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Made in the Yukon – A Guide to Shopping Local

September 10, 2013

Murdoch's gifts in Dawson City, Yukon - Gray Line of Alaska

Traveling to a new place, there’s always so much we want to do and see. However, there never seems to be enough time for it all. Shopping can be the number one activity we procrastinate on, leaving us to buy souvenirs and gifts for friends and family at the very last moment before boarding the plane or the bus. Yet no trip is complete without at least one tangible memory to take back home. 

We are familiar with this problem, particularly in destinations such as Alaska and the Yukon, where you have little chance of running across a shopping mall or gallery in the middle of a national park or atop a glacier. But fret not, as we can ease the anxiety over finding the perfect locally made gifts for yourself and others during your next Gray Line of Alaska trip through the Yukon.

Fireweed community market in Whitehorse, Yukon - Gray Line of Alaska

Whitehorse is the capital city of the Yukon and boasts a rich art scene and long roster of locally made products. The community is home to numerous artists whose work ranges from spinning Alpaca wool into fabulous garments to creating baskets and jewelry with trade beads to fiber art and Polymer home decor. There are also a host of farmers and growers as well as several businesses that sell various lines of body care products made sourcing local ingredients. Thanks to Whitehorse’s Fireweed Community Market Association, you can shop most of these vendors all in one morning or afternoon.

The Yukon Made Store in the Frank Slim Building in Whitehorse and the Fireweed Community Outdoor Market at Shipyards Park are both one-stop shops for purchasing made-in-the-Yukon items. The Yukon Made Store sells exclusively local products, according to Colin O’Neill, executive director of the Fireweed Community Market Society, which owns the store and market.

“This is the place where locals meet and shop so you know it’s not just another tourist attraction,” said O’Neill.

Yukon famous birch syrup from Dawson City, Alaska - Gray Line of Alaska

Some of the items available include high-end, needle felted hats and garments; a wide variety of jewelry; books by local authors; original and printed art as well as First Nation art; local music; carvings and handmade knives; dyed merino wools made with natural dyes; and a slew of delicious jellies, preserves and Yukon’s famous birch syrup. The shop is open year-round, Tuesday through Saturday.

At the Outdoor Market, shoppers have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the artists, growers and producers manning their booths. The market is open to the public from mid-May to mid-September on Thursday afternoons in Shipyard Park from 3-8 p.m. There are more than 40 different vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, art and jewelry. Food trucks selling hot foods and yummy treats are there to offer snacks while you shop and listen to the tunes played by bands, buskers and youth musicians.

To read more about the artists and products featured at the Yukon Made Store visit the Fireweed Community Market Society website.

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