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The Unraveling of the
Dawson City Insider
By Christopher Ross
ISBN 978 1 784658 72 4
Chris Ross, formerly Chris Beacom, texted me earlier this year to tell me his book was about to be published and I should buy it because I’m in it.
So I did.
While his portrayal of me as a shrewd businessman is somewhat exaggerated, the rest of The Unraveling is an honest, fair and sometimes moving portrayal of the short-lived Dawson City newspaper, colourful Dawson City personalities and the author himself.
The book begins with the adventurous young journalist’s arrival in Dawson City in 1994 via Greyhound to Whitehorse, followed by a white-knuckled, hitchhiked ride to Dawson.
Once in Dawson City, he finds himself tenting on a small stretch of boardwalk in frigid May weather: all this for a part-time job at the Klondike Sun newspaper.
Ross returns to Dawson City in 1997 at the invitation of “Zig”, who was publishing a weekly TV guide from the Klassic mobile home at the corner of Harper Street and Third Avenue.
Ross told me that “Zig” preferred to not be identified in the book but he is well known and still active in the Yukon publishing world.
When Ross and “Zig” decided to publish a weekly newspaper, it would be the first weekly paper since the Dawson Daily News ceased publication in 1954.
At first, the Insider was photocopied on individual sheets of 11x17 paper and manually folded into a booklet.
Eventually, the Yukon News agreed to print it but, because of the mechanics of offset printing, there would be far more space for Ross to fill. A chance meeting with an unfulfilled nanny led to the nanny, Kim Favreau, being hired as the Insider’s first reporter.
Ross includes excerpts from some of the Insider’s most popular contributors.
Katie Grigor, whose column, Ask the Bartender, gives some very personal advice; veterinarian Aedes Scheer and the story of ministering to an injured emu; former mayor Wayne Potoroka’s bizarre ramblings in The Market Report.
The late Peter Jenkins merits a sizeable passage in the book, and former mayor Glen Everitt gets a chapter aptly entitled, “The Village Everitt”.
For the climax of the story of the Insider and its expansion into Whitehorse, you will have to buy the book. Spoiler alert: it’s in the title.
Ross’s love for Dawson City and his sentimentality about the Insider shine through on every page of this very accessible and entertaining book. Buy one and put it under the tree for every current and former Yukoner you know.
The Unraveling of the Dawson City Insider 1997-1999 is available at Mac’s Fireweed and Coles in Whitehorse.
Whitehorse resident Stephen Robertson is the former owner and publisher of the Yukon News.
By Stephen Robertson
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