGee, Tin Can Charlie, or Ol' Garbage Face Roy, you're probably on your way to leaving a legacy."

I wouldn't change _ _ _ _ for all the gold in the Klondike.

"The Peel Region."

What's the best meal you've ever had in the territory?
"Deep-fried turkey at the Tombstone campground. Though I don't typically enjoy the avian meats, the amount of effort and ingenuity required to dip an entire bird into a vat of hot oils made this a memorable meal. The annual chill cook-off and the Yukon Quest concession have also provided some contenders in the 'best meal' category."

What's one thing about the Yukon that more of us should take advantage of?
"You would be crazy not to attend the Dawson City Music Festival."

What's your favourite piece of little-known Yukon trivia?
"Did you know we have more plaid per capita than any other Canadian province or territory?"

What do you wish more Canadians knew about life here?
"I love how the Yukon manages to balance being its own kind of metropolitan, while still being rustic. I think most Canadians would be surprised to see how well culture and industry co-exist here."

Where is your favourite place in the territory?
"Minto Park in Dawn City had provided the setting for many o f my fondest summer memories. I have spent countless hours there, setting up, enjoying, or cleaning up the festival, yelling profanities from the stands during the Discovery Days fastball tournament, or yelling profanities from third base during my softball games. I have walked every inch of that field and can recount many good times there."

What's the best up-close-and-personal encounter you've had with the local wildlife?
"As a rule, I try not to get too up-close-and-personal with wildlife. However, I did take a shot on the third hole of the Top of the World Golf Course as a cow moose and her calf looked on."

You're on the phone to a friend from the Outside. No one from the government is listening. Do you say "Yukon" or "The Yukon"?
"I like to think go myself as a spicy conversationalist, so I switch it up."

When the cold and dark gets to you, where do you go to recharge?
"I go to the arena to play hockey with my beloved women's team. Failing that, I go to my office and sit in from of the SAD light that my mom made me get."

Dog mushing or snowmobiling?
"I don't have a preference, but I do get obsessed with live-tracking the Yukon Quest. I love to refresh my browser and watch the little dog icons move closer to Dawson City."

How cold is too cold?
"After -40° C, life definitely becomes a little harder. It can certainly be irritating when your propane gels, all of your water is frozen, your war won't start, and you are a slave to a wood stove, but I think if you choose to live in this climate you are obligated to embrace, or at least patiently tolerate, the cold weather. Also, nothing builds a strong community like collective complaining, and bad weather is usually something everyone agrees upon."

What author, musician, band, or artist from the territory do you think should be more famous?
"This is a loaded question for me. How to pick? There are a tonne of creative people here, and I wouldn't feel right picking just one."

You've just won a huge jackpot at Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino, and you have 24 hours to spent it in the Yukon. Where are you headed?
"Well, since I'm already pointed in the right direction, the lovely Westminster Hotel has always proved to be a good place to go when you are on a deadline to spend that pesky extra money."

Finally, what does "The Spell of the Yukon" mean to you personally?
"'The Spell of the Yukon' is an actual medical condition. Some people are impervious to it, but those of us who are infected, we're helpless. You don't have to live here to have it, but you have to have it to understand." Y


Harper Street Publishing
Box 141
Carcross, Yukon Y0B 1B0

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